Heres How Pregnancy Affects Your Poop
You already know that your hormones fluctuate throughout your menstrual cycle, and you might also know that these hormonal changes can make your poop real weird around the time of your period. Thats largely thanks to a hormone that helps prep your body for pregnancy called progesterone.
Progesterone levels increase after ovulation, anticipating that the egg your ovaries just released will be fertilized, the U.S. National Library of Medicine explains. If you dont become pregnant, progesterone levels fall back down, and you get your period. If the egg does get fertilized and you do become pregnant, your levels of progesterone will continue to rise, Mary Rosser, M.D., Ph.D., an ob-gyn at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center, tells SELF.
How does this early pregnancy progesterone surge affect poop? One of the hormones many effects is to relax smooth muscles, like your uterus and intestines. While relaxed intestines might sound like a recipe for the loose, speedy bowel movements that characterize diarrhea, that isnt what actually happens. In fact, without your GI muscles contracting as hard to move things along, food passage starts to slow down and bowel movements become sluggish, G. Thomas Ruiz, M.D., an ob-gyn at Memorial Care Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, California, tells SELF.
What You Can Do To Ease Period Poop Symptoms
To make your trips to the loo leading up to your period and mid-menses more pleasant, steer clear of foods that tend to irritate your stomach or cause gastrointestinal discomfort on the days you aren’t menstruating, recommends Dr. Chambers. If you know lactose often makes you gassy or spicy foods typically give you loose stool, for example, make the effort to avoid them during your period. “If something irritates you, hurts your stomach, or causes any type of inflammation outside of your period, it’s certainly going to be exacerbated during your period,” she says.
Staying hydrated can also make your period poops more pleasant, as it can help prevent constipation, says Dr. Chambers. Certain over-the-counter medications can provide relief as well. “I’m one of those people who’s a strong believer in TUMS and Pepto-Bismol, so just keep those on hand,” says Dr. Chambers. “Those can actually be a part of your period product regimen. Most people think Midol, Tylenol, and ibuprofen, but some of those other things can be helpful, too,” she notes. To soothe an upset stomach with TUMS, take the recommended dose when symptoms arise, making sure not to exceed the individual dose or total daily dose recommendation, according to the brand. For Pepto-Bismol, take one dose when you feel symptoms, then continue taking a dose every half hour until you feel better â just make sure not to take more than eight doses in 24 hours, according to the company.
Why Do I Get Diarrhea On My Period
Unfortunately, because period diarrhea isn’t discussed as a PMS symptom as often as others , more studies are needed to determine exactly what causes diarrhea during periods. However, many doctors lean toward a common culprit: prostaglandins, aka compounds in the body that have hormone-like effects.
“During a woman’s menstrual cycle, certain hormones can cause bloating, diarrhea or constipation, water retention, and abdominal cramping,” Women’s Health Specialist, Dr. Soma Mandal, tells HelloGiggles. “Increasing progesterone levels can cause constipation, while diarrhea can occur when prostaglandins begin to relax the smooth muscles in the uterus before bleeding occurs.”
When these pesky prostaglandins relax the blood vessels in the gastrointestinal tract, what’s inside doesn’t have time to fully harden, which can lead to diarrhea.
“When a woman menstruates, prostaglandins are released and cause the uterine muscle to contract ,” medical director at The Pill Club, Dr. Amy Roskin, tells HelloGiggles. “However, prostaglandins can also cause other muscleslike those in the intestinesto contract, resulting in more frequent bowel movements and sometimes diarrhea.”
So, blame prostaglandinsnot Mother Naturefor period diarrhea. Those of us who experience diarrhea before and during our periods simply got dealt an unlucky hand. However, just like with other PMS symptoms, you don’t have to suffer through themthere are ways to treat period diarrhea.
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How To Alleviate The Symptoms
I bet all you need to know right now is some proactive actions that you may take to prevent all this from happening. I get that farts, constipation, or diarrhea during periods arent on anybodys list of dreams.
As if the recurring bleeding wasnt enough
Please, dont shoot the messenger but if youre not on hormonal birth control and experience recurrent gastrointestinal problems, getting rid of them might not be an easy task. Sometimes it can even prove unattainable.
There are, however, some ways to if not remove the problem entirely help alleviate the symptoms.
Why Do Period Poops Hurt
There are several reasons why passing a bowel movement may hurt during your period. These include:
- Constipation: prostaglandins and progesterone can make you constipated. If you are experiencing hard and dry stools during your period, they may be painful to pass.
- Menstrual cramps: you might experience a flare in menstrual pain when straining to pass a bowel movement.
- Pain sensitivity: During your period, you are more sensitive to pain. So you may experience more pain and have a heightened awareness of it.
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Why Does It Smell So Bad
This aspects likely because of your premenstrual eating habits. You can blame unusual food cravings on the hormone progesterone.
