If we can talk about period sex, anal, and defecation-induced orgasms, then I think we can all be grown-ups here and talk about period farts. They are a thing, and they are worse than regular farts. And where there is gas, there is usually shit, so we can talk about that too. It’s really just science, folks.
Some people are gassier than others, and while I don’t think I toot a lot, I know I am more flatulent during my period. I kind of disgust myself actually. I mean why not make that time of the month even more horrific? Why not clear a room with a fart so bad even you can’t stand yourself? And if that kind of gas doesn’t lead to a mad dash for the toilet—the aftermath of period diarrhea is super fun to clean, huh?—you may be on the other end of the spectrum and experience constipation so painful you only wish you were creating a crime scene in your toilet.
If none of this resonates with you, congratulations. Also, I am skeptical. But if you happen to be living with someone who menstruates and stays fresh throughout, then you should thank them now because shit can get real rank. Here’s why.
Blame Hormones For All The Things
Hormones, specifically estrogen, between ovulation and menstruation fuck up our moods real good in the form of PMS or PMDD. Once we start to bleed, progesterone taps in, and when it spikes, it does some crappy things to our body. Board certified OB-GYN Dr. Jennifer Ashton explains what happens: “The GI tract has receptors for progesterone, which may cause relaxation of the intestines—or spasms of the intestines, depending on what the level is. A lot of the time, women will have diarrhea or more frequent bowel movements while they’re having their period due to the changes in progesterone levels.”
And just to clarify, it’s not just women who get periods. Anyone with a uterus may have the ability to menstruate, including transgender men and nonbinary folks like me.
On the other end of things, progesterone could cause constipation and gas build-up. It also adds to relaxed intestines. Combine this with your body’s creation of prostaglandins, a chemical which can trigger cramps during your period. As your uterus is tensing and relaxing in an attempt to shed its lining, your bowels are being contracted too. This sets you up for some pretty great chances at wind that will break you and the people nearby.
Blame Anatomy Too
Before we start to shed our uterine wall—wheeee!—its lining thickens to get ready for implantation and pregnancy. As it grows, our blood-filled uterus presses against our colon, again leading to our good friends known as constipation and bloating.
Ashton adds this: “Because the uterus is right in front of the intestines and the colon, some people theorize that there is direct contact of almost microscopic uterine contractions. This indirect content with the colon may trigger more frequent bowel movements.”
And gas. When our period starts, the pressure is released from our colon, making it easier and nearly impossible not to poop or fart. Picture your uterus as a sat on whoopee cushion or untied, air filled balloon. The air has to go somewhere. And according to Shrek, it’s better out than in.
And That Smell? The Fuck?
Hormones can also be blamed for the dead animal smell coming from your ass. The bacteria in our stomach changes with the cycle of hormones each month. The smell of your gas changes as the bacterial fermentation changes during menstruation. So as the progesterone spikes and the prostaglandins work to squeeze the intestines, you are not only going to fart, you are going to fart really smelly, bacteria-laced farts.
Also, it’s not like we’re able to show much restraint when it comes to food during those few days right before and after the bleeding starts. The cravings, the give-me-all-the-ice-cream-chocolate-and-pizza-I-don’t-fucking-care-if-I-ever-see-lettuce-ever-again mood kicks in. We eat our way through foods heavy in carbs, dairy, and sugar. But these food groups don’t break down until they reach the large intestine, causing us to release not just silent and deadly, but loud and lethal gas.
We bleeders really don’t have a fighting chance. Probiotic supplements might help to pump good bacteria into the gut and reduce the power of period farts. Avoiding certain gas-producing foods like beans might help too. To help reduce the production of prostaglandins, reducing pain and cramping, OTC anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen and naproxen can help relieve some discomfort. And if constipation is your problem, lots of water and fiber will help keep things moving.
Honestly, periods are just an all-around shitty situation. But at least you can blame science when you kill the house plants with the smell of your bowel movements and colon-clearing farts.