11 Ways To Get Rid Of Period Bloating

Period bloating is one of the recognizable indicators that your period is approaching, regardless of whether you have a natural sense of when it will arrive or use a monitoring app to notify you. That’s right, you may skip wearing your go-to pair of slim jeans and choose a comfy pair of roomy sweatpants instead.

Although uncomfortable, period bloating is a common and generally normal occurrence. Bloating is thought to affect 70% of women during their period, according to ob-gyn Diana Bitner, MD, of Michigan.

According to the Mayo Clinic, it often begins to manifest one to two days before the onset of your period, but some women may feel swelling up to five days ahead. According to retired ob-gyn Kimberly Langdon, MD, period bloating usually goes away after a few days of menstruation.

There is a distinction between bloating and weight gain, despite the fact that bloating may change the number on the scale. The good news is that your weight will probably return to normal after the bloating goes away.

At the University of Southern California, Meggie Smith, MD, is an obstetrician and assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology, reproductive endocrinology, and infertility.

Why does period bloating happen in the first place?

You can blame ebbs and flows in estrogen levels as well as a rapid decline in progesterone just before your period. Meggie Smith, MD, an obstetrician-gynecologist and assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology, reproductive endocrinology, and infertility at the University of Southern California, claims that when estrogen levels are greater, our bodies have a tendency to retain water.

“Progesterone can make for a sluggish digestive tract, so to speak, which also may not aid symptoms of bloating or fullness,” she continues. “Progesterone is high in the latter half of your cycle. In essence, it’s a double-whammy of bloating.

According to the Mayo Clinic, bloating typically begins to manifest itself one to two days before to a woman’s period beginning. However, some women report symptoms up to five days in advance, frequently interfering with daily activities. Bloating related to your period usually goes away after a few days of menstruation.

So…what helps PMS bloating?

The good news is that it’s really simple to reduce bloating while you’re on your period. Your bloated tummy can be greatly reduced by changing the items you eat, such as adding more potassium-rich foods and cutting out caffeine for a few days.

Even easier solutions like getting more sleep or cooking at home more frequently can be thought of. Just navigate through the possibilities listed below; chances are, one of them will (hopefully) work for you.

1. Pick protein- and potassium-rich foods.

Put ingredients on your plate that won’t make you puff up. High-potassium foods like bananas, melon, tomatoes, and asparagus, according to dietician and fitness expert Isabel Smith, RD, of New York City, “help establish a balanced balance of fluids.” The same holds true for nutritious fats like salmon, almonds, and chia.

Another sure thing is protein; choose chicken, fish, and tofu. According to ob-gyn and women’s health specialist Sherry Ross, MD, “Foods that work as natural diuretics like celery, cucumbers, watermelon, lemon juice, garlic, and ginger will also make you feel lighter on your feet, even on your period.”

2. Stay away from foods that cause gas.

Yes, Brussels sprouts and broccoli are in our sights. They may serve as inspiration for your preferred healthy-eating Pinterest boards, but they also contain raffinose, a complex sugar. Gas and bloating result from the inability of humans to adequately break it down with an enzyme. Beans, cabbage, cauliflower, and lettuce are some other foods that fall into this group, according to Dr. Ross.

Fructose, lactose, and sorbitol should also be avoided, according to the International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD).

3. Don’t skip your workout routine.

I understand that exercising is probably the last thing you want to do. But according to doctors, one of the greatest methods to reduce PMS symptoms, including bloat, is to increase your heart rate.

Bloating typically begins to manifest one to two days prior to the beginning of a woman’s menstruation.

An investigation published in the BMC Women’s Health journal in 2018 found that aerobic exercise for eight weeks reduced bloating and other PMS symptoms.

According to Dr. Ross, those who lead more sedentary lifestyles frequently have slower digestive systems. You can avoid constipation and maintain regularity by exercising. Your best bet is to engage in gentler exercises like yoga and swimming, as vigorous activity may actually increase inflammation and cause bloating.

