Home / Blog / Lifestyle / 4 Reasons Why Women May Have More Stomach Issues Than Men

4 Reasons Why Women May Have More Stomach Issues Than Men

Key Takeaways:

  • Changes to female hormones during menstruation and menopause, diet culture, and increased stress are all reasons why women may experience more gut health and digestive issues than men.
  • Supplements like Solgar® Comfort Zone can help support your digestive system*

If you’re on social media, you may have heard the phrase “hot girls have stomach issues,” as a way to joke about gastrointestinal problems.

And while it’s said as a joke, it begs the question: why does it seem like women have more stomach issues than men?

Let’s dive into why women tend to have issues with their gut health and what they can do to support a healthy gut.


1. Menstruation

If you’ve ever felt that food easily upsets your stomach around the time of your period, or that you have a lot more gas before you menstruate, there’s a reason for that. Your menstrual cycle influences your gastrointestinal system and can affect your stool.

Women and people with cycles often report abdominal discomfort, diarrhea, indigestion, constipation, and reflux around the time of their periods.1 2 People with existing bowel issues may experience worse gastrointestinal distress leading up to and during their period.3

Why do I get diarrhea during my period?

To understand why you may get diarrhea during your period, you need to look at what is happening in your body during menstruation.

Menstruation is the shedding of the uterine lining. Progesterone is an anti-inflammatory reproductive hormone produced by your body that declines as you near your period, triggering an inflammatory state in the uterus.4 Chemical messengers called prostaglandins then act on the uterus, which triggers white blood cells, which help the tissue break down, which causes your period.5

Prostaglandins, combined with the drop in the hormones estrogen and progesterone, are believed to be the reason for gastrointestinal changes before and during menstruation. This is because while prostaglandins are acting on the uterus, they may also act on ‌nearby intestinal tissue, causing inflammation.6

It’s important to note that not everyone gets diarrhea or other gastrointestinal discomfort around their period. If a person already has bowel discomforts, they may be more likely to have changes in their bowels during their period.7 For that reason, you may want to talk to your healthcare provider if you’re experiencing irregular bowel discomfort during menstruation.

Quality iron supplement for women

Solgar® Gentle Iron

Women of menstruating age are particularly susceptible to low iron status, due to the loss of iron in the red blood cells that are shed each month during menstruation.

Taking an iron supplement is the easiest way to get your daily dose of iron. However, many women don’t like taking iron supplements because they can be harsh on the stomach.

That’s why we created Solgar® Gentle Iron — which is non-constipating and gentle on the stomach.

Our patented Gentle Iron® formula helps:

  • Promote energy utilization*
  • Improve iron status*
  • Form new red blood cells and help transport oxygen throughout your body*


2. Menopause

Hot flashes and night sweats are the most well-known symptoms of menopause, but they’re not the only symptoms. Many women going through menopause and perimenopause experience bloating, stomach discomfort, and changes in their bowel movements. Women who have existing bowel conditions may find that they are aggravated during menopause.8

Research has found that women have lower diversity in their gut microbiome during menopause, due to lower amounts of estrogen.9 Additionally, natural declines in progesterone may lead to a more permeable gut barrier, allowing microbes to affect the intestines, and causing inflammation.10

Thankfully, taking a phytoestrogen supplement can help women feel their best.

Phytoestrogen supplement for women

Solgar® Women’s Balancing Formula

This unique formula features phytoestrogen Thai kudzu extract (Pueraria Mirifica) – a plant-based compound that can mimic estrogen in the body — as well as folate, vitamin B12, and biotin.

Each serving of Women’s Balancing Formula supports…

  • Heart, cardiovascular, and circulatory health*
  • Energy metabolism*
  • Nervous system health*
  • Healthy hair, skin, and nails*


3. Diet culture

“Diet culture” refers to the pressure put on (predominantly) women to change or restrict their diet to fit the “ideal” body type.

Dr. Kyle Staller, a gastroenterologist and director of the Gastrointestinal Motility Laboratory at Massachusetts General Hospital, told Business Insider in an interview that restricting your diet or disordered eating can change the type of bacteria in your gut that help to digest food.11 If a person then tries to reintroduce these foods, the body may have a harder time digesting them, which can cause temporary stomach discomfort.12

Restricting certain foods or following fad diets may negatively impact your digestive system. Instead, try eating a balanced diet that’s rich in fruits and vegetables to promote gut health. And be sure to speak with a healthcare professional if you are exhibiting signs of disordered eating.


4. Stress

Women are stressed, more stressed than men.

According to American Psychological Association’s 2023 Stress in America survey, women reported a higher average level of stress than men and were more likely to rate their stress levels between an eight and a ten than men.13

Some research suggests that women are more likely to internalize stress, while men tend to externalize it as aggression or impulsivity.14

Thanks to the gut-brain axis, stress can play a huge part in gut discomfort.

Part of your nervous system — the enteric nervous system — is embedded in the lining of the gastrointestinal system and is sometimes referred to as the “second brain” because it relies on the same types of neurons and neurotransmitters that are found in the brain and spinal cord.

When you experience stress, your brain can go into fight or flight mode. During this response, digestion slows or even stops so that the body can focus on facing the perceived threat.15

That’s why managing occasional stress isn’t just important for your mental well-being, it’s important for your gut health, too.

Read more: How stress impacts gut health & digestion

Supplements for women with occasional stress

Magnesium supplement for women

Magnesium is critical for over 300 bodily processes, yet it’s estimated that 48–60% of adults don’t get enough of this mineral.16 In fact, women are more likely than men to be lacking magnesium, which may have to do with how estrogen and female hormones interact with magnesium naturally in the body.17

Thankfully, taking a magnesium supplement is an easy way to make sure you’re getting your daily recommended intake of this nutrient.

Solgar® Magnesium Citrate

Solgar® Magnesium Citrate tablets help:

  • Alleviate occasional stress*
  • Maintain proper nerve and muscle function*
  • Support bone health*
  • Support heart health*
  • Maintain cellular energy levels*

Our formula uses magnesium citrate, a highly absorbable form of magnesium.


Supplements for women’s gut health & digestion

Solgar® Comfort Zone Digestive Complex

Enzymes help to break foods down to the molecular level so they can be absorbed. With 11 plant- and fermentation-based enzymes, Solgar® Comfort Zone helps to support the body’s digestive process to encourage more efficient and thorough digestion.*

Just one capsule with every meal helps:

  • Break down difficult-to-digest foods*
  • Contribute to good nutritional health
  • Support the digestive system*


Summing it up 

Changes to female hormones during menstruation and menopause, diet culture, and increased stress are all reasons why women may experience more occasional gut health and digestive issues than men. Thankfully, taking the right supplements can help you support a healthy digestive system.*

Want easy tips on staying healthy? Follow us on TikTok! (@solgarvitamins)

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

The information provided on this site is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. The information on this website is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Never disregard medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on the Solgar® site.