Menstrual Bloating Before And During Periods
The time period from ovulation to menstruation is marked with various symptoms some of which can vary among women. Abdominal bloating is one of these symptoms that many women experience and loathe as it not only is uncomfortable but can also alter the female figure. It is often termed as fluid retention but there is no significant evidence to suggest that fluid accumulation within the lower abdominal cavity accounts for all cases of menstrual bloating. Although the fluctuation in hormone levels may affect fluid retention, abdominal bloating in menstruation is largely due to functional bloating. This means that there is bloating that is not a result of any disease and neither is it associated with functional bowel disorders like irritable bowel syndrome where bloating is a common symptom.
Does Ovulation Cause Bloating
The term bloating refers to feeling increased abdominal pressure without an accompanying increase in abdominal size. Swelling, on the other hand, is when your bodys tissues retain fluid. Both conditions can make you feel puffy.
Just before the onset of ovulation, your estrogen and luteinizing hormone levels surge. These hormonal shifts may trigger water retention and swelling, not to mention complications in the gastrointestinal tract, resulting in bloating during ovulation.;
For most, ovulation bloating tends to resolve on its own a few hours to a few days later. But if bloating during ovulation persists or stems from another medical issue , make sure to consult a health care provider.
When To See A Doctor
For most women, period bloating is unpleasant but does not stop them from being able to get on with their day.
However, if period bloating affects a womans daily life, it is a good idea for her to speak to her doctor.
If bloating does not go away after a period, it is also a good idea to talk to a doctor. Bloating can sometimes be a sign of a more serious health condition.
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You Have A Salty Tooth
Those potato chips might satisfy your crunchy cravings, but salt acts like a magnet to water, leading to fluid retention, says Taub-Dix. In addition to an inflated middle, you might notice your rings are tighter and your ankles are swollen after inhaling an order of fries, says Taub-Dix.
Think of it like this: After eating a salty meal, the ingested salt has to be dissolved in the bodyit cant be in its crystal form, says Reddy. In order to dissolve this higher concentration of salt, water is sucked out of your body and stored in all the wrong places. The result: A double whammy of bloating and excessive thirst. And the fix? Drink three to four large glasses of H2O to replenish your dehydrated cells. Once they are plump with fluid, your body will release all the stored salt and water, helping you de-bloat, says Reddy.
Youre All Kinds Of Backed Up
Your cravings might have you noshing more, but thats not the only reason you could end up with bloating. According to M. Kathleen Borchardt, MD, an ob-gyn at Houston Methodist, levels of the hormone progesterone rise in your body before your cycle starts, and it acts as a smooth muscle relaxant, slowing down spasms in your gastrointestinal tract. As a result? You might notice your digestive tract gets a bit jammed.
The progesterone can slow down your normal gut motility and result in constipation, Dr. Borchardt explains, adding that you can take a probiotic if youre constantly battling the GI bulge during your period.
As an added bonus, if you suffer from the opposite problem during your period, the probiotic may help with that, too.
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Don’t Skip Your Workout Routine
I get it: Working out is probably the last thing you feel like doing. But experts say getting your heart rate up is one of the best ways to alleviate PMS symptomsincluding bloat.
Bloating usually starts to kick in about one to two days before the start of a woman’s period.
People who live a more sedentary lifestyle tend to have more sluggish digestive systems, says Dr. Ross. Sweating it out can also help keep you stay regular and reduce constipation. Lighter workouts like swimming and yoga are your best bet, though; high-intensity exercises may actually promote inflammation and, in turn, add to the bloat.
Is Bloating A Sign Of Period Or Pregnancy
Bloating could be a symptom of either PMS or early pregnancy. Bloating before and during a period is triggered by changes in the levels of estrogen and progesterone. Hormonal changes in early pregnancy also cause a feeling of bloating, similar to common symptoms just before the start of your period. Bloating in early pregnancy makes some people feel more snug than usual in their clothes.
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Youre Having A Ton Of Cravings Therefore Eating Differently
Wild guess: Your period probably doesn’t leave you craving broccoli. It’s the salty and sweet stuff that’s on your mind.
Those foods contribute to period weight gain, says Lisa Dabney, MD, an assistant professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive science at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Why? Munching on salty chips and simple carbs, like candy or donuts, leads to fluid retention, she explains, resulting in a little extra water weight.
If you’re soothing yourself with Dominos and ice cream it’s possible that an extra pound may stick around after your period peaces out. .
If you’re trying to lose weight or control bloating, make sure youre hydrated, seek out lean protein like Greek yogurt to keep you full, and eat mindfully. But again, you don’t need to worry about long-term weight gain solely due to body changes that happen temporarily on your period.
Nix The Carbonated Or Sugary Drinks
Chugging fizzy beverages might make you feel better temporarily, but theyll leave you way more bloated than before, says Dr. Smith. The same goes for sugary drinks like Gatorade. Dont let brands that use artificial sweeteners fool youthey too cause you to puff up, says Dr. Smith.
