Bloating is a condition when there is abnormal retention of water and gas in the body causing discomfort in lower abdomen, thighs, and pelvic pain. This is often accompanied with period like cramps and general lack of appetite. The feeling usually begins 2-3 days before the menstrual flow and continues with second day of menstruation.
Most women feel crankiness and mood swings too. These are also effects of hormonal changes that disappear as menstrual flow begins.
Causes of menstrual and premenstrual bloating
Bloating during menstrual phase is a common problem which can be due to several factors. Here are a few to name:
1. Water retention
During the ovulation and luteal phase of the menstrual cycle, the body retains a lot of water to help the eggs travel through the fallopian tube. This is one of the probable causes of the bloated feeling in the lower body. It also makes several body parts sensitive.
2. Hormonal cycles
The body has ongoing hormonal imbalances before it prepares for menstruation. This fluctuation in oestrogen and progesterone levels causes bloating. During periods, while the uterus lining is being shed, the body secretes endorphins – the natural pain killers that cause bloated feeling.
3. Bowel functioning
For several women, irregular bowel movement and gastric problems get triggered before and during the menstrual cycle. This leads to a bloated feeling in the lower abdomen and is often accompanied by pain in the lower back and abdomen.
4. Increased blood flow
During menstruation, there is an increased blood flow in the reproductive system. There also are cases when excessive bleeding causes the muscles to swell and induces pain in the system. Thus, women feel bloated up during the phase.
5. Unhealthy habits
Addiction to caffeine, irregular sleeping, improper diet, and consumption of alcohol in huge quantities are a few things that increase problems associated with periods. For those who have these unhealthy habits, it is likely that the bloated feeling will occur at the onset and during the menstrual cycle.
How to get relief from period bloating using remedies/alternate medicine
The bloating sensation in lower abdomen and a feeling that there has been a sudden gain in weight is common. They can be controlled by adopting one of the several measures discussed below.
1. Consume fruits
Several fruits like orange, watermelon, grapes, and lemon relax the inner lining of the stomach and have a soothing sensation in the body. This relaxes the body and reduces bloated feeling within a few hours. While the period days arrive, make an attempt to consume a bowl of citrus fruits to cure bloating.
2. Primrose oil
Primrose oil comes in tablet and is readily available in the market. Consume 6-8 pills in a day to reduce production of prostaglandins in the body. Prostaglandins are the prime cause of bloating in the body which can be controlled by using primrose oil capsules for 2-3 days.
Diuretics are common pills that increase urination in the body and flush out the impurities and toxins. Toxins, once out, relax the system and reduce the bloated feeling. Aloe vera pills are also an excellent natural form of diuretic. These should be taken with consultation from an expert as different body types have different needs.
4. Vitamin and mineral supplements
Several vitamin and mineral supplements are available to ensure healthy period. This is mainly for those whose body fails to absorb the essential nutrients from the foods the body consumes. Increased intake of calcium is also essential to have regular menstrual cycle. These should be taken after detecting the prime cause of bloating to prevent complications.
5. Apple cider vinegar
Consume up to 4 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, diluted in a glass of warm water to relax the stomach, digest food better, have better bowel movement, and reduce the bloating during periods. For best results, use organic apple cider vinegar.
6. Hot towels/heating pads
Heating up the abdominal region with hot towels, hot bottles, and heating pads speed up the shedding of the internal lining of the uterus. This helps have the periods smoothly and reduces problems like cramps, back aches, and bloating.
How to stop or prevent bloating before and during period
Treat the body rightly and with care to curb any abnormal situation in the body. Taking a few steps of precaution is not harmful and can help in having fewer problems during periods.
1. Have a protein packed diet
In a regular diet, increase the intake of proteins by introducing foods like broccoli, oats, eggs, cheese, yogurt, and milk. This strengthens the body and prevents bloating and cramping during the periods.
2. Consume high potassium foods
Bananas, avocado, spinach, sweet potato, and salmon are foods that are rich in potassium and safe to consume when you experience bloated feeling during menses. These are instant relievers from bloating and relax the body while bleeding.
3. Have workout routine
Workout is essential to have healthy and timely periods. The metabolism in the body is greatly benefitted with regular exercise. Devote at least 30 minutes to the body and workout regularly or at least 4 days in a week to maintain hormonal balance and blood circulation in the body.
4. Reduce constipation and other stomach problems
Have healthy and light foods while the period days approach. Maintain a proper eat and sleep routine and relax the body. Getting too worked up or stressed out also causes imbalance and bloating. Besides being physical, this has a lot to do with the emotional condition of the body too.
5. Trim down on alcohol and caffeine
Alcohol and caffeine have ill effects on the reproductive system and cause gastric and acidity problems by irritating the stomach lining. It increases the bloating sensation during periods. Avoid alcohol altogether during menstrual phase as it has major effects on the hormone secretion in the body.
6. Decrease salt intake
Temptation to have junk and spicy food is normal as the periods approach. However, for a pleasant time during periods, it is essential to ignore the temptation. Salt, when consumed in high quantities increases water retention in the body which results in bloating.
Bloating is not too serious a condition unless it lasts longer than desired duration or has abnormal symptoms like unusual bleeding, spotting, abnormal discharge, or acute pain. Getting enough rest and maintaining a healthy routine with simple yoga and meditation will help keep the body in control and prevent abnormal hormone secretion that leads to such symptoms during periods. A little effort each day can cure the body from these minor period associated problems.