Health

Here Are 8 Full-Proof Ways To Get Rid Of Period Bloating, Thanks To Gynecologists

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For many women, bloating is the worst symptom they feel when their monthly period comes. Aside from it being uncomfortable and annoying, the cramps that come hand-in-hand with it is the icing on top.

Bloating can leave a lot of women feeling self-conscious even if they’re the most normal and common symptom of menstruation. Luckily, women on social media have begun to share and embrace the reality of when their bellies bloat to portray a more realistic version of the day to day life of the woman’s body.

Maeve Madden, fitness blogger and social media influencer shared a photo of herself being real about her period bloating. She captioned her photo, “Hi Hormones👍🏻Thanks for being LATE!! (5 days between images) im so swollen even today during my workout my hands looked like sausages. Ive been so focused on our workouts then BOOM.”

Here for the #realness.

The truth is, there is an estimated 70% of women who regularly experience bloating when they’re on their periods, says Michigan based ob-gyn, Diana Bitner, M.D. Experts explain why women bloat right before they get their period – and the best ways to feel more comfortable every time this happens:

 

Why does monthly period bloating even happen?

All the fluctuations happening with the estrogen levels and the sharp drop of progesterone right before your period comes are to thank for this. Meggie Smith, M.D., ob-gyn and reproductive endocrinology and infertility fellow at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine says “when estrogen levels are higher, our bodies tend to retain water. Progesterone, which is high in the latter half of your cycle, can make for a slower digestive tract, so to speak, which also may not help symptoms of bloating or fullness.” So basically, it’s a bloating double-whammy.

A day or two before the start of a woman’s monthly period is when bloating will kick in. But some women can actually start feeling the symptoms as far as five days before their period comes, often interfering with their daily activities. How annoying is that! After you’ve start menstruating for a few days is when the period bloating will dissipate.

What helps lessen the bloating?

There are some really easy steps you can take to de-bloat during your period and they all pretty much have to do with your diet.

Eating more potassium-rich foods like bananas and avoiding caffeine a few days before your period comes can seriously lessen that bloated belly. You can also get more shut-eye and cook at home more often for a healthier lifestyle.

1] Have more protein and potassium-rich food intake.

Choose ingredients that won’t make you puff up. Isabel Smith, R.D., New York City-based celebrity dietician and fitness expert says “high-potassium foods like bananas, cantaloupe, tomatoes, and asparagus help promote a good balance of fluids. The same goes for healthy fats like chia, nuts, and salmon.”

Eating protein like chicken, fish and tofu is also a good choice. “Foods that act 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,” says Sherry Ross, MD, an ob-gyn and women’s health expert at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica.

2] Avoid eating food that will cause gas.

Food like brussels sprouts and broccoli tend to make people gassy because of the complex sugar they contain called raffinose. Ross adds that “other dietary culprits in this category include beans, cabbage, cauliflower, and lettuce.”

3] Exercise regularly.

A couple of days before your monthly call, working out would probably be the last thing you want to do but experts said that the best way to alleviate PMS symptoms including bloating is getting your heart rate up. Sweating by doing light workouts like walking, yoga and swimming will help you reduce inflammation. High-intensity exercises on the other hand might even promote inflammation and bloating, so keep your exercises light.

“People who live a more sedentary lifestyle tend to have more sluggish digestive systems,” says Dr. Ross.

4] Avoid intake of caffeine and alcohol.

“Pre-menstrually, alcohol can enhance PMS symptoms like breast tenderness, mood swings, and bloating. coffee can overstimulate the digestive tract and irritate the bowels, not to mention dehydrate you, which causes you to retain water,” says Bitner.

5] Try to get more sleep.

“Sleep is often impacted by the pain of menstruation, bloating, and feeling out of sorts,” says Dr. Roy. She explains that during the hours of your shut-eye, the excess fluid present in your stomach will move back into the body and eventually be eliminated.

6] Go on the pill.

Oral contraception is not only meant for birth control, but it also regulates periods and significantly reduces pain and stabilizes hormones. “In fact, medical studies have shown that it lowers the effect of PMS by over 50 per cent,” says Dr. Roy. How great is that?

7] Ask your doctor to prescribe a diuretic.

“It’s one thing to gain a little weight or be bloated, but some women also get really significant breast tenderness because of the water retention and a mild diuretic can be very helpful with that. It’s definitely not harmful,” says Lauren Streicher, M.D. clinical professor of ob-gyn at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

Aside from that, there are also other natural diuretics that you may already be consuming without knowing it, such as caffeine, says Dr. Streicher. “Of course, some people don’t do well with caffeine, so I will always tell patients to also drink plenty of water and to restrict never fluid,” she says.

8] Cook and eat more meals at home.

Cooking at home will majorly decrease bloating. Dr. Streicher said that “people are often unaware of hidden salt in restaurant meals, as well as in processed foods. Of course, that’s why restaurant meals taste so good, but if you do your own cooking you can make sure not to over-salt your food, which can make a huge difference as far as keeping bloating down.”