Health

3 IBS symptoms you may mistake for period problems

Bloating, pain, changes in bowel movement and tiredness are what a lot of women experience when they have their period.

But did you know some of the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) often mimics typical period problems and complaints?

There is no doubt IBS and common period problems are very similar indeed. And often IBS is often mistaken for and diagnosed as period pain.

So how do you tell them apart?

3 IBS symptoms you may mistake for period problems

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The thing is IBS can also cause pain in these areas and pain is considered the most common symptom of IBS.

“The pain ranges from mild to severe, and may be made better by opening the bowels or passing wind. It is often made worse by eating.” 

This pain is often felt during the evening.

2. Changes in bowel

Many of us are well aware that during THAT time of the month, our poo can be a little weird. You may poop more, you may poop less or you may even notice your poop is a little runny.  That’s because of prostaglandins which our body releases during the first couple of days of our period. These trigger our uteruses to contract (cramps) and sometimes our bowels (weird poops).

While changes in bowel movements are common during period time, changes in bowel movement are also a major symptom of IBS. IBS sufferers often complain of constipation or diarrhoea (sometimes even both).

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“Your faeces may vary in consistency from hard and pellet-like to loose and watery. Alternatively, you may just pass small amounts of mucus. Your bowel movements may alternate between constipation and diarrhoea.”

3. Tiredness

Fatigue is a common symptom of period time and of IBS. You see, the digestive system is a major site for the absorption of food and if this isn’t working properly, we are unable to get the nutrients we need and therefore energy wanes.

You can see from the above why IBS and period pain can often be mistaken for one another. The thing is, regardless of whether you think you are suffering from period pain or say IBS pain – it’s best to chat with your doctor.

If these are reoccurring issues for you, we suggest keeping a diary and writing down when such symptoms occur, how long for, what have you eaten and where you are at in your cycle. That way you can help your healthcare practitioner determine if you are suffering from period problems or IBS.

As a general rule don’t be hasty to dismiss IBS symptoms as that time of month women’s troubles.

Other common symptoms of IBS

Other signs and symptoms of IBS often include:

  • Excess wind
  • Nausea
  • Indigestion
  • Backache
  • Tiredness
  • Bladder problems
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