Have you ever noticed a change in your bowel movements before the start of your periods? Well, you’re not alone! Many people experience constipation leading up to the day you get your period. In addition, many experience larger or loosened poops right around the start of their period. You may also see a change in consistency, color, frequency, and surprisingly even the smell!
Why Do Women Get "period poops"?
This is because progesterone and prostaglandins coincide with your poop cycle. It targets not just your uterus but also affects parts of your digestive organs.
Dr. Jaclyn Tolentino, Juna’s Women’s Health Expert and Hormonal health specialist, states "Many women have digestive symptoms related to their menstrual cycle, particularly during or in the days leading up to their period. Some people tend to experience diarrhea during their period, while others may have constipation and bloating. It's not uncommon to have a sudden change in bowel behavior compared to your baseline; conversely, those who experience chronic digestive issues may find those exacerbated during their period."
"The most likely culprit for these digestive changes is the fluctuations of hormones, but one other factor here is prostaglandins that are created during these hormonal changes. Prostaglandins are substances that act like hormones in our body, stimulating the action of tissue, among other things. Prostaglandins are responsible for the cramping we experience during our periods, since they stimulate the uterus to contract and shed the uterine lining. They can also exert an influence over the GI tract, which may explain why some women experience diarrhea or loose stools during their period - one of the most common digestive symptoms reported." - Dr. Jaclyn Tolentino
The Role of Progesterone and Prostaglandins: Progesterone, a key hormone in the second half of the menstrual cycle, plays a pivotal role in preparing the uterine lining for potential pregnancy. However, progesterone can also impact the digestive system, leading to changes in bowel movements. Additionally, prostaglandins, hormone-like substances produced in response to hormonal fluctuations, contribute to uterine contractions and shedding of the uterine lining during menstruation. Interestingly, prostaglandins can also influence the gastrointestinal tract, causing symptoms like diarrhea, loose stools, and cramping during menstruation.
Why Women Experience Period Bloating
Period bloating, also known as premenstrual bloating, is a common symptom experienced by many women in the days leading up to their menstrual cycle. It is primarily attributed to hormonal fluctuations, particularly changes in estrogen and progesterone levels, that occur during the menstrual cycle. These hormonal changes can lead to various physiological and fluid shifts in the body, resulting in bloating and other symptoms.
Here's how it generally works:
Hormonal Changes: During the menstrual cycle, the levels of estrogen and progesterone in a woman's body fluctuate. These hormonal changes can affect the body's fluid balance and cause the retention of sodium and water.
Fluid Retention: The rise in estrogen levels can lead to increased water retention in the body's tissues, particularly in the abdomen and breasts. This can result in feelings of bloating and fullness.
Digestive Changes: Hormonal fluctuations can also influence gastrointestinal motility, causing the digestive system to slow down. This can lead to constipation and a feeling of heaviness in the abdomen.
Gas Accumulation: Hormonal changes can impact digestion and the movement of gas through the intestines. This can result in an accumulation of gas, contributing to bloating and discomfort. Try Juna's Gut Health Detox Collection to debloat and relieve gas.
Inflammation: Some research suggests that the hormonal changes associated with the menstrual cycle may also lead to mild inflammation in the body, which can contribute to bloating and discomfort.
It's important to note that while period bloating is common, its severity and impact can vary from person to person. Lifestyle factors, such as diet, exercise, stress, and sleep patterns, can also play a role in exacerbating or alleviating bloating symptoms.
If the bloating is severe, persistent, or accompanied by other concerning symptoms, it's a good idea to consult a healthcare professional. They can help rule out any underlying medical conditions and provide guidance on managing premenstrual symptoms effectively.
Dr. Jaclyn Tolentino, Juna’s Women’s Health Expert and Hormonal health specialist, states common causes to be water retention related to hormonal changes, poor detoxification through your digestive tract (including detoxification of hormones) ----> it's recommended to focus on liver (phases 1-3 detox) support and large intestine support, increase your fiber intake, underlying GYN condition that may also be associated with digestive issues that isn't just PMS, and can be looked into further: Examples: endometriosis, uterine fibroids.
You can help your body detox and debloat during these times and many Juna customers are experiencing benefits combating period bloat with the Detox Collection. Felicia said "Truly the BEST product ever! The Juna World Detox Drops totally cleansed and detoxed my body! The chlorophyll in this product cleanses toxins from your body, especially from your liver. I was told the Detox Drops cleanse your liver of old estrogen, which then allows your body to produce new estrogen instead of recycling the old hormones. This dramatically decreased my PMS symptoms! I no longer have cramping, or abdominal and lower back pain because of the consistent use of this product! I will forever and always love Juna World's Detox Drops!!!!! Plus they taste amazing!" - Felicia W.
