Dealing with constipation, pain during your period

Monday April 6 2020


By Dr Vincent Karuhanga

Why do I get pain, constipation and sometimes diarrhoea during my period?


Dear Angela,
Menstruation or a period is due to the shedding of the inside lining of the uterus called endometrium which happens each month for a woman of child bearing age.

Although periods are usually painless, some women may suffer cramping abdominal pains during and sometimes just before a period. Painful periods in young women may be without found cause but mainly blamed on substances called prostaglandins that may at the same time contract the intestines more forcefully leading to abdominal cramps and diarrhoea.

Before a period starts, progesterone builds up in the body, hence slowing down the digestive system, resulting in constipation just before and during the period.

Certain health conditions including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and endometriosis, can also make a menstruating woman have constipation, diarrhoea and painful periods, especially in the first few days of the periods.


It is important for a menstruating woman to take a lot of fluids, fruits and vegetables apart from exercising to mitigate constipation whether it is associated with the period or not.
Proper hydration also ensures that diarrhoea does not lead to dehydration. If these measures do not help, please contact your doctor.