How to Get Rid Of Diarrhea During Your Period

    Updated 03 February 2023 |
    Published 02 January 2019
    Fact Checked
    Reviewed by Kate Shkodzik, MD, Obstetrician and gynecologist
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    Why do I get diarrhea during my period? This is a question we often get from our users. Today, we investigate the causes of diarrhea during your period and find out how to get rid of diarrhea on your period or before it.

    Diarrhea before your period

    Cramps, bloating, back pain, sore breasts, and mood swings are all common symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Diarrhea is another symptom you might experience before getting your period. 

    If you’ve found that your diarrhea appears before your period, you’re not alone. Many people experience severe diarrhea with PMS. Your menstrual cycle and digestive system are closely linked.

    Track your period and symptoms to see your unique cycle patterns.


    Why do you get diarrhea before your period?

    Levels of progesterone and estrogen change during your menstrual cycle. There are receptor cells for these hormones in your gastrointestinal tract. This suggests that the gastrointestinal tract is designed to sense and react to these hormonal changes. 

    Apart from hormones, another cause for diarrhea before your period is the increased amount of prostaglandins. Prostaglandins can make the muscle that lines your bowels contract and push waste out quickly.

    Diarrhea a week before your period: is it normal?

    Most premenstrual symptoms begin one to two weeks before your period. They might last up to seven days after the start of menstruation.

    When your period is about to arrive, digestive symptoms tend to fall to the extremes. Some people get constipated, and others have diarrhea. One study has shown that 73 percent of women experience at least one of the primary gastrointestinal symptoms either before or during their period. Roughly 24 percent of women said they experience diarrhea before their period, while 28 percent experience diarrhea during their period. 

    Diarrhea right before your period: a symptom of PMS?

    Experts in gastroenterology have found that you are more likely to experience bloating and constipation in the days of your cycle following ovulation. 

    However, things start to change as you get closer to your period. In the days right before your period, you are more likely to experience diarrhea and abdominal pain. Diarrhea right before your period is normal. In most cases, a healthy diet and medicine can make the symptoms go away.

    PMS – Be prepared

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    How to treat diarrhea before your period

    Here are some steps you can take to manage diarrhea:

    • Drinking plenty of water to ease your abdominal bloating
    • Maintaining a caffeine-free diet
    • Eating a nutritious diet to improve your overall health (fiber-rich or plain food is best if you have diarrhea)
    • Reducing your intake of sugar, salt, and alcohol

    Your health care provider can also advise you on treatment and prescribe medication to treat your diarrhea. 

    See your health care provider if your diarrhea starts to affect your daily life or if your symptoms don’t go away. Make sure to contact your health care provider immediately if you have one of the following symptoms: your stools are bloody or black, you become dehydrated, you have a fever, or you have severe abdominal or rectal pain. Your health care provider may do the following tests to rule out other medical problems:

    • Physical exam
    • Gynecological exam
    • Complete blood count
    • Blood tests
    • Colonoscopy

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    Diarrhea during your period

    The severity of your symptoms may be linked to your period. Although diarrhea can occur before your period, many people find that their symptoms get worse when they have their period. For some, their bodies are more reactive to food in the days during menstruation, particularly gassy foods.

    Is diarrhea a period symptom?

    Some people find that symptoms such as diarrhea, bloating, and constipation get worse during the days immediately after ovulation. Others report that they have an increase in the severity of these symptoms during their period. 

    Is it normal to have diarrhea on your period?

    Diarrhea during your period is a common complaint. During your period, the sex hormones progesterone and estrogen as well as prostaglandins can change the behavior of the smooth muscle in your intestines. As long as it doesn’t cause such severe gastrointestinal pain that it keeps you from leaving your home, it’s typically nothing to worry about.

    If you notice that your diarrhea is bloody, you should see your health care provider as soon as possible. There can be different causes of bloody stools, such as trauma, infectious diseases, endometriosis, and a tumor.

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    Causes of diarrhea during period

    Medical researchers don’t yet fully understand the exact reasons why diarrhea occurs during your period. The most likely cause is prostaglandins, which are chemicals released during your period that affect the contractions of smooth muscles in the uterus and the intestines. They send a “squeeze” message to your bowels and can sometimes go into overdrive. 

    How to treat diarrhea on period

    Some of the things you can do to manage diarrhea during your period include:

    • Eating foods rich in soluble fiber like bananas, peeled apples, and oats
    • Staying well hydrated by drinking a lot of fluids
    • Taking medication that relieves menstrual symptoms
    • Avoiding foods that are highly insoluble, like whole grains, broccoli, and other high-fiber vegetables



    Bernstein, Matthew T, et al. “Gastrointestinal Symptoms before and during Menses in Healthy Women.” BMC Women’s Health, BioMed Central, 22 Jan. 2014,

    Lee, O Y, et al. “Gender-Related Differences in IBS Symptoms.” The American Journal of Gastroenterology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, July 2001,

    Palsson, Olafur S, and William E Whitehead. “Hormones and IBS.” UNC School of Medicine, UNC School of Medicine, Oct. 2017,

    Ruan, Ye Chun, et al. “Regulation of Smooth Muscle Contraction by the Epithelium: Role of Prostaglandins.” Physiology, 1 June 2011,

    “Diarrhoea and Vomiting.” NHS Choices, NHS, 16 Apr. 2018,

    Mayo Clinic Staff. “Diarrhea.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 16 Apr. 2019,

    History of updates

    Current version (03 February 2023)

    Reviewed by Kate Shkodzik, MD, Obstetrician and gynecologist

    Published (02 January 2019)

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