Yes, TikTok Is Right: Butt Pain During Your Period Is Totally Common

More videos on the viral video platform are taking notice of that literal pain in the butt.

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Your period more than likely comes with a bunch of shit that you dread each month: cramps, food cravings, headaches, mood swings, night sweats, and period poop. Recently, however, TikTok users are rightfully pointing out a period symptom that isn't talked about very often but is a literal pain in the butt.

Going viral on the video app these days are painfully relatable clips of folkslamenting about the "stab in your booty," aka that "sharp pain in your butthole" that randomly happens on your period. (IYKYK.) All humor aside, if you've ever felt butt cramps on your period, you're probably wondering why a literal pain in the ass is happening. Well, there's a reason, so keeping reading.

Why Does Your Butt Hurt On Your Period?

Much like everything else period-related, you can blame any aching in your tush on hormonal changes. Quick refresher: Hormones play a key role when it comes to regulating your menstrual cycle, which begins on day one of your period. If an egg isn't fertilized, the levels of hormones, such as estrogen (which helps regulate your period) and progesterone (which helps prep your uterus to receive and support said fertilized egg) decrease, resulting in the breakdown of the uterine lining and menstrual bleeding, according to the University of California San Francisco.

And while these hormonal shifts might seem like NBD, they can actually cause some uncomfortable side effects, including cramping, soreness, and sensitivity in your bowel, rectum, and anus. You can also add the three large, fleshy muscles of your butt to that list: the gluteus maximus (which is responsible for extending your hip as you squat, sit, and stand), the gluteus medius (which sits near the outside of your pelvis, helping to rotate your leg inward), and the gluteus minimus (which sits below the gluteus medius muscle and supports its function).

As for the sharp, shooting pains or muscle tension in and near your tush that you experience during your period? Yes, hormonal changes are to blame again — this time, however, you can point your finger at prostaglandins. "Prostaglandins are lipids and hormone-like substances, in this case, released by the uterus during menstruation," explains Alyssa Dweck, M.D., ob-gyn,and host of Business of the V podcast. "They typically cause uterine contractions and menstrual cramps," she notes, which can mean that your rectal and bowel muscles can also contract and lead to pain. In other words, when your period arrives, the endometrial cells that line your uterus break down and release these prostaglandins, which is why you might experience painful muscle spasms in the lower back, pelvis, and buttocks, according to Dr. Dweck.

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What Other Butt Pains Can You Get During Your Cycle?

Given prostaglandins also cause a buffet of fun period woes (cramps, bloating, and uterine swelling), you likely won't be surprised to know that they can also put pressure on your external gluteal muscles, as well as the internal stuff, including the anus and rectum. (ICYDK, this is the end of your digestive system and where waste passes through your body until you go to the bathroom.) That's what leads to bowel changes, typically either constipation and/or diarrhea — the phenomenon you likely know as period poop. Dr. Dweck notes that this pressure can exacerbate rectal pain, and it can even make you feel like you need to pee more often. (Ah, biology.)

To further explain, the prostaglandin hormones trigger bowel changes. For instance, if you are experiencing, say, constipation, you might feel anal pain, specifically, if you're straining to go to the bathroom or your stool is hard. Diarrhea can also cause pain and discomfort.

Though Dr. Dweck says that butt pain is "not atypical" (read: pretty normal and common), persistent or worsening pain could signify another condition such as endometriosis (a disorder in which tissue similar to endometrial tissue grows outside the uterus and implants itself on other organs, such as near the anus), uterine fibroids and/or cysts (benign growths in the reproductive organs that can push against the butt), or infection in the pelvis, such as STIs. Other gastrointestinal issues could also be associated with prolonged (think: even after your period) rectal pain, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn's disease, and other GI disorders. Not sure if the pain in your butt is because of Aunt Flo or something else? It's always a good idea to chat with your doctor. (Related: What Your Friend with Endometriosis Wants You to Know)

What You Can Do to Ease Butt Pains

Preparing for the pain is half the battle. With a menstrual app or calendar, you can best prepare for those telltale twinges, notes Dr. Dweck. It's also recommended to have a heating pad nearby, as well as pain-reducing NSAIDs such as ibuprofen, and OTC Midol Complete (Buy It, $5, amazon.com) at the ready so you can take if and as necessary. (That is, of course, as long as you discussed doing so with your doctor first.) Should you experience said pain, staying well-hydrated and enjoying a soothing hot bath is a way you can also relax the muscles and ease any aches.

When it comes to experiencing certain period woes, just know that you're far from alone — just look at TikTok. (That said, proceed with caution before you try certain viral hacks from the app, such as that bonkers constipation-relief trick.)

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