Life is filled with experiences that so many of us have, and hardly any of us talk about. Case in point? Period poop.
So what’s the deal here?
Does our poop like to perform when our periods pop into the picture?
And if so, why?
We’re going to answer the most important questions about period poop, including the very pressing one of why do I poop so much on my period?
In this article: 📝
- What is period poop?
- Why do I poop so much during my period?
- Why does it hurt to poop on my period?
- How can I treat period poop?
- Can you poop with a tampon in?
What is period poop?
Right, so what are period poops?
If you need to go a lot more frequently, or your poop appears to have changed consistency for the occasion, you are not alone.
Period poops occur when our gastrointestinal systems interact with the hormonal shifts of our menstrual cycles.
And it’s common for this to happen.
At least 73% of the participants in this study experienced some sort of tum trouble either before or during their periods.
So what causes this? Here’s the lowdown.
Why do I poop so much during my period?
The key player here is a group of hormone-like compounds produced in your body called prostaglandins.
Prostaglandins act like hormones but are not technically the same.
That’s because, rather than being released from a particular gland and traveling around the body, they’re made right where they’re needed.
This on-site production happens in nearly all our cells, making prostaglandins a key feature in your body’s response to injury and illness.
But hold on. What do prostaglandins have to do with period poop? As it turns out, a whole lot.
Prostaglandins help you shed the lining of your uterus during your period by relaxing the muscles and blood vessels in your uterus.
The thing is, they are also pretty good at relaxing other things—including your bowels.
So, your food may move through you a bit quicker than usual, resulting in period diarrhea.
As your digested food has less transit time in the bowels, this means less time for water to be extracted from your poop and, thus, softer, looser stools.
Prostaglandin levels are high on the first day of your period
and just before.
As that lining sheds, they drop.
So you may notice that your symptoms get less dramatic as your period progresses.
Why does it hurt to poop on my period?
And then you may have to contend with the other end of the spectrum—period constipation.
A possible culprit here could be the hormone progesterone.
During your menstrual cycle, progesterone helps prepare your body for pregnancy by thickening up the lining of your uterus.
But it also may have another effect—slowing down your digestive system.
So when your progesterone levels are high, during ovulation, you might experience more constipation than normal.
This can also cause a few digestive issues before your period, including constipation and gastroesophageal reflux (GERD).
Know that you don’t have to struggle with uncomfortable symptoms alone.
Full permission to talk to your doctor. This is important on two fronts.
For one, they’ll be able to treat your symptoms.
And, two, they’ll check that nothing else is up.
How can I treat period poop?
Things that might make period poop and constipation easier to deal with?
- Stool softeners for constipation
- Pain relievers like ibuprofen for painful poops and cramps
- Hormonal contraception
It’s also good to keep well-hydrated, especially if you’re experiencing diarrhea.
And to steer clear of any foods that make you feel worse (like spicy food).
Limiting your caffeine and alcohol intake can help right now.
Can you poop with a tampon in?
This is an important question, especially if those bowel movements are coming more frequently than usual.
The good news is, there’s no reason why you cannot, so it’s up to you.
You can poop with a tampon in.
But you might feel a little pressure or discomfort—especially if you’re doing a little extra pushing.
The only important rule here?
Change your tampon if any poop gets on the string.
The bacteria from your poop could get into your vagina and upset the healthy bacteria balance there.
This could put you more at risk of an infection called bacterial vaginosis, where “bad” bacteria outnumber the “good.”
Other than that, the choice is yours, but remember, always wipe front to back.
And if you need to toss some ideas around, join us on Peanut.
We’re having the conversation.