What is period poop?
Have you ever noticed that there’s something different about your poop around your period? Well, you’re not alone.
It’s normal to notice a change in the consistency, frequency and smell of your poop when you’re menstruating, or to experience ‘period constipation’. Here’s why it all happens, and what you can do about it.
Why do periods affect your poop?
Throughout your menstrual cycle, the amount of hormones in your body vary. Before your period starts, levels of progesterone are high to prepare for a possible pregnancy. Then during menstruation, your body increases levels of the compound prostaglandins, while decreasing the amount of progesterone. Prostaglandins encourage your womb muscles to contract to help break down the uterine lining.
Why do I get constipation before my period?
Certain health conditions such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), endometriosis or even just having typically painful periods can make you more likely to be constipated, especially in the first few days of your period. As well as dealing with period constipation, it’s also normal to experience bloating and weight gain during your menstrual cycle.
Why do period poops smell so bad?
Another explanation is that it’s normal for menstrual blood to have an odour too, which may contribute to what you’re smelling. Other people probably can’t smell it, and it’s simply the sign of a healthy vagina, so there’s no need to be ashamed of it. Everyone’s vagina and vagina smell is different – just like how your clothes smell different to your friends because of your unique laundry powder and perfume combo!
What can you do to help period poop?
If you are suffering from period-related diarrhoea (which means your poops are mushy or have a loose and watery consistency) you can take a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug like ibuprofen just before your period starts to block prostaglandin production and reduce diarrhoea. It should also help with period pain by easing cramps. To help with constipation, try to eat more nutritious foods that are high in fibre. That could just mean a yummy fruit salad with berries, topped with nuts and seeds, or some wholegrain bread topped with your favourite spread.