There just isn’t much that is pleasant about being on your period. And really—even the days leading up to it can be just as annoying. For many women, it’s not just bleeding, cramping, and psycho mood swings: it also means bloating. You might be one of the 70 percent of women who deal with bloating during their cycle. If you look in the mirror and feel like your boating makes you look pregnant, you are not alone.
But why is this happening? Is there anything you can do? Thankfully—yes! We’ll give you our favorite tips and tricks, but it’s also good to understand what is happening to your body so you can give yourself the best chance of feeling like a human being during your period.
What Are Common Period Symptoms?
There are 10 super common signs that your period is about to start. Just because we need something to look forward to (cough cough).
1. Cramps—ugh, make sure you have your favorite pillow to hug.
2. Breaking out—no matter your age, your period can make you feel like a teenager again! Hurrah…
3. Tender breasts—for some women, you might hardly notice this. Others find even putting a bra on can be painful.
4. Mood swings—ever feel like killing someone and you have no idea why? Or perhaps you get emotional when watching Daniel Tiger with your kids.
5. Exhaustion—need a nap three times a day? We totally understand. Your body is working super hard, and you might need to take it easy.
6. Upset stomach—gassiness, nausea, diarrhea, constipation.
8. Lower back pain—the contractions in your uterus and your abs can often cause your back to contract, too.
9. Trouble sleeping
Why Do You Get Bloated On Your Period?
In the week or so leading up to your period, your hormones are going up and down and all around. When estrogen levels are high, your body starts to retain water. And then when progesterone starts getting higher toward the end of your cycle, it slows your digestive tract, which can also cause you to feel bloated.
When Does Bloating Usually Start And When Will It End?
So, is it normal to be bloated before your period? Absolutely. This is the most common time for women to feel like their stomach is big and poochy. In fact, it’s likely the first day of your period will be the worst. So at least there’s a positive side to this—you know what’s coming.
How long does period bloating last, you may ask? Most women feel bloated off and on during their period. Some women experience it more in the morning, some more at night, and for others it’s an all-day thing. Luckily, period bloating and gas will go away around the time you stop bleeding.
Remedies For Period Bloating
Guess what, my friend—there are a lot of things you can do to ease or even eliminate a lot of period bloating and gas. Here are some of the tried and true methods:
Diet. No, we’re not talking about eating to lose weight. We mean changing up your diet a little to assist your body. Choose foods packed with protein and potassium that will help your body regulate fluids. Think things like avocado, nuts, bananas, tofu, watermelon, and ginger.
Just as there are foods to choose, there are also foods to avoid. Stay away from any foods that cause gas. While broccoli and Brussels sprouts are delish and nutritious, you might want to avoid them for a week. Also beans, cabbage, and lettuce. In other words—lay off the greens for a week and choose other fruits and veg to stay healthy.
Exercise. Even though you feel awful, getting a workout in is probably one of the best ways to feel better while on your period. Even if it just means a good walk or a bit of yoga, getting your heart rate up for a while is one of the best ways to help your body feel better. Take it easy, though—intense workouts can actually increase inflammation and make you feel worse.
Drink. No, don’t turn to alcohol when you’re miserable. Actually, one of the best things you can do is cut back on caffeine and alcohol. Choose water or lemonade when you’re out with your friends and pick OJ in the morning instead of coffee. Both caffeine and alcohol encourage your body to retain water—the opposite of what you want right now.
Also—try and lay off the carbonation and sugary drinks. They’re another beverage that can increase water retention.
Meds. Taking something that is anti-inflammatory can also help with bloating. Try just a little Ibuprofen or Midol, and it can help your body relax and ease the bloating.
Sleep. A lack of sleep is one of the biggest culprits of menstruation pains. Make sure you’re getting enough rest when you’re PMS-ing and while you’re in the middle of your period. Your body needs rest to recover and do all the work of maintaining your reproductive organs.
If you’re having trouble falling asleep (a very common symptom of your period), try taking a warm bath before bed. Use lavender scented lotion or essential oils, and make sure your bedroom is free from noise and light.
- Pill. If your periods are making you feel out of control (either physically or mentally) talk to your doctor about going on the pill. Oral contraceptives can help stabilize your hormones and regulate your period.
What do all those remedies have in common? Self-care. Seriously—when you are on your period, make yourself a priority. OK, you should always do that, but especially now. If you give your body enough rest, good food and drink, and exercise, you’re giving yourself the best chance of having a tolerable period.
Reducing bloating doesn’t have to be complicated. Do what you need to relax and care for your physical needs, and your body will do the rest.