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Constipation and menstruation

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Many healthy women experience changes in bowel function at certain times of their menstrual cycle that may last a few days. If you notice that your bowels are more sluggish before or during your period, you may have menstrual constipation.
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Fluctuations in the hormones progesterone and estrogen are thought to
contribute to menstrual constipation.

What causes menstrual constipation?

The hormonal changes associated with menstruation can affect your bowels and slow down your digestive system.

Certain health conditions, like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and endometriosis, can also increase your chances of having constipation during your period.


What can I do if I get constipated?

There are several things you can do to help relieve constipation, but it is important to talk to your doctor or pharmacist first.

Tips for lifestyle changes you can make to help manage constipation:

  1. Gradually increase the fibre in your diet to add bulk to your stool and help it move through your digestive system – try fruits and vegetables like apples, beans and lentils
  2. Drink more water – plain, or try adding lemon to a cup of warm water for a change
  3. Stay active – even a gentle 20 minute walk can be beneficial
  4. Don’t ignore the urge to use the toilet.


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Which constipation treatments can help?

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Lifestyle changes are usually the first step in treating constipation. It is important to talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist about the different lifestyle changes you can safely make before trying anything.

If lifestyle changes don’t work well, then you may need to use a laxative for a short time. The type of laxative that is best suited to you will depend on several things including other health conditions you may have, and the medications you are taking – so it is important to seek advice before taking any laxative.

Coloxyl offers a range of stool softeners that can be selected based on whether you are looking for gradual, or faster overnight relief.