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Should I Take Probiotics On My Period? – 5 Best Tips

Should I Take Probiotics On My Period? – 5 Best Tips

Research on interventions for women’s health leads health professionals to recommend taking probiotics during your periods. But, to receive the benefits, there are crucial things you must know and do. 

Though it may surprise some, you should take probiotics during your special time of the month, and we’re going to explain the shocking reasons why, along with 5 tips to decrease your menstrual symptoms using the best probiotics. 

Why We Know Probiotics

As a team of 3 functional dietitians focused on helping active individuals, elite athletes, and executives with gut issues and improving performance, we’ve become highly skilled in understanding how probiotics work, which ones are the most effective, and when to take them for maximum benefit.  

We also have a dietitian on our team who is one of the top experts nationally on treating female hormone imbalance. So, we know how probiotics can affect your period and the best way to use probiotics during menstruation.

In our experience analyzing the research and working with clients, probiotics do wonders in helping to get rid of debilitating GI symptoms you experience during your cycle, keeping your hormones balanced, and improving estrogen levels or abnormal estrogen dominance.[1]

5 Best Tips to Answer: Should I Take Probiotics On My Period?

We’ve established that you should take probiotics on your period, but how do you take them to get the greatest benefit? Here are our 5 top tips to help: 

1. Consistency is Key: Never Miss a Day Without Probiotics on your Periods

Can probiotics affect your period? Yes, but only if you follow a few rules; the first is consistency. 

Think of it like this- how effective is your exercise in toning muscles when you do it intermittently vs consistently?

Consistent supplementation with the best probiotics will build a better gut, leading to more significant benefits of taking probiotics on your periods. 

Taking probiotics regularly, especially during the menstrual cycle, keeps the ratio of gut microbiota in balance.

When your gut health is out of balance, your hormones will be out of balance, too. So keep these good bacteria part of your daily wellness routine to attain a healthy gut with long-term results. 

Not sure if you need probiotics? Here are the 6 top signs you need probiotics right now

2. Incorporate Probiotic-Rich Food with Supplements

We can’t out-supplement a lousy diet, so be sure to include probiotic-rich foods for optimal gut health. This will add an extra boost of awesomeness to support a healthy gut environment. 

Probiotic-rich foods are most often fermented foods, such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi. We list the 9 best-fermented foods for active individuals here. 

Infographic showing examples of 9 probiotic-rich foods.

Here are a few quick ideas we personally use to help you make actionable changes today:

  • Add a fork-full of sauerkraut to your salad.
  • Buy plain dairy-free yogurt such as coconut or almond milk yogurt, and sweeten it with your own blueberries or raspberries and a bit of honey or maple syrup. 
  • Try tempeh instead of tofu (this has a great nutty flavor)
  • Miso soup is deliscous!

When you add this diet to your routine for several months (changes won’t happen overnight, but we have had clients report feeling better in as little as 2 weeks), you will have a healthier digestive system, which plays a key factor in improved digestion, good food absorption, improved well-being, and improved symptoms during your period. 

3. Choose the Right Supplement

Research shows that the best probiotic bacteria go beyond improving your hormone levels, gut balance, and immune system. 

But, these microbial organisms are all very different types, and the benefits will depend on which probiotic strain you consume. The most common beneficial bacteria probiotics include:

  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus
  • Bifidobacterium bifidum
  • Saccharomyces boulardi (A yeast that consumes and crowds out bad yeast 🙂)
  • Streptococcus, Enterococcus
  • Bacillus Escherichia coli, etc. 

Each of these probiotic strains has its role.

For example, Lactobacillus gasseri is a probiotic proven in research studies to reduce period cramping and dysmenorrhea in endometriosis patients.[5] 

So, should you be taking the same probiotic as your grandpa or dad? Probably not.

Similarly, Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium play an important role in overcoming the problem of GI disturbance and other digestive issues during periods. Saccharomyces and E. coli (Not the same E. coli food that gets recalled from exposure to animal feed lots) are another type of probiotics that plays an essential role in regulating a healthy immune system.[6] 

So whether you are bloated, facing painful cramps, or suffering from altered gut conditions during your periods, remember it’s not just about taking the probiotic supplement, but it’s about choosing the right one that suits your health needs. 

4. Add Prebiotics to Supercharge Your Probiotics

Prebiotics are the food that the good-gut-bug probiotics consume to grow, multiply, and thrive.

