On the list of questions I always wondered, but never really wanted to look up or ask, are a few inquiries as to why my body reacts to my period in such a horrible way. Bodies are weird and complex machines, to be sure, and there's almost always a reason for the strange things they do. So, why do you have diarrhea when you're on your period? Well, it turns out your body releases hormones that can cause the type of reactions that will leave you in the bathroom for a pretty significant amount of time. Isn't having a uterus fun, you guys?!
When you have your period, your body releases prostaglandins which, according to Women's Health, are "hormone-like compounds that have a ton of complex roles, including triggering the uterus to contract." Those prostaglandins can stray over into the bowel and affect that smooth muscle, as well as the uterus, causing you to suffer from diarrhea for the first few days of your period.
Weirdly enough, some women don't produce as much prostaglandin as others, so it's actually common for some menstruating humans to suffer from constipation during their period. If prostaglandin is causing havoc with your digestive system during your period, you can take an over-the-counter pain medicine 24 hours before your period starts, which can help prevent too many prostaglandins from floating around your body and sending you racing towards the bathroom (or looking for a laxative).
Another preventative measure you can take, according to Everyday Health, is cleaning up your diet to help your digestive system cope with the extra prostaglandins in your system during your period. Instead of loading up on chocolate, wine, and carbohydrates during your time of the month, consider a few alternatives. Everyday Health advises women to avoid salt, dairy, alcohol, and spicy foods during their period, too, in order to help their stomachs cope with the influx of hormones.
CNN says coffee, prunes, and an increase in water can make your poop more, so it's best to avoid them if you have period diarrhea. Of course, if you're prone to constipation during your period, you should consider adding the aforementioned foods and drink into your diet. Generally speaking, adding more fruits and vegetables that are full of fiber and can help your digestive system stay regular, regardless of the time of the month.
To add insult to injury, stress and anxiety can also add to your gastrointestinal difficulty. So if possible, Everyday Health advises you to try and limit stress and anxiety during your period. Again, easier said than done.
Prostaglandins aren't the only hormones involved in making your stomach upset throughout the month, either. From the time you ovulate, progesterone is released and slowly dissipates as you continue through your cycle and until your period starts. Progesterone can cause bloating, gas. and constipation, unfortunately, so you'll have that extra set of hormones to contest with, too.
The moral of the story? Don't let anyone tell you people with uteri aren't badasses. Clearly we are.