IBS and Menstrual Cramps

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Tashiita32
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2011
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 3/12/2011 6:17 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi there!

I'm a 5 month IBS newbie, having only realized I have IBS-C last November. I can't have dairy, caffeine and must try to have as little gluten as possible, and if I go a day without taking soluble fibre tablets before every meal then I'm in pain for the rest of the day. I get a stabbing pain in my lower left abdomen, that often makes me need to sit down. This pain used to be worse -actually making me fall over in the street!- until I started seeing a hypnotherapist, going to yoga and swimming on a weekly basis. Also, drinking about a liter of water or a couple cups of hot-water infused with fennel seeds everyday decreases the pain within minutes.

Anyways, I have always had horrible menstruation that sometimes used to put me in bed on the first day of the cycle. I've been told that stress often affects this monthly pain, and now with IBS that stress is heightened in a catch 22 situation as I stress generally about my work, then stress about my IBS, then stress about my period, then yes, it all feeds into a vicious cycle. Every month, I get unbearable cramps a few days before bleeding, then I get a numbing pain in my upper left leg which makes it uncomfortable to move all day, and almost always feel I have to pass a very painful bowel movement after a series of spasms. After years of experiencing painful menstruation, I automatically correlate periods with having an upset stomach, but now with my IBS symptoms I can't take my usual anti-menstrual pain medicine. Does anybody know what kind of a pain-killer (not ibuprofen and not paracetamol) I might be able to take without setting of any IBS-related pain?

Thanks so much !!! confused

ArizonaSun
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2011
Total Posts : 15
   Posted 3/14/2011 11:25 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi!
I have similar problems around my period. There are some days that I can't even get out of bed because just moving makes the pain worse.
I've read in several different places that a womens hormones effect IBS immensly.
I don't like using medication if I can help it, just a light ibuprofen when it gets really bad. I mostly drink hot herbal teas and use a heating pad. Chamomille, Ginger, and Peppermint teas are good for digestion and menstral cramps. Be sure they are actual herbal teas and not black teas with like peppermint flavoring because black teas contain caffeine and sometimes that makes the symptoms worse.
The only other thing I do is listen to music. It seems like it wouldn't do much but i think listening to something slow and smooth can calm you or loud and fast can distract you.
Good luck with everything and I hoped I helped.

shawn12
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2004
Total Posts : 1293
   Posted 3/14/2011 12:32 PM (GMT -6)   
Its pretty common for hormones to upset some people IBS.

I don't know of any pain pills off hand and I would be careful with the ibuprofen as that can do a number on IBS.

There is also HT and CBT for IBS and pain and symptoms that might help as well.


Women: Special IBS Issues
It has long been known that women, especially those age 15 to 45, make up the bulk of IBS patients — approximately two-thirds of IBS patients are female.

This section was developed in response to an e-mail inquiry to us by an IBS patient. She described her elation in being freed from IBS symptoms during her pregnancy. However, one month after delivery, her symptoms returned. This prompted a search of the IBS literature for the effects of female hormones on IBS.

http://www.mindbodydigestive.com/mbdc/women-special-issues/
IBS Forum Moderator


I am not a doctor. All information I present is for educational purposes only and should not be subsituted for the advise of a qualified health care provider.

Please make sure you have your symptoms diagnosed by a medical practitioner or a doctor.

Tashiita32
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2011
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 3/14/2011 12:34 PM (GMT -6)   
thanks so much ArizonaSun. I also drink lots of herbal teas, the ones you mentioned but also lemongrass, blackcurrant and fennel. Fennel isn't that great, but it works on the pain the fastest. Music I've never recognized as a remedy, so thank you :)

Tashiita32
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2011
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 3/14/2011 12:45 PM (GMT -6)   
thank you for the suggestions shawn12. Unfortunately, ibuprofen really jump-starts my pain. but as I've never heard of HT and CBT, I will ask my GP. I've also been told by my hypnotherapist that IBS goes away after giving birth, and despite being in my early twenties and nowhere near planning on having a baby soon, I've been skeptical about that statement. It seems IBS really is just something to live with and manage as best you can.

shawn12
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2004
Total Posts : 1293
   Posted 3/14/2011 1:39 PM (GMT -6)   
" Unfortunately, ibuprofen really jump-starts my pain."

Makes it worse? If so that is pretty common and it might even cause inflammation if you take to much.

HT Is hypnotherapy for IBS. This can be very effective on the whole condition, including pain.

CBT is Cognitive behavioral Therapy.


"I've also been told by my hypnotherapist that IBS goes away after giving birth"

Not for all people but for some it gets better, for some it gets worse. In 5% of people in general it just goes away on its own, but that is pretty rare.

" I've been skeptical about that statement. It seems IBS really is just something to live with and manage as best you can."

It really is until they learn some more about it all, but they have some good ideas on what is causing it that you can treat now with different approaches.
IBS Forum Moderator


I am not a doctor. All information I present is for educational purposes only and should not be subsituted for the advise of a qualified health care provider.

