Why We Bloat During Our Period and What We Can Do to Prevent It

Why does bloating occur during periods? And is there something you can do about it?

Her Health
2 min read
Why does bloating occur during periods? 

One of the ways we women know that the P-Day is almost here is when the belly starts changing circumference overnight. Period bloating – many women experience it before and at the start of their period.

It feels like you’ve gained weight and your favourite pair of jeans are suddenly tight for a couple of days. Your stomach is swollen and heavy. It’s one of the many premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms that may occur.

But why does bloating occur during periods? And is there something you can do about it? Any way you can prevent it?


What Causes Period Bloating?

Women’s bodies undergo hormonal changes when they’re about to menstruate. Just before a period, progesterone and estrogen levels change, explains Dr Ranjana Sharma, Senior Consultant, Gynaecology, Apollo Hospital.

Just before a period, progesterone and estrogen levels change.
Just before a period, progesterone and estrogen levels change.
(Photo: iStock)

About a week before a woman's period starts, levels of the hormone progesterone fall. Reduced levels of progesterone cause the uterus to shed its lining, which is what causes menstrual bleeding.

These hormonal changes tend to slow down your bowel movements and also cause water retention by retaining more salt and water. This leads to the bloating and you feel stuffed.
Dr Ranjana Sharma, Senior Gynaecologist

Its the most obvious on your first day, and gradually goes back to normal.

For some women, the bloating can be more than normal and makes one lethargic and uncomfortable.

Is There a Remedy?

Go natural on this one. You can make certain lifestyle changes to avoid water retention and thus, bloating.

“You know that this is going to happen so be ahead of time and be active,” says Dr Sharma.

Here are some tips.

  • Make sure you exercise regularly. If you play a sport, then continue playing. Just don’t add to the problem by being sedentary.
  • Eat more healthy foods like fruits and vegetables.
  • Avoid overly salty foods. Potassium-rich foods like banana, green leafy vegetables like spinach and sweet potato can help reduce period bloating.
  • Drink lots of water. It’ll help improve kidney function and keep you hydrated.

Also, this may be too much to ask for, but avoid compensating for your low mood by eating too much of chocolate, cheese and the likes.

If none of that works and your problem seems to be disrupting your daily life, then see a gynaecologist. They can assess your situation and if needed, suggest you to go on the hormone pills and see whether that helps. That will remove the ups and downs of hormones. When you have stable hormones throughout the cycle, you will not see the changing trend.

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