Some people suffer from what seems like the reverse of sickness. A swollen bowel is another source of pain and discomfort in a part of your body which is already uncomfortable enough. The same light diet that helps ward off sickness is also useful to prevent constipation. So for you, too, I would recommend light nourishing meals with plenty of fruit and salads, particularly in the week before your period. Many people find that it helps to eat some roughage at breakfast time, wholemeal bread and marmalade, for instance, or some Weetabix or bran sprinkled on your cornflakes.

It also helps if you can drink a glass of warm water as soon as you get up on days when you are constipated. This will often get a sluggish system moving, particularly if you follow it with two cups of hot tea at breakfast. And if you can follow breakfast with a short session when you are completely relaxed, you will be giving your body the best possible chance for it to function normally.

There may still be occasions when you feel so uncomfortable that you need an aperient before you can begin to improve. There was a time when laxatives were handed out every week to reluctant children, who usually didn’t need them. Then people found out that this was a very silly practice, and harmful too, because overdosed children like that grew up into adults whose bowels couldn’t function properly and naturally unless they continued to dose themselves. So dire warnings were issued and we were urged to leave our bodies alone to get on with the job naturally. Nowadays most people use laxatives only occasionally, when they really need them, which is what you will have to do if you should find that a swollen bowel is making your period pain worse. But on most occasions you’ll probably find that extra fluid intake and adherence to a sensible diet will be all that is necessary for relief.


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