Ah poop, something we are taught it’s impolite to discuss, but we’re not one for the rules. It’s a small but significant part of our lives, starting from the day we’re born.
Poop plays a big role in our understanding of our bodies. We can tell what kind of food we need, what we should avoid, if we’re drinking enough water, and much, much more just by observing our poop.
It’s almost like our body’s daily status report for health. Pretty cool, right?
For all of you who have menstruated, you might have noticed some irregularities in your poop-related bodily activity before and during your period. It can get quite confusing sometimes, and you might have found yourself asking-- “Are these cramps, or do I have the loosies?”, “Am I imagining it or is this extra smelly?”, “Is there a more effective way to wipe without it looking like a scene from a murder mystery?”, or just “WHY?!”.
All valid questions and we’re here to tell you that yes, period poop is definitely a thing. So let’s get into these questions.
Welcome to the world of period poop.
1. Is it cramps or is it diarrhea?
In the build-up to your period, you might have had some confusing abdominal sensations. Cramps that feel similar to diarrhea, that sometimes don’t end up in diarrhea. Or, cramps that you’re sure signify your oncoming period, that turn out to be diarrhea instead.
What’s really going on?
Well, this is due to hormones produced by your ovaries. Here’s what happens: before your period actually starts, the cells that make up the uterine lining start to produce prostaglandins. This stimulates your uterus muscles, enabling them to contract and do what’s necessary in order to shed its lining.
If your body produces more prostaglandins than is immediately necessary, they end up entering your bloodstream and doing their thing with other smooth muscles, like your bowels. What does that mean? More poop!
Don’t worry about this too much, though. It’s just a sign of a well functioning system. You can read more about this here.
2. What’s that smell?!
Some menstruators complain about their period poop having a funky odor—funkier than normal, at least. Wondering what that is? It’s because of the hormone progesterone.
Increased progesterone production during your cycle can sometimes cause you to crave unusual foods, or eat more than usual. The changes in your diet caused by these can sometimes lead to your poop smelling a little stranger than usual. This, coupled with the usual odor of your period blood can make you feel like your poop is far smellier than usual. Not to mention the farts that come with it!
To counter this, you could pay attention to your diet and try to eat foods that tend to have less refined sugar and sodium, or use a menstrual cup so your period blood won’t come in contact with air, causing the smell.
Use nixit and you won’t have the hassle of needing to hold your breath while pooping - yayy!
3. Why am I not pooping?
Sometimes, in the days leading up to your period, it’s possible for your digestive processes to slow down a little bit, causing you to feel constipated. This happens because of increased hormonal activity (surprise, surprise!), or more specifically, progesterone production. If you happen to have Irritable Bowel Syndrome with constipation (IBS-C), these symptoms might be exacerbated.
Here, again, eating non-fatty fibrous foods help this process, and can reduce your constipation during your period!
4. How do I effectively wipe without bloodshed?
Wiping during your period can end up far messier than it usually is. We have a simple solution for this—try nixit! With the menstrual cup tucked away neatly, you should have no actual bloodshed while pooping.
At the end of the day, remember that period poop is normal, and is a sign that your body is functioning the way it should. With a little attention to these signs, and a lot of understanding of what they’re saying, we’re confident that you can sail through your next cycle confident that your period and poop are just fine!