How to avoid a bloated belly during your period ?
Every period comes with its own set of discomforts: period pain, abdominal cramps, back pain… and belly bloating that’s far from pleasant. If the swollen belly during menstruation is one of the recurring symptoms of the menstrual cycle, but it is not a fatality. Here are some tips and tricks to reduce menstrual bloating and get a flat stomach.
Why do we have a swollen belly during our period ?
If you are prone to belly bloating, you may have noticed that your belly starts to swell before your period arrives. Because yes, it all starts before the first bleeding begins..
The belly starts to swell after ovulation
To understand why you have a swollen belly during your period, let’s start by deciphering the menstrual cycle. From adolescence to menopause (and apart from periods of pregnancy), your menstrual cycles follow a very precise pattern that is broken down into four phases: the follicular phase, ovulation, the luteal phase and menstruation.
At each of its phases, the Hormone levels fluctuate :
- Estrogen which thickens the uterine wall to accommodate the fertilized egg, increases during the follicular phase, i.e. before ovulation.
- The progesterone also prepares the uterus for a possible pregnancy, but this time after ovulation, by preventing the uterus from contracting and expelling the fertilized egg. Its rate increases during the luteal phase.
If the egg is not fertilized, the level of hormones drops and causes the degradation of the uterine lining: this is the beginning of the period.
As we have seen, progesterone is there to prevent contractions of the uterus, thanks to a relaxing action. Except that if it relaxes the uterus, it also relaxes the intestines. As a result, transit slows down, which increases the risk of constipation, bloating and gas.
This phenomenon, which is part of the premenstrual syndrome, explains why many women have a swollen belly before having their period. Most of the time, the belly deflates when the period arrives, but not always..
The swollen belly during the period
If some women still have a swollen belly during their period, it is simply because the uterus and intestines are still disturbed by hormones. You should have a normal belly two to three days after your period, when the level of progesterone has decreased.
Water retention responsible for the swollen belly
Another cause of bloating is water retention. Here again, the hormones are responsible for the increase in water accumulation in the tissues. This also explains the small weight gain just before the period.
4 solutions to stop having a swollen belly during your period
Although this feeling of a swollen belly is completely natural, you can act on this swelling.
Adopt an anti bloating diet
Even if this bloating happens a little before your period, you will have understood that it is your intestines that are slowing down. So, to reduce swelling, help your digestive system to digest better.
- Add fennel to your meals or make an infusion and try vegetable charcoal. The first one is perfect to facilitate digestion and the second one eliminates gas.
- Opt for a healthy and balanced diet and avoid salt (for water retention), processed foods and soft drinks.
- Drink a lot of water to eliminate and regulate the transit.
- Take a course of probiotics if necessary to rebalance your intestinal flora.
Do some sports
Physical activity, whatever it is, is always beneficial, and even more so when the belly swells. Walking, swimming, running… in short, all sports activities have the advantage of activating blood circulation and therefore boosting the digestive system. At the same time, you firm up your abdominal muscles, which is very beneficial !
Drive out the stress
Stress has unhealthy effects on our overall health and this is also felt on the digestive system which reacts immediately: constipation, diarrhea and of course bloating.
Here are some relaxation tips to be tested throughout the year and particularly during the period (especially if you have painful periods):
- Try yoga, mediation, visualization and even hypnosis for menstrual pain. These relaxation techniques are very effective against the effects of stress and will bring you a certain well-being.
- Get enough sleep: lack of sleep increases stress, which in turn increases when you don’t get enough sleep. It is a vicious circle and the best way to stop it is to learn to sleep well again. Respect your biological cycle, go to bed early, turn off the screens and do some breathing exercises before falling into the arms of Morpheus for at least 6 hours of sleep !
Taking care of yourself
There is nothing like taking a little time for yourself and taking care of your body to live this menstrual period with serenity and forget those little swellings.
- Massage your belly: a massage of the lower abdomen will allow you to relieve dysmenorrhea while activating your intestinal transit.
- Do not focus on your swollen belly: these physical changes are only temporary and the sooner you accept them, the sooner they will disappear.
To conclude As you will have understood, the swollen belly during menstruation is due to hormonal changes. However, if you have other symptoms such as nausea, headaches, pain in the abdomen or lower back… Do not remain alone with your pain and consult a gynecologist or your doctor.