Instead, rely on your good buddy water, and aim for eight glasses a day. Mix in some green, peppermint, or fennel tea to help eliminate inflammatory mediators, says Dr. Ross.
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When Is Period Bloating A Sign Of Something More Serious
Symptoms of bloating should be short-lived, lasting only a few days, Dweck says. They usually resolve with onset of flow. But there are moments when bloating may warrant a trip to a doctor, especially if your symptoms are starting to interfere with your day-to-day activities.
Certain ovarian and gastrointestinal conditions can present with persistent bloating, and this should be evaluated by your doctor, Patrusky explains. And while these issues can be serious, Dweck says it’s best to avoid falling down a Google hole of anxiety, especially if you think your bloating symptoms are a sign of a potentially grave health issues.
Dr. Google will surely scare many readers about bloating and ovarian cancer, she explains. Ovarian cancer is rare, but difficult to diagnose early, and is often associated with vague GI symptoms. She does say, though, that any persistent, worsening or increased severity in bloating warrants a trip to your doctor. This also applies to PMS or menstrual bloating that doesnt resolve cyclically, Dweck says.
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How To Stop Period Cramps
Dealing with cramps every month can be as frustrating as it is painful. Luckily, there are a many remedies that might help you relieve period cramps. Its important to remember that these techniques wont always work, especially for chronic conditions, but they can offer relief for mild to moderate period pain.
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Youre Overloading On Caffeine
It’s really tempting to load up on caffeinated beverages during your period because you feel so damn tired. But suddenly introducing more coffee into your diet can also introduce some, uh, gastrointestinal issues toonamely bloating and discomfort.
But coffee’s not the only culprit. Anything with caffeine contributes to thisand that goes double for carbonated drinks.
Some women are also often mistaken in thinking carbonated beverages are hydrating,” says Sara Twogood, MD, an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine. But that’s not the case, especially since soft drinks usually also come with a ton of added sugar or artificial sweeteners, which are even worse for bloating.
Estrogen Progesterone And The Menstrual Cycle
During a healthy menstrual cycle, estrogen and progesterone levels rise and fall.;Before ovulation , estrogen is high and progesterone levels are low. During this time women tend to retain more water.
However, after ovulation , progesterone is dominant and estrogen levels are low. Now here’s the thing, because progesterone is a natural diuretic, it helps flush out the retained water and reduce the bloat.
Now, because women with PCOS have an irregular period and often do not ovulate, the ovary does not produce progesterone. As a result, estrogen levels remain high. This causes you to retain water and feel bloated.
So, one possible reason for the constant and severe bloating is high estrogen.
Balance your Hormones
To beat the PCOS bloat you must balance your hormones. I recommend reading my ‘Types of PCOS: Ultimate Guide‘ to educate yourself of the different types of PCOS. But I suggest working with a medical professional who will help you get to the root cause of your hormonal imbalance. Once you have identified your root cause, the next step is to make dietary and lifestyle changes to support the rebalancing of your hormones.
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How Does Pms Affect Other Health Problems
About half of women who need relief from PMS also have another health problem, which may get worse in the time before their menstrual period.12 These health problems share many symptoms with PMS and include:
- Depression;and anxiety disorders.These are the most common conditions that overlap with PMS. Depression and anxiety symptoms are similar to PMS and may get worse before or during your period.
- Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome .;Some women report that their symptoms often get worse right before their period. Research shows that women with ME/CFS may also be more likely to have ;and early or .
- Irritable bowel syndrome . IBS causes cramping, bloating, and gas. Your IBS symptoms may get worse right before your period.
- Bladder pain syndrome.;Women with bladder pain syndrome are more likely to have painful cramps during PMS.
PMS may also worsen some health problems, such as asthma, allergies, and migraines.
How To Beat The Bloat: Ways To Reduce Period Bloating
Now that youve understood the factors behind period bloating, how do you tackle it? Fortunately, there are different ways to reduce bloating during your period. As you explore these different methods which we will discuss in details, we encourage you to seek medical advice from your doctor especially when the bloating continues to happen after your menstrual flow. Since the causative factor of bloating dwells more on the digestive system, a review on your eating habits or the type of foods you eat can go a great way to reduce your bloating.
