Poop troubles and your period: what’s the deal?

Poop troubles and your period: what’s the deal?

Period poops are a thing! If you’re reading this, We’re sure you know what we’re talking about. Let’s talk about it! 


There are a couple different factors at play that can affect your digestive system, and the likelihood that you’ll have diarrhea, constipation, both, or neither. Also, if you have a condition such as IBS, your experience with period poop can be severe. 


Eating a clean diet with lots of fibre, hydration, and exercise are good habits for anyone, but can be especially good for people with digestive issues and the week leading up to your period if unusual poops are common for you. Laxatives and anti-inflammatories are some medication options that may help if lifestyle changes aren’t enough. And if your symptoms are really debilitating, hormonal birth control stops your menstrual cycle, which can remove PMS-related triggers for your digestive concerns.


Why is this happening to me?


If your problem is diarrhea, prostaglandins could be to blame. Prostaglandins are a chemical compound in our body that is thought to cause cramping. They’re what trigger your uterus to cramp and shed its lining. Because the gut and uterus are pretty close together, sometimes prostaglandins can spread to these areas and also cause the gut to cramp up. This can cause these unusual poop phenomena.


Another factor is progesterone, a hormone that’s high in the week or two before your period, which is also thought to cause unusual pooping like constipation or diarrhea. So if you’re feeling a little backed up, that could be why; progesterone levels could be to blame. If period poops are badly affecting your life, you may want to pop into your doctors for a test of your progesterone levels. 


It’s even possible to have both constipation and runny poops at different points during your premenstrual periods. Some people produce more prostaglandins than other people, and others seem to have different reactions to high progesterone levels. It all depends on how your body reacts to these changes.


How to manage it


There are some things you can do at home to help manage premenstrual digestive issues.

  • Eating a clean diet with lots of fibre
  • Staying hydrated
  • Gentle exercise
  • Not holding in your poop (this is especially relevant for constipation)
  • Mild laxatives for constipation
  • Taking an anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen or naproxen a few days before you expect your period (this can reduce prostaglandins which can help with both diarrhea and period pain!)

If your symptoms are debilitating, it’s worth seeing a doctor to see if you might have an underlying condition such as IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) that’s made worse by PMS. Another thing that might be worth considering is hormonal birth control, because hormonal birth control stops your menstrual cycle, which will likely remove some of the triggers if it is PMS-related. Although taking birth control may have side effects so make sure you consult a doctor to thoroughly understand this option first. 


Summary

If you’ve had gut troubles before your period, you’re not alone! The hormones that trigger your uterus lining to shed (which is what your period is) can also affect your gut, which can cause diarrhea, constipation, or even both sometimes. And if you already have a condition that affects your digestive system, PMS can make it worse. Exercising, eating a clean diet with lots of fibre, and staying hydrated can all help with digestive issues, and laxatives and anti-inflammatories can also be used. If your symptoms are really bad, birth control can remove PMS-related triggers by stopping your menstrual cycle.

 

Did you find this article helpful? 

Download the YourCycle app for personalised information on everything to do with your cycle. It’s completely free and always will be. 


Post by Miranda Bromage

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