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Does Your Poop Change on Your Period?

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Many women find that time of the month wreaks havoc on their gut. Whether you’ve been too embarrassed to ask or too afraid of the answer; we’re here to help you understand how periods affect your poop.

What is period poop?

Research has found up to 73% of women experience changes to their bowel movements during their period [1]. Period poop is the colloquial name for this phenomenon. It’s a broad category that mostly relates to poop, but also covers gut symptoms like bloating, cramps, constipation, diarrhoea and even nausea or vomiting.

Why do you poop more on your period?

You can thank prostaglandins for those frequent bathroom trips. These hormones stimulate the muscles in your uterus to help shed its lining each month. But, they can stimulate other muscles too, like the ones in your gut. Prostaglandin production increases in the first few days of your period to get things moving. That’s why most women experience cramps at the start of their period and may poop more often too.

Why does period poop smell different?

The most likely explanation is a change in your diet. The hormone progesterone rises just before your period and can make you crave foods high in fat and sugar. Your body has a hard time digesting these foods which means they move slower through your gut. A slow-moving gut can contribute to constipation, as well as strong smells since they took so long to pass through.

Wondering what to eat instead? Read our post on macronutrients and how they affect the gut.

Constipation and period poop

Speaking of constipation, it’s not just food to blame. High levels of progesterone and low levels of prostaglandins during PMS create the perfect storm to stop your bowels in their tracks. It’s extra important to eat plenty of fibre in the leadup to your period as it can help relieve symptoms of constipation.

Learn about the different types of fibre and how they support your gut.

Stress, anxiety and depression can make things worse

When you’re feeling low – whether from stress, anxiety or depression – your gut can feel it too. One study found that emotional distress increased the likelihood of gut issues for women during their period [1]. It should come as no surprise, since there are more neurons in your GI tract than in your brain or your spinal cord [4]. If you struggle with mood issues – whether on your period or not – it’s a good idea to speak with your health provider about treatment options.

Read more about how your gut works in our post Gut Health 101.

How to relieve period poop symptoms

Now that you know how your poop may change on your period; is there anything you can do about it? There sure is. Here are some actionable tips:

  • Eat Well: make sure you’re eating a varied diet with all the best nutrients like fibre, protein, healthy carbs and fats.
  • Try a daily gut supplement: support your gut health through the entire month with a daily gut supplement like NC Gut Relief.
  • Take NC Gut Relief : Cumerone helps decrease prostaglandins production. Taking some a day or two before your period begins may help minimise bowel movements and cramps.

References:

[1] Gastrointestinal symptoms before and during menses in healthy women: https://bmcwomenshealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1472-6874-14-14

[2] Why is Period Poop the Worst? 10 Questions, Answered: https://www.healthline.com/health/period-poop

[3] How can your period affect bowel movements?: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/327009

[4] 5 Ways Your Period Messes with Your Pooping Habits: https://www.womenshealthmag.com/health/a19916310/5-ways-your-period-messes-with-your-pooping-habits/

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