When it comes to periods, there’s a lot we still don’t talk about. But we want to change that here at WUKA. We want everyone who bleeds to have the confidence to speak out about the issues that matter- and part of that is talking about the things that we sometimes believe only happen to us, and us alone. The truth is that they happen to us all- we just don’t talk about them! Take period bum pain, for example…
What is period bum pain?
The menstrual cycle is amazing, but it can bring with it a whole variety of weird and wonderful ailments and issues. We might not experience them all, and our cycles vary from person to person, but there’s one thing we do know for sure- we don’t talk about period bum pain enough.
So what is period bum pain? You probably already know it well. Too well. Those stabbing pains in the bum when on your period, a little like a knife being jabbed into your bum. Those pains you don’t really mention, and you probably never realised are actually quite common. That’s period bum pain, also known as period pain in the bum.
The medical term for period bum pain is actually Proctalgia Fugax- which just means temporary rectal pain. It’s unpredictable, so doctors aren’t able to tell you when you’re more likely to experience it, and it’s not easy for scientists to research ether, so very little is known about it for sure.
What causes period bum pain?
Period bum pain is intense but temporary- thank goodness- and it happens when cramps occur in your pelvic floor muscles, anal sphincter muscles or rectum muscles.
During your period, your body releases hormones to help the uterus contract, so that it can shed it’s lining. This triggers the release of prostaglandin, which causes period cramps. These contractions can also occur in the rectal muscles, and this can cause muscle spasms or cramps- aka, period bum pain.
If you have particularly heavy periods, you might experience intense period cramps too, as the contractions work harder to break the lining of the uterus down, making period bum pain more intense too.
Conditions such as endometrisosis can also play a role in how intense your period bum pain is; it’s also thought that constipation can be a trigger for period bum pain too.
Is period bum pain normal?
There are loads of period related complaints that are actually very common- period bum pain being one of them - and we’d know this if we talked about it more. Just like Period Poop (yes, it is normal to poo more on your period, and to experience changes to your bowel movements during your cycle) , bum pain is a normal, albeit it annoying, part of the menstrual cycle for many people. We just don’t realise it, and we’ll never normalise it if we don’t talk about it.
What can I do about period bum pain?
So is it a case of just putting up with period bum pain and accepting it as part of your menstrual cycle? Not necessarily.
Taking steps to ease period cramps can help to ease period bum pain too. So try to avoid eating foods that you know trigger cramps for you- the usual culprits are sugary, fatty and highly processed foods, alcohol and caffeine. If you often end up constipated during your period, try some gentle yoga or other exercise to stimulate your bowels naturally, and make sure you drink plenty of water. It also helps to keep up with pelvic floor exercises too.
Luckily, period bum pain is usually very fleeting, and over before you know it- but if it does linger, you can take over the counter pain relief to ease it. Speak to your doctor if you’re concerned, or if the pain is so intense you can’t carry out your usual activities.
Why does my bum hurt during my period?
As levels of progesterone drop towards the end of your cycle, the lining of the uterus begins to break down; contractions help this process.
The contractions cause the muscles of the abdomens to squeeze the blood vessels, triggering a release of prostaglandins, which prompts a pain response. The contractions cause cramps and spasms in the muscles, mainly in the abdomen, but this can happen in the rectal muscles too. The result? Bum pain.
Does period pain feel like poo pain?
Period pains often feel like a dull ache across your abdomen, lower back and sometimes into your leg. They can also sometimes be sharp and intense.
Period pains can intensify when you use the loo, plus they can be felt lower down in the pelvis which can feel a lot like bowel cramps. Many people also find they poo more on their period, as the abdominal cramps stimulate cramps in the bowel too.
If you experience lots of pain when having a poo, speak to your doctor for advice.
What’s the difference between period cramps and bowel cramps?
Period cramps are usually felt lower down, in your abdomen, and can radiate towards the lower back. Bowel cramps are higher up in the tummy and sometimes accompanied with gas. Lots of people find that bowel cramps intensify with period cramps, and vice versa.