What Are Period Poops
What’s the Deal with Period Poops?
According to a study, 73% of people with periods reported at least one primary gastrointestinal (GI) symptom premenstrually and 69% reported at least one GI symptom during menstruation. Symptoms before and during periods were found to be common in both those diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and those without IBS. Periods poops anyone?
If you’ve experienced this phenomenon, you’re not alone, as IBS is the most common functional GI disorder. There is a strong correlation between IBS and dysmenorrhea—painful periods. It makes sense if you consider your anatomy. Your intestines and pelvis are extremely close together, so it’s no surprise they can affect each other. Especially when it comes to inflammation. If your gut is inflamed, it can cause your pelvis to be inflamed and vice versa.
Cramps, and bloating, and gas—oh my!
Abdominal pain—whether it be cramps, gas, or bloating—is exacerbated before and during menstruation when ovarian hormone levels are at their lowest. The same findings have been observed in those with inflammatory bowel disease—things like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis which cause swelling and irritation in your digestive tract. This suggests that ovarian hormones have a protective role against IBS-associated pain.
Unfortunately, if you deal with painful periods, you’re more likely to have gut issues and the opposite is true, gut issues could lead to painful periods. Let’s take a closer look into what could be causing GI discomfort.
What could be causing your pain?
Increased prostaglandin production. ****This increase in production stimulates muscle contractions in the uterus but may also cause contractions in the intestines and bowels. Ouch! You’ll notice this most right before and during the first few days of your cycle. Inflammation in general increases during this time.
Increased progesterone production. This can make constipation worse, especially if you have ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, endometriosis, fibroids, and/or ovarian cysts. Progesterone is highest in the luteal phase of your cycle, right before menstruation. If you’re noticing excessive constipation, chat with your doctor to see about testing for any of the above-mentioned conditions.
What you’re eating. We already know progesterone is elevated in the days preceding our periods, and that it can increase hunger levels and cravings for high fat and sugary foods. These are hard on the digestive tract, so even though they might make you feel better emotionally, they’re likely to cause more issues for your intestines.
What can you do to ease the discomfort?
If gastrointestinal distress is part of your daily life, talk to your doctor as soon as possible. Sometimes getting an accurate diagnosis takes time, so we’ve put together a list of six things you can do to help relieve some of that pain while you’re waiting.
- Eat more fiber. Fruits and veggies are your best friend. High fiber foods help keep things moving through your intestines and feed the good bacteria in your gut which can lower inflammation levels–hey there prebiotics! Whole is best—skip the juice and eat the fruit or vegetable in its natural form.
- Limit alcohol and inflammatory foods. We get it, all you want is that glass of wine to take your mind off the pain, but it can actually cause more inflammation. Processed foods, sugar, and dairy can cause inflammatory affects as well. Keep these to a minimum.
- Exercise. There are many studies that show exercise lowers inflammation in the whole body—Yay! This is probably why it can help with IBS and period pain. Yoga is great for both! Your intestines and pelvic organs are close together, so add some asanas to your routine and help alleviate pain while keeping things moving.
- Take the PMS and Period Support supplement. It contains nine powerhouse plant extracts and minerals to help lower inflammation levels and target pain relief! We have specifically added Boswellia in this product to help ease those IBS-like symptoms.
- Take the Pre+ Probiotic for Women supplement. Formulated with pre- and probiotic blends that are well tolerated by the general population and safe to consume for those on a low FODMAP diet or dealing with IBS. We’ve also included ginger to help ease an upset stomach and lower inflammation levels in the intestines.
- Take The Daily Hormone Balance supplement. Packed with vitamins, minerals, and plant extracts that help support happy, healthy hormones with bonus byproducts of smoother skin, fewer cravings, and a more stable mood.
It’s true that GI issues tend to be elevated before and during your period, but that doesn’t mean you have to suffer in silence. Try some of the above lifestyle changes to help ease your symptoms. Keep in mind that there are underlying conditions that could be contributing to the discomfort. Remember to keep your doctor in the loop about issues that are causing disruptions to your livelihood so you can work together to create the best treatment plan for you.