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Menstrual Cycle Can Affect Bowel Symptoms

January 02, 2008 | 8,663 views

The menstrual cycle can affect bowel symptoms in women with inflammatory bowel disease or irritable bowel syndrome. The symptoms of such disorders range from abdominal pain and diarrhea under stress to more severe bowel inflammation that can cause fever, anorexia, frequent hospitalization and the need for surgical removal of a portion of the intestine. The researchers found that 93% of women reported one or more of 18 premenstrual symptoms, including irritability, depression, and weight gain, and those with bowel disease reported premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and menstrual symptoms "more frequently" than other women. Those with irritable bowel syndrome and irritable bowel disease reported more diarrhea, either before or at the time of menstruation. And women with bowel disease were significantly more likely to have a monthly pattern to their bowel symptoms than controls.

American Journal of Gastroenterology 1998;93:1867-1872.

COMMENT: Again, another interesting observation and, again, I believe that the diet is the major factor here. I would additionally add the natural progesterone for the PMS symptoms as that is generally a powerful effective intervention. The original article recommended a synthetic progestin or birth control pills to correct the problem, but I believe that is highly counterproductive. I would caution against birth control pills for ANY use. I can not think of one situation where I would ever recommend them. They almost invariably cause more problems than they solve.

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