IBS Quick Tip!

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Help Women, Hormones, and IBS?    Share Share Share

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  • Most women suspect that hormone fluctuations affect their IBS. Research shows this is true.

  • Women have a higher prevalence of IBS than men.

  • Women with IBS also have more severe symptoms and need more medications than men.

    • Why? Might be sex-related differences in brain responses to visceral (body) and psychological (mind) stressors, as well as hormonal influences.

    • Small-bowel transit, gastric emptying, and colonic transit times are all significantly different for women (even women without IBS) than for men.

    • Estrogen receptors in the stomach and small intestine react to changing levels of hormones.

  • Periods? Bad News for IBS. Many women with IBS find that menstruation worsens IBS pain and bloating, and increases diarrhea as well.

    • High progesterone levels that trigger menstrual cramps can also cause bowel spasms. Why? Both the uterus and the bowel are smooth muscle tissue.

    • This is a really unfair experience for many women, who have to endure painful IBS cramps on top of painful menstrual cramps.

  • What helps?

  • Birth control pills and hormone-releasing IUDs can lessen cramps and associated IBS flares for some women. Ask both your GI doc and your ob/gyn about options.

  • See more research on hormones and IBS.

Tip Takeaway: Hormones play a significant role in IBS. But, hormonal fluctuations that affect IBS for the worse are typically temporary, and there active steps you can take to counteract them!

Heather Van Vorous
Heather Van Vorous &
Heather's Tummy Care

Over 10 Years of IBS Business!
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