It’s no secret that “that time of the month” is crap.
But why are period poops so much worse than normal? Well, the results are in!
Anyone who has been through the painful monthly process of menstruation knows that there are so many more unspoken hardships, than just getting cramps and running out of tampons. Most of us go through a whole array of seemingly unnecessary torture during “Shark Week”, but perhaps one of the most taboo subjects are those dreaded Period Poops (if you know, you know).
A lot of the time, during your period, not only do you cry ten times harder when watching Grey’s Anatomy, and eat your own body weight in lava cakes (totally not speaking from experience), but your bowel movements tend to crank it up a notch, too!
You may have noticed that you go more often, a change in consistency and even a change in smell. So why is that? Well, the experts answer all of these questions (and Spoiler Alert, most of them lead back to the infamous H word… hormones).
Number two, or number two hundred?
One of the Period Poo FAQs, is why do we need to go so much more often than usual?
There are a couple of factors that come into play, but the biggest one is because of the change in hormones. Prostaglandins are the hormones produced to stimulate the shedding of the uterine wall. In an article written on ModiBodi, it was stated:
“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. ” – Sophie Nelson, for ModiBodi
So not only can we go more frequently, but they tend to glide out a little too easily if you know what I’m saying, which leads to the next question…
Why the sudden rush?
Period diarrhoea is like the lava on top of the Volcano of Hell that is the menstruation. As if that time wasn’t crappy enough, we also have to worry that we are going to have a blow out between the Snack Mountain we’ve created in our bedrooms, and making it to the toilet bowl in time. Glamorous isn’t it?
The reason behind this not only relates again to hormones, but it can also be affected by your stress levels. I know the cliché is that vagina owners are particularly moody during “that time” is well and truly overused, unfortunately I must admit, I completely align with that stereotype.
Stress and anxiety do play a big part in our poo. You know the expression, when something frightens you, that it makes you “sh*t yourself”? This actually ties back to the biological instinct that a lot of animals have, and that is to defecate as a way to deter potential predators. I know, gross right? But it explains why, when we are anxious, our bowels tend to let loose a little more.
Period poops aren’t for everyone, though. In fact, some (not so) lucky people even suffer the opposite effect!
A block in the road…
You may be thinking, wow, could Period Poops get any worse? And the short answer is: yes. Yes, they can. Growing up, my Dad’s favorite mantra was “If you don’t eat, you don’t sh*t. If you don’t sh*t, you die” Dramatic? Perhaps. Accurate? Probably.
There are a few reasons why you could find yourself “backed up” during your monthlies. Once again, hormones can be to blame. This time, the culprit is Progesterone. An article on Health Guide explained:
Another reason could be because of an underlying health condition. Things like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis can all contribute to constipation when on your period, as well. It’s important to keep fluids up and consult your doctor about taking stool softeners and laxatives during a flare up!
Smell ya later, period maker!
Perhaps the least fun, and hardest to hide side-effect of all of this, is the smell…
The change in smell is likely caused by the change in the food that’s being consumed. We all know how bad the cravings can be, and it honestly seems impossible not to satisfy those cravings.
I mean, have you ever just closed your eyes and dreamed of wrapping your lips around a freshly cooked cinnamon donut, crisp on the outside and soft in the middle. Taking a bite, and licking the sugar off your lips, savoring every mouthful until each bite is gone… *drool*
I digress, but the point is, we aren’t totally to blame for those intense food desires, once again, hormones can be a factor there, too. Progesterone has been linked to binge-eating during your period, as stated by Health Guide.
If you are worried about leaving an odorous trace behind after your dreaded Period Poops, it might be a good idea to lay off the snacks (or load up on toilet spray!).
When to be worried…
Most of the time, all of these symptoms are just part of the package deal of having a uterus. But there are the odd occasion when something more serious could be going on. Health Guide suggested the following:
“Most of the time, diarrhea, pain, constipation, cramping, etc., are regular occurrences during your period. As long as your stool is not completely liquid or isn’t associated with severe weakness, fevers, or vomiting, your period poops are normal. If you don’t have a tampon inserted during your bowel movement, you may notice blood in the toilet and when you wipe. Otherwise, if you see blood in your stool, you should consult with your healthcare provider.
“Pain, cramping, and other symptoms along those lines are unfortunately normal parts of having a period. But if your pain is so severe that you can’t control it with over-the-counter pain medication like acetaminophen, ibuprofen, etc., it’s time to see your healthcare provider. This could be a sign of a more serious issue like endometriosis. Lastly, if your bowel movements don’t go back to normal after your menstrual cycle, seek medical advice.”
So there you have it, folks! I hope this insight into Period Poops helped you avoid some possibly awkward conversations at the doctors office, but remember, of ever you’re in doubt, it’s always best to get checked out by a professional. Believe me, I’m sure they’ve heard worse before!