Ever wondered how your favorite pair of jeans feels tight all of a sudden? You can blame your period bloating for it! Aunt Flo comes with cramps, mood swings, and bloating – the unwelcomed companions that can make it difficult to carry out your daily chores.
Bloating during menstruation is common and can make your abdomen or other body parts feel tight and swollen. It is mainly due to the fluctuation of the sex hormones – progesterone and estrogen. Although you cannot completely prevent bloating, here are a few lifestyle and dietary changes that can reduce it.
1. Avoid Foods That Cause Gas
Gas often goes hand in hand with bloating as the build-up of gas in your stomach gives you the “bloated” feeling. When your intestines are unable to completely digest the food you eat, it tends to stick around in the intestines for a little longer, resulting in gas.
Every individual reacts differently to different foods. To figure what causes the gas buildup, keep an eye on the foods you eat. Slowly reduce the consumption of foods that trigger gas. Common culprits include beans, cauliflower, cabbage, lettuce, dairy products, potatoes, corn, wheat, and shallots.1
2. Eat Potassium-Rich Foods And Healthy Fats
Foods rich in potassium can reduce bloating by regulating sodium levels in the body, whereas healthy fats get easily digested and do not contribute to gas and bloating. To follow a balanced diet, try these tips:
- Eat potassium-rich foods such as bananas, tomatoes, and asparagus to reduce fluid retention and bloating caused due to salt intake.
- Eat natural diuretics like celery, cucumbers, watermelon, lemons, and garlic to promote the elimination of excess sodium from your body.
- Avoid bad fats in processed foods and eat good fats such as salmon, chia seeds, and nuts.
- Pair these foods with lean proteins like chicken and tofu and say goodbye to bloating!
3. Switch To Smaller Portions
Having smaller meals more frequently gives your body time to digest the food. On the other hand, when you gobble down large portions, the undigested food in your body can cause gas. So, try having 6 meals instead of 3. You’ll get the same amount of nutrition without the bloating. Eating smaller portions will also regulate your blood sugar, giving you a constant energy supply, which reduces cravings.
4. Get Enough Sleep
It’s normal to find it difficult to sleep during your period. But this lack of sleep can be one of the major reasons for period bloating. When you don’t get sufficient sleep, your body releases the stress hormone cortisol. High cortisol levels increase water retention, making you feel bloated.
Late-night snacking is another cause of bloating. Your digestive system is not very active during the night. Eating right before you sleep leaves the food undigested or partially digested in the stomach. This is why you feel tired and bloated the next morning.
5. Indulge In A Light Workout
Stress is unavoidable, but how you manage it can transform your health. Even though all you want to do is curl up in your bed during that time of the month, exercise a little to manage the stress. Stress can lead to bloating as it affects the way your body digests the food.
However, don’t go hard on yourself and just do your regular exercises. Moderate-intensity exercises, meditation, or yoga should do the trick.
6. Stay Away From Alcohol And Caffeine
Alcohol and caffeine should be consumed in moderation as they can dehydrate you. This gives rise to problems like water retention and bloating as your body feels that there is insufficient water.
Caffeine and alcohol can also have negative effects on your menstrual cycle. A study conducted on 400 healthy premenopausal women found that women who consumed about 300 mg of caffeine every day were twice as likely to have a short menstrual cycle compared to women who did not drink coffee.2 Alcohol consumption has been associated with menstrual irregularities and hormonal fluctuations.3
7. Drink Plenty Of Water
Contrary to popular belief, drinking plenty of water during your period can reduce bloating. Drinking enough water or even lemon juice can help your body eliminate all the extra water it has been retaining and help you get rid of tummy bloating. However, you must avoid drinking carbonated water as it will only worsen the condition by adding more gas to your digestive tract.
Drinking at least 2 liters of water on your period is recommended. Try carrying a bottle with you and refill it whenever required.
Note: If the bloating is so severe that it affects your daily activities or does not go away even after your period ends, visit your doctor.
|↑1||Relief from intestinal gas. Harvard Health Publishing.|
|↑2||Fenster, Laura, Chris Quale, Kirsten Waller, Gayle C. Windham, Eric P. Elkin, Neal Benowitz, and Shanna H. Swan. “Caffeine consumption and menstrual function.” American journal of epidemiology 149, no. 6 (1999): 550-557.|
|↑3||Emanuele, Mary Ann, Frederick Wezeman, and Nicholas V. Emanuele. “Alcohol’s effects on female reproductive function.” Alcohol Research and Health 26, no. 4 (2002): 274-281.|