Question: Is watery diarrhea before period a sign of pregnancy or period coming?
When you are expecting your period, there are many changes you will expect in your mood, breasts, abdomen and also your vaginal discharge.
These changes are common in a lot of girls and its nothing abnormal if you get these symptoms a week before period.
You will notice your breast feels sore and painful. Also, your vaginal discharge becomes thick and dry before the start of your next period. Most notably is cramping pain in your abdomen that starts few days before period.
If you are expecting these symptoms, and then, notice constipation or watery stool before period, its normal you will be worried why it’s happening.
Here’s an email from Aziza (one of my readers)
Hi Dr. Dunn
Im a 24 years old student and need a little advice to know what’s wrong with me. I have 30 days menstrual cycle, and I’m supposed to have my period on the 15th of July. However, I’m having watery diarrhea, and I’m worried because I experienced the same symptoms during my last menstruation.
Two days before my last period started, I noticed watery frequent stooling that continued during my period. Is this normal or I have been infected by a virus?
Just like Aziza, its natural you will get concerned if you experience cyclical diarrhea before your period. The truth is, it’s not abnormal and occurs because of hormone changes that occur around your menstrual period.
Having said that, diarrhea before period may be due to bacterial, viral or parasitic infections of your intestines. Common causes of prolonged diarrhea are food poisoning, infections, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, and something due to medications you are taking.
This article explains causes of watery diarrhea before period, symptoms that indicate it could be pregnancy, and when you diarrhea is due to a serious health concern.
Is it normal to have diarrhea before period starts?
In a woman’s body, there are plenty of hormones that work every time to ensure that your menstrual cycle functions normally.
Just around the time your menstrual period starts, there is a rise in follicle stimulating hormone, and also, estrogen.
Estrogen is the most dominant hormone before ovulation, and then just a few days before ovulation will occur, your body’s estrogen level fall with a subsequent rise in another hormone, progesterone.
This hormone, progesterone, has many effects on a woman’s body, and apart from preparing your womb for pregnancy (should you get pregnant after sex), there are other functions
1. Endometrium thickening
After ovulation, there are changes to the thickness of your endometrium. The endometrium is a blood thickened layer that carpets the inside of your uterus. This thickness of the endometrium makes it possible for implantation to occur in women that get pregnant.
2. Reduce the possibility of miscarriage
One common reason women get an early miscarriage is a failed implantation. Progesterone acts to decrease the effect of your immunes system on your baby, thereby preventing miscarriage.
3. Reduce contraction of the Intestinal smooth muscles
In your abdomen are small and large intestines. Their function is to move useless waste matter from your body and push them out through your anus. Smooth muscles that cover the small and large intestine and can be affected by progesterone hormone.
Initially, after ovulation, there is a rise in progesterone hormone, and this reduces the contraction of smooth muscles resulting in decreased motility, and therefore constipation (hard stool).
Because progesterone levels fall 3 – 4 days before period, and also during menstruation, it’s normal that you will experience frequent stooling right before period starts.
Another reason you could have diarrhea before period is prostaglandins.
Prostaglandins have a hormone-like effect on your uterus around menstruation and cause contraction of uterine muscles to expel endometrial blood from your womb.
In some women that experience severe cramping, your body produces an excessive level of prostaglandins, which moves to other parts of your body, including your intestine, resulting in diarrhea.
Prostaglandins cause contraction of the smooth muscles of the intestinal wall with resultant frequent stool and diarrhea.
If you are very concerned about your health and feel you are pregnant, there are other ways to know if you are pregnant before missed period.
One effective way is implantation bleeding that occurs one week before period. Other signs of pregnancy are a delayed period, increased clear watery discharge, fatigue, breast pain, frequent urination, mood changes and nausea.
Apart from these signs, constipation and diarrhea can be a sign of pregnancy.
During early pregnancy, your body produces different hormones that affect your digestive system resulting in vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, and nausea.
Diarrhea before period: When to Worry?
Apart from hormonal changes that are beyond your control, you could have diarrhea for a different reason. Sometimes, it could be due to what you’ve eaten, other times it could be due to a serious health problem.
In fact, you should see your doctor immediately if you are experiencing any of these symptoms
- Acute pain in your abdomen
- Severe back pain that worsens over days
- Blood in diarrhea
- High body temperature (fever)
- Feeling weak and tired due to effects of dehydration
- Rectal or anal pain with bleeding
- Nausea and vomiting.
If you have any of these signs, don’t wait, talk to a doctor about your symptoms quickly. Here are some reasons you have diarrhea before your period that won’t go away
Endometriosis is the displacement of parts of your endometrium to other location in your body. It can be found in your abdomen, ovaries or on the outer surface of your womb.
If this happens, women feel diarrhea, though most common symptoms are a painful period, painful sexual intercourse, and heavy bleeding during menstruation.
2. Food poisoning
Sometime, your diarrhea may be due to what you’ve taken for breakfast, lunch or dinner. If you’ve just taken a meal that contains bacteria, toxin or virus, your body will react, resulting in vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain, loose stool, and fever.
3. Chrohn disease/ Ulcerative colitis
If your intestine gets inflamed, it could cause you to have persistent stooling for weeks. Ulcerative colitis is the inflammation of the large intestine and can also affect your rectum.
Symptoms are diarrhea, abdominal pain, weight loss, bloody stool, and fever.
How to stop diarrhea before period?
If you are experiencing so much passage of watery stool days before period, here’s how to feel better
- Have a lot of bedrest
- Take a lot of water to prevent dehydration
- Stop smoking and alcohol if you do
- Take loperamide tablets 4mg stat and 2 mg every time you pass watery stool
- See a doctor for severe symptoms