Change in bowel habits during menstruation: are IBD patients different?

Adi Lahat, Alona Falach-Malik, Ola Haj, Zina shatz, Shomron Ben- Horin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and aim: Many female inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients report symptoms exacerbation before and during menses. Our aim was to characterize their symptoms and specific risk factors in comparison with healthy controls. Methods: Female IBD patients aged 18–50 years were asked to fill out a questionnaire recording their demographic and disease characteristics, menstruation history and symptoms. Disease activity was defined by Harvey–Bradshaw index (HBI) for Crohn’s disease (CD) patients and modified mayo score for ulcerative colitis (UC) patients. Healthcare providers answering an internet survey assessing bowel symptoms during menstruation served as healthy controls. Results: A total of 139 IBD patients, of whom 100 were CD patients, filled the questionnaire. The mean age was 30.4 [±7.7 standard deviation (SD)], mean disease duration was 7.8 (±6 SD), mean HBI was 4.7 (±3.8 SD), and mean Mayo score was 2.1 (±2.5 SD). A change in bowel habits during menstruation was reported by 72% of CD patients compared with 56% of UC patients (p = 0.07). Out of 258 healthy controls, 93% reported a change in bowel habits during menstruation compared with 68% of IBD patients (p < 0.001). However, other abdominal and constitutional symptoms were significantly more prevalent among IBD patients compared with healthy controls (p < 0.01 for most parameters). Smoking status, biologic treatment, and previous abdominal operation were found to significantly aggravate symptoms during menses in IBD patients Conclusion: IBD patients experience various symptoms during menses significantly more commonly than healthy women. Smoking, biologic treatment, and previous abdominal operations are risk factors for higher symptomatic burden. Following future validation and research, these results can help in patients’ risk stratification and possibly in risk reduction.

Original languageEnglish
JournalTherapeutic Advances in Gastroenterology
StatePublished - 2020


  • Crohn’s disease
  • change in bowel habits
  • inflammatory bowel disease
  • menstruation
  • ulcerative colitis


Dive into the research topics of 'Change in bowel habits during menstruation: are IBD patients different?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this