What Are Period Poops?

A lot of us have them, few of us talk about it. Here's the low down on period poops.

Let's talk about the number two thing on your mind during your menstrual cycle.

Period poops. Many folks who get their menstrual period experience period poop, but nobody seems to be talking about it. Until now!

You might think this type of bowel movement during your menstrual cycle is just a ‘you thing,’ but believe it or not, period poops are as common as cramps, mood swings and breakouts. Yup, that's right. Just because people aren't talking about it on TikTok doesn't mean they aren't filling up their toilet bowls as they scroll.

In fact, this BMC Women's Health study found that at least 28% of people with periods experience diarrhea when they’re menstruating. Holy sh*t, right! (Pun fully intended. We couldn't resist.)


Poop during your menstrual cycle

Period poops are bowel movements that typically happen at the start of your period. They’re usually looser and more frequent than your regularly-scheduled poop programming, and also tend to be more foul-smelling. The good news? Changes in the frequency, smell and consistency of your bowel movements during your period are super common!

What causes period poops?

Let's all give a round of applause to prostaglandins, the orchestra behind this fine poop production! Prostaglandins are a group of hormone-like compounds in your uterus lining. Right before your period begins, the cells that line your uterus begin to produce more prostaglandins. These hormones cause uterine muscle contractions so the lining can shed each month, AKA produce your period. Whenever you feel a cramp, that’s a contraction! 

In addition to menstrual cramps, acne, mood swings, and other PMS symptoms, prostaglandins can also affect bowel movements. Remember, prostaglandins cause the muscles in your uterus to contract. So, if your body produces extra prostaglandins, they will flow into your bloodstream and have a similar effect on other muscle areas, such as your bowels. The result? 

*In Shania Twain's magical voice* I'm inviting you to a party for poo, woo!

Your menstrual period can also have the opposite of a laxative effect. Other bowel movement changes, such as constipation, are also common.

Okay, but why the smell?

The hormone progesterone (one of the hormones found in some oral contraceptives AKA birth control pills), is also working hard during your period. It helps regulate your period and rises in levels before you get your period to prepare for conception.

It also amps up your hunger and all those sweet, salty and savoury cravings that are often high in fat or sugar. These changes in eating habits play a large role in your poop changes. Your body has a harder time digesting these foods, which leads to a stronger smell and a change in the consistency of your bowel movements during your menstrual cycle.

Other gastrointestinal symptoms

Like we said, constipation or diarrhea are totally common bowel movements to have during your menstrual cycle. Additionally, people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) may experience increased aggravated gastrointestinal symptoms during their period. For more information on IBS, inflammatory bowel disease and other health conditions, speak with a medical professional.

Can I stop period poops from happening? 

The same way you can’t stop the motion of the ocean or the sun in the sky, there’s no way to really halt the pooping process. While you may just need to let your body take its natural course, here are some tips to help with some of the physical symptoms of period poops:

  • Eat more fruits, veggies and whole grains: Eating lots of natural fibre will help keep your digestive system on track. Incorporating more fruits, vegetables and whole grains into your meals can help increase your fibre intake.

Reduce foods that can cause irritated gastrointestinal symptoms: When you’re on your period, the only thing you may want to eat is anything deep-fried and covered in chocolate (we get it). But maintaining your regular eating habits can be very beneficial. Fried, greasy and sugary foods should be avoided as much as you can during your period to reduce digestive symptoms.

How to manage period poops

If you notice your tampon often becomes dislodged during a period poop, try eating foods that prevent constipation (the more you push, the easier it is for your tampon to be pushed out).

Try to also avoid bearing down unnecessarily. You may also want to switch up your product game and avoid wearing tampons altogether. Leakproof Underwear is a great alternative! If you're interested in wearing tampons but aren't quite sure where to start, check out our guide on how to insert a tampon for the first time.

While you can't stop period poop, you can manage your period symptoms! To manage menstrual pain/cramps, we put together this handy dandy guide on how to get rid of period cramps fast

As for the emotional symptoms related to periods, do what feels right. While exercising on your period can help boost your mood, you may just want to relax and watch Netflix and that's a-okay. Do what feels right for you at that moment! 

Regular bowel movements vs. when you should see a doctor

Period poop is very common and completely normal. However, you should always speak to a doctor if you experience any changes or have concerns about what's going on with your body. If you notice blood in your stool, very painful cramps/abdominal pain, anal pain, or if your symptoms worsen, speak with a medical professional. Your doctor may want to test for conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease.



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