There are all sorts of aches and pains that come with periods, and if you’re one of the unlucky ones, sometimes it can feel like the whole bottom half of your body is being pushed through one of those old fashioned clothes wringers. One pain you might experience below the waist is in your bum, and this can be everything from pressure in your tailbone area (called coccydynia) to butthole cramps (true story). It’s usually nothing to worry about, and happens to a lot of people, but here’s some helpful info that will explain a little more about what could be going on down there.
Mostly it comes down to muscular pain. All that cramping and bloating can put pressure on the gluteal muscles, leading to tension that can cause muscles to spasm, or aches in the back, pelvis, and you guessed it - the bum. It’s the same pressure that may make you feel like you need to wee more while on your period.
These aches and spasms can usually be soothed with simple over-the-counter painkillers, but any severe or suspect pain should be checked out by your GP, so don’t avoid or delay asking for help if you are particularly uncomfortable.
Though pain in the tailbone area isn’t normally anything to worry about, it’s good to be aware that it can be a potential symptom of endometriosis. As a reminder, endometriosis is a condition where tissue that grows in the lining of the womb starts to grow elsewhere in the body, where it shouldn’t. It can cause mild to severe pain, is difficult to diagnose, and one of the places that can be affected is the bowel. Endometrial tissue can grow into the vagina, the rectum, and even the tissue that sits between the vagina and rectum, called the rectovaginal septum, leading to a condition called rectovaginal endometriosis, which can cause more intense pain.
This condition is not as common as endometriosis that is found in the lining of the abdomen - a review in the International Journal of Women’s Health found that it affects up to 37% of endometriosis sufferers.
The symptoms of endometriosis on the bowel are similar to what you might find with irritable bowel syndrome, but they can worsen during the days before and during your period. Some symptoms to watch out for are; pain when having a bowel movement, pelvic pain during sex, and rectal bleeding while on your period. If any of these symptoms occur, it is best to speak to your GP so they can do some tests and find out the cause of the pain. These tests could be a vaginal exam, an ultrasound, or if endometriosis is suspected, a laparoscopy or CT/MRI scan might be done. This may sound scary, but it’s all part of the process. Endometriosis is not considered life threatening, but the pain can become rather intense, so don’t wait around to speak to your doctor if you experience this.
If endometriosis is not the problem, then muscular pain affecting the tailbone area is often worsened by something as simple as constipation during your period. Avoid this by eating high fibre foods that will encourage regular bowel movements, drinking more fluids throughout the day, correcting your sitting posture while having a bowel movement (simple but effective!) and if needed, taking over-the-counter stool softeners.
If your pain gets worse during your period but is still there throughout the month, the problem could be irritable bowel syndrome, haemorrhoids, or a number of other issues. If in doubt, always visit your doctor to find out where the pain is coming from and get advice on the best way to find effective relief.
Do you experience pain in your tailbone area during your period? How do you manage this? Let us know over on Instagram at @itsyoppie. You've got enough going on at that time of the month so don't forget that our personalised period subscription box can get organic cotton tampons, and much more, delivered through your letterbox. That's a few less things to worry about each cycle!
1. Moawad NS, Caplin A. International Journal of Women’s Health Dovepress Diagnosis, management, and long-term outcomes of rectovaginal endometriosis. Int J Womens Health 2013; 5–753.
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