When my period rolls around, I brace myself for the worst. We're talking cramps, mood swings and bloating that makes it impossible to wear my favorite jeans. But there's another period issue that we need to talk about: period poops. Depending on your menstruation experiences, you're either scratching your head or nodding along in agreement. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, I envy you. For those of you have dealt with period poop horrors, you've likely wondered why you can't stop pooping on your period. Running to the bathroom every few hours (or few minutes) is no fun, so Bustle talked to Dr. Alyssa Dweck, OB-GYN and spokesperson for Monistat, to find out more about what causes all those extra bowel movements during that time of the month.
Constant pooping isn't the only complication periods bring: You might also experience constipation, and the symptoms can start before your period actually arrives. Dweck tells Bustle that hormones are to blame. "This is in part due to the hormonal fluctuations that occurs (mainly progesterone), which alters intestinal motility," she says via email. Progesterone is a hormone that thickens your uterine lining, and you can also blame it for any pesky period cravings. The hormone can also impact your digestive system in some unpleasant ways. When estrogen or progesterone are out of whack in your body, they can contribute to irritable bowel syndrome, so it makes sense that your stomach gets weird when your hormone levels are changing. Dweck says that changing your diet during your period can also influence your poop. If you have irregular bowel movements when you're not on your period or if you notice things getting worse over time, Dweck says you should seek medical help. We already know that hormones can affect our digestive system, but what else causes your stomach to freak out? Read on to find out three reasons you may be hanging out on the toilet during your period.