Menstruation comes with a whole host of symptoms and side effects, and one of those is gas. If you’ve ever experienced gas and constipation before periods, you’re not alone! Find out what causes gas during your period, how to identify gas cramps vs period cramps, and how to relieve bloating and gas during your period.What is PMS Gas or Gas During Periods?
PMS gas refers to gas and constipation before a period or during it. The hormonal changes in your body during different phases of the menstrual cycle do more than just affect your reproductive tract. They also affect the gastrointestinal tract, which can manifest as constipation, diarrhea, bloating, and gas.
Gas Cramps vs Period Cramps
Gas pains can feel like menstrual cramps, so how do you know which you’re experiencing? Period cramps tend to present as a dull, throbbing pain that may also spread to your lower back. These menstrual cramps may also occur throughout your entire period. Gas cramps, on the other hand, tend to come on fast and are often relieved by passing gas or having a bowel movement. It is possible to have both gas cramps and period cramps at the same time.
Causes of Gas During Periods
The main culprits causing gas during your period are hormones that play a vital role in driving the menstrual cycle. Does progesterone cause gas? It sure does! Fluctuations in both estrogen and progesterone play a role.
Around the ovulation phase of your menstrual cycle, progesterone levels rise in preparation for pregnancy. You may even have gas pains during ovulation, which is around the 14th day of your menstrual cycle. If you become pregnant, you may get constipated, have higher than usual gas, and experience morning sickness. If you don’t become pregnant, the decreasing level of progesterone can cause the same symptoms during menstruation
Another compound released during your period is prostaglandins, which help stimulate the uterus to shed its lining by making smooth muscle contract more often. This can not only cause menstrual cramps but also affects the intestines also causing them to contract more, leading to increased gas and loose stools.
As if cramps, bloating, emotional changes, and tender breasts weren’t enough, menstruators sometimes need to deal with gas and constipation before their periods. Luckily, there are some steps you can take to minimize the PMS gas.
Eat a Healthy, Balanced Diet Free of Processed Foods
A lifestyle change you can make is to eat a healthy diet without any processed foods in the days leading up to your period. This can reduce the likelihood of GI issues, including the gas that accompanies them. Dairy, sweets, and starchy foods can cause your farts to smell worse.
Drink water regularly to help move waste through your body efficiently. It can also help to eat smaller portions and eat more slowly to aid digestion and reduce the production of gas.Keep a Menstruation Cycle Chart to Plan Ahead
We suggest keeping a menstruation cycle chart so that you can predict when your gassiest days will be and act accordingly to minimize discomfort. Knowing the phase you’re in can help you manage stinky gas during ovulation and during other phases of the cycle.Exercise Regularly
Staying active keeps your gastrointestinal tract active too, which can prevent constipation, prevent bloating, and minimize the production of gas.Let the Gas Out!
When you do have gas during your period, don’t ever try to hold your farts in! Suppressing the release of gas can cause it to build up in the intestines, causing gas pains. If you find yourself in a busy place, try to duck out for a moment of privacy and gas release.
Gas during periods can be a real pain – literally! Now that you know how to relieve bloating and gas during periods, you can go into your next menstrual cycle with confidence.
Editor: Lanna Last & Thomas Sauls