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What to Do about Bloating during Menstruation

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

Especially for women trying to lose weight through diet and exercise, fluid retention during each menstrual cycle can be especially disheartening. More commonly known as “bloating”, fluid retention will make your favorite jeans too tight and will make the numbers on the scale creep up more than you’d expect. Luckily, bloating is no indication of your actual weight, and it’s quite literally excess water in your body that has been stored between layers of tissue. During your period, your body holds on to this water because of hormonal changes and minor swelling of the tissue.  It is extremely common during menstruation, but it can be even more inconvenient than the usual cramps and back pain.

The only way to ensure that your bloating won’t get in the way of any major events is to plan those events around your period. You won’t want to try squeezing your bloated belly into your wedding dress or honeymoon bikini on the big day, but you’ll probably have planned your wedding around your period anyway. However, if you need to deal with bloating for one reason or another, there are some home remedies you could try to ease the discomfort.

First, make sure you eat a healthy and balanced diet during menstruation. Cut back on salt and sodium, as these will make your body retain even more water. Eat more vegetables and less fat and sweets to keep the fluids in your body moving properly through you. Next, exercise through your menstrual cycle. Not only will this ease any cramps you might have, but it will also help you sweat out the excess water trapped in your tissues. Although it seems counterintuitive, make sure you drink plenty of water. Proper hydration will keep the rest of your system working properly, so that when your period is finally over, the bloating will subside quickly and without incident.

Bloating is the modern woman’s worst nightmare. Months of exercise and healthy eating seem to go down the drain as menstruation begins and your designer jeans won’t even make it to your waist.  Luckily, the home remedies listed will help relieve the fluid retention somewhat. Until the relief kicks in, there’s no shame in sweatpants.

 – Yvonne S. Thornton, M. D., M. P. H.