Constipation Before Period: Understanding The Causes And Finding Relief

By Arie Jansen

Updated On

Ladies, let’s talk about a common but often overlooked issue that many of us face: constipation before our periods. If you’ve ever experienced bloating, discomfort, and difficulty going to the bathroom in the days leading up to your menstrual cycle, you’re not alone.

Constipation is a frequent symptom of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), affecting countless women worldwide. But why does it happen, and what can we do about it? In this article, we’ll explore the causes of constipation before your period and provide practical tips to help you find relief and maintain overall digestive health.

Key Takeaways

  1. Hormonal fluctuations, particularly changes in progesterone levels, can lead to constipation before your period.
  2. Lifestyle factors such as diet, hydration, and physical activity play a significant role in preventing and relieving constipation.
  3. If you experience severe or persistent constipation, it’s essential to consult a healthcare provider to rule out any underlying health issues.

Causes of Constipation Before Period

To understand why constipation occurs before your period, it’s crucial to recognize the hormonal changes happening in your body.

During the luteal phase of your menstrual cycle (the time between ovulation and the start of your period), progesterone levels rise. While progesterone is essential for preparing your body for a potential pregnancy, it can also have some less-than-desirable side effects, including constipation.

Progesterone can slow down the movement of food through your digestive tract, leading to harder, drier stools that are more difficult to pass (Bernstein et al., 2014).

Additionally, progesterone can cause your body to retain more water, which can contribute to bloating and feelings of fullness.

Other factors that can exacerbate constipation before your period include changes in your diet and eating habits, such as indulging in more comfort foods or consuming less fiber. Lack of physical activity can also slow down your digestive system, making constipation more likely.

Symptoms of Constipation Before Period

So, how do you know if you’re experiencing constipation before your period? Some common symptoms include:

  1. Infrequent bowel movements: If you’re having fewer than three bowel movements per week, you may be constipated.
  2. Difficulty passing stool: If you’re straining or experiencing pain when trying to have a bowel movement, this is another sign of constipation.
  3. Bloating and abdominal discomfort: Constipation can cause your belly to feel swollen, tight, and uncomfortable.
  4. Feeling like you haven’t fully emptied your bowels: Even after having a bowel movement, you may feel like there’s still more to come out.

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms in the days leading up to your period, constipation may be the culprit.

Tips to Relieve Constipation Before Period

While constipation before your period can be frustrating, there are several steps you can take to find relief and get things moving again:

1. Increase your fiber intake

Fiber helps add bulk to your stools, making them easier to pass. Aim to include plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in your diet, especially in the days leading up to your period.

Some fiber-rich foods to consider are berries, apples, pears, broccoli, spinach, lentils, and whole-grain bread or pasta (U.S. Department of Agriculture, 2021).

2. Stay hydrated

Drinking enough water is crucial for keeping your digestive system running smoothly. When you’re dehydrated, your body pulls more water from your stools, making them harder and more difficult to pass.

Aim for at least 8-10 glasses of water per day, and consider incorporating other hydrating fluids like herbal tea or clear soups (Mayo Clinic, 2021).

3. Get moving

Regular physical activity can help stimulate your digestive system and promote regular bowel movements. Engage in moderate exercise like brisk walking, jogging, cycling, or swimming for at least 30 minutes a day (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2021).

4. Consider over-the-counter remedies

If lifestyle changes alone aren’t providing relief, you may want to try an over-the-counter stool softener or gentle laxative. However, be sure to read the labels carefully and follow the recommended dosage instructions. It’s also a good idea to consult with your healthcare provider before starting any new medications.

Lifestyle Changes to Prevent Constipation Before Period

In addition to the tips above, making some long-term lifestyle changes can help prevent constipation from occurring in the first place:

  1. Maintain a balanced diet: Focus on incorporating fiber-rich foods into your meals on a regular basis, not just before your period. Aim for a well-rounded diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats.
  2. Manage stress: High levels of stress can contribute to digestive issues like constipation. Practice stress-reducing techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga to help keep your mind and body relaxed.
  3. Establish a regular exercise routine: Consistent physical activity can help regulate your digestive system and prevent constipation. Find an exercise that you enjoy and aim to incorporate it into your daily routine.
  4. Keep track of your symptoms: If you notice that constipation is a recurring issue for you, consider keeping a symptom diary. Write down what you eat, your bowel movements, and any other symptoms you experience. This information can be helpful for identifying potential triggers and making necessary adjustments to your diet or lifestyle.

When to Seek Medical Help?

While occasional constipation before your period is common and usually not a cause for concern, there are times when it’s important to consult a healthcare provider:

  1. If you’re experiencing persistent constipation that doesn’t improve with lifestyle changes or over-the-counter remedies.
  2. If you have severe abdominal pain, bloating, or discomfort that interferes with your daily life.
  3. If you notice blood in your stool or experience unexplained weight loss along with constipation.
  4. If you have a family history of digestive disorders or suspect that an underlying health condition may be contributing to your constipation.

Your healthcare provider can help rule out any serious issues and provide personalized recommendations for managing your symptoms.

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Constipation before your period is a common but often frustrating experience for many women. By understanding the hormonal changes and lifestyle factors that contribute to this issue, you can take proactive steps to find relief and maintain better digestive health overall.

Remember to focus on a fiber-rich diet, stay hydrated, engage in regular physical activity, and manage stress levels to help keep your digestive system running smoothly.

If you’re experiencing severe or persistent constipation, don’t hesitate to reach out to a healthcare provider for guidance and support. With the right combination of lifestyle changes and medical care when needed, you can take control of your digestive health and feel your best, even in the days leading up to your period.


1. Q: Is it normal to experience constipation before every period?

A: While constipation is a common premenstrual symptom, not everyone experiences it before every period. Some women may have more frequent or severe constipation than others, and the severity can vary from cycle to cycle.

2. Q: Can certain foods help relieve constipation before my period?

A: Yes, incorporating fiber-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes can help promote regular bowel movements and relieve constipation. Some specific foods that may be helpful include prunes, kiwi, flaxseed, and oatmeal.

3. Q: Is it safe to take laxatives for constipation before my period?

A: While over-the-counter laxatives can provide relief for occasional constipation, it’s important to use them cautiously and follow the recommended dosage instructions. Overuse of laxatives can lead to dependence and potentially worsen constipation in the long run. If you’re considering using laxatives, it’s best to consult with a healthcare provider first.

4. Q: Can hormonal birth control help with constipation before my period?

A: Some women find that hormonal birth control methods like the pill or hormonal IUD can help regulate their menstrual cycles and reduce premenstrual symptoms, including constipation. However, everyone responds differently to hormonal contraceptives, and some women may actually experience more digestive issues while using them. If you’re considering starting or switching birth control methods, discuss the potential benefits and risks with your healthcare provider.

Arie Jansen

Dr. Arie Jansen is a distinguished Obstetrician & Gynecologist, specializing in infertility treatment. With years of dedicated service in women's health, Dr. Jansen has become renowned for his expertise and compassionate care. He holds a deep commitment to providing comprehensive reproductive healthcare solutions tailored to each patient's unique needs. Dr. Jansen's extensive experience, coupled with his unwavering dedication to his field, has earned him the trust and respect of both patients and peers alike.

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