Why Women Need To Poo More During Their Period

No you're not imagining it, your bowel movements really do get worse during that time of the month.

Excuse us, it's time we acknowledged a universal truth suffered by all women when they get their period and that's the need to... poo and fart more.

You see, it seems suitably fine to talk about your period pain during that time of the month. But the equally awful impact on your bowel? Not so much.

And guess what? You're not imagining it either. It's all thanks to a hormone-like substance called ‘prostaglandins’.

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Speaking to 10 daily, Fertility Specialist, Gynaecologist, Reproductive Endocrinologist and Clinical Lecturer at Sydney University Dr. Natasha Andreadis said that prostaglandins are chemicals made that help the uterus contract and expel blood during a period which is the main cause of cramps.

The problem is, located very close to your uterus is your bowel, which is why these hormones end up acting on them, Persistent Pain Clinical Director and Pharmacist, Joyce McSwan added.

"Unfortunately, the hormone-like substances that cause your uterine muscle contractions don’t only stay in the uterus when expelled -- sometimes they can reach your bowel, prompting it to also contract," McSwan told 10 daily.

"This can cause cramping and diarrhoea, this is part of their action,"Dr.  Andreadis added. Image: Getty

Prostaglandins further have an effect on smooth muscle, which the bowel is as well. So while they do have a purpose, prostaglandins certainly don't make for a great time when you have your period.

"In the first few days of your period you may notice your bowel movements are increased, your stools looser, or you may be gassier and bloated during this time," McSwan said.

"The higher your level of prostaglandins, the more severe your menstrual cramps.”

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But never fear, there are things you can do to lessen their impact. Dr. Andreadis said in the long run, it comes down to lifestyle first and ensuring your diet is optimal.

"I’ve had patients who have cut out gluten, cow’s dairy, red meat with good effect," Dr. Andreadis, Modibodi's go-to doctor, told 10 daily.

She further recommended exercise, relaxation, acupuncture, massage and physiotherapy. Dr. Andreadis explained some medications, herbs and supplements can also be helpful as well as reducing alcohol consumption.

A multi-modal approach is best. So many things can help, especially when used in combination.

McSwan said when it comes to more immediate forms of pain relief, she recommends taking ibuprofen 24 hours before your period starts.

"This will prevent the release of prostaglandins, limiting the amount of period pain and the likelihood of experiencing bowel issues," she said.

"With any medication use, it is always important to speak to your pharmacist or doctor prior to taking to make sure it is safe and the right treatment for you.”

Featured image: Getty