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Bloating and Your Period
Posted 4 years ago by Lou
Feelings of distension and heaviness around the period are experienced by many women on a monthly basis. Often, this issue is simply accepted as a normal part of being female, but there are many things you can try which can really have a positive impact on menstrual bloating. We all lead busy lives and sometimes don’t prioritise eating right and taking care of ourselves, but making some of the small changes discussed below, can make a big difference!
Stress and the City
Stress can play a really significant role in symptoms of bloating around the period, as high stress levels can disrupt the hormonal balance responsible for the menstrual cycle. Modern life is stressful, and it is easy to get caught up in the chaos of everyday life (trust me I know!). Using stress reduction techniques such as meditation can help balance our reactions to stressful experiences. This can help us respond more appropriately, whilst having far reaching effects on our vitality as a whole. Incorporating a simple meditation into your daily life is a really good place to start. You can find some great free meditation tips here, or read more about stress & bloating - by naturopath Brendan O'Loughlin.
Bloating is one of the most common pre menstrual symptoms.
Becoming more active can also be a great way to alleviate menstrual bloating. Improving circulation to the uterus and reproductive organs reduces congestion and can help improve blood flow. This increases the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the area, whilst also increasing the removal of wastes and toxins. Going for regular walks or taking up swimming and yoga can be really effective and easy ways to improve muscle tone and circulation. Movement also helps to stimulate the lymphatic system, which is also responsible for aiding the removal of excess fluids and wastes from the body. You may also want to try lymphatic massage (make sure you look for a qualified practitioner), or dry-skin brushing at home every morning.
Do or Diet?
Diet and lifestyle factors can also contribute considerably, and implementing changes in these areas can make a big difference to symptoms. Bloating which occurs concurrently with your period, can be a sign that your system is congested or overloaded. Often when women go on a gentle cleanse or detox, which reduces the burden on the liver, wastes can be more appropriately dealt with and removed. I know when I start to experience menstrual bloating that it is time for me to clean up my diet. Try increasing your fresh fruits and vegetables, herbal teas and purified water, whilst reducing processed foods, sugar and alcohol. Warm foods such as soups and teas can also help by improving circulation to the reproductive area, and if you are like me, the humble hot water bottle becomes your best friend around this time of the month!
Essential Oils Therapy
Using essential oils is also a wonderful way to improve symptoms of bloating and heaviness around menstruation. Essential oils are the healing components of plants which are extracted into a concentrated liquid and then used therapeutically. Because they are so concentrated, make sure you dilute the oils in a vegetable base such as almond oil. This can then be massaged directly into the abdomen to relieve bloating associated with your period, and many women also benefit from adding some diluted oils to a warm relaxing bath. Effective oils include Geranium, Rosemary, Chamomile, Rose, Fennel, Ginger and Lavender. You can buy these at your local health food store but try to remember to buy natural and organic oils where possible (and keep away from the artificial ones which may smell nice but don’t really have a therapeutic use).
Digesting the Problem
Although menstrual bloating is different to bloating that occurs in the digestive system, because the two areas are anatomically close, treating the digestive system can also have a big impact on bloating around your period. Often women feel constipated around this time of the month, which can aggravate feelings of congestion and heaviness. It also puts strain on the reproductive system as toxins and excess hormones in the bowel become reabsorbed into the body. Taking probiotics to support the digestive system can be really useful and you can find some great ones here. If constipation is an issue, making sure you are drinking enough water and eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables (skin on where possible please!) will help too.
These are just some of the ways to relieve bloating around the period and you can find some other useful ones here. Remember to consult a practitioner if your symptoms do not improve.
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