Infographic showing examples of 9 prebiotic-rich foods.

If we eat a diet that has limited amounts of prebiotics, the live microorganisms we consume in our supplements or fermented foods will struggle to populate the gut, and we will see little benefit from them.

​Even worse, if we consume a diet high in sugar and processed foods, we will feed the bad-gut bugs, leading them to be in greater supply in the gut than they should be, which further crowd out good bacteria. This leads to even further gut problems.  

So, it’s an easy solution. Add some foods high in prebiotics, the non-digestible fiber our good gut bugs love. If you’re taking a high-quality super greens powder, prebiotics may be in the supplement, too.  

A few examples of our favorite prebiotic-rich foods include:

  • Onions
  • Bananas (the more green they are, the more prebiotics they have)
  • Asparagus
  • Chickpeas
  • Garlic
Infographic comparing the best prebiotic foods to the best probiotic foods. Use the prebiotic food list PDF to help you add more prebiotics to meals with your probiotics.

We have an entire post on the 25 best probiotic-rich foods so you can identify your favorites.  

5. Consult a Professional Healthcare Provider for Individualized Probitioc Recommendations

Taking probiotics for your menstrual health is a great way to overcome the effects of symptoms produced during those 5-7 days. But not all probiotic strains work the same way, and choosing the right one is the key to optimizing health. 

Your body has unique needs, and taking the same probiotic as your 60-year-old dad or 20-year-old brother is fine, but it’s likely not the optimal choice, especially if you have gut or hormone issues.

We have a list of the best probiotics for various issues if you wa\nt to search and identify the top one for you. However, we recommend that you consult a healthcare professional who can gather a detailed medical history to help you find the best choice. 

The healthcare provider recognizes the cause behind the agonizing pain or rules out other symptoms related to your cycle. Without a doubt, we would recommend the experts on our time, Kylene Bogden and Abby Grimm, who are expert registered dietician nutritionists with in-depth knowledge of gut health and addressing and correcting female hormone imbalance

Kylene and Abby are skilled in identifying the core of the problem and recommending the best diet plan according to your corresponding symptoms. This healthy diet plan is individualized according to your sensitivity to foods that disrupt your normal gut microbiome during your periods.

If you are sensitive to food like grains, notice bloating after meals, or are unsure why you’re frequently tired after eating, our team can use food sensitivity testing and a starvation-free elimination diet to figure things out and get you on track. 

Other recommended plans may include successfully implementing a gluten- or dairy-free meal plan or using anti-inflammatory nutrition to boost energy and workout recovery.

If you’re ready to reduce symptoms during your period and fix hormone imbalance, learn more about us and book a free 15-minute strategy call to get started today.   

Bonus Tip To Relieve Menstrual Symptoms: Try Yoga Poses

Let us tell you an interesting fact! Yoga appears to be a magical therapy in relieving the severe menstrual cramps.

According to recent research by Sancheti Institute College Of Physiotherapy, adopting healthy lifestyle changes and adding poses like a cobra yoga pose, back bending asana, and other core strengthening yoga poses effectively reduce the painful crampings that women experience during their periods. 

Our recommendation is to consider performing each asana for a time of 1-2 minutes for two days before and during the usual time of your menstrual symptoms.[7] 

Exactly How Important Your Menstrual Cycle Is

Did you know periods are such a vital part of the health of women that many healthcare providers now refer to menstruation as the 6th vital sign?

Infographic showing a health menstrual cycle follicular and luteal phase.

Often, however, a menstrual cycle is accompanied by uncomfortable symptoms like cramping, mood swings, poor gut health, etc. So, if the question frequently comes to mind, “Should I take probiotics on my period? Will this improve my symptoms?

Yes, and yes. 

Good news, too: we’re going to reveal the 5 essential reasons why, along with a recommendation of our favorite probiotic so you can have a better visit from Aunt Flo next month. 

Infographic showing what progesterone and estrogen hormone fluctuations should look like during a healthy menstrual cycle.

Are Probiotics Safe for Improving Gut Symptoms?

Probiotics are one of the safest dietary supplements to take during menstruation. 

In contrast to pain reliever medications that can cause liver or kidney damage and have side effects that produce adverse health conditions like ulceration, acid reflux, stomach pain, or chest tightening, probiotics are free from these associated adverse effects.[2]

Probiotic supplementation contains essential gut microbiota that balances a healthy gut flora. 

