Ladies, we know it might be a little TMI, but it’s time we discuss the phenomenon that takes place in the bathroom each month — you know, period poop.
You’re not imagining it; period poop is a real thing. And — believe it or not — there’s a scientific reason why you’re pooping more (or less) than your norm.
Are you interested in learning more? Love Wellness has your back! Read on as we explore the not-so-wonderful world of period poop to uncover what it is, why it happens, and how you can find relief. Are you ready? Here’s the scoop on your period poop.
What Exactly Is Period Poop, Anyway?
Although you won’t find this buzzy term in a medical dictionary, it’s a common way to describe changes in your bathroom habits around the time of menstruation.
A recent study showed that gastrointestinal symptoms — similar to those commonly experienced with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) — are quite common, affecting more than 70 percent of those who menstruate.
With that in mind, some symptoms of period poo can include:
- Acid reflux
- Loose stools
In addition, some women may experience digestive woes during shark week if their period is also accompanied by emotional symptoms, like moodiness and tension. Not to worry, though; our #MoodPills might be able to help.
A feel-good supplement that offers total cycle support and PMS relief,* this gentle formula is made with clean ingredients like vitamin B6, GABA, organic St.John’s Wort, and chaste berry to help tackle occasional stress, frustration, and irritability.
Simply take one capsule in the morning and another at night every day for max feel-good effects. Not particularly fond of swallowing pills? Open them up into your favorite smoothie or juice drink — combating PMS has never been so easy (or tasted this good)!
So, What Causes Period Poop?
Dealing with period poo? You can probably thank two hormones for your digestive upset: prostaglandins and progesterone.
Before the start of your monthly flow, the cells in your womb start to release prostaglandins to jump-start uterine contractions that shed the lining of your uterus.
Prostaglandin has a similar effect on other important muscles in the body, including the intestines and bowels, which is why women tend to form much more poo during menstruation.
Oh, and did we mention this hormone is also usually to blame for your intense cramps, pounding headache, and unwavering nausea?
Yep, it’s because the same hormones that cause period cramps are running amok in your midsection and everyone knows when your gut isn’t happy, the rest of your body likely won’t be either — hence why the gut is often referred to as the body’s second brain.
With that in mind, it makes perfect sense how a gut-lovin’ probiotic like Gut Feelings Probiotics may be able to help ease period-related symptoms — such as abdominal cramps and period poops.*
In other words, when you take care of your gut, your gut will take care of you!
Progesterone is another essential hormone that helps thicken the lining of the uterus so that a fertilized egg may develop.
During the first couple of days of your period, your progesterone and estrogen levels drop. These hormone fluctuations tend to rev-up digestion, ultimately giving your body less time to reabsorb water from your stool. The result? Liquidy period poops — aka diarrhea.
That said, everyone is different, and some ladies experience constipation as opposed to its watery counterpart. This is because high progesterone levels can cause digested materials to travel at a snail’s pace through your digestive system.
For those already living with existing bowel issues — such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or Crohn’s disease — progesterone may make period-related poop problems more severe.
Period Poops vs. Regular Poops: How Are They Different?
So, other than period poo being way worse than regular poo, what’s the difference between the poops we pass on the reg versus the ones we pass periodically? (pun intended)
The easiest way to decipher between the two poo’s is to notice if there’s any feeling of heaviness or pressure anywhere around your nether regions or lower back. In this case, you’re probably dealing with period poo.
On the flip side, if your bowel cramps occur higher up in the stomach, you likely just have gas.
When Should You Seek Medical Advice?
While period poops may be perfectly normal, you should seek medical advice if you experience any changes, including blood in your stool or you’re suffering from a never-ending bout of diarrhea and can’t stay hydrated.
These may be symptoms of other medical issues, such as hemorrhoids, fibroids, endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), or inflammatory bowel disease. Talk to your GP if your symptoms persist or get worse — or if you experience the following:
- Unbearable cramps or abdominal pain
- Mucus in your stool
- Unusually heavy periods
- Anal bleeding
A healthcare provider can check to ensure there’s no underlying medical condition causing your symptoms. They can then suggest a range of treatments, including hormonal birth control, which can help regulate hormone levels for some women.
It may feel a little awk discussing your poo with another individual, but it’s imperative that you always speak up when something doesn’t feel right. Your clinician is there to help you feel your best — and we promise poop is nothing new to them. After all, everyone does it, including your doc!
What Can You Do To Combat Period poop?
At the end of the day, periods don’t need to be any crappier (literally) than they already are. Treatments and natural remedies are available to help you find relief — so if period poops are plaguing your life, try these tips and tricks listed below:
- Steer clear of natural laxatives, such as prunes, artificial sweeteners, and coffee.
- Monitor your poo habits to discover which symptoms are likely to reoccur so you can plan ahead, eat accordingly, and make smart choices to keep period poops down to a minimum and avoid flares.
- Drink more H2O and eat more fiber — especially mid-cycle when progesterone starts to rise — to help offset some constipation. Hydration and a healthy diet can do wonders for your period and PMS symptoms.
- Use Our Bloating Kit to help nourish your gut and provide systemwide support for a balanced, calm gut and overall immunity.*
- Take ibuprofen or other anti-inflammatories to help reduce cramping and prevent the release of prostaglandins, which may ease the pain of your period and your period poops. (Win-Win!)
So, what’s the deal with period poops, you ask?
Simply put, if you have period poops — which are likely due to fluctuating hormones — it means you’re experiencing constipation or diarrhea around the time of your monthly flow. Although this phenomenon is normal, it can be debilitating — especially if you already have bowel issues like IBS or Crohn’s disease.
Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to find relief, such as avoiding coffee, eating more fiber, and bumping up your water intake. We also recommend our Bloating Kit to provide systemwide support for a balanced, calm gut and overall immunity.*
Here at Love Wellness, we always have your back. Whether you’re dealing with the not-so-wonderful period poops, painful PMS cramps, adult acne, or even uncomfortable belly bloat, you can count on us to have just what you need to find relief.
Ready to kick those pesky period symptoms to the curb? Check us out today and see how we can help make your next period your best one yet!
Gut-Brain Connection: What It is, Behavioral Treatments | Cleveland Clinic
The Relationship of the Intestinal Microbiome and the Menstrual Cycle – Full Text View – ClinicalTrials.gov | Clinical Trials
Gastrointestinal symptoms before and during menses in healthy women | BMC Women’s Health
Period Poops: Why Do They Happen? | Cleveland Clinic
Inflammatory Markers in Dysmenorrhea and Therapeutic Options | PMC
Prostaglandins and gastrointestinal function | National Library of Medicine