Don't read if you're not into period or poo chat. You've been warned.
Listen, we’ll just get straight to the point. Period poos are nothing like normal poos. They’re a completely different animal.
At that time of the month it seems like you poo more, more often, with accompanying feelings and smells that you never feel or smell normally.
This is something women have only recently started talking about, with some degree of relief that we all share the experience:
Young girls need to be warned about period poos when they do sex ed. Fuck me ?
— l u c y (@asdfghjkLUCY_) June 28, 2017
Boys will never understand the horror that is period poos
— shanny (@shannonmayb_) January 3, 2018
But why are period poos SO bad? We must turn to science for the answer. According to Emily Rothschild, the woman behind the YouTube channel Gross Science, there are two chemicals to blame for the poos from hell.
During the first few days of your period, your body releases prostaglandins, which causes the smooth muscles of your uterus to contract and lose their lining, starting your cramps.
The thing is, the prostaglandins can also target your bowels – this can lead to diarrhoea for some women, and a general increase in bowel movements for others. The worse your cramps, the more you poo, which just seems cruel.
The other chemical wreaking havoc on your bowels is progesterone, which pipes up while you’re ovulating to tell the uterus to thicken its lining to support a potentially fertilised egg. But it can also cause constipation, which explains why you can feel bloated and rotten in the days leading up to your period.
So, to recap – progesterone makes you feel bloated and constipated before your period, and during your period prostaglandins make you poop. Great!
Can you do anything to control your period poos? You sure can. Speaking to Cosmopolitan, gynaecologist Dr Mira Kaga said you should get on top of your period schedule and take ibuprofen just before it’s due to arrive.
Ibuprofen will block some of those nasty prostaglandins, and help prevent cramping and mad poos. Make sure to drink lots of water to keep everything ticking along nicely. If you’re in deep discomfort, and there’s no pattern to your cramping or diarrhoea, contact your GP – it could be the sign of another health issue, like irritable bowel syndrome.
But if you’re prone to constipation followed by pooping sprees during your period, feel secure in the knowledge that it is normal. Solidarity!