By maintaining a balanced level of gut microbiome, probiotics alleviate the gastrointestinal symptoms of bloating, diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, and other digestive tract problems.[3] 

Relieving Uterine Cramping

Are you one of those who experience painful cramping or irregular periods? Then, start taking probiotics right away during your periods, before and after. Surprising but true, it has the potential to act as an anti-inflammatory agent![4]

 Let’s break this down in a simple way: how will it work? 

You are likely familiar with that abdominal pain in your lower belly during your period. But do you know the cause? 

Well this is because of the release of inflammatory agents named prostaglandins. These prostaglandins make your uterus contract so it can shed the endometrial layer through menstrual blood. 

Sometimes, the cramping can be severe and causes excruciating menstrual pain. Here, probiotics can have a major impact. Taking probiotics will reduce the release of prostaglandins, so you may not suffer from as painful of a menstrual period. 

Summary

It should be clear now that probiotics can affect your period, but you must use them correctly. Otherwise, the benefits may be minimal. 

If you have any confusion about taking probiotic supplements during your cycle and thinking, “Should I Take Probiotics On My Period? We recommend taking advantage of our free 15-minute strategy call to map out virtual nutrition coaching. Our caring dietitians know how to help you overcome your issues, and our 100+ 5-star Google Reviews will show you our success with other clients.

Our coaching includes a 60-minute evaluation, individualized testing, and two follow-up sessions to identify a plan to overcome your issues. We will walk you hand in hand throughout the process to help you get from miserable to feeling like a health all-star. 

Because of our vast research and patient’s experience, we would suggest that if you are grappling with digestive tract issues such as loose stools, bloating or suffer from mood changes or severe crampings during your periods, your gut microbiome is likely in a bit of frenzy. Be sure to check out the signs you need a probiotic and aim to restore balance to your gut so you can have a healthier cycle, increased energy, and pain-free periods.

References:

  1. https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/12/3/757
  2. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Drsafila…
  3. https://trialsjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13063-022-06410-w#Sec20
  4. https://pubs.aip.org/aip/acp/article-abstract/2817/1/020077/2897555/Expression-of-prostaglandin-related-genes-in?redirectedFrom=fulltext
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3080472/
  6. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.3109/08910609609166465
  7. https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/9e7e/1552594936ddb38a641fb2255bf7ed6d02f4.pdf

About The Author

Michael Bogden

Dr. Bogden completed his residency training at the Cleveland Clinic and has completed two fellowships. He earned his undergraduate degree in Exercise Science from John Carroll University, graduating Cum Laude, and holds a Master of Science degree from Daemen College. He has collaborated with health professionals across the spectrum to form an integrative approach to health, enhancing his knowledge and expertise. Recipient of the Cleveland Clinic Health Educator of the Year Award, Dr. Bogden is passionate about mentoring others. Despite his lifelong advocacy for exercise and nutrition, he encountered unexpected challenges with fatigue and recovery that significantly impacted his training. Through a collaborative effort with his wife, Kylene, a dietitian trained in functional nutrition, he embraced a holistic lifestyle, witnessing a remarkable transformation in his energy levels and overall performance. In his practice, Dr. Bogden integrates a hands-on, spine-based approach to treating his clients along with functional sports nutrition. His experience as a Boston-Marathon qualifier and overcoming mold illness and recovery issues has allowed him to help recreational and elite athletes dealing with a wide variety of challenges. His unique integrative approach empowers his clients to achieve life-changing results and optimal long-term health.

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Family picture of Dr. Michael Bogden and licensed dietitian nutritionist Kylene Bogden

Meet Kylene & Dr. Michael Bogden

Kylene is a licensed dietitian nutritionist board-certified in sports nutrition as well as Integrative and Functional Nutrition. She is a certified food sensitivity LEAP therapist and the Performance Dietitian for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Michael, a physiotherapist with dual fellowships, merges sports nutrition with rehab to enhance client recovery.

Together, they've conquered personal health challenges that hindered their athletic pursuits including mold toxicity, Celiac disease, SIBO, and food sensitivities. Inspired by their journey, they founded a thriving private practice in 2017, now boasting three expert-trained dietitian nutritionists specializing in functional nutrition.

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