The surprising reason you get constipated during your period

Some of us have had our periods for decades, but are still mystified about what’s going on down there and why. In the new HelloGiggles series “Period Talk,” we’ll ask gynecologists our biggest questions about all things period-related and finally get the answers to what is really going on . . . because everyone should be up-to-date on that time of the month!

Next up, we’re talkin’ about poop, guys.

Why do some of us get sooooo constipated during our periods?

We’ve all felt a little. . . backed up during that time of the month at some point in our lives. Coupled with cramps and bloating, period-related constipation can be extra hard to deal with. So what gives? According to Dr. Tara Harris, an OB/GYN at Baylor Obstetrics and Gynecology at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women in Houston, you get constipated during your period one pesky hormone.


“Progesterone is the culprit,” Harris told HelloGiggles. “You get a progesterone surge a few days before your cycle starts, and progesterone is notorious for slowing down intestinal transit of food; hence, constipation.”

Added Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak Obstetrician-Gynecologist Mark Werner, M.D., progesterone “is a hormone that can relax smooth muscle” and your “bowels are filled with smooth muscles.” So when your period is on it’s way and your progesterone levels are high, your bowels “may not work as well,” he said.

To keep yourself regular during your period, you’ll want to munch on high-fiber foods like lentils, lima beans, split peas, prunes and bran. (Bran muffins, anyone?) You can also try over-the-counter medications to keep things running smoothly and of course, make sure to drink lots of fluids. Your period is already uncomfortable enough, so let’s keep things moving down there.

More from Period Talk:

This is the best birth control to manage cramps

This is why your boobs get so sore before your period

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