4. Cut back on caffeine and alcohol (just for now).

Alcohol can make PMS symptoms like mood swings, bloating, and breast tenderness worse before a period, according to Dr. Bitner. In addition, coffee can dehydrate you, which makes you retain water, as well as overstimulate your digestive system and irritate your bowels. Hey, you’ll also save a ton of money by forgoing your morning latte.

5. Pop an OTC anti-inflammatory.

According to Kelly Roy, MD, an ob-gyn in Phoenix, ibuprofen and naproxen (found in brands like Advil and Aleve) block the chemicals that lead to inflammation and, consequently, bloating. Take 200 to 400 milligrams every six to eight hours, she advises, a few days before your period.

6. Avoid sugary or carbonated beverages.

Dr. Smith claims that while chugging carbonated beverages may temporarily improve your mood, they will actually make you feel much worse bloated. The same is true for sweet beverages like Gatorade. “Don’t be fooled by brands that use artificial sweeteners; they also make you swell up,” advises Dr. Smith.

Instead, stick to eight glasses of water each day and rely on your reliable friend. Dr. Ross advises incorporating some green, peppermint, or fennel tea to aid in the removal of inflammatory mediators.

7. Get a little more rest.

According to Dr. Roy, menstrual pain, bloating, and feeling unwell frequently have an impact on sleep. However, it is only during these vital hours that the extra fluid in your belly can return to the body and be expelled, according to her. Therefore, try to get eight hours each night.

8. Enquire with your ob/gyn about starting the pill.

According to Dr. Roy, oral contraception not only provides effective birth control but also significantly lessens painful periods and balances hormones. In fact, research has indicated that it lessens the impact of PMS.

This information was pulled from a poll. At their website, you might be able to discover the same material in a different format or more details.

The price of your BC pills should be covered if you have health insurance or if you are eligible for certain government programs, like Medicaid. A BC pack can cost anywhere from $20 to close to $50 if you don’t have insurance. In many states, you can now schedule a virtual appointment with a doctor to obtain a prescription for the medication.

Do you worry about the price? If you need assistance finding birth control that fits your budget, you can also contact your neighbourhood Planned Parenthood.

9. Talk to your doctor about diuretics.

A mild diuretic may occasionally be prescribed to patients by Lauren Streicher, MD, a clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, to relieve bloating.

A mild diuretic can be very beneficial with that, according to the expert. “It’s one thing to gain a little weight or feel bloated, but some women also experience really significant breast tenderness due to the water retention,” she says. “It can’t possibly hurt you,”

However, take note that combining diuretics with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), and naproxen (Aleve), can harm the kidneys. So you might want to forego the diuretics if you decide to use over-the-counter pain relief.

Dr. Streicher adds that there are also natural diuretics that you may already be taking regularly, like caffeine. Naturally, some people react poorly to caffeine, so she always advises her patients to drink plenty of water and never restrict their fluid intake.

10. Make more meals at home.

Of course, not everyone has the time or the skills to prepare meals at home every night. But when you can, try to establish the habit because cooking your own food significantly reduces bloating.

Dr. Streicher claims that people frequently are not aware of the salt that is concealed in processed foods and restaurant meals. Of course, that’s why restaurant food tastes so good, but if you prepare your own meals, you can watch out for oversalting, which can significantly reduce bloating.

11. Avoid abruptly consuming too much fibre.

Loading up on as many fruits and vegetables as you can to get your system moving might seem like a good idea if you’re feeling bloated, but that strategy could backfire. In a study from 2020 that was published in the journal Clinical and Translational Gastroenterology, participants’ bloating was exacerbated by high-fiber diets.

Although it’s beneficial to include a variety of fruits and vegetables in your meals, Sara Twogood, MD, an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, warns that if you suddenly start consuming them in large quantities during your period, you may experience increased bloating simply because your body isn’t used to the fibre.

Got it. But when should you see a doctor?

Yes, period bloat is extremely common, but if it doesn’t seem to coincide with your cycle (and is more of an ongoing issue) or if the bloating and other PMS symptoms are causing you significant distress, consult your gynecologist.

A symptom diary may be recommended by your doctor, according to the Mayo Clinic. This will enable you to monitor your bloating and give your doctor useful information for deciding the best course of action.