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FAQ - FAQs - PMS

By Nutri People

Q - I am a 45 year old woman with a regular cycle and whilst I don’t get bad PMS symptoms, I have terrible bowel problems, mainly constipation, each month. Why is this and what can I do?

A - Over the course of a woman’s reproductive cycle, the two hormones oestrogen and progesterone follow a distinct pattern. Usually, progesterone is highest during the latter half of the cycle, after the egg has been released from the ovary. It is known that high levels of progesterone can lead to constipation by slowing the passage of digested food through the intestines. Contraction of the smooth muscles of our intestines pushes digested food along the alimentary canal. It appears that progesterone may interact with smooth muscle cells, resulting in a reduction in their contraction. When digested food passes slowly through the intestines, more water is absorbed from it, making the stool harder and difficult to pass.

In order to increase the bulk of the stool and so alleviate constipation, it can help to take a combination of herbs and ground seeds such as flax, fennel and fenugreek, which can also mechanically help to cleanse the intestine of any accumulated material. Aloe vera has been used for many years to support intestinal health, whilst supplementing with a good probiotic containing lactobacillus sporogenes can help maintain regular bowel movements. Finally magnesium plays a role in smooth muscle function so may be of help in cases of constipation.

Other tips that help include exercise, drinking sufficient water and ensuring your diet has plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains which contain useful fibre.   


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