Periods and Pooping
Updated: Jan 8
If you've ever wanted to know what's normal when it comes to pooping on your period, you've come to the right place.
It's something we all wonder about and all go through, but never talk about. Even as the mystique around periods fades and discussions about tampons take place in state legislation buildings, the topic of, well, pooping on one's period is still very hush-hush.
But it's something we should be talking about. Why? Because for most women, menstruation changes how they poo, and usually not for the better. Here are a few of the ways your body's normal functions may change during your period, and what to do to get things back to normal.
Frequent bowel movements
Have you ever noticed that you go #2 more often on your period? This is because the same signals telling your uterus to contract and expel the uterine lining can also end up reaching the bowel with the same message. More frequent contractions mean more frequent trips to the bathroom. This can even result in diarrhea for some women.
There can be little you can do to prevent the widespread message “contract!” during your period. The tried and true period pain killer ibuprofen can help, because it works to slow down the signals that tell those muscles to contract. If the problem is serious enough that it prevents you from going to school or work, talk to your doctor about taking an antidiarrheal.
The uterus and colon are in close quarters, meaning any abnormality in one can affect the other. That's why being constipated (though not a joy during any time of the month) is especially uncomfortable during menstruation. During your time of the month, staying regular becomes vital to your physical well being.
To prevent constipation, both during your period and throughout the month, be sure to consume plenty of fiber and stay hydrated. Good sources of fiber are green, leafy veggies as well as many fruits, like apples. For water, try to drink 32 ounces (about 4 cups) per day.
Fun Fact: Strange as it seems, an informational cartoon (sponsored by Kotex and created, incidentally, by the Walt Disney Company) back in 1946 did discuss this issue. Why don't we have animated PSAs about menstruation today? Pixar needs to get on that...
Conditions such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Endometriosis can exacerbate both period pain and how often you poop on your period. These are serious conditions that can affect your health and comfort all month long, so if you think you might be suffering from more than just the usual menstruation troubles, talk to your healthcare provider.
Menstruation affects the body from top to bottom, but it doesn't have to be disruptive. If you find yourself heading to the bathroom so frequently – or so seldom – that it's putting a strain on your day-to-day life, try some of the solutions suggested here. And don't be afraid to talk to someone about pooping and periods, no matter how inappropriate it may seem. Nothing about having a healthy body inappropriate or unsuitable inappropriate or unsuitable for conversation.