Hormones are chemicals that are produced by the body and circulate through the body’s systems. The primary function of hormones is to deliver information that affects and controls how the body’s systems function
The sex hormones called “estrogen” and “progesterone” play an important role in controlling a woman’s menstrual cycle. These hormones have what are called “receptor cells” that are located inside of the digestive tract. This means that the digestive tract is directly affected by the changing levels of these two hormones in a woman’s body at different points in her cycle.
A recent study found that half of women with IBS had bowel-related symptoms during their periods, compared with around one-third of women without IBS. Researchers are still working to understand exactly how and why the same hormonal changes can cause IBS symptoms to get much worse for some women, but not for other women. In fact, one study found that a small percentage of women have IBS symptoms that improve during their periods.