Relationship Between Period and Poop
Period poop is a real phenomenon among many menstruators. During each period cycle, changes in your hormone levels lead to premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms.
Common PMS symptoms include mood swings, cramps, food cravings, and bowel movement changes.
The bowel is prone to period-related hormone changes, so it’s common for menstruators to notice changes in their poop habits.
Now let’s look at why period poop is a thing and tips for managing period side effects.
Why Do I Poop So Much On My Period?
Yes, the short answer is you can blame it on the hormones.
3 Reasons Why This Happens
In the days leading up to your period cycle and during that, bodily changes will occur that may affect your gut.
Your body will release period hormones known as prostaglandins just before your period. These hormones stimulate the smooth muscle tissues inside your uterus. The resulting contractions help shed the uterus lining.
But at the same time, prostaglandins may also stimulate muscle contractions in the organs near your uterus: your bowels and intestines. That’s why it’s common to experience more frequent bowel movements while on your period.
The same period hormones also cause your body to retain less water, resulting in softer poop or even diarrhea for some people.
Progesterone is another key period hormone that spikes up just before your monthly cycle. This period hormone also affects your gut. A common side effect is constipation or diarrhea.
Those with chronic bowel issues, endometriosis, ovarian cysts, or an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) may experience more severe PMS symptoms.
Progesterone is also the culprit for cravings for foods high in fat or sugar. And since your body has a harder time breaking down such foods, eating more ice cream or candy can give you the so-called period poops.
Eating habits induced by changes in your period hormone levels may affect your bowel movements right before and during your period.
How to Manage Period Side Effects
But don’t despair! Even though you can’t control how your body reacts to the changing hormone levels before and during your period cycle, there are ways to manage the side effects of periods.
Changing your diet and exercising regularly can help reduce PMS symptoms. Eating less salty foods and enriching your diet with more fibrous and calcium-rich foods may help reduce bloating.
Simply taking a walk in the park, riding a bike, or engaging in another form of aerobic exercise for half an hour can help reduce fatigue and boost your mood on your period.
Depending on how severe your period symptoms are, your doctor may also prescribe you medications for your period.
And when doing regular exercise and limiting the salt intake in your meals aren’t easing your PMS symptoms, water pills may help.
Water pills, also known as diuretics, help you eliminate excess fluid in your body to reduce swelling and bloating.
Is it normal to poop a lot during your period?
Because of changing levels in your period hormones when you’re on your cycle, pooping more frequently is common.
Your body releases more hormones called prostaglandins before and during your period. These period hormones stimulate more muscle contractions in your uterus and bowels. As a result, many menstruators will feel the need to poop more frequently.
Do you lose weight on your period?
Most women tend to notice a few extra pounds during their period due to cravings for salty and fatty foods. Your period hormones are to blame for this temporary weight gain and water weight.
However, a handful may lose weight during their menstrual cycle. The resting metabolic rate fluctuates during your cycle and increases for a few days during ovulation.
So it’s possible to burn more calories depending on which phase of the cycle you’re in!
Regardless of how the needle moves on the scale, weight fluctuations during your period are completely normal!
But if your weight gain persists or is rapid, talk to your doctor immediately!
How do I stop pooping so much on my period?
Avoid natural laxatives like coffee to stop yourself from pooping so frequently when that time of month hits.
Taking ibuprofen 24 hours before your period hits can also reduce bowel contractions. Ibuprofen precludes the release of prostaglandins, the hormones responsible for causing muscle contractions in your womb and bowels.
Can others smell my period?
Period odours aren’t typically noticeable to others. But if they are, that should be cause for concern.
If you have good hygiene practices, the odour from the shed uterine lining, blood, bacteria, and unfertilized egg should not be that pungent.
But a strong, fishy odour, vaginal discharge and pain from “down there” could be a sign of infection. Talk to your doctor or gynecologist immediately.
Read more: Why Is My Period Blood Black And Thick?
Final Thoughts: Why Do I Poop So Much On My Period?
Frequent poops are normal when you’re on your period. The hormones are to blame right before and during your menstrual cycle.
These period hormones, prostaglandins and progesterone, stimulate muscle contractions in your womb and bowels, making you more ‘regular.’
That’s why a change in the consistency, frequency, and odour of your poop is completely normal! Oh, and that’s on top of all the cramps, headaches, and weight fluctuations.
As a rule of thumb, talk to your doctor if your period poops are accompanied by rapid, persistent weight gain, severe abdominal pain, and/or unfamiliar odours from your vagina!