When Your Period is a Pain in the Butt: Rectal Pain During Periods

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Therapist explaining pelvic floor to a patient

As if bleeding, cramping, cravings, fatigue, and a whole host of other hard-to-manage symptoms weren’t enough, rectal pain during periods may grace some of us with this extra-special period symptom.

Butt cramps.

You’re going about your day when suddenly it feels like a lightning bolt hit your booty hole. Or, it happens while you’re pooping, which makes that whole experience even less fun.

If you get butt cramps but you thought they were TMI to talk about, buckle up. 

Let’s tackle butt pain together!

What Causes Pelvic Floor Pain During Your Period?

In the absence of pregnancy each month, the endometrial lining of our uterus sheds to make way for a new, fresh one. 

But “sheds” is perhaps too passive a term. What actually happens is the uterine muscles contract and tighten to release the endometrial tissue. And that’s what causes aching, cramping, heaviness, and/or stabbing pain in the pelvic area, lower back, and/or stomach. (Super fun, right? Ugh.)

While some vagina-owners have come to expect that period pain, what may not be expected is pain elsewhere. But the truth is, hormonal changes during menstruation can affect all of our pelvic floor muscles, not just the uterus. The natural drop in the hormones estrogen and progesterone can alter the strength or relaxation of our soft tissues, including… our butt.

Rectal Pain During Your Period

Because our muscles are easily irritated or already inflamed during menstruation, we might experience buttock cramping or rectal pain during your period.

These rectal cramps and pains are called proctalgia fugax, literally meaning “anal pain of an unknown cause.” It happens when your butthole muscles spasm and contract. 

During menstruation, the rectum is impacted by hormones called prostaglandins, which causes them to become inflamed, contract, and spasm. And while these hormones are really important for breaking down the uterine lining, they can get a little overexcited and affect those other areas of the pelvic floor. Like your rectum.

You might also get rectal cramps while you’re ovulating. Ovulation causes bleeding and fluid accumulation in the lower pelvis. This irritates the lining of the pelvic cavity and can create pain in other surrounding areas, like the vagina, cervix, uterus, bladder, colon, and—you guessed it–rectum!

9 Ways to Stop Butthole Cramps

#1 Rule out other diagnoses for rectal pain during your period.

Pelvic pain during our periods is common. But severe pain, especially in other areas of the pelvic floor, can be a sign of something else going on. It’s best to talk with your doctor about other things that contribute to rectal pain, like:

  • Endometriosis
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Anal fissures, abscesses, or fistulas

#2 Take good care back there. 

One way to prevent butt-related issues is to keep your behind in tip-top shape. Avoiding constipation is a great way to keep those muscles calm and relaxed. Try these tips to help you avoid straining while going #2:

  • Eat a high-fiber diet, including veggies, fruits, and whole grains.
  • Don’t delay the urge to poop. Go when you need to go. 
  • Try Natural Calm Magnesium before bedtime to keep poop soft and easy to pass.
  • Use a tool under your feet when pooping to relax your pelvic floor muscles.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Ask your doctor for a stool softener or fiber supplement.

#3 Take a walk.

The best way to decrease cramping is to increase blood flow. If you’re having a particularly crampy day, try taking a quick walk. Even 5 minutes can make a difference!

#4 Stay hydrated.

Dehydration can make rectal pain during period worse. So stay on top of that H2O as much as possible. Your body will thank you!

#5 Rest in a warm bath.

Warm water or compresses can help to relax the muscles in the anus and rectum. This will prevent that intense cramping.

#6 Stretch well.

Stretching relaxes muscles, particularly when they’re tight and tense from continued cramping. 

The Double Knee-to-Chest Stretch  

Lie on your back with both knees bent and soles of your feet planted on the ground. Gently draw your knees in toward your shoulder  and use your hands behind your thighs for assistance. Hold for 5 breaths seconds, then release your feet back to the ground. Repeat 3 times. 

rectal pain during period exercise

Child’s Pose 

Kneel on the floor. Touch your big toes together and spread your knees wider than your hips. Rock your hips backward onto your heels and stretch your arms forward. Exhale and move your torso closer to the ground. Hold the pose for 5 breaths and repeat 3 times.

Childs-Pose

Deep Squat Stretch

Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-distance with your toes pointed slightly outward. Slowly bend your knees and push your bottom back, as if you’re about to sit down. As you squat, put your elbows on the inside of your thighs (if possible), press your palms together and imagine pulling your belly button toward your spine. Your heels can be lifted, or you can place a rolled towel or yoga mat under your heels for more support.  Hold the pose for 5 slow breaths and then slowly rise. Repeat 3 times.  If deep squats are new to you, try stacking a couple of yoga blocks on the floor to support your bottom during the squat. As you gain strength, you can remove one block and then both blocks. If you have prolapse or pubic bone pain, child’s pose above is recommended.

deep-squat-stretch

#7 Try CBD suppositories to relieve rectal pain during periods.

Seriously, CBD suppositories, inserted into the vagina or rectum, can help tense pelvic floor muscles get some relaxation. Some of our favorite brands are Foria and Pacific Roots. 

#8 Take medication. 

NSAIDs are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like Ibuprofen. Their main job is to tamp down inflammation, cramping, and pain by reducing those prostaglandin hormones. You could also go the supplement route and try magnesium. (Remember to consult with your medical provider before adding new medications to your regimen.)

#9 Try pelvic floor PT.

A pelvic floor physical therapist can help diagnose and treat a variety of pelvic floor issues, including chronic butt cramps! The right PT will help you develop a stretching regimen you can easily do from the comfort of your own home, whenever you feel the need.

Start today. 

With The V-Hive Membership, you get access to pelvic floor workouts and relaxation routines you can do from the comfort of home right now. From strengthening to relaxing, you can access these workouts for free for your first 7 days. Start your free trial now!

Join The V-Hive

Online pelvic floor fitness programs from a board-certified Women’s Health Physical Therapist. Your first week is free.

Free Pelvic Floor Guides

Download these free guides for some simple, do-able, totally-not-weird tips to take better care of your down there.

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