Have you noticed that your clothes start to feel a bit tighter in the days leading up to your period and you feel a bit more weighed down? We have been asked time and time again what causes period bloating and if there's anything that can be done to reduce it, so we decided it's time to give you some helpful tips and understanding around period bloating, exactly what it is and what you can do about it!
Exactly what is period bloating?
Period bloating, also known as stomach swelling, is one of the most common symptoms of pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS or PMT) and it is reported that period bloating can affect up to 75 percent of the menstruating population. In the week before your period starts and the first few days after the onset of menstruation, bloating is usually at its worst.
Along with period bloating, symptoms of PMS often include tiredness, stomach cramps, backache, aching vaginal area, diarrhoea, constipation, migraine, nausea, trapped wind... and the list goes on! We have a lot to deal with!
Whilst most of us, if not all, regularly experience some of these common symptoms of PMS including bloating, periods can also impact your mental wellbeing as well. Symptoms like period bloating can also impact peoples' confidence as the stomach swelling can be visible through clothes and regular clothes may also feel uncomfortable.
It's not all bad though, there are things you can do to reduce period bloating and the way it makes you feel! Read on for further expert tips and tricks.
Why do we have bloating during our periods?
There's science behind it all... we'll break it down.
Period bloating is experienced by many people and is very likely due to two hormones that fluctuate each month — ‘progesterone’ and ‘oestrogen’.
An increase in oestrogen occurs in the days leading up to your period, which causes your body to hold more water and salt, which swells the cells in your body and hey presto, you have the feeling of being bloated and slightly weighed down.
Right before your period, a decrease in progesterone can also slow down your digestive system and cause bloating. The reduction in progesterone can also cause diarrhoea so it's really about learning and understanding exactly how your body works. You can easily keep track of these things by tracking your period.
Remember, it's really common and very normal to feel bloated during your period, but if this is something that is ongoing, make sure to check in with your doctor.
What are some remedies to help reduce period bloating?
As we mentioned before, period bloating is a really normal symptom and there's loads of information and great tips out there that will can offer solutions to this common problem. You know your body best, and what works for one person might not always work for another!
Our top tips for reducing period bloating:
Make a change to your diet
In the week leading up to menstruation, it can be useful to introduce some friendly foods and start cutting out possible trigger foods.
Whilst you might have cravings for treats and sugar foods during your period, staying away from these could help to reduce bloating. Processed foods like cakes, crisps and chocolate might feel good in the moment but they are very possibly the cause of symptoms like bloating.
Friendly foods include sweet potatoes, nuts, cherries, bananas, avocados, and leafy dark coloured greens. As a rule, most fresh fruit and veg is good for your body and we always try to get our 5 a day in! Drinking lots of water and keeping hydrated will also help flush out any unwanted toxins and reduce any uncomfortable symptoms.
Making slow gradual changes to your diet will help you to figure out what works for you and what doesn't - you can then introduce new regular foods and start phasing out those unhelpful foods.
Take out some me time
Taking a holistic approach with your body at this time of month can only be beneficial. Giving your body a little bit of all round love and care will help you to feel more relaxed and in turn, reduce some of those unwanted symptoms. Just like a gardener nurtures their whole garden, we can do the same for our body and nurture it during our menstruation!
Calming the brain and relaxing your mind can work wonders for physical symptoms too, so if you're into meditation, why not put a playlist on or try a meditation app to help you calm down and get into a peaceful state of bliss.
Other ways to relax can also include taking a long hot bath, listening to some chilled music or reading a good book. You know what helps you slow down, so during your period, try doing as much of it as possible!
Even though exercising when you're on your period or feeling bloated may be the last thing you want to do, it can help to get your digestive system moving and prevent bloating.
Trying low intensity activities such as a long walk, yoga or pilates are a great place to start and get the body moving gently.
Your body needs as much help as it can get during menstruation and vitamin intake is vital at this time of hormonal imbalance.
Magnesium, zinc and B-Vitamins are great vitamins that can help to give your body a much needed boost and you can find affordable vitamins in many UK health stores such as Holland and Barrett and Planet Organic. Almost every vitamin you could wish for is available in these stores, alongside our leak-proof period pants!
The UK's number 1 vitamin store Holland and Barrett (who also stock fluxies period pants) now also offer one-to-one consultations with qualified advisors who have a wealth of knowledge and can offer advice on many issues such as period bloating, so if you want some further expert advice, you know where to go.
Wear comfortable clothes
Tight restrictive clothes are the last thing you'll want when your feeling uncomfortable and bloated. Use this time to kick back and relax in your favourite loungewear or trackies! Our new One Size period pants are also a great choice if you're looking for comfortable underwear that stretches with your body.
If you're anything like us, this is also a great excuse to stay in your PJ's all day or lounge around the house in our Sleep Short period pants that will keep you comfy and absorb your menstrual flow!
Wrapping it up!
So there you go, everything you need to know about period bloating and weight gain. Even though you might feel self conscious or uncomfortable with these physical changes, they're a very normal and natural part of menstruation and the feeling should reduce after a few days so use this time to give your self some TLC, kick back and relax.
Our 5 Most Asked Questions:
Q: HOW LONG DOES PERIOD BLOATING LAST?
A: Period bloating can last anywhere from a few days to up to two weeks. It depends on the person and their bodies.
Q: WILL PERIOD BLOATING MAKE ME GAIN WEIGHT?
A: No! Period bloating has nothing to do with gaining weight. If you're worried about that, don't be! You won't gain anything other than the discomfort of feeling bloated and heavy.
Q: CAN I GET RID OF PERIOD BLOATING COMPLETELY?
A: As we discussed in the blog above, there are definitely things you can do to reduce bloating, but there's not much you can do to stop it completely. It's a normal part of PMS for many women, and it's down to changing levels of hormones during your menstrual cycle.
Q: AT WHAT POINT OF YOUR PERIOD ARE YOU MOST BLOATED?
A: You'll most likely notice that you are most bloated during the first few days of your period, when the lining of your uterus is shedding and you're losing fluids.
Q: IS IT NORMAL TO BE BLOATED ON YOUR PERIOD?
A: It's pretty normal to feel bloated on your period—but if it lasts longer than 2 weeks, talk with a doctor or gynaecologist about what might be causing it so they can give you some advice on how best to manage it.