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Menstrual bloating

Written by Nutritional Therapist Lorna Driver-Davies.

Many women suffer from menstrual or hormonal bloating during their period. This is different to other kinds of bloating that may be connected to poor digestion and the health of the gut - for example, an imbalance in gut flora, or dysbiosis. You can read about other causes here.

Bloated woman during period

Some people suffer from cramps and flatulence when they're bloated

For some women, fluctuations in hormones can result in  bloating, constipation and water retention. However, it’s important to understand that experiencing these symptoms (or cramping) just before, and at the beginning of your period is perfectly normal. After all, your body is busy preparing to shed the lining of your womb! This article is more catered to you if you feel bloating or constipation is excessive before and during your period. (Click here to read more about these symptoms occurring together.)

It’s really important to be safe, so check with your GP if you are suffering from uncomfortable bloating throughout the month, particularly if it has got worse recently and is causing you any constant pain.

Are hormones to blame?

A good way of trying to see if bloating and constipation are being triggered by hormonal fluctuations is to make a diary of when these symptoms occur and how they relate to your menstrual cycle. There are some great apps now (such as 'Clue') which enable you to log all symptoms during your monthly cycle, so you can start to build up a visual of the pattern you may have.

If you have some of the following, hormones are likely to play a part in your bloating. Indicators of hormonal imbalances include:

Found out more about bloating and your period.

Some hormonal fluctuations, and therefore menstrual bloating, can be eased by understanding two principles.

  1. Hormones require certain foods and a healthy lifestyle to help keep them in balance.
  2. A healthy body should naturally eliminate unwanted hormones as they can otherwise create a situation of imbalance. 

Diet & Lifestyle Changes

What changes can be made to help improve hormone balancing in the case of menstrual bloating?

Supplements:

These are some of my favourite supplements for dealing with imbalanced hormones & bloating (don't feel like you need to take them all!);

For further reading take a look at Natural Remedies for Bloating (many of which can still apply to menstrual bloating) or find out some more tips for bloating around your period.

Lorna is a qualified nutritionist & herbal medicine dispenser, and founder of www.feelbetternutrition.co.uk.

Image of woman holding stomach courtesy of Ohmega1982.
Image of sugar lumps courtesy of Suat Eman.
Image of got water bottle courtesy of Ambro.

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