3 Reasons You Poop All The Time When You’re On Your Period

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.


You're Eating The Wrong Foods

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Listen, I'm not going to tell you what to eat on your period or any other time. I treat myself to sugary lattes and all the salty foods my heart desires when I'm on my period (as well as any other time I want them), so I totally understand the struggle of cravings. But it isn't exactly surprising that eating junk food can also make you poop more, as well as make your poop less, well, ideal. According to Dweck, "fluid intake, fiber, processed foods, overly salty, and sugary foods are a few influencers." If you're looking to avoid diarrhea, keeping your diet as regular as possible during your period and avoiding processed foods can help stop your stomach from freaking out.


You Need To Up Your Exercise Game

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I am not a fan of people telling me to exercise, especially when I'm already in excruciating pain thanks to cramps, but it's one potential way to stop yourself from being uncomfortable. Dweck says that along with keeping your diet regular, tracking your cycle can help you prepare for your period, and you can exercise in the days leading up to it. Strenuous exercise is not recommended if you're dealing with period poop because you'll already be dehydrated, and exercise will cause you to lose even more electrolytes. But exercising regularly when you're not on your period can help regulate your digestive system and even strengthen it over time.


You're On The Wrong Form Of Birth Control

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Most types of birth control affect the hormones in your body by introducing estrogen and progestin (synthetic progesterone). Hormonal birth control like the pill helps regulate your hormone level, which could also help with your period poops. "Some women find the pill helpful to regulate hormone levels and mitigate PMS symptoms, including bowel habit changes," Dweck says.

If you're seriously struggling every month, talk to your doctor about your symptoms, and they may suggest a different form of birth control. Periods are already enough of a pain, and worrying about whether you'll make it to a bathroom in time just makes things even more stressful. Talking to a medical professional can help you come up with a solution so you don't have to spend your entire period sitting on a toilet.