It may not be the prettiest or most delicate part of being a woman, but it is pretty much a fact that we all have experienced some undesired bowel movement and digestive issues (aka those oft-described “period poops”) during our cycles. The culprits of these discomforts are thought to be prostaglandins, i.e. chemicals that your body releases that pave the way for your uterus being able to contract.
They are already not our favorite chemicals, since they facilitate those dreaded period cramps, but turns out they also most likely cause our digestive problems. Too many of them? That’s when you get the diarrhea issues. Too few. That’s where constipation kicks in.
So how can you help your bowels out at this time? Here are some tried and true tips:
Slow It Down
Yeah, we definitely get extra hungry during this time, but slowing down our eating, even a little, can make a big difference. Your stomach being given the time to fully digest while you sit and chill for a minute and chew thoroughly helps it digest everything easier and more fully. Eating on the go may be tempting, but your stomach will thank you in the long run at this time.
Cool It With the Caff
Cutting out coffee and caffeine altogether might be a bit extreme but restricting your intake to around 1-2 cups a day will make a world of difference. Since caffeine irritates the gut, reducing the amount of caffeine you consume at this time will help keep things calm and smooth down there.
Fiber Is Your Friend
We all know that fiber plays a huge part in aiding digestion, but at this time of month especially it is important to up your intake. Fight back against those bowel issues with this regulator. You can find fiber in foods such as oats, beans, berries, brown rice, and whole-wheat bread. Be sure you are keeping up on your water intake, too, as an abundance of fiber can also make you excessively gassy.
If your prostaglandin problem is manifesting as constipation, consuming soluble fibers, such as sweet potatoes, wild rice, apples, etc., will be your best bet. On the flip side, if things are moving a little too well down there, insoluble fibers (seeds, whole wheat, etc.) should be on your radar.
Western and Natural Medicines Work
It may sound cliché, but Imodium really can be a savior for you when It comes to excessive watery bowel movements. Get ahead of the anti-inflammatory game, too, by eating pineapple ahead of your period. It may not calm it down completely, but even a little help goes a long way.
Bathroom issues are no fun at any time – and never welcome when they are intensified by your period. But if we can fight back even a little, our digestive systems will be more than appreciative throughout the whole, annoying week.