Progesterone helps regulate your period. It rises before your period to help prepare your body for conception and pregnancy.
High levels of progesterone during the premenstrual phase have been to compulsive eating before your period. This explains why you want to stuff all the feels and irritability down with ice cream and chocolate at that time of the month.
The change in your eating habits can cause foul-smelling stool and those pesky period farts.
Resisting the urge to overeat and avoiding refined sugars and processed foods can help.
Eat More Fibre And Drink Water
If you suffer from painful constipation before your period, try increasing the amount of fibre-rich foods in the second half of your cycle. Prunes will be excellent here. Whats interesting, they contain up to seven times more fibre than their fresh sisters. Dont you forget about proper hydration! Itll help in your fight against bloating. A healthy diet is the cornerstone of a healthy life didnt they teach us that in preschool? Dont beat yourself up, though, if you give in to the temptation of devouring a chocolate bar or three. Its because
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How To Treat Diarrhea Before Your Period
Here are some steps you can take to manage diarrhea:
- Drinking plenty of water to ease your abdominal bloating
- Maintaining a caffeine-free diet
- Eating a nutritious diet to improve your overall health
- Reducing your intake of sugar, salt, and alcohol
Your health care provider can also advise you on treatment and prescribe medication to treat your diarrhea.
See your health care provider if your diarrhea starts to affect your daily life or if your symptoms dont go away. Make sure to contact your health care provider immediately if you have one of the following symptoms: your stools are bloody or black, you become dehydrated, you have a fever, or you have severe abdominal or rectal pain. Your health care provider may do the following tests to rule out other medical problems:
- Physical exam
What Can Help Relieve Upset Stomach During Your Period
Like other PMS symptoms, one solution to deal with period-related bowel changes is hormonal birth control. This includes the Pill, the patch, or hormonal IUDs.
These options may reduce cramps, mood changes, and upset stomach by evening out the release of hormones throughout your menstrual cycle. If thats a solution that appeals to you, talk to your doctor to explore which birth control option is best for you and your specific lifestyle.
However, many patients simply accept constipation and diarrhea as part of their monthly routine and make adjustments to their diet and exercise habits. Avoid foods that trigger constipation, and focus on getting more fiber in your diet. Here are more habits to help relieve and prevent constipation.
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How Do You Shorten Your Period Once It Starts
Oral birth control pills and birth control injections can be used to regulate your cycle. Hormonal birth control can also decrease cramping and shorten the number of days you menstruate each month. If you’re just starting hormonal birth control, it may take several months before your periods become shorter.
Diarrhea A Week Before Your Period: Is It Normal
Most premenstrual symptoms begin one to two weeks before your period. They might last up to seven days after the start of menstruation.
When your period is about to arrive, digestive symptoms tend to fall to the extremes. Some people get constipated, and others have diarrhea. One study has shown that 73 percent of women experience at least one of the primary gastrointestinal symptoms either before or during their period. Roughly 24 percent of women said they experience diarrhea before their period, while 28 percent experience diarrhea during their period.
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Two Serious Causes Of Nausea During Your Period
PMS is often harmless. However, there are two causes of nausea during your period that can be serious.
The first is endometriosis. If you have this disorder, the tissue in your uterus that sheds and causes your period each month grows outside your uterus instead. Sometimes, endometriosis is so painful that it can make you sick.
Other times, that tissue grows near your intestines. This can also make you nauseous. Other symptoms you may have include fatigue, diarrhea, constipation, bloating and heavy bleeding during your period. Some women with endometriosis also find sex to be painful. They may even feel pain while urinating or having a bowel movement.
Pelvic inflammatory disease is another serious cause of nausea during your period. Most women get this when bacteria move from the vagina to the uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes. It can cause cramps, pain during sex, pain during urination and pelvic pain. In more serious cases, you may have a fever and chills. PID is usually due to bacteria from a sexually transmitted disease. It can also develop during childbirth.
Diarrhea Right Before Your Period: A Symptom Of Pms
Experts in gastroenterology have found that you are more likely to experience bloating and constipation in the days of your cycle following ovulation.
However, things start to change as you get closer to your period. In the days right before your period, you are more likely to experience diarrhea and abdominal pain. Diarrhea right before your period is normal. In most cases, a healthy diet and medicine can make the symptoms go away.
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What To Do If Youre Worried About Diarrhoea During Your Period
Getting diarrhoea with your period is extremely common and completely normal . But there are lots of things you can do to try and relieve the discomfort and inconvenience it can cause.
Diarrhoea during a period is usually nothing to worry about and it should pass within a few days . You can also speak to your pharmacist about oral rehydration salts. Plus, you can treat it with IMODIUM® and by making some changes to your diet and eating habits.
