lady sitting

Constipation and menstruation

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.

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.
lemon juice

Which constipation treatments can help?

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.

coloxyl senna packshot

Coloxyl with Senna

Stool Softener + Stimulant Laxative

Dual action formula offers overnight constipation relief that starts to work in 6–12 hours.

coloxyl 120mg packshot

Coloxyl 120 mg

Regular Strength Constipation relief

Stimulant free and therefore more gentle relief restoring regularity within 1–3 days.


Is constipation a sign of PMS?

It’s common for women to have digestive system issues, like constipation, before and during a period.

In fact, if you also have emotional symptoms around your period, you may be more likely to have gut issues.

It’s not yet clear precisely what drives these issues, but experts think changes in hormone levels are a common factor.

How long does period constipation last?

If you’re experiencing constipation around the time of your period, it may resolve a few days into your period.

Lifestyle changes (like changing your diet, fluid intake and activity level) may also help resolve constipation.

If it doesn’t go away in the few days following the arrival of your period (or after you’ve tried some lifestyle changes) chat with your doctor. They may be able to advise you about other treatments, including using laxatives such as Coloxyl.