As many women approach the start of their period, they dread period bloating and all the other concerns that arise from this. It is estimated that eight out of ten women suffer from bloating before and at the beginning of their period.
The menstrual period may be natural however there is nothing normal in having to put up with the uncomfortable symptoms of period bloating. Your clothes may feel too tight, your appetite might be reduced and some women may even choose not to go out during this time.
What causes period bloating?
Bloating during a woman’s menstrual cycle is a relatively common occurrence but why does it happen? Period bloating is actually fluid retention and results in the feelings of being overly full or having a swollen waist. It is not a serious concern but an annoying one.
Bloating usually occurs at the premenstrual stage as a symptom of Premenstrual Syndrome. During a menstrual cycle, there is a major fluctuation between the female sex hormones oestrogen and progesterone. It is the relative levels of these hormones and the difference in levels of the two hormones that cause different symptoms in different women before and during a period. Women actually gain pounds of water due to the ability of oestrogen to cause fluid retention.
Most often by the third day of a period, the water retention begins to diminish and the symptoms ease. When oestrogen levels rise bloating increases and when oestrogen levels fall, bloating decreases.
Aside from hormonal changes, other possible reasons for period bloating could be excessive amounts of blood pooling in the pelvic area.
Your diet may also play a role in period bloating. Eating a lot of salt before and during your period may cause water retention compounding to the problem.
High levels of prostaglandins, hormone type compounds, can also lead to bloating. Prostaglandins helps the uterus to contract which is required each month to shed its lining. An excess of prostaglandins causes the symptoms of bloating and cramping.
How to reduce bloating during your period
Whilst there is not much one can do about controlling the natural hormones produced by the body, you can limit the other factors that contribute to abdominal bloating:
- Cut down on foods that cause gas in the body. Typically, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, beans, potatoes and corn take longer to digest which can result in more gas and therefore bloating.
- Try to cut down on carbohydrate rich foods just before and a few days at the start of your period. Carbohydrate foods such as white bread, white rice and anything with white flour retain water which contributes to bloating.
- Cut down on salt because the body reacts to salt by retaining more water.
- Eat foods high in potassium such as bananas, tomatoes asparagus and sweet potato. Potassium helps regulate body fluids.
- Reduce carbonated drinks, sugar, coffee and alcohol. All of these may dehydrate the body leading to fluid retention as a protective action.
- By far the quickest method of eliminating the excess water retention just before or during your period is through the use of herbal diuretic herbs such as dandelion available in capsule and tincture forms.
Natural remedies for period bloating
Dandelion root and leaves have a long history of use in traditional medicine as a digestive aid. Dandelion’s other property includes the fact that it is a great natural diuretic. Dandelion root in particular is a rich source of vitamins, minerals and numerous antioxidant plant compounds.
As a potent diuretic, Dandelion increases urine flow, rids the body of excess water and helps to relieve feelings of bloating. Due to its high levels of nutrients including minerals such as potassium, Dandelion helps replenish the minerals that are lost through its diuretic property unlike many synthetic diuretics. By reducing stored water, Dandelion helps tackle period bloating.
A Vogel’s Dandelion Tincture contains freshly harvested organically grown root and the leaves. Take fifteen to twenty drops up to three times a day just before and during your period. Additionally Dandelion helps with relieve menstrual cramps and may even aid with the symptoms of stress and anxiety which often accompany menstrual bloating. Bloating during menstruation can be uncomfortable and makes you miserable however it can be greatly alleviated with Dandelion Tincture.
Caution: Dandelion Tincture should not be combined with conventional diuretics and should not be used by people with gallstones.