You should contact your GP or call NHS 24 hour 111 if you’re concerned. See your GP if you have experienced diarrhoea for longer than two days or you’re experiencing particularly frequent, severe or persistent diarrhoea, or if your diarrhoea is associated with other symptoms such as fever and dark or bloody stools.
Dealing With Nausea During Your Period
If you find yourself feeling nauseous during your period, there are some things you can do to feel better. Sometimes, just getting some fresh air or going for a walk can help. A cool compress may also do the trick.
Make sure youre drinking plenty of water and sticking to a bland diet. Ginger may also help. Drink some ginger ale or keep some ginger-flavored candy on hand. Many people swear by drinking peppermint or chamomile tea. If none of those help, try taking an antacid.
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Why Am I So Gassy Before My Period
For some women, the fluctuation of hormones estrogen and progesterone can cause abdominal bloating and gas before and during their periods. Rising levels of estrogen in the days leading up to your period affect estrogen receptors in your stomach and small intestine. These higher estrogen levels can cause: flatulence.
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Probiotics: Tiny Fighters On Your Side
Rather than take a harsh laxative thatll leave you crampy and running for the toilet, give probiotics a try for constipation relief. These helpful bacteria dont cause disease like their harmful cousins. Instead, they help maintain a healthy balance in your GI tract.
One study found that probiotics like Bifidobacterium lactis keep stool moving smoothly through your digestive tract. And while smooth-moving stool may sound gross, its a great way to prevent backups and blockages. Dimidi E, et al. The effect of probiotics on functional constipation in adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.114.089151
Better out than in.
Lactobacillus GG, acidophilus, and bifidobacteria are other strains of bacteria that can give gut health a kick. Probiotics may also be helpful for slowing diarrhea down along with unclogging constipation.
You can buy probiotics in a supplement bottle or find them in fermented foods like these:
- pickled ginger
Yogurt with added live cultures will also help restore the balance of good bacteria in your gut.
Frozen yogurt, however, will never be ice cream, no matter how many well-intentioned bacteria it contains. Yes, even if it believes in itself.
Is It Normal To Have Diarrhea Before Period Starts
In a womans body, there are plenty of hormones that work every time to ensure that your menstrual cycle functions normally.
Just around the time your menstrual period starts, there is a rise in follicle stimulating hormone, and also, estrogen.
Estrogen is the most dominant hormone before ovulation, and then just a few days before ovulation will occur, your bodys estrogen level fall with a subsequent rise in another hormone, progesterone.
This hormone, progesterone, has many effects on a womans body, and apart from preparing your womb for pregnancy , there are other functions
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Increased Stress And Anxiety
On their own, stress and anxiety can cause diarrhea and constipation, thanks to what some people refer to as the gut-brain axis.
However, every person may experience a different GI symptom in response to their psychological state.
For example, some people may experience anxiety-induced diarrhea, while others may get constipated in times of stress or high anxiety.
Evidence also suggests that people who experience emotional symptoms in relation to their menstrual period, like depression, anxiety, or fatigue, may be more likely to experience GI symptoms as well.
Why Does It Hurt To Poop On My Period
There are a few reasons you might experience pain during bowel movements whilst on your period. Firstly, constipation results in hard stools that can be painful to pass. Whats more, excessive straining and diarrhoea can lead to haemorrhoids forming. It goes without saying that these can make it unpleasant to poop.
Secondly, abdominal cramps are extremely common during a woman’s period and can be more intense when you’re straining to poop. Likewise, abdominal cramps commonly accompany diarrhoea, triggered by period-related hormones such as prostaglandins.
Lastly, evidence suggests that women with IBS experience increased sensitivity during their period. Even beyond menstrual pains, one of the hallmarks of IBS is what researchers call an increased visceral pain sensitivity.
In particular, one study found that women with IBS experience increased rectal sensitivity during the menstrual cycle. Combined with constipation or loose stools, this could explain why you are experiencing discomfort and pain when pooping.
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Is There Any Way To Prevent It
If you frequently have diarrhea related to your period, there are some steps you can take to reduce your chance.
A few days before your period, start eating more fiber. Fiber adds bulk to your stool, making it more solid. Examples include whole-grain breads and fruits and vegetables with skins on them, since thats where much of the fiber is.
In addition, consider adding some probiotic foods into your diet, such as miso, sauerkraut, or yogurt. These may boost the amount of healthy bacteria in the gut, which may help reduce diarrhea symptoms.
Finally, consider taking ibuprofen a day or two before your period. This can help to reduce the effects of prostaglandins on your body.
People can experience a range of other digestive issues before and during their period, too.
- more frequent bowel movements
Your symptoms could change from month to month. For a few cycles, you might have diarrhea, only to find yourself feeling constipated during the next few.
These changes are likely all related to the same culprit: prostaglandins. But changes in your diet due to cravings could also play a role.