Period Poops: 4 Reasons Why You Have More Bowel Movements

Period poops are a side effect you may experience during your time of the month.

The changes in bowel habits, offensive smells, and other digestive symptoms that women may experience while menstruating are not often talked about, and many women have no idea what to do about these symptoms. 

If you are one of these women, read on. In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about period poops, including what causes them and tips to manage them.  

Why do I poop so much on my period?

Your body goes through many changes before and during your period. Some of these changes may cause you to poo more than you usually do. Here’s why:

1) Prostaglandins

Some hormone-like chemicals that may contribute to your more frequent trips to the bathroom are called prostaglandins. 

The cells that form your uterine lining begin to produce an increased amount of prostaglandins just before menstruation. 

This causes the muscles of your uterus to contract and helps it shed its lining. This effect of prostaglandins is the reason why women may suffer from cramps during their periods.  

If you secrete more prostaglandins than you need, the chemicals can get into your bloodstream and affect nearby organs like your bowels the same way they affect the uterus. 

Prostaglandins also cause the body to absorb less water, which softens stools and raises the risk of diarrhea. 

2) Hormones

The hormonal changes that occur during your menstrual cycle may also affect organs apart from your uterus – e.g., your intestines. 

Right before your period, a hormone called progesterone rises. In some women, this hormone can affect the digestive system, leading to either constipation or diarrhea. 

3) Stress and anxiety

The emotional effects of hormonal changes during your period can also have an impact on the digestive tract and increase the frequency of bowel movements, especially before your period begins.

4) Diet

Period cravings (which may occur as a result of progesterone) are perfectly normal and may offer comfort, but they can also be the reason for frequent bowel movements during your period. 

Get Your FREE Sleep Guide

  • Learn how to naturally improve your sleep
  • Dietary recommendations, supplements, and lifestyle changes
  • Developed exclusively by our medical doctor

By clicking “Download Now”, I agree to Ben's Natural Health Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.

Are period poops normal?

Yes, period poops are perfectly normal. A lot of women report changes in the texture, length, and smell of their poop during menstruation.

 In fact, one study found that 73% of women had digestive symptoms related to their periods. So, while there may not be popular tales of such, period poops are real, and you are not alone if you are experiencing them.

Why do I get constipated on my period?

Once again, hormonal fluctuations are likely the cause. Medical literature indicates that progesterone can affect the smooth muscles in your bowels and slow down the movement of food through your intestines. This could lead to constipation.

Constipation during your period can also be increased by some medical conditions, such as endometriosis, ovarian cysts, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). 

Why does it hurt to poop while on my period?

A few things can cause you to feel pain when you poop while menstruating.

1) Prostaglandins

We talked about prostaglandins earlier on and how they influence period cramps. Their effect can also be exerted on the rectum and cause pain when you pass stool. 

2) Constipation

Another reason could be the production of firmer poops (which are more difficult to pass) as a result of constipation.

3) Straining

In addition, because poop is firmer when you’re constipated, straining while pooping can make period cramps worse because the muscles involved are close to each other. 

When you strain, it increases pressure in the abdomen. This can put pressure on the muscles in your uterus and make menstrual cramps more intense. 

Why does period poop smell so bad?

It is not uncommon for women to notice foul-smelling poop during menstruation. 

The exact cause of this is not yet known. However, one possible explanation is the influence of progesterone hormones on eating habits during periods. 

Elevated levels of progesterone before your period have been associated with a tendency to eat compulsively. 

This is why you might feel the urge to go for indulgent treats like a bowl of ice cream or a bar of chocolate during that time of the month. This change in eating habits may predispose you to period poop smells.

The discharge of blood and the shedding of your uterine lining may also add to the general unpleasant odor.

organic garlic supplement

Do I have to change my tampon every time I poop?

As long as you remember to be careful with the timing and sanitation, changing your tampon after each poop is not necessary  – unless there is a fecal stain on your tampon or its string after you use the toilet. 

If feces accidentally touch the tampon string, it may carry harmful bacteria, which could potentially lead to vaginal infections. In that case, you must change the tampon. 

