Everything you were too embarrassed to ask about period poops! Don’t worry, period poops happen to us all. It’s a very normal thing and we’re here to explain the changes that you might notice.
Why does your poop change throughout your cycle?
Just because we’re not talking about poop changes across our cycles, it doesn’t mean it’s not happening.
Alongside diet and exercise, hormones and digestive activity can affect your poop, and it’s common to experience changes to the frequency, consistency and smell of your poop.
Here’s 3 ways that your poop can change across your cycle
Surprise poops and pooping more often around your period
This is thanks to prostaglandins - a fat-like substance your body makes.
Just before the start of your period, your body starts to make lots of prostaglandins. Their job is to stimulate the muscles in your uterus to help it contract and shed the lining it’s built up over the month. This is what gives you your period (and those pesky period cramps).
If your body makes more prostaglandins than you need, they can enter your bloodstream and cause contractions in your bowels, meaning more frequent poop (and possibly diarrhea).
2. You poop less often in the second half of your cycle (weeks 3 and 4)
If you get constipated in the second half of your menstrual cycle, this might be due to increasing levels of the hormone progesterone. This does two things to your digestive system. Firstly, it slows down your digestion, and secondly, it can lead to water retention.
This is a perfect combination for less trips to the bathroom and having a harder time pooping (constipation).
3. It smells a little funky when you have your period
If you’ve noticed your poops smell stronger around your period, this might have something to do with progesterone.
Progesterone is at peak levels before your period and is to thank for food cravings, sluggish digestion, bloating and gas. This mix of extra carbs, blocks of chocolate, slow digestion and bloating can be a perfect storm for gas and smelly poops.
Don’t be a party pooper
To reduce the intensity of poop changes across your cycle, it can help to have a regular exercise routine (even 30 minutes of light exercise a day), include fibre-rich fruit and vegetables in your diet to help with digestion, and if you have really bad period poops try taking Ibuprofen 24 hours before your period starts - this can reduce the release of prostaglandins and support healthy poops.
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