Please make sure you have your symptoms diagnosed by a medical practitioner or a doctor.

dogsled
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2011
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 7/12/2011 2:15 AM (GMT -6)   
I found this topic on a google search and wanted to chime in. I'm 48 and have only been diagnosed with IBS since I began having perimenopausal symptoms. (Interestingly, my actual perimenopause symptoms are almost nonexistent, but IBS has cropped up and been blamed on perimenopause/hormones because my IBS symptoms flare during my period.) I've searched for food intolerances and gone off various foods at various times, certain it's the gluten, the sugar, the caffeine, the beef, the bananas, the eggs, the dairy, the alcohol . . . I'm now following the Clean diet "Elimination Diet" put forth by Dr. Alejandro Junger, and it seems to be helping with between-period symptoms. My primary IBS symptom is nausea. I know--not a typical IBS symptom, but it accompanies some mild-but-wonky lower gut stuff (constipation one day, almost-diarrhea the next, so that's the diagnosis I've been given. My GP blames it on hormones, and my gyno blames it on my gut, and all anyone wants to prescribe is ibuprofen for the crampy overfull sensation I get during my period and bentyl to possibly calm my gut. (I took that once and it made me anxious.) It's like everything doesn't fit in there, causing things to sit too long where they're not supposed to. The worst days are the days of a big hormone shift--Day 3, when my flow changes from very light to very heavy in a matter of about an hour, and Day 5, when the opposite occurs. Oddly, on Day 4, or the heaviest day, I'm more comfortable than I am on either of the bookending days. Sometimes recovering from Day 5 takes three days. It's like things have to shrink back to size.

I can totally relate to the comment about stress and periods and IBS and the ugly circle because one causes the other causes the other. My doctor tried to pin my symptoms on stress and I finally said, "Look, I have a big job and a busy family and a lot going on, and the single biggest stressor in my life is this nausea that appears out of nowhere. Help me solve that and we will have solved my stress."

I rarely take ibuprofen because it--you know--chews up your stomach. Doesn't seem like a good option for someone with nausea. :)

I guess I'm just here to say that, yes, IBS and hormones go hand-in-hand, sometimes in a big way. I'm still hoping to get to the bottom of it all with diet and exercise and by addressing nutritional deficiencies, food triggers, etc., but if I should hit menopause and have it all just disappear without my having solved it any other way, that'd be okay, too! The sooner the better!

Eager to hear if anyone's got any other brilliant ideas for any of us to try. Thanks.

puffed rice
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2008
Total Posts : 495
   Posted 7/12/2011 7:40 AM (GMT -6)   
 Tashiita32,
 
Instead of painkillers have you tried antispasmodics like Bentyl or Buscopan.  Both stop the spasms and cramping in the colon pretty quick.  Bentyl(dicyclomine) is perscription and Buscopan you can get it by just asking the pharmacist.  They would help for menstral cramps as well.
 
Have you also tried taking your fibre tablets before bed so they aren't causing gas and pain during the da y.  I always take metamucil at bedtime for that reason.
 
Peppermint oil capsules are excellent for stomach pain.

Post Edited (puffed rice) : 7/12/2011 11:19:49 AM (GMT-6)


Joan M
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jan 2006
Total Posts : 1623
   Posted 7/12/2011 9:37 AM (GMT -6)   
When I had my period, the pain was so intense...I did not eat on the first day. I kept working though and then on the second day...would have something very simple like bread and a small bowl of soup all day. On the third or fourth day when it was really flowing, I might have bread, soup and a small section or a piece of fruit. Then it was back to normal. I was constipated then but figured it was because I did not eat. Everything seemed too complicated to eat...soft boiled eggs might be ok.

I came down with IBS very bad when I was perri-menopausal. Now I am post menopausal and have basically given up on the mess. I have one bowel movement a day and sometimes more and certainly don't have too much bowel movement.

Anything that is predominately a female problem ... they don't want to bother with.

Lyme14
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2011
Total Posts : 381
   Posted 7/13/2011 12:03 AM (GMT -6)   
 
Tashiita,
 
Have you tried cutting all hydrogenated oils (trans fats) out of your diet?  It is not easy to do, as they are hidden in most fast food, processed foods, and breads from non-healthfood stores.  Even the restaurants that claim "zero grams of trans fats per serving" have like a half of a gram or so per serving (see the documentary: Ingreedients).  There is often a substantial reduction in menstrual cramps when trans fats are eliminated from the diet.
 
 
I'm a music teacher, and not a doctor. Anything I post is based on my own experience and lay opinion.
Lyme, Babesiosis, Mycoplasma (Asthma), Fibromyalgia (Soft Tissue Injury), Costochondritis,
CFS (Mitochondrial Dysfunction), IBS (Candida & Leaky Gut), Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, Adrenal Fatigue,
ITP (Low Platelets), TMJ, Plantar Fasciitis, Schamberg Purpura, Tinnitis, Allergies, MCS
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