Every stage of the menstrual cycle brings new and exciting symptoms (not!). Ovulation bloating is another fun thing we, who menstruate, go through. It’s super common, and can be really uncomfortable. Not only can it make your stomach look swollen, it can cause uncomfortable tightness and result in mild weight gain. The good thing is, you don’t have to suffer through it every month. We’ve rounded up 7 helpful ovulation bloating remedies that are sure to provide relief.
What Is Ovulation Bloating?
Ovulation bloating typically occurs around days 11 to 14 of your menstrual cycle. The term bloating refers to a feeling of tightness, pressure, or fullness in your belly. It can be uncomfortable, sore, or painful, and may also be accompanied by gas.
During ovulation, your body is going through a lot of hormonal changes. Just before you ovulate, your estrogen and luteinizing hormone (LH) levels surge, which can lead to mood swings, disrupt your digestive tract, and cause headaches and other discomforts.
The changes in your digestive tract make it common to experience increased water retention for several days. It can also cause slowed digestion and increased gas. All of this contributes to an uncomfortable bloating feeling.
9 Signs & Symptoms of Ovulation Bloating
- Uncomfortable tightness around your midsection
- Swollen looking tummy
- Slowed and disturbed digestion
- Breast tenderness
- Mittelschmerz (one-sided pelvic pain)
- Mild weight gain
- Food cravings (especially for high sodium, processed foods)
- Changes in vaginal discharge
- Increase in basal body temperature
5 Causes of Ovulation Bloating
- Hormonal Changes: The main cause of ovulation bloating is hormonal changes. Ovulation is controlled by hormonal fluctuations, primarily involving the hormones estrogen and progesterone. As ovulation approaches, estrogen levels increase, which can lead to water retention and bloating.
- Diet and Cravings: Along with hormonal changes, your diet could be compounding your ovulation bloating, especially if you’re eating high sodium, processed foods, carb-rich foods, caffeine, soda, and sweets. It’s natural to crave these foods during ovulation and giving into these cravings can increase bloating even more.
- Fluid Retention: The hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle can lead to fluid retention, causing cells to retain more water and leading to a feeling of bloating and puffiness.
- Slowed Digestion: Hormonal fluctuations can also affect the gastrointestinal tract, slowing down digestion and causing gas to accumulate, leading to bloating.
- Prostaglandins: Prostaglandins are hormone-like substances that play a role in various physiological processes, including menstrual cramping and bloating. The consumption of junk foods, sweets, and caffeine during ovulation increases prostaglandin levels, which leads to bloating.
When to Worry
Ovulation bloating typically goes down on its own after a few days. Sometimes, bloating can stay around for longer due to medical issues such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, or an ovarian cyst. If you notice your bloating isn’t going away, make an appointment with your doctor to get checked for these things.
7 Ovulation Bloating Remedies that Help
1. Prioritize Healthy Foods
While cravings for salty, processed foods like chips, pizza, and pastries are high during ovulation, it’s best to stick to healthy options as much as possible. Limiting your intake of salt can help ease water retention and reduce swelling. Eat lots of fruits and veggies, protein, whole grains, and healthy fats. It’s also important to be aware of any food intolerances you may have. Do you experience discomfort when you consume gluten? Dairy? Artificial sweeteners? If you’re sensitive to any of these foods, limiting them can help with bloating around ovulation.
Regular exercise can help with ovulation bloating in a number of ways. Slowed digestion is a major cause of ovulation bloating, but exercise causes your digestive system to work more quickly and effectively. Exercise can speed the transit of food through your digestive system, alleviating any uncomfortable symptoms. Try going for a walk after meals to help with bloating. Staying active throughout the month will also help manage bloating during ovulation and help relieve water retention. Exercise also helps reduce stress, which is another culprit of bloating.
3. Stress Management
Daily stresses can impact your digestive function, including increasing bloating. If you’re working a stressful job or going through a tough personal time, it can compound the bloating you get around ovulation. High stress can reduce your stomach acid levels, which makes digestion more challenging. Prioritize stress management and relaxation techniques. On top of exercise, this could include an aromatherapy bath, a massage, a yoga class, or meditation.
4. Drink Lots of Water
Drinking plenty of water will help flush out excess sodium from your body, which helps with water retention. Dehydration can lead to constipation, which can make bloating worse. Water keeps everything moving smoothly through your digestive tract, so it’s important to stay well hydrated throughout the day.
5. Increase Your Potassium and Magnesium
A lack of potassium and magnesium can cause your body to hold onto excess salt and water, causing bloat to worsen. Increasing your intake of foods rich in potassium and magnesium (bananas, kale, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, spinach, fish, and avocados) can help with ovulation bloating.
6. Take Probiotics
Probiotics help boost the function of healthy bacteria in your gut, which can help improve bloating symptoms. Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium lactis have been found to be the two probiotic strains that work particularly well for bloating. Look for a probiotic that contains at least one billion CFUs of these live strains to get the best results.
7. Drink Some Tea
Teas including peppermint, ginger, and fennel have properties that are thought to relax the digestive tract and relieve bloating and gas. Instead of reaching for another glass of wine after dinner (which can slow digestion, increase water retention, and make you dehydrated), pour a nice cup of tea instead. Just steer clear of peppermint tea if you struggle with gastroesophageal reflux disease or a hiatal hernia, as it can result in stomach acids retreating up the esophagus.
If you deal with ovulation bloating, try out these remedies to help ease your symptoms and feel better all around.
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