As if painful cramps, pimples and the urge to weep over everything from spilt coffee to a cheesy fabric softener ad weren’t bad enough, our monthly period can also bring on a slew of digestive issues like gas, bloating, diarrhea, and constipation.
So basically you could experience everything from pooping a lot before and during your period, to not being able to poop at all. Urgh..
So What’s Causing The Digestive Distress During Your Period?
Your body goes through dramatic hormonal changes before and during your period, and those hormone changes can cause some uncomfortable, and sometimes downright strange effects on your body.
More Muscle Contractions
Before you start menstruating, your body releases hormones called prostaglandins, which stimulate muscle contractions in the uterus. These contractions then assist the body in shedding the uterus lining.
These same hormones can also encourage muscle contractions in your intestines and bowels, as they’re the nextdoor neighbours of your uterus. This results in increased bowel movements and even softer stool, or diarrhea.
A Boost in Progesterone
The hormone progesterone increases just before you start menstruating, and for an unlucky few, this could mean either constipation or diarrhea. If you’ve got an irritable bowel disorder (IBD), or even endometriosis, uterine fibroids, or ovarian cysts, your usual symptoms may get worse around the time that your menstrual cycle begins, and you stand a higher chance of experiencing constipation, as well as headaches and cramps.
Progesterone may also cause a boost in your appetite, so you may feel the need to eat more fat- and sugar-laden foods. Your body may not take so kindly to the increase in sugary or fatty foods, and it may take a toll on your bowel movements. You may experience a need to ‘go’ more often, a change in the consistency of your stool, or a change in the way your poop smells during this time.
Increased Stress & Anxiety
Experiencing mood swings or increased anxiety levels is a natural occurrence for many before and during that time of the month. This stress can no doubt influence your bowel movements, causing either constipation or diarrhea.
How To Combat Digestive Distress During Your Period
Although it may seem like you have no control over what’s happening to your body during this phase of your menstrual cycle, there are a few things you can do to help manage these digestive disturbances.
Show fibre some love – Include more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains into your diet as these will assist with healthy bowel movements.
Get physical – You may not want to, but doing some physical activity may actually help alleviate some of the PMS-related bloating and discomfort.
Try a stool softener for constipation – If constipation during your period is the main concern, using a stool softener may help your bowels move a little better until your hormones return to normal.
Consider taking ibuprofen – Many females turn to ibuprofen during their periods as it can assist in minimizing uterus cramping and discomfort. It’s also a prostaglandin inhibitor which may help with the less than appealing symptoms of PMS.
Try a naturally-derived supplement for diarrhea like Releaf Uzara – It assists in alleviating diarrhea and stomach cramp symptoms due to its antispasmodic effects. This is how it works in a nutshell – Releaf Uzara activates sympathetic fibres, increasing vascular tone, thereby inhibiting secretion. This inhibits motility by stimulating inhibitory sympathetic fibres.
What We Know For Now..
At this stage, all we can say is that there’s a lot more research to be done regarding the topic of why period poops hurt so bad, and all the other mysteries surrounding our menstrual cycle. The most probable answer is that these digestive disturbances are probably the result of hormonal changes, so whatever you can do to manage those changes may help relieve some of the discomfort.