And other surprising period facts
The menstrual cycle is one of the more confusing and sometimes frustrating (but honestly, also kinda cool) things about having a female body. In the fascinating video above from Nova, host Anna Rothschild takes us through three major questions many of us have probably had about our periods at one time or another. And yes, consider this a TMI-free zone, as any conversation about menstruation should be.
The second question Rothschild tackles is easily the number-one query that comes to mind for many women: Why do I have to poop so much when I have my period? This problem can make it feel like your entire lower half is revolting against you (this on top of cramps?!), and for that you can blame two bodily chemicals: prostaglandins and progesterone.
For their part, prostaglandins signal the uterus to contract so your body can push out the uterine lining. And sometimes, these hormone-like chemicals can also affect your digestive organs nearby, making you gassier and have to go more often than you do on your non-bleeding days. [For the full story, head over to Refinery29!]
More from Refinery29:
Getting Your Period In Space Is Complicated
How Girls Manage Their Periods When Pads & Tampons Aren't Always An Option
6 Period Tracking Apps To Make Your Time-Of-The-Month A Total Breeze