How does your menstrual cycle affect your digestion?

By Nikki Michelsen

Oct 21, 2022

How does your menstrual cycle affect your digestion?
There's no sugar coating it: period poops are a very real phenomenon. Ever notice how your stomach becomes more sensitive during the beginning of your period? or how your bowel movements are more frequent during your period? you're not alone — turns out the menstrual cycle has a very real effect on your gastrointestinal system (tbh what doesn't your period affect??). One study found that a whopping 73% of women experienced period-related digestive symptoms, making it clear it's time to shed some light on this overlooked, yet super common, topic.

So, what's the deal with period poop?

It seems as though we're always commiserating over painful cramps and never-ending bloating, but period poop is a hush-hush topic that doesn't get enough attention in the menstrual care space. Like most things related to the menstrual cycle, the changes we feel in our digestive system are caused by hormonal fluctuations. A quick review on what's going on hormonally during our period: the reproductive hormone progesterone (an anti-inflammatory agent) slowly declines as you near the start of your period, causing your uterus to enter an inflammatory state. in response, a group of chemical messengers called prostaglandins activates white blood cells and stimulates your uterus to contract in order to help the uterine lining begin to shed — aka your period begins.
The prostaglandins combined with a drop in estrogen and progesterone are said to increase the number of bowel movements (and the intensity of said bowel movements) throughout our period. What's worse — it's around this same time that our cramps are usually at their worst, meaning it's common to be combating cramps and diarrhea. someone send help. 

What can you do to alleviate the discomfort?

The good news is there's a few ways you can prepare your body for these hormonal changes to alleviate some of the pain and discomfort. 

Up your fiber intake

If you're opting for an all-natural route, you'd be wise to start loading up your diet with more fiber-rich foods like leafy greens, oatmeal, bananas, figs, prunes, garbanzos, edamame, berries, brussels sprouts, and avocados to name a handful. Staying super hydrated and taking time to exercise are also major wins for your body, helping your stool stay soft and making it easier to pass. Because when it comes to poop, we all know it's better out than in. 

Pass the probiotics

In case you're new around here, we're huge fan of probiotics. Probiotics are healthy, beneficial bacteria that work wonders for your gut, vaginal microbiome and skin by keeping bad bacteria in check. You can find probiotics in fermented foods like sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha, kimchi, pickled ginger and yoghurt. If you're looking for an all-natural probiotics supplement to easily take daily — look no further. Our bac it up probiotics are made with a signature formula that contains 4 billion live cultures and five potent bacterial strains to help boost both your vaginal and gut health. A capsule a day keeps bad bacteria (and bloating) at bay. 

Test out natural remedies

Peppermint tea has been a tried and true natural remedy to alleviate bloating and ease digestion for centuries. According to a study, peppermint was shown to relieve stomach pain, lessen bloating and regulate bowel movements. Another natural remedy superstar: ginger tea. As a well known anti-inflammatory, ginger has been shown to ease nausea, settle an upset tummy and relieve muscles aches.
Last but not least, we'd be remiss to leave out our all-natural elixir yin & tonic. Meticulously crafted with ginger, fenugreek, cramp bark, motherwort, dong quai, marigold and added vitamins and minerals — vitamin b1, iron, magnesium, zinc, iodine, vitamin b6 and vitamin b12 — yin & tonic is a godsend when it comes to showing those period symptoms whose boss.

have a question regarding your period? or want to share some of your own tips and tricks for aiding digestion whilst bleeding? hit us up on instagram @im_ohne or shoot us an email at as always - bleed easy, babe. x
Ohne Team
Image credit: Jannes Jacobs