If you're wondering, "Why do I poop so much on my period?" you're not alone.
You are not alone if you suffer from period-related bloating, cramping, or diarrhea. At least 73% of women in one study complained of gastrointestinal distress in the days leading up to or during their periods.
Stomach pain and, you guessed it, diarrhea, are the most common signs. Also known as: menstrual feces What causes more frequent bowel movements during your period, and what you can do about it, are topics we'll be covering in this article.
You can thank hormones, specifically prostaglandins, for your stooped posture when you're on your period. High levels of progesterone are produced by the body just before a woman's period begins in case she becomes pregnant.
The uterine lining produces prostaglandins and progesterone levels drop during menstruation. The uterine smooth muscles are stimulated by these fatty acids, and the uterine lining is dissolved as a result.
Excessive feces output and diarrhoea can result from an overabundance of prostaglandins in the bloodstream, which triggers contractions of the smooth muscles lining the intestines.
Hormonal changes during menstruation may also affect water absorption, leading to diarrhoea because less fluid is drawn through the colon.
It has also been found that premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms, including bowel problems, are more severe in people with gastrointestinal problems like Crohn's disease or irritable bowel syndrome.
Ovarian cysts and endometriosis, in which tissue that looks like the lining of the womb begins to grow in places like the ovaries and fallopian tubes, can both be made worse by menstruation.
It is common knowledge that synthetic prostaglandins, specifically prostaglandin E2, can be used to induce labor in pregnant women.
Anatomical and physiological pathways connecting the digestive system and the brain."From the pit of your stomach to the top of your head, we have a problem down here."
Our language reflects the close connection between the gut and the brain when we talk about having a "gut-wrenching" experience or feeling "butterflies in the stomach" or having a "gut feeling."
Recent years have seen the discovery of the gut-brain axis, a two-way line of communication between the digestive system and the brain. This is why scientists refer to the human digestive system as the "second brain."
Our vagus nerve is the primary line of communication between the vagus brain stem and the enteric nervous system. Through this pathway, stress and anxiety can bring on gastrointestinal symptoms, and, perhaps more surprisingly, the reverse is also true. It's true; a stomachache can cause mental distress.
Hormonal shifts cause irritability and stress during menstruation, which in turn speeds up the digestive system and causes the body to secrete more fluid. The result can be stomach cramps and diarrhea.
Interestingly, one study found that women who experienced depression or anxiety before or during their period were more likely to report multiple gastrointestinal problems than women who did not experience psychological distress.
Another possible source of period-related gastrointestinal distress is stress, which is linked to alterations in gut bacteria.
The question mark after "DID YOU KNOW" Physiologically inducing depression-like behavior in mice: evidence from gut microbiota
Affects of constipation on the menstrual cycleA brief but educational video on the subject of hormonal fluctuations and their effect on menstrual poop.
While some people have more frequent bowel movements in the days leading up to and during their period, others may notice a slowdown. Hormones associated with your monthly cycle, specifically progesterone, are to blame once again.
Progesterone, which is responsible for the thickening of the uterine wall, reaches its peak just before ovulation, and it can slow the digestive process if levels are high enough.
This can cause the formation of stools that are too solid to pass. In the days leading up to your period, when progesterone levels are highest, you are more likely to experience constipation.
WAIT, DID YOU KNOW Women can use progesterone as an oral contraceptive by itself or in combination with oestrogen.
When you eat differently around ovulation, you may notice a difference in the smell of your feces or the consistency of your bowel movements.
A hormonal imbalance may be to blame if you crave comfort foods like ice cream, chocolate, or salty snacks when your period rolls around.
When you're feeling down because of your period, it's natural to want some comfort food. To want Ben & Jerry's because you feel terrible
These dietary shifts are, once again, a direct result of changes in hormone levels. More specifically, elevated oestrogen is linked to cravings for sugary foods, while progesterone may influence desires for sugary drinks.
Another study tracked the eating habits of 42 ovulating women and found that they ate an average of 250 more calories per day than usual, with some women consuming as many as 500 more.
Period cramps are a common complaint, and there are a few potential causes. For starters, constipation causes unpleasant symptoms, such as passing hard, potentially painful stools. Haemorrhoids can also be caused by persistent straining and diarrhoea. It should come as no surprise that these can make toilet trips less than pleasant.
And second, straining to defecate can amplify the abdominal cramps that are common during a woman's period. Similarly, hormones like prostaglandins that are released during a woman's menstrual cycle often accompanying diarrhoea.
Finally, there is some evidence that women with IBS have heightened sensitivity when they are menstruating. One of the hallmarks of IBS, beyond menstrual pains, is what researchers call an increased sensitivity to visceral pain.
Specifically, one study found that menstruation is associated with heightened rectal sensitivity in women with IBS. If you also have constipation or loose stools, this could be the cause of your pain and discomfort during bowel movements.
Helpful hints for dealing with the bowel movements that accompany your period
Whatever you do, you will probably experience some digestive symptoms related to your period because hormonal fluctuations are a normal part of the menstrual cycle. However, there are measures you can take to lessen the frequency of period poop and mitigate its negative effects:
Never forget to drink water.
The loss of fluids and electrolytes/vital salts from diarrhea can lead to serious health problems. Make sure you drink lots of fluids if you experience diarrhoea around your period.
Caffeine and artificial sweeteners, both of which can have a laxative effect, should also be avoided or consumed in moderation during this time.
Have some ibuprofen
It is possible that over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen, will help with cramping and pain. As a prostaglandin inhibitor, ibuprofen also aids in hormone balance.
Consuming it in the days leading up to your period may reduce the intensity of period bowel movements. Nevertheless, ibuprofen is only meant to be used temporarily as a first-line treatment, and it can cause problems if taken regularly or in large amounts over time. Be sure to take the medication exactly as prescribed and see a doctor if your symptoms don't improve.
Talk to your doctor about treatment options if you're having severe digestive problems due to your period. Hormone-balancing medications, like oral contraceptives, can alleviate PMS symptoms like bloating, gas, and diarrhea.
This is why some women decide to take the pill round-the-clock so they never have to deal with their period. However, some people find that modifying their diet and way of life is more effective at alleviating their symptoms. In order to determine which treatment is right for you, it is best to consult with your doctor.
When to get help from a doctor
In most cases, period-related digestive issues like diarrhea and cramping are harmless. However, if these symptoms persist or worsen, you should see a doctor. The same holds true for the following symptoms, which should prompt a visit to a doctor:
- cramping pain or abdominal pain that is very severe
- severe menstrual bleeding
- stool containing mucus
Warning signs of a more serious condition include blood in the toilet or rectal bleeding, so if you experience either, see your doctor right away.
This article is for educational and entertainment purposes only. Medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment should never be ignored or replaced without consulting a trained professional.
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