The Let's Talk About Series: Let's Talk About Poop

Updated: Jun 28, 2020

Understanding what comes out of your digestive system is just as important as understanding what goes in.

Similar to honest conversations about women's health topics, it seems speaking about poop is also taboo in our society. But as a daily life function, how we are pooping is just as crucial as what we are eating. We care about and understand what we put into our bodies, but we should also take note of how it comes out of our bodies, because understanding and being mindful of our excrement can be a way to see how the inside of our body is doing at a particular moment.  In our "Let's Talk About" series will discuss things that are commonly taboo, from poop, to vaginas, to vaginal excrements, and more. Feel free to send us the things you'd like to learn about your body that may feel taboo by responding with a note to this email and we will get them on our list of things to talk about. But for now, let's start from the bottom! Pooping varies in terms of every body, but here are some general scientifically backed notes on how pooping varies in the many stages of the female cycle. 

How pooping varies during your menstrual cycle.   Period poops—we have all heard about them, experienced them, and may somewhat fear them. But let's start by understanding them. The reason the time of month brings a special kind of energy to your bowels is two-fold. First with progesterone levels naturally rising in the body, women can suffer from increased diarrhea or constipation. Progesterone encourages muscles to relax, so increased muscular contractions can occur during menstruation. For those who suffer from chronic bowel issues, things may feel worse during this time and may even exacerbate PMS symptoms before your period. These hormones also decrease the body's ability to absorb water, which may lead to looser or more watery stool.  Keep in mind that the week before our moon cycle, we may give into cravings (think chocolate and ice cream) more readily that usual, which may also lead to the increased upset tummy and gassiness associated with bowel discomfort leading up to the menstrual cycle.  How pooping varies during pregnancy. During early pregnancy the hormonal fluctuations the body experiences, as well as dietary changes, and the nerves associated with being pregnant may lead to increased levels of constipation or diarrhea. In the second and third trimester, constipation can get worse due to the iron in prenatal vitamins and the intestinal tract feeling the increased pressure as the baby grows and begins to push against the intestines. Progesterone also plays a part in making constipation worse, because although it primes the body for the upcoming delivery, it also slows the digestive tract down by relaxing the surrounding muscles. Hemorrhoids are also common during pregnancy, due to increased blood flow, and the fact that your uterus is putting pressure against your pelvic flow. Constipation also increases the likelihood of causing or aggravating hemorrhoids. Maintaining a healthy balanced diet during pregnancy, and consuming a healthy amount of fiber and at least 8-12 glasses of water a day can keep the digestive tract moving regularly.  How pooping varies during menopause. As the hormones shift during menopause, increased gas, bloating, and constipation may occur. Hormone replacement therapy may aggravate these changes in bowel movements. After menopause the body may have trouble absorbing certain nutrients, so working with a nutritionist or healthcare professional to ensure your diet is healthy and balanced is an important way to keep the digestive tract flowing, and absorb the nutrients needed during this phase of life.  Managing female digestive issues.

  • Stay hydrated throughout the day.

  • Eat a balanced diet. Be sure to include foods rich in fiber. 

  • Maintain a healthy weight for your body. 

  • Exercise daily, whether it is a walk, run, or yoga session.

  • Eat foods rich in probiotics, to maintain healthy gut bacteria levels. 

  • Keep stress and anxiety levels down. Meditate, sleep, relax. 

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