On the list of things I never thought I’d write about (and perhaps things you never thought you would Google), period poops is at the top. But the more I think about it the more I realize— weird poops on your period are just as common as cramps, mood swings and breakouts. Even a recent study confirmed that 73% of people with periods have funky #2’s when Flo is visiting. And yet for something so common, we barely talk about it. Until now. *cue evil laugh*
Close the door and open a window, it’s time to dive into the mysterious, wondrous (and gassy) world of period poops.
What are period poops?
Period poops are bowel movements that typically happen at the start of your period. They’re usually a bit different than your usual cacarellas and you might find yourself running to the bathroom more often. Not following? We’re talking diarrhea or diarrhea adjacent here.
What causes period poops?
The same way that periods cause annoyances like cramping, acne and moody moody mood swings, they can also affect your precious digestive system.
The answer to “WhY tHe HECK is ThiS HAPPEninG TO ME?” mostly rests in your hormones. Let’s start with a group of them called prostaglandins!
Just before your period begins, the cells that make up the lining of your uterus begin producing more prostaglandins. These chemicals are produced to help the smooth muscles in your uterus contract so it can shed its lining each month (which is your period). These contractions= cramps! OUCH prostaglandins, but thank you body for doing your job!
If your body produces more prostaglandins than it needs, they flow into your bloodstream. All those extra chemicals have a similar effect on other smooth muscles in your body, like your bowels! And just as they made your uterus contract, they also make your intestines contract. The result? More poop, more often.
For the second reason period Scooby Doo’s happen, we can look to the hormone progesterone. You know how you get some pretty killer cravings on your period? When you feel like if you don’t get fresh cookies NOW you’re going to LOSE IT?? Like if you don’t have at least 3 chip options avail to you you’re going to RUN AWAY???????
You can thank progesterone for that.
Progesterone can really amp up those feelings of hunger and cause cravings for foods that are really high in fat or sugar, especially while you’re PMSing. The body has a harder time digesting these foods, which is why it might make your poops feel, look or even smell different when your period starts.
How 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’re going to just have to ride this one out, here are some tips to make you feel better!
Fruits and veggies: When you’re on your period, eating lots of natural fiber like those found in fruits, vegetables and whole grains will help keep your digestive system on track.
Move around: When Dua Lipa said “Let’s get physical”, she was talking about how moving around helps relieve bloating, pain or discomfort. Trust me, I asked her!
Get some help from ibuprofen: Not only will this help with the pain from cramping, but it also helps to SLOW PROSTAGLANDINS ROLL, which limits all that intestine contracting.
Do I need to see a doctor?
Period poops are as common as cramping during your period, so you only need to see a doctor if the pain is really bad or it stops you from being able to concentrate in school, work or your hobbies. If your period is regularly a disturbance in your daily life when it comes around (ie. super heavy, makes you feel real sick), then you should check out some treatment options with a medical professional!