Medical research shows that more women than men suffer from IBS. In addition these studies demonstrate that certain gynecologic disorders accompany IBS in women. These are disorders such as dysmenorrhea. This has given birth to the question whether there exists a difference in IBS symptom severity in the genders and why more women suffer from gastrointestinal problems.
The role of hormones
For many years women have suspected that the main culprits when it comes to IBS are their hormones. The reason why more women than men suffer from IBS is credited to their brain responses that are related to their sex/gender differences. The brain responds differently in terms of the body, mind and hormones in both genders.
Women who suffer from severe IBS symptoms require more medication than their male counterparts who suffer from the same. Estrogen receptors in the small intestine and stomach will also react differently depending on the level of hormones.
Women who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome know very well though experience that their symptoms are worse during menstruation. They suffer from sharp abdominal pains, bouts of diarrhea and bloating. This is as a result of increased progesterone levels in the body that trigger cramping of the uterus and also spasms in the gastrointestinal muscle.
IBS and pregnancy
Medical research shows that pregnancy does have an impact on IBS but still the extent of this kind of impact remains unknown. There are high levels of hormone fluctuations during pregnancy. These extreme hormonal fluctuations can worsen or improve IBS symptoms. One day you feel like the cramps and the bloating are too much, the next day you are so relieved.
Juggling pregnancy and IBS is not easy and therefore the best thing to do is to speak with your doctor on how to prevent or subside the symptoms. As much as there are medications, while pregnant you need to rethink what you take for the sake of the baby’s safety. Go with what the doctor advices.
Relief without medication for pregnant women
An expectant mother has a hard time when it comes to IBS and the fact that they have to avoid taking many medication that may be contraindicated during pregnancy. The first thing you should do is ensure that you take in a lot of fluids. Eight to ten glasses of water per day is advised. For constipation, prune juice is perfect. You can also try having some warm liquids in the morning hours.
You should also ensure that you keep on moving. Do some simple exercises to ensure that you are physically and emotionally fit. Walking every day for thirty minutes can do plenty of good for your digestion and gets your heart pumping. You should also ensure that you get just enough fiber so as to ease constipation. It is advised that your keep away or minimize the amount of broccoli, cauliflower and beans that you eat since they cause gas. It is also important that you keep a food journal so that you record how your body responds to the foods you eat.
IBS and menopause
It is true that there is a connection between menopause and IBS. Just like during pregnancy, the IBS symptoms improve or worsen due to hormonal levels fluctuating. Perimenopause is the main suspect known to trigger IBS. Estrogen replacement therapies have not shown improvements in symptoms, so it is best to stick with methods that have given you relief over the years, and try new aids such as probiotics, Miralax, Colace, Metamucil, etc.