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Why do I get diarrhea on my period?

If the shedding of your uterus lining and constant bleeding for 5 days straight wasn’t enough to give you a bit of a rude awakening every month, those who menstruate have a whole other slew of issues that come to join the party! If you’ve ever wondered why your stomach is thrown into complete disarray, teetering between bouts of severe constipation and sudden diarrhea, then keep reading. There’s a lot to unpack here when it comes to the stomach pain and cramps you experience on your period. 

Why do I experience stomach pain during my period?

During the second half of the menstrual cycle, your body is producing more progesterone, which is the result of releasing an egg. What happens when your body makes more progesterone?

Well, that’s when things get… messy.  Dr. Raquel Dardik at NYU Langone Medical Center explains just what goes on. 

The production of progesterone is great news! But when it’s overproduced, progesterone slows down contractions of the bowel, so it slows down how quickly food and gas move. Then there’s the estrogen, which causes water retention, contributing to the bloat. Essentially, everything slows down. Top that with the initial cramping that you get in the first two days and you’re in for a double whammy. 

What causes the cramping? 

Progesterone levels drop, which speeds up bowel contradictions back up again, so food passes along quicker than normal. Then, there’s the prostaglandins, hormone-like substances that are released by the uterus, which trigger cramps. 

There’s two types of cramps: some will give you pain, and some will give you diarrhea. 

How can I manage my manage stomach pain on my period?

So, the rollercoaster will inevitably come every month, and if you try to look at things on the bright side, at least you know that your reproductive system is doing its thing! But in the meanwhile, it’s best to take some steps to alleviate the pain and symptoms that come with it. 

4 ways to manage stomach pain on your period

  1. Upping Fiber: To help move things along in your digestive system and curb constipation, try using psyllium, fiber rich foods, and more fluids. This will soften your stool thus making it easier to pass. 

  2. Probiotics: Your new best friends! They’ll help to maintain balance in your GI tract, replenishing the right bacteria your intestines need to keep the flow. If you want to go more natural and dislike using too many pill-form supplements, you can also try natural sources of probiotics like kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, and pickled ginger. 

  3. Chew Slower: Take slower bites, and truly allow your body the time to digest food during your time of the month. Even more importantly, don’t consume drinks while you eat,  as this will further add pressure to the digestive system. It’s even cautioned to monitor your caffeine intake, limiting it down to 1-2 cups per day. 

  4. Choose Healthier Meal Options: It goes without saying what you put inside of you will have an automatic correlation to the way you feel. Be mindful of the foods you consume when you’re menstruating, and opt for warmer, more gut friendly meals that won’t put more stress on your digestive system. 


It’s normal to experience bloating, weight gain, and stomach pain when on your period. Try incorporating some of these tips to make your next period a bit easier!