Period Poop… Why It’s A Thing
Period poop. Don’t pretend you don’t know what we are talking about, it’s a thing. Too many trips to the ladies room or not enough. The good news is, it’s not just you–there are hormonal reasons why your poop changes during your time of month!
Throughout different phases of your menstrual cycle, the amount of hormones in your body rise and fall. Right before your period starts, progesterone levels rise in preparation of a possible pregnancy. High levels of progesterone causes things to relax and slow down, including the rate food moves through and out of your digestive system. Hello PMS, bloat & constipation.
Then yay, your bleed arrives and suddenly that week of feeling off all makes sense. That feeling of fullness is quickly replaced with a feeling of not being able to keep anything in! This is because during your period, your body increases its production of prostaglandins. Prostaglandins encourage your womb muscles to contract to break down the uterine lining. If your body produces more prostaglandins than it needs, they enter the bloodstream and have similar contracting effects on other muscles, including your bowels. This results in food moving through the colon quickly. Enter: frequent trips to the toilet.
So…what can you do about it? Well hormonal changes during your cycle are inevitable so being prepared is all you can do. Tracking your cycle can be helpful so you can be ready for the week before your bleed. During that week, increase your intake of magnesium and potassium-rich foods like leafy greens, well-cooked cruciferous veggies, bananas, apricots, figs, sweet potatoes, avocado, salmon, and organic dairy products! Supplementing with Magnesium oxide (ahem, You Go Girl is your go-to) can be a supportive way to increase the rate food moves through the digestive tract.
During your period, you can help slow down those frequent bathroom trips with a few simple lifestyle changes. Drink chamomile tea daily, which is full of anti-inflammatory substances to help inhibit prostaglandins, focus on increasing intake of anti-inflammatory herbs like ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, parsley, and consume plenty of healthy fats, like olive oil, flax seeds, chia seeds, and coconut oil. Lastly, placing a heating pad on your lower abdomen can also help to relax the muscles and aid blood flow around your uterus resulting in less spasms and contractions.
While period poops are annoying, gross, and uncomfortable… understanding why those digestive woes happen along with making a few simple lifestyle shifts can help you get through it. The joys of being a woman! You got this, girl.