Period Poop: Your Bowel Questions Answered

It’s kinda gross, but pooping on your period is totally normal. We’ll just call it one more reason to dread that time of the month: Tender breasts, mood-swings, cravings, fatigue, cramps, bloating, period poop. Check, check, and check. 

Oh, and did I forget to mention: it might stink and come out weird as well! But that is normal too. 

Grab a heating pad while I break it all down for you.

Menstruation (aka your period) is the monthly cycle of your body preparing to carry a baby. During your menstrual cycle, one of your ovaries releases an egg and the uterine lining begins to thicken. If you don’t get pregnant, the lining begins to shed. 

Why do periods make you poop?

Prostaglandins! Not only is it the reason you get cramps, but prostaglandins is also why your period affects your bowels.

Woman in pain and toilet with the text: Why do periods make you poop?

Before your period begins, this hormone is produced in your uterus lining as it’s thickening. When the lining breaks down, the prostaglandins get released and causes the contraction and shedding of your lining. However, an excess or imbalance of prostaglandins will also cause you to have more painful period cramps and make you poop as well!

Why? The excess prostaglandins travel and causes your colonic smooth muscle to also have contractions; this results in increased bowel movements during your period.

Is it normal to poop a lot during your period?

From two studies, it was reported that about one third of the women had changed bowel movements habits during their period. So, yes, pooping a lot is normal.

It’s those darned prostaglandins causing you to poop more often. However, it should only last the first couple of days while the hormone is being released.

Why do I get diarrhea on my period?

Not only does excess prostaglandin hormone make you have to poop, but it also causes diarrhea. In a study, 19% of the women had this symptom. 

If you suffer from this symptom, avoid eating the following foods during this time: fatty foods, dairy, artificial sweeteners, alcohol, soda, coffee, raw meat, and foods that cause gas. Bland foods like oatmeal, boiled potatoes, and toast will be more friendly to your stomach.

What helps with constipation during period?

Though not as common as diarrhea, some women also get constipated; it’s a symptom of more hormones! We cursed the name of prostaglandins before, but low levels can also be bad. 

Progesterone is a hormone that increases during the ovulation period of your menstrual cycle. It also causes muscles to relax and it slows down the movement of food. If you don’t become pregnant, progesterone levels will drop immediately; this also causes you to poop more. 

Constipation is usually a premenstrual syndrome; However, if your progesterone levels are high and your prostaglandins levels are low, this will cause constipation during your period. 

Increased fiber, regular fluids, and more exercise can ease your constipation. A heating pad can also help move bowels by relaxing your muscles!

Why does period poop smell?

As your hormones are thrown out of wack during your menstrual cycle, it causes you to have cravings for certain foods. Your emotions might also cause you to seek “comfort foods” out of the norm.

This change in your diet, especially with processed foods and sugars, can cause your poop to smell worse than normal.

How to stop period poops?

Common Gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms caused by prostaglandin during your period are: abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. Non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) can help you during this time because they inhibit the hormone from working properly. These drugs include: ibuprofen, naproxen, and mefenamic acid.  

Oral contraceptive pills are also a known way to help with menstruation symptoms.

If all else fails, you might benefit from an over the counter laxative like Miralax or an anti-diarrheal like Imodium.

Consult your physician before the start of new medications.

Why does pooping hurt on your period?

Woman in pain wearing a robe with text: Why do period poops hurt?

Pooping on your period hurts for a variety of reasons:

  1. Abdominal pain and cramping usually accompanies diarrhea.
  2. A combination of pain from straining to poop while constipated, which also causes your regular period cramps to hurt more.
  3. Those with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) will also feel an increase in their symptoms and bowel movements during their period.

Can period blood get on stool?

It’s scary to see, but blood on your poop during your period can be normal. As you’re pushing out the stool, you push out some blood as well. Another reason for blood in stool during your period, could also be due to an anal fissure from hard or large stool during your bowel movement.

Otherwise, it is not normal to bleed anally during your period and you should consult a doctor.

If you think the blood is coming out of your “bum”, it could be a sign of bowel endometriosis causing the rectal bleeding.

When to see a doctor for period pain?

If you are experiencing unbearable period pain that makes it hard to function normally, it might be time to see a doctor. 

Sharp stabbing pain during your period or severe pelvic pain that won’t go away with medication is usually a sign of Endometriosis. Other symptoms to be aware of is pain during sexual intercourse, bowel movements, and urination.

A dull pressure, pain in your lower abdomen, or a more intense cramping can be Pelvic Inflammatory Disease. Other symptoms also include pelvic pain during sex, bleeding in between periods, and lower back pain.

Simple dietary and lifestyle changes can usually be enough to help you FEEL normal. In the end, you know your body best; it can be the right time to see a doctor whenever something really doesn’t “feel right.” Pooping and some pain is a normal part of your menstrual cycle, but it shouldn’t make you feel “shitty”.