While it’s perfectly normal, having a period can be pretty crappy – literally. So today we’re exploring the ‘period poo’ phenomenon to find out why you poo more on your period, why it smells worse, why you get diarrhoea and whether there’s anything you can do about it.
Rest assured, while your friends mightn’t be chatting about it, it’s happening to them too.
Why do I poo more often on my period?
Basically, you can blame prostaglandins (hormones) which are produced by the lining of your uterus to stimulate it to contract and shed its lining – which is your period. When these prostaglandins are in your blood they don’t only stimulate your uterus to contract, they can also get stimulate other organs like your intestines and your bowels to do the same – and you know what comes next.
Why do I get diarrhoea on my period?
The same hormones which get those contractions going can also reduce how effectively your body absorbs water, which makes your poo softer…or so soft it becomes diarrhoea. If you get particularly stressed or anxious before or during your period this can also affect your bowel movements – strange, but true! If you regularly get the runs with your period try to steer clear of caffeine if you can, it’s laxative effect won’t help!
Why do period poos smell so bad?
It could be because of the foods you’re eating if you’re someone who experiences cravings every month – so maybe too much chocolate isn’t such a good thing after all. And while avoiding pigging out, too much sugar or a pile of take-away could help, you might just decide to invest in some decent air freshener and put up with the smell instead. What’s worse? Stinky stools, or no choccies and hot chips?
Why do I get constipated on my period?
So not everyone experiences period poos as diarrhoea, for some people, the hormonal changes can cause constipation instead, especially people with constipation caused by Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease. Try to drink plenty of water to keep things moving and use an over-the-counter stool softener if needed (check with your doctor first).
How do I tell if it’s a period cramp or a ‘need to poo’ cramp?
Often you can’t. Both can cause abdominal pain or a feeling of pressure in your belly, lower back or butt but if you’re unsure, hit the bathroom pronto – just in case! If you suffer from severe cramps, taking an anti-inflammatory painkiller during your period might help, but check with your doctor first.
Do I need to change my tampon every time I poo?
Let’s be honest, there’s an easy answer for this one for us here at Modibodi – swap your tampon for our period-proof underwear and this is one less thing to think about. But, if you are using tampons, it’s common to find that when you poo your tampon is pushed out, otherwise you’ll need to hold the string to the front to avoid getting poo on it as if the poo finds its way into your vagina, it can cause an infection.
Is there anything I can do about it?
Let’s face it, you can’t control the change in hormones, but if period poos are really bogging you down (like that one?), you can certainly try to eat as well as possible in the days before (and during) your period to give your digestive system a fighting chance.
Load up on natural fibre, fruit and veggies and whole grains, keep exercising and if you need to, take an inflammatory containing ibuprofen (check with your doctor first), as this can help with cramps and digestive discomfort.
When to see a doctor
If your abdominal pain is persistent, your cramps are severe, your periods are particularly heavy or you have any bleeding from your bum when you poo, see your doctor!
Please note, Modibodi’s blog content is designed for educational and/or entertainment purposes, it is not official medical or healthcare advice. Please do not rely on this information as a substitute for professional medical advice, and always consult a doctor with any questions or concerns about your health.