Beat The Bloat: 5 Natural Ways to Reduce PMS Bloating
It's possible to reduce that nasty uncomfortable bloating we can get during PMS, and do it naturally. Read below to learn how.
Every woman experiences symptoms of some sort leading up to their time of the month. Not only can they be different for every woman but they can also be different month to month. Bloating is easily a least-favorite symptom for most women when it comes to periods. It’s annoying and uncomfortable, let's be real. If you dread "that time of the month", you likely, as I do, need some tips on how to deal with your symptoms easily. Its easy to grab that pill bottle but these recs are all drug free.
PMS symptoms and timing
PMS can begin a week or two before your period and can present itself with many, all or just a few of physical and emotional symptoms. These include; bloating, cramping, headaches, backaches, irritability, sadness, and exhaustion. While all symptoms are less than fun, bloating can be particularly challenging.
Why do women experience PMS bloating?
PMS bloating is very normal, natural, and extremely common. About 70% of women will experience bloating during their period. It is often caused by fluctuations in estrogen levels and a sharp drop in progesterone right before your period. 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.
Bloating usually starts about one to two days before the start of a woman's period, according to the Mayo Clinic. But some women will experience symptoms up to five days beforehand, often interfering with normal activities. Period bloating will typically go away once you've been menstruating for a few days.
While it's great that we're normalizing period puffiness, it's also totally fair if you want to nix it the best you can so that you can get through your workouts, meetings, and outings without pain and discomfort.
How to reduce PMS bloating naturally
The good news is there are easy and effective ways to reduce PMS bloating! The best way to de-bloat during your period is to detoxify your body. This includes what you add in and what you eliminate from your diet.
Below are 5 tips and tricks to help balance your hormones and reduce bloating naturally.
1. Change up your Diet (just for NOW)
Pick protein- and potassium-rich foods.
Fill your plate with ingredients that won’t cause you to puff up. High protein foods are usually a safe bet. High-potassium foods like bananas, cantaloupe, tomatoes, and asparagus and healthy fats like chia, nuts, and salmon help promote a good balance of fluids. As well foods that act as natural diuretics like celery, cucumbers, watermelon, lemon juice, garlic, and ginger will also make you feel lighter.
Stay away from foods that cause gas.
The two biggest culprits being, broccoli and Brussels sprouts. They contain a complex sugar called raffinose. Humans lack the enzyme to help break it down properly, which leads to gas and bloat. Other foods that create gas are beans, cabbage, cauliflower, and lettuce.
Cut back on caffeine and alcohol
I know it may sometimes seem bloating is worth it for your morning joe or evening wine, but alcohol during pre-menstruation can enhance PMS symptoms like breast tenderness, mood swings, and bloating. While coffee can overstimulate the digestive tract and irritate the bowels, not to mention dehydrate you, which causes you to retain water. If you're looking for a mental challenge and a great way to reduce bloating this would be the one.
Nix the carbonated or sugary drinks
Chugging fizzy beverages might make you feel better temporarily, but they’ll leave you way more bloated than before. The same goes for sugary drinks like Gatorade or any with artificial sweeteners, they are just as bad for bloating.
Instead, rely on good ol' water, and aim for eight glasses a day.
2. Add some Tea To Your Diet
Mix in some green, peppermint, or fennel tea to help eliminate inflammatory mediators. Additionally, red raspberry leaf tea strengthens and cleanses the body, and it offers a nutritional boost for the female endocrine system.
The two major hormones in the female body are estrogen and progesterone. When you have too much estrogen, otherwise known as estrogen dominance, that imbalance can contribute to PMS bloating. The herb chasteberry helps balance hormones by triggering an increase in progesterone.
Palmer says chasteberry is good for reducing many hormonal symptoms of PMS in addition to bloating, including depression and anxiety, because it helps to balance the ratio of progesterone to estrogen.
4. Sea salt or Himalayan salt
If you’re going to use salt to season your food it would be beneficial to swap your regular table salt for sea salt or Himalayan salt. Sea salt and Himalayan salt both contain the correct balance of minerals, which won’t cause as much bloating as basic table salt.
5. Clary sage essential oil
Clary sage is another herb that can help address bloating and other PMS symptoms. Clary sage essential oil helps balance estrogen production in the body, which reduces menstrual cramps and PMS.
Got it. But when should you see a doctor?
Yes, period bloat is super normal, but if it doesn’t seem to align with your cycle and is more like an all-the-time problem, or the bloating and your other PMS symptoms are really bothering you, talk to your ob-gyn.