Ladies, have you ever noticed your bowel movements change around that time of the month? In fact, a lot of women have observed their poop habits changing during their period. This phenomenon is called period poop and it can be managed. Read on to learn more.
What is Period Poop?
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Period poop refers to a shift in normal bowel movement during your menstrual cycle due to hormones that affect the whole body. You know those abdominal cramps, mood swings, appetite changes, and digestive changes, among others.
What Happens to Bowel Movements During Your Period?
Each month, right before the period starts, fatty acids known as prostaglandins begin to relax the smooth muscle tissues inside your uterus to help it shed its lining.Prostaglandins arecompounds that have hormone-like effects that influence reactions in the body. These reactions impact bowel movements leading to changes in normal pooping behavior. Fun fact: prostaglandins are also responsible for menstrual cramps (ouch!).
Progesterone, a sex hormone, is also at play causing the growth and thickening of the uterine walls which peaks right before ovulation. This hormonal buildup causes bowel issues (thanks hormonal buildup).
While both may be uncomfortable and painful, due to their location, it may be difficult to tell which is the uterus cramps versus the stomach cramps during the menstrual period.
Change In Diet
Ever notice how much you are prone to making the day a cheat day and crave carbs and sweets right before your period? There’s an actual scientific explanation for it. Our friend progesterone increases hunger painsmaking us crave comfort foods like those high in fat and sugar. It’s hard for the body to digest these foods and eating more of them than usual affects our bowel movements.
Increased Stress and Anxiety
Stressed or anxious before your period? Many women experience mood swings and elevated levels of anxiety right before their period. Studies report that stress and anxiety affect our bowel movements causing constipation and even diarrhea.
Blame it on the gut-brain connection. The gut, which is often referred to as our second brain, has a lot of nerves called the enteric nervous system (ENS) which is the same type of neurons and neurotransmitters found in your central nervous system. ENS lines run from the esophagus down to the rectum and this link affects our digestion and the way we think.
What If It Hurts to Poop During My Period?
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There are cases where it hurts to poop especially during the period if you have the following:
- Constipation. Constipation is a condition where stools are hard, dry, lumpy, and difficult to pass.
- Diarrhea. Diarrhea, the opposite of constipation where poops come in loose, watery stools, comes with stomach pain.
- Hemorrhoids. These are inflamed, swollen veins surrounding the anus or in the lower rectum, where the waste piles up before it exits the body as a stool.
- Anal fissures. These are lining tears in the anus or anal canal where waste product exits the body. Once the anus is torn, every bowel movement irritates that tear and they can be painful and might even result in bleeding.
- Endometriosis. This occurs when a tissue (similar to the one that lines a woman's uterus) grows outside the uterus. This tissue acts like uterine tissue by splitting and bleeding at the end of your menstrual cycle. Areas surrounding it may be inflamed and you may have lesions or scar tissues. When this happens, you can experience pain during a bowel movement or have trouble pooping.
When to See a Doctor
Period poop is normal but if it seems like it’s taking over your life and you no longer function like you normally do, it might be a sign to go and see your doctor. If you also noticed some consistent changes in your period poop, then it’s important to mention it during your consultation.
Depending on your doctor’s assessment, you may be prescribed medications or be referred to a specialist who can best look further into the problem.
How to Manage Period Poops
When it comes to your poop behavior, it is important that you know what feels normal to you and what doesn't. For example, if you already have certain food triggers that upset your stomach, then you may want to avoid them, especially during that time of the month.
If you feel like you need to poop, then poop. First things first, poop as soon as you feel the urge to poop. Generally holding your poop will not harm you but habitual holding it in may develop constipation or worse lead to severe complications. Poop holding too often may start to lose your urge to poop which may result in incontinence and constipation.
Move your body. Exercise has been known to come with a lot of health benefits, including helping the body with constipation. Physical movement slows down the time travel of food to the large intestine and limits the amount of water absorbed by the body from the stool, which helps with muscle activities in our intestines and stimulates bowel movements.
Increase fiber in your diet. Fiber is most helpful, especially in dealing with all our gut issues. In fact, the USDA recommends that we get 38 grams of fiber for men and 25 grams for women. Fiber also helps relieve both constipation and diarrhea problems as it helps bulk up the stool for a smoother passage. Fiber can be found in fruits and vegetables like apples, pears, avocados, bananas, broccoli, and artichokes as goodsources of high-fiber foods. You can also increase your fiber numbers from natural fiber supplements likeBonny.
Use a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). Ibuprofen is a type of NSAID drug and is often used as a pain reliever. It is also a prostaglandin inhibitor which means it slows down its effects such as menstrual cramps and discomfort. This help in easing the symptoms of period-related digestive symptoms.
Bonny Helps with Period Poop
We mentioned earlier how fiber plays an important role in helping you poop smoothly. Sometimes, even with the increased amount of fiber through fruits and vegetables, hitting the recommended daily fiber numbers can be difficult. The good news is, you can top up your fiber intake through a healthy, all-natural fiber supplement like Bonny.
Bonny is an all-natural fiber powder supplement that helps you with period poop. It contains a custom blend of psyllium husk and prebiotic inulin to support digestive health and the microbiome.
Taking fiber powder had never been this good that you wouldn’t even realize it’s fiber. It comes in amazing flavors like Amplified Apple Pie, Berry Beauty, Matcha Magic, and Strawberry Serenity. Bonny is vegan, gluten-free, and plant-based. One serving of Bonny contains 17%+ of your recommended daily fiber.
As always, we wish you a manageable period and pleasant poops!