Period poop. Yep, it’s a thing. If you’ve ever wondered why your poop seems to be ‘different’ during your period, we’re about to lift the lid on why it happens, and how to help ease period poop problems.
Sometimes period poop is sharp. Sometimes it’s sloppy. Other times we’re bloated during our period, or can’t poop at all. Diarrhoea, constipation, nausea, bloating and cramps are all period related poop issues. But there is help at hand.
Why do you poop more on your period?
The short answer is: hormones. Prostaglandins are released from your uterus just before your period starts. They help relax the muscle tissues inside of your uterus and start the cramps or contractions that shed your uterus lining.
But, here’s the kicker. These prostaglandins can also do the same thing to your bowels – relaxing and contracting the muscles of your intestines. So that’s why you might poop more, feel nauseous or have tummy pains on your period.
The prostaglandins also have the ability to make your body absorb more water. More water in your system can make your poop softer or cause diarrhoea. And if you’re a coffee drinker, the news is even worse – thanks to the laxative effect of the caffeine.
What causes period poop?
Just before your period arrives, there’s an increase of progesterone in your body. This hormone is what helps keep your periods regular – when it rises your body is getting ready for the possibility of pregnancy, but then it falls again if you don’t get pregnant.
While this hormone is really important in the fertilisation process, it can also cause some women to get diarrhoea or looser stools than usual.
But, interestingly, it has the opposite impact on other women. Because increased levels of progesterone also cause your digested food to move slower through your system, you may actually end up constipated.
As if all of this isn’t enough, the food you crave during your period, or just before, may also impact your poop. If you’re chowing down on salty or sweet snacks more than usual (thanks to hormones of course!) this may change your poop.
Finally, we all know stress can impact the way we poop at any time. But studies have shown that women suffering from PMS can be more sensitive to stress. And of course, stress has an impact on bowel movements.
How to help ease period poop problems
Let’s be honest, we’re not always going to be able to stop our bodies from hitting us with the dreaded period poop. But, if your period poop is being caused by something like stress or diet, there are some things to help ease the pain.
- Up your intake of natural fibre: Help get that digestive system working at a regular pace by eating some high fibre foods like pears, avocado, lentils and sweet potatoes.
- Move: Not always a favoured thing to do on your period, but even taking a walk may help ease the bloating and keep those poops coming.
- Try stool softeners: If you’re constipated you may need a little helping hand to get your poop moving through and out of your system.
- Take ibuprofen: If you’re pretty regular and know when your period is due to start, you can try taking ibuprofen about 24 hours before it begins. It may help stop the release of prostaglandins and of course, ease the inflammation around your uterus.
Finally, if period poop is getting you down, have a chat to your doctor. They may recommend going on the contraceptive pill to help ease symptoms.We may get commissions for purchases made using links in this post. Learn more.