How Does IBS Affect The Female Body?

For many females in today’s modern world, there are not many subjects that are embarrassing when it comes to having a conversation. Although conversation topics do vary in whom you may be speaking to, there is one subject that many people, not just women steer away from. Whilst talking about the latest celebrity hookups, or how you spend Sundays keeping your husband occupied, the topic of doing a number two just does not seem such an appealing conversation to have.

Why is it that as a society this seems to be a subject that is avoided as a whole? Unless of course, you’re a small child who wants to inform anyone around that you are off to have a poo, yes the dreaded word everyone seems to want to avoid especially when it comes to what is classed as abnormal toilet habits. Would you recognize if you had a genuine bathroom problem? And most importantly would you seek help if needed.

Recognizing you have IBS

Although IBS affects men and women alike, it is more likely to occur in a woman. Even if you had some difficulty with your bowels it is paramount that you seek the help of a medical professional. catching, spotting early symptoms may help with treatments and coping mechanisms.

What exactly does IBS stand for? It is a shorter version of the medical condition called irritable bowel syndrome, which is when someone does not have full or in some cases no control over their bowel. IBS is not just when a person suffers from diarrhea, it can also be constipation, gas, and extreme bloating all leading to an equally uncomfortable painful stomach ache that presents many side effects.

Why people suffer from IBS is an unknown fact. With doctors relating it to many factors such as stress or even food reactions, however, the one thing the medical research does present is that IBS is extremely painful and uncomfortable. Improving your diet with healthier food options and exercise has been said to improve symptoms.

Why does IBS affect women in such a Bad Way?

The time of the month for most women is especially uncomfortable, with many having regular recurring symptoms. Yes, it is true, periods are a pain quite literally from symptoms such as mood swings, tearfulness to feeling hot and flustered. There are however some side effects to periods that women don’t tend to discuss over brunch.

One of the most common things females will suffer leading to her monthly cycle is constipation, once the flow gets going, then comes the loose bowels! So when these symptoms are added alongside IBS symptoms in females it just leads to extra turmoil. With symptoms becoming worse in both cases of the period and the IBS sometimes. This may mean twice as much food which will lead to extra bloating, constipation, or upset stomach equaling twice the pain. Females are often known to feel more sensitive during this time of the month, if you suffer from depression alongside your IBS this can be very traumatic.

One of the symptoms that come with female IBS is depression, this is also the case with men, however, with a woman’s hormones fluctuating depending on where their body’s in their monthly cycle this can be even more tiresome. Adding to upset tears and the helpless feeling of not being able to cope.

What are the Symptoms of female IBS?

Below is a list of symptoms that you can get when suffering from female IBS, these symptoms may present themselves at the same time or individually at different stages of your bout of discomfort. You may also find that you do not suffer from all, maybe just one or two.

  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Bloating of the stomach
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Mucus from the back passage
  • Backache
  • Gas or needing to pass wind a lot
  • Trouble with urinating
  • Bowel incontinence

If you are having any of these symptoms and are worried or becoming increasingly concerned about your toilet habits, then the best way to find out is to attend a GP appointment and get them to check you. This may just be a case of keeping a record of your toilet habits, a record of what you are consuming not just with food but fluid as well. It would be more informative if you start to record this information before attending your appointment. You may also be sent for a colonoscopy.

One of the main things that are completely overlooked when it comes to our toilet habits is how active we are in everyday life. Do you exercise and if so how much and how, does this seem to ward off your symptoms, and when you have days where the gym is not a priority do your symptoms worsen?  Physical activity keeps things regular and moving, if you are constipated then this can help to get your bowels moving in the right way.

Dealing with social situations Positively

One of the things that are recorded as making IBS worse is stress and anxiety. The more you worry about it the higher your anxiety surrounding your situation will be, instead of keeping it to yourself speak openly when your symptoms have flared up. Discussing the situation with your family or friends can help in social situations, you will be surprised how supportive people can be.

Especially if you are out in public and you don’t feel very comfortable venturing far from a toilet make this known, reducing your anxiety will give you less of a reason to say no when invited for days out. Being aware of what you eat can also be one way to stop the feeling of embarrassment in a social outing.

If you are aware that greasy food will set you off visiting the toilet every two mins then say no to going for Chinese food or your local cafe for example. Having IBS is not the end of your social life, it just may mean that if your symptoms are severe, alternative plans may be needed. Never put yourself in a position that will make you any more on edge than needed. Carrying an extra toilet roll or a packet of wipes, and spare underwear will ensure if the worst happens you will be able to clean up in the bathroom.


Although IBS is something you may feel embarrassed about please know many people suffer from the same issue. Many illnesses relate to toilet problems, you are not alone and if you are prepared this may not help with the pain but it can lead to preventing any accidents becoming a bigger deal than needed. IBS is an illness both men and women alike suffer from, due to females feeling slightly more sensitive when it comes to toilet talk it will always be a topic women shy away from.

Dealing with the problem head-on trying to be assertive may feel like the last thing you want to do, but doing so and dealing with the problem before it becomes out of control is one way of helping to minimize the stress. Visiting the doctor to get a firm diagnosis is your first point of call.

When you have a diagnosis, keeping records of what aggravates your flare-ups will help eliminate food and fluid reactions. At certain times of the month be aware you will need extra pain relief, and extra support by getting help in the home or someone to take on the task of the food shopping. Things that feel unmanageable to you may seem in your mind something you wouldn’t want to ask for help with, but that is not to say you are not validated in asking for help. Remember there are support groups with other female IBS patients so reach out, find out what is helping someone else.