The Gut-Vagina Axis: How Gut Health Impacts Vaginal Health
Turns out, the gut and the va-jay-jay are tight like besties, and the microbes in your gut can seriously influence what’s going on down there. So, be mindful of that processed diet, ease up on the stress, and don’t go overboard with antibiotics – they can wreak havoc on your gut’s good vibes. Dr. Trubow, the guru of gynecology, says, “If the vagina is not in harmony, look to the gut to restore the peace.” Load up on Juna’s Detox Enzymes to keep that gut flora happy and healthy for a thriving vaginal landscape!
Gut health and vaginal health are interconnected in a complex way through a combination of the gut-vagina axis and the microbiome. The gut-vagina axis refers to the bidirectional communication between the gut and the vagina, where changes in one area can influence the other. The microbiome plays a crucial role in maintaining the health of both the gut and the vagina. Here's how gut health can impact vaginal health:
- Microbiome Composition: The gut and vaginal environments are populated by diverse communities of microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, and fungi. The balance and diversity of these microbial communities are essential for overall health. A disruption in the gut microbiome, often due to poor diet, stress, antibiotic use, or other factors, can potentially lead to imbalances in the vaginal microbiome as well.
- Immune System Regulation: A significant portion of the body's immune system resides in the gut-associated lymphoid tissue. A healthy gut microbiome helps regulate the immune response and inflammation throughout the body, including the vaginal area. Imbalances in gut health could potentially affect immune responses in the vaginal region, making it more susceptible to infections or inflammation.
- Hormonal Balance: The gut microbiome can influence hormonal metabolism and balance by playing a role in metabolizing hormones such as estrogen. Fluctuations in estrogen levels can impact vaginal health, including moisture levels and susceptibility to infections. An imbalanced gut microbiome might contribute to hormonal imbalances that indirectly affect vaginal health.
- Infections and Inflammation: Disruptions in gut health can lead to systemic inflammation, which can potentially contribute to inflammation in other parts of the body, including the vagina. Inflammation in the vaginal area can increase the risk of infections and other issues.
- Translocation of Microbes: In some cases, an imbalanced gut microbiome can lead to an increased permeability of the gut lining (leaky gut), allowing harmful bacteria or substances to enter the bloodstream. These microbes and substances could potentially travel to the vaginal area and disrupt its microbial balance.
- Nutrient Absorption: A healthy gut is crucial for proper nutrient absorption. Nutrients obtained from the diet play a role in maintaining the health of various body systems, including the reproductive system and vaginal tissues.
To promote both gut and vaginal health
In Dr. Trubow’s practice, recurrent BV often relates back to the health of the gut microbiome. This is because the gut and vaginal microbiomes are closely connected, and the bacteria and other microbes in the gut can influence the composition of microbes in the vagina. Everything from an overly processed diet to excessive stress to antibiotic use can negatively impact the gut. If the vagina is not in balance, look to the gut to balance it out,” says Dr. Trubow. “Focus on the elimination of processed foods, sugar, and alcohol and increase rest.” Then, add in more nutrient-dense fare such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, seeds, anti-inflammatory oils such as olive oil, and high-quality fish and meat.
- Maintain a Balanced Diet: Consuming a diet rich in fiber, whole foods, and probiotics can support both gut and vaginal health. Detox enzymes can also help boost nutrient absorption for your gut.
- Stay Hydrated: Proper hydration supports mucous membrane health, including vaginal tissues. Try Adding Juna’s Detox Drops to your water to get an extra boost from your water intake.
- Manage Stress: Chronic stress can impact gut health, so stress management is essential.
- Limit Antibiotic Use: Overuse of antibiotics can disrupt both gut and vaginal microbiomes. If you experience digestive or vaginal health issues post-antibiotic use, try Juna’s Gut Therapy as a total reset for your body’s microbiome.
- Practice Good Hygiene: Gently clean the vaginal area using mild, unscented products and avoid douching.
Consult a Healthcare Provider: If you're experiencing persistent vaginal issues or gut problems, consult a healthcare provider for proper diagnosis and treatment.
In this extensive exploration of the connection between menstrual cycles, digestive health, and vaginal well-being, we've uncovered the fascinating interplay between hormones, prostaglandins, gut health, and vaginal health. Period poops and period bloat are intricately linked to hormonal fluctuations and the effects of prostaglandins on the gastrointestinal system. Meanwhile, the gut-vagina axis underscores the significance of a balanced gut microbiome in maintaining optimal vaginal health. By understanding these connections, women can make informed choices to support their overall well-being, from managing digestive symptoms during menstruation to fostering a harmonious gut-vagina relationship for enhanced vaginal health.