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Do Your Jeans Start To Feel A Bit Tighter In The Days Leading Up To Your Period Many Women Notice A Slight Fluctuation In Weight And Bloating Throughout Their Cycle
Period bloating and sometimes weight gain are unfortunately just other symptoms of PMS. This usually occurs just before you start your period and may extend a few days into it. But remember that around 70% of women experience bloating as a PMS symptom, so theres no need to panic as its just part of the natural cycle of the womb that many people tend to experience.1
Even though bloating may cause some discomfort, its important to realise that this physical change; is temporary and tends to ease off during, or as soon as you start your period. In the meantime, read on to find out exactly why you may gain weight just before or during your period, along with some tips to help relieve and control bloating.;
The Actual Cause Of Feeling Bloated Is The Digestive System And Not Your Reproductive System
According to Dr Penelope Law, a consultant Obstetrician and Gynecologist at the private Portland Hospital, the uterus contracts in a very subtle manner every day. As you get closer to your period, these mild contractions, which usually happen at the upper end of your uterus, gradually move down to the cervix with an increased frequency of about every 40 minutes. This becomes more intense by the time you get to your period and can be responsible for the pains some women experience during their period. Although period bloating is linked to these contractions, Dr Law explains that the actual cause of feeling bloated is the digestive system and not your reproductive system.;
During your period, the bowel becomes slow as the increased contractions of the uterus slow down the speed of food through the bowel . This process creates the swollen feeling many women experience during their periods and this can also be linked to constipation during menstruation.
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Are There Herbal Remedies To Help Me
As PMS is at the root of your symptom of bloating, treating this should be the first approach. The herb Agnus castus has been used for decades to help with balancing the female hormones. Also known as the Chaste Tree or Chasteberry, it can help to reduce the emotional symptoms of PMS as well as the physical ones such as period cramps, breast pain and bloating.
However, if you are already taking HRT, hormonal medication or hormonal contraceptives, Agnus castus may not be suitable for you.
If your digestive tract is causing you to feel bloated, you might benefit from using fermented whey rich in L+ lactic acid. This substance supports good gut bacteria and helps improve the function of your digestive system.
Things To Do To Ease Period Bloating
Drink lots of water
As above, drinking enough water is key here. “On the days leading up to your period, make sure youre increasing your water intake,” advises Dr Chichi. Drinking lots of water while youre bloated may seem a bit odd, but actually, it will help get your digestive system moving and prevent wind and constipation, it will also help to flush out any excess water and sodium, and reduce swelling. Sounds easy enough, right?
Increase your physical activity
Again, probably not something that’d spring to mind, but this is also key. Dr Chichi explains that exercise can help with all symptoms of premenstrual syndrome , but particularly any pains, cramps, or discomfort around your digestive system. “Dont underestimate how effective exercise can be for bloating,” he shares. “It helps to expel gas and get your digestion working normally.”
Visit a GP
If lifestyle changes arent working for you, Dr Chichi points out that there is the option of the contraceptive pill. “The pill can reduce PMS symptoms, such as period bloating, but its about finding one that suits you and it may not work for everyone”.
Do note here: some women find that bloating is a side effect of the pill, however, for other women it can help. If at all interested, it’s worth booking an appointment with your GP for some expert advice.
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An Introduction To Periods And Bloating
Bloating in the lead up to menstruation is a common complaint. Fluctuating hormones can give rise to water retention, digestive issues and cravings, all of which can make your jeans feel that little bit tighter!
Keeping track of when you feel bloated throughout the month is a useful first step. If you become bloated around the same time each month, it suggests that hormones are indeed likely to be to blame! If you suffer from bloating which is severe or which doesnt appear to be in sync with your monthly cycle, it may be worth paying your doctor a visit.
Bloating around the time of your period often happens as a result of a number of factors; on this page I begin by discussing some of these. I then go on to describe how dietary and lifestyle changes, herbal remedies and finally, conventional medicines can help.
Ovulation Bloating And Weight Gain
Bloating during ovulation frequently leads to mild weight gain because of hormone-based water retention and fuller breasts. Occasionally, this accumulation of fluids may be noticeable around the time of ovulation, not just during it.;
Major food cravings could also rear their ugly head. High-sodium, processed foods like potato chips, french fries, and cheesy snacks seem especially irresistible at this point. But consuming excess amounts of sodium will only aggravate water retention, ovulation bloating, and weight gain.;
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Other Signs Of Ovulation
As mentioned, some people observe other symptoms of ovulation, including:
- Changes in vaginal discharge Discharge becomes clear, stretchy, wet, and abundant. You may spot it on your underwear or panty liner, or feel it when youre wiping after using the bathroom.
- Changes in basal body temperature Your body temperature often rises slightly after ovulation. If youre trying to get pregnant, consider tracking it with a thermometer at the same time every morning before getting out of bed to monitor your fertility.;
- Changes in cervical position Right now, your cervix might be softer, higher, and more open and wet than usual. Differentiating the position of your cervix during ovulation can be tricky, but its possible with a bit of practice. After that, make a habit of checking your cervix regularly to help manage your reproductive health.;
- Mittelschmerz pain In certain cases, ovulation contributes to dull or sharp lower abdominal pain on one side, associated with mild vaginal discharge or bleeding. It can last from just a few minutes to one or two days.;
Aside from ovulation bloating and the above symptoms, the secondary signs of ovulation are as follows:
- Light spotting
- One-sided abdominal or pelvic pain;
- Heightened sense of taste, vision, or smell
- Increased sex drive