Let’s talk period bloating. It’s that annoying and uncomfortable, “I can’t button my pants” feeling that comes on strong during your monthly visit from Auntie Flo.
For many of us, this is a super common PMS symptom and can significantly interfere with our day to day life. And let’s face it — there might be a few reasons why your monthly menstrual cycle isn’t your fave.
From bloating to cramps to fatigue, nearly 90 percent of women experience at least one PMS symptom, so there’s a good chance period bloating is affecting you.
But what exactly is period bloating, and why does it happen in the first place? Are there any remedies to un-bloat for good?
What is Period Bloating?
Period bloating is one of many premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms that typically occur one to two weeks before a woman’s time-of-month.
Other than bloating, PMS symptoms include:
- Mood swings
- Swollen breasts
- Food cravings
When you experience period bloat, it may make you feel like you’ve gained a whole lot of weight or as though other parts of your body are extremely swollen or tight. Although you might not be able to completely prevent or stop this less-than-favorable period symptom, there are some things you can do to reduce it. But before we dive into those things, it’s important to understand what actually causes period bloating in the first place.
Why You Get Period Bloating
Believe it or not, your hormones are the root cause of many symptoms that magically appear around the time of your period. (Thanks, hormones!)
There are two main hormones that influence your cycle: progesterone and estrogen. These hormones can cause some major bloating — here’s how:
- Water retention. Water retention is often the reason you feel so uncomfortably bloated in the days right before your time-of-month. Many women temporarily put on a few pounds, but this is usually just water weight that normalizes once menstruation begins. Estrogen is thought to be the primary culprit behind water retention because it causes sodium and fluid retention within the cells.
- Constipation. Your period — or your sex hormones more specifically — can also have a major impact on your digestion — the balance of these hormones is crucial. If this balance is disturbed, you can become constipated or have diarrhea. Many ladies find they are running to the loo less often in the lead up to their period, which can result in bloating. However, once your period comes to town, your womb contracts, which can actually kick-start a sluggish bowel!
- Cravings. Falling levels of estrogen and progesterone in the days leading up to your period can have an impact on other important hormones too. For instance, levels of serotonin (responsible for controlling your mood) can dip, and levels of cortisol (a stress hormone) often increase. This is a pretty troublesome combo that can leave you feeling down in the dumps and craving lots of yummy comfort foods! Many ladies crave carby snacks in a bid to up their serotonin levels and, in many cases, find themselves reaching for a quick fix of something processed such as chips or bread a little too often (no judgment here!). Sure, carbohydrates will temporarily boost your happy hormones, but you really need good quality protein for a sustained release. Also, take into account the high salt content and hidden calories in many of these carby treats, which can cause — you guessed it — water retention and period bloat. If your cravings are a bit out of control around your period, consider taking a metabolism-happy supplement like Metabolove. This super supplement won’t just fight off pesky food cravings, but it will also help with a much-needed energy boost to give your body the fuel it needs to make healthier eating decisions.
Period Bloating: The Remedies You Need To Know
Wondering if there are any amazing remedies that can help you un-bloat? We’ve got your back! Here are some of the best ways to get some relief and get into your favorite jeans:
Check Your Salt Intake
Having too much salt in your system can cause your cells to hang on to more water, which is notorious for making us feel puffy!
Sticking with a lower sodium diet — at least around that time of the month — can go a long way toward keeping frustrating belly bloat at bay.
Make it a habit to eat more whole, unprocessed foods like fresh fruits and veggies, which are naturally low in sodium. Try to cut back on restaurant food or takeout, and processed or packaged snacks, which tend to be salt bombs.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
Did we say hydrate? When you don’t have enough H2O in your system, your body holds onto whatever precious water that’s around — which is a recipe for puffiness. Dehydration can also make you constipated, making period bloat even worse.
So, how much of the stuff should you actually be drinking? There’s no one-size-fits-all approach, but experts suggest aiming for around eight to ten 8-ounce glasses per day, in addition to consuming lots of water-rich foods like celery, watermelon, and cucumber.
Keep in mind that’s only a rough estimate, though, and your specific needs might be higher if you’re very active or if you happen to spend a lot of time in the sun.
Probiotics help to boost the good bacteria that live in our gut.
Dysbiosis — or an imbalance in our good and bad bacteria — can result in bloating as a symptom.
Including a top-notch probiotic can help immensely to bring balance back to your gut, which can do wonders in reducing pesky period bloat. We love our Good Girl Probiotics supplement because it’s made with eight powerful strains of good bacteria for optimal vaginal health — most probiotics only contain one.
Try Bye Bye Bloat
What if we told you that there was a powerful supplement designed specifically to de-bloat your period bloat?
Bye Bye Bloat from Love Wellness is an easy-to-swallow capsule packed with organic ginger, organic dandelion root, organic fenugreek, and digestive enzymes to alleviate bloating. This super-formula helps to get rid of water weight, aids the digestive system, and tackles hormonal and food-related bloating.
For extra bloat-busting powers, pair Bye Bye Bloat with Sparkle Fiber to give your digestive health the support it oh so needs with our modern diets.
Exercise keeps things in your GI tract moving, making it a go-to bloat fighter in general. In fact, it might be especially beneficial for bloating triggered by PMS since exercise boosts the production of hormones that normally take a dive right before Mother Nature calls.
Aim for a least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity most days of the week — and more if you can swing it!
Say NO To Stress
Believe it or not, ladies with higher perceived stress levels are more likely to have disruptive PMS symptoms — belly bloat included.
Finding ways to unwind and relax can help immensely to tame the tension, and as a result, stave off some unwanted puffiness! Start hitting up that local yoga class more often, carve out some “you” time for meditation or journaling, schedule a deep-tissue massage, or get in the habit of sniffing some calming essential oils — if it helps you feel more chill, it works.
Amp Up Your Magnesium
Magnesium is a powerful electrolyte that helps to regulate the balance of fluids in your system.
Talk with your doc about taking a magnesium pill or make it a point to get more magnesium in your diet before your period and belly bloat strikes. Spinach, black beans, nuts, potatoes, and brown rice are all good sources.
A Final Word
Bloating is a really common PMS symptom, but thankfully, there are plenty of awesome remedies you can try to keep it under control.
Drink plenty of water, exercise, take a probiotic and try not to let your stress get the best of you.
Belly bloat can be extremely frustrating — we’ve all been there. But with a little bit of patience and help from Love Wellness, you can reduce this dreaded PMS symptom in no time.
For all your wellness needs — whatever they may be — Love Wellness has your back. Always.