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How does Irritable Bowel Syndrome interact with pregnancy?

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Medical reports indicate that 2 out of 3 people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome are women, and that doctors usually diagnose this problem in women of childbearing age. This is due to the relationship of pregnancy hormones with IBS symptoms.
Hormonal changes during pregnancy contribute to increased symptoms of digestive problems in general, and worsen or cause symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Changes in a pregnant woman’s body also alter bowel patterns.

What are you expecting pregnant?

Medical reports indicate that 75% of pregnant women report having one or more symptoms of functional bowel disorder during the first trimester of pregnancy. Due to the hormones estrogen and progesterone, there are additional symptoms such as: nausea, vomiting and heartburn.

Pregnancy and IBS symptoms overlap, as hormonal changes slow bowel movement and constipation worsens. Pregnancy also affects the function of the sphincter, which increases acidity. Changes in the pelvic floor due to fetal growth affect bowel movements in IBS.

If a pregnant woman takes medications for vomiting, such as antiemetics to relieve morning sickness, or takes iron supplements, these types of medications can make constipation worse. Magnesium sulfate, a medication that treats preeclampsia and premature labor, also causes constipation.

bright side

Pregnancy, on the other hand, can improve some IBS symptoms. According to studies, a high level of estrogen and progesterone reduces sensitivity to pain and improves chronic pain syndromes such as: migraines and irritable bowel syndrome.


If IBS was diagnosed before pregnancy, the pregnant woman may be at risk of complications such as: an ectopic pregnancy. Therefore, it is necessary to coordinate with the gynecologist and be aware of the situation in order to provide adequate prenatal care and monitor the pregnancy.

Symptoms like chronic diarrhea can cause dehydration, and straining from constipation can weaken the pelvic floor, causing the uterus to protrude, known as a “prolapsed uterus.”

Tips for case management

Drink more water.
Get at least 150 minutes a week of moderate exercise.
Eat a balanced diet, avoiding lactose and sugary foods.
Eat a lot of fiber.
Keep a food diary, to record and track what’s bothering you about Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and to avoid it.
Take ancillary medications, such as laxatives for constipation, and discuss with your doctor alternatives to iron and calcium supplements that are appropriate for your condition.
Stress and tension to the maximum that causes Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Therefore, it must be diluted appropriately.


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