Why does my period affect my Poo?
So-called ‘period poo’ is a common symptom of your monthly cycle, but is seldom spoken about, even though it occurs once a month to half of the population.
These are monthly changes that happen to your bowel habits, during your cycle, that you probably don’t really talk about… but if you did, you’d realise just how common they really are. It’s not just headaches, bloating and mood swings unfortunately!
Fluctuating hormones are the cause of changes to our poo during our period, which is not great when we are already dealing with cramping, bloating and fatigue!
According to research, the rise and fall of oestrogen and progesterone can ‘influence the GI function’, which can loosen stools, cause constipation, or cause you to poo more frequently.
Prostaglandin is a compound your body starts producing which helps relax the muscles of the vaginal wall, which enables you to shed the lining of your womb, but unfortunately, it has the same effect on the bowel muscles. This relaxing of the muscles is why, when you have your period, you tend to open your bowels more and poo more often.
Prostaglandin can also cause cramping, fatigue and bloating, with teenagers having a higher amount of prostaglandin in their body and therefore may experience more intense period cramps. But as you get older hopefully cramps will lessen, as the levels of prostaglandin reduces.
During the second stage of your menstrual cycle, progesterone levels increase, which can speed up or slow down your digestion system. Again, this can cause loose stools or constipation.
Things that can help
Diet - The foods you crave during your period could also have an effect on ‘period poo’ too. Maintaining a healthy, balanced diet is the best way to keep cramps at bay and to keep your bowel movements regular too.
Include fibre in your diet, so eat plenty of vegetables, fruit, and whole grains. The fibre will help to keep your bowel movements more regular.
It is also a good idea to avoid caffeine, dairy and fatty or spicy foods for the first few days of your period, all of which can aggravate your bowel.
Our Over the Moon Menstruation Tea aims to naturally help and support your body with the challenges posed by mother nature.
We have included select herbs have been used traditionally for millennia to soothe cramps, swollen tummies, bring calm and relaxation and support a regular cycle. Their natural benefits come with delicious flavours, to create a hug in a mug.
Exercise - despite popular belief exercise is beneficial to help ease period symptoms. It is important to listen to your body though and only incorporate gentle stretching and yoga on the days where you are feeling fatigued or are experiencing painful cramping. Exercise can reduce tension, improve blood flow, and help a when feeling constipated or bloated.
Talk to your pharmacist - if your symptoms are impacting your daily life, your pharmacist will be able to advise if taking anti-diarrhoea or laxative tablets would benefit you.
Every month before and during your period, prostaglandin and progesterone levels will have an effect on your body, with the majority of women experiencing different levels of cramping, diarrhoea, or constipation.
If it’s not affecting your everyday life then it’s just one of the natural and annoying things that we experience during our period.
However, if your bowel movements, or period symptoms are having a serious impact on your day-to-day life you should speak to your doctor or healthcare provider to check that there are no other underlying health conditions.
Teas to support your cycle & periods