Health

Why You Poop More on Your Period

March 3rd 2016

By:
Taylor Bell

Besides the dreaded cramps, bloating, and nausea, you might have noticed that your period changes up your bowel movements too. And by change, we mean you're heading to the bathroom for number two way more than usual. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Pooping more on you period may not be the easy thing to deal with, but it's a normal process with a pretty simple explanation.

You can blame the way your body is wired.

Part of the reason you poop more on your menstrual cycle is due to a hike in prostaglandins, hormone-like compounds that significantly increase during that time of month. Their main role is to help contract the uterine muscles to push out the thickened lining — that ends up being your period. But often prostaglandins often make their way over to the bowels and give the intestines and bowels a squeeze, causing the stools to loosen and a trip to the bathroom. 

“Looser stools than normal, having to go to the bathroom more often, and feeling more urgency — like, I gotta go now — are all very common side effects of a sharp rise in prostaglandins,” OB-GYN Jennifer Gunter told Women's Health magazine.

Progesterone is another hormone that plays a role in how much you poop. This hormone is produced at a high level right before your period to help the uterine lining to thicken, and the increase in progesterone can cause constipation. But at the beginning of your period, the progesterone levels drop dramatically, so those bathroom trips for number two become more frequent, according to Popular Science.

Stress doesn't help, either.

Any woman woman can tell you her level of stress is sure to increase while she's on her period. This is actually one of the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), which 75 percent of women may experience, according to Live Science. But operating on anxiety-mode can also impact your pooping habits.

Why?

“There are more neurons in the gastrointestinal tract than in your brain and spinal cord,” Gunter told Women's Health Magazine. “When you get nervous, it throws your bowels out of whack.”

Essentially, your gut — which measures about 30 feet end to end from the esophagus to the anus — is your body's "second brain" and it processes emotions and stress too. Stress can stimulate the digestive system, so it's likely you will go more when you're feeling on edge.

Although there is still a lot of mystery surrounding period pain, at least you know your surge in bathroom trips isn't weird at all.

Related: Why Your Period Is Being Unfairly Taxed