While there is generally no need for you to go through the hassle of changing tampons every time you poop, if you prefer to change your tampons after every bowel movement, it is entirely up to you.

To keep things clean when using tampons, it is important to wash your hands both before and after using the restroom. 

Also, to avoid getting poop on it, you can hold the string to your front side while you poo. 

How do I stop my tampon from coming out during bowel movements?

Bearing down when passing stool can cause your tampon to dislodge. Below, we give you some tips that may help prevent this:

  • Make sure you are inserting the tampon correctly by following the directions on the package. 
  • Consume more fiber-rich foods and try to stay hydrated to prevent constipation. This will help stool pass easier and reduce the amount of pressure you use to poo. 
  • Avoid unnecessary straining during bowel movements. 
  • Consider using alternative brands or varieties like menstrual cups instead of tampons, as they are more likely to stay in place.

Tips to manage period poops

While changes in bowel habits during your period are perfectly normal, they may cause a lot of discomfort. Below, we give you some general advice that may help:

1) Drink water

Water promotes the general health of your digestive system and softens feces, making it easier to pass. 

Aim to drink at least eight glasses of water every day, especially because of the increased fluid loss during that time of the month.

2) Consume fiber-rich foods

Include fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in your diet for optimal digestion. Also, pay attention to how certain foods affect you and adjust your diet accordingly.

It is best to minimize or completely avoid junk foods. Try looking for healthy alternatives when cravings hit. For example, you could eat baked potatoes instead of fries. 

3) Try stool softeners

If you experience significant difficulty passing stool despite lifestyle changes, consult a healthcare provider. They may recommend using mild laxatives or stool softeners. 

4) Stay active

Regular exercise can help keep your bowel movements regular and reduce period cramps as well as the pain that may come with period poops.

5) Consider taking ibuprofen

Apart from its pain-relieving properties, ibuprofen also functions as a prostaglandin inhibitor. This action may help to lessen the intensity of digestive symptoms associated with periods. 


  • Period poops refer to digestive changes that women may experience while menstruating. These include constipation, diarrhea, pain while defecating, and a more offensive odor of feces.
  • These are all normal symptoms that women may experience during their time of the month. They occur as a result of increased prostaglandins and hormonal changes.
  • Maintaining adequate hydration, modifying your diet, and exercising regularly may help reduce these symptoms. 
  • Keep in mind that every person is unique, so you may need to experiment a little before you find what suits you the best. 
  • It is also important to consult with a healthcare provider for individualized advice if the symptoms are persistent or bothersome.

Explore More

horny after period

The Real Reason Why You’re More Horny After Your Period.


  1. Bernstein, M.T., Graff, L.A., Avery, L. et al. Gastrointestinal symptoms before and during menses in healthy women. BMC Women’s Health 14, 14. 2014.
  2. Alqudah M, Al-Shboul O, Al Dwairi A, Al-U´Datt DG, Alqudah A. Progesterone inhibitory role on gastrointestinal motility. Physiol Res. 2022 Apr 30;71(2):193-198. doi: 10.33549/physiolres.934824. Epub 2022 Mar 28. PMID: 35344673; PMCID: PMC9150547.
  3. Racine SE, Culbert KM, Keel PK, Sisk CL, Burt SA, Klump KL. Differential associations between ovarian hormones and disordered eating symptoms across the menstrual cycle in women. Int J Eat Disord. 2012 Apr;45(3):333-44. doi: 10.1002/eat.20941. Epub 2011 Jun 7. PMID: 21656540; PMCID: PMC3170673.
  4. Brotman RM, Melendez JH, Ghanem KG. A case control study of anovaginal distance and bacterial vaginosis. Int J STD AIDS. 2011 Apr;22(4):231-3. doi: 10.1258/ijsa.2011.010307. PMID: 21515758; PMCID: PMC3528012.
  5. Pulkkinen MO, Csapo AI. Effect of ibuprofen on menstrual blood prostaglandin levels in dysmenorrheic women. Prostaglandins. 1979 Jul;18(1):137-42. doi: 10.1016/s0090-6980(79)80031-3. PMID: 392621.

Top Products

Total Health


Glucose Control