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Is it normal to bloat during ovulation?

Posted 5 years ago by Jo

Women experience bloating at different times during their monthly cycle, but sometimes this is more noticeable around ovulation. Ovulation occurs during the middle of a woman's menstrual cycle, approximately 14 days after the start of a monthly period, when a follicle is released from the ovaries, ready for fertilisation by sperm.

There are a harmony of hormones at play during a woman's cycle, including oestrogen and progesterone. A rise in oestrogen occurs just prior to ovulation which in turn triggers a surge in LH (Luteinising Hormone). This rise or excess (known as oestrogen dominance) may cause symptoms such as bloating, mainly due to increased water retention. If a woman is experiencing a hormonal imbalance, with greater oestrogen levels in relation to progesterone, it is likely to exacerbate these symptoms.

In order to help reduce bloating around the time of ovulation (as well as menstrual bloating which you can read about here), there are a number of things you can do to help balance your hormone levels.

Female hormones

A mid-cycle rise in oestrogen may contribue to bloating in women 

Remove potential trigger foods

If you tend to suffer from bloating, either at certain times during your menstrual cycle or at any time of the month, it may be helpful to try to identify and avoid certain trigger foods. The most common trigger foods are bread, dairy and refined sugar foods.

We have previously written about top trigger foods - take a look at this piece here.

Avoid xenoestrogens

Xenoestrogens (derived from the Greek word meaning "foreign") are compounds, usually synthetic, that have an oestrogenic activity on the cells in our body, and are known to be hormone disruptive. Xenoestrogens are found in many different places in our modern lifestyles, but it is advisable to pay particular care to the creams and lotions you use on your body (always try to find paraben-free products), household cleaning products and plastics. You may wish to avoid drinking from plastic bottles, which can contain phthallates, which can also act as xenoestrogens. 

Respect my hormones

Xenoestrogens found in cosmetics and cleaning products may disrupt female hormones

Support liver detoxification

The liver is one of the body's most important detoxification tools, helping to excrete toxins and old hormones. By supporting your liver you can help to optimise its function, which may in turn help to reduce a hormonal imbalance. 

Bitter foods such as dandelion, artichoke, rocket, endive and chicory help to stimulate the production of bile in the liver, helping to keep things moving and reduce bloating. 

Foods rich in sulphur such garlic, onions, leafy green vegetables and eggs are important for providing nutrients required by the liver detoxification pathways.

It may come as no surprise that alcohol places an additional burden on the liver, so if you are experiencing symptoms of a hormonal balance and/or bloating, it may be advisable to avoid or certainly reduce your intake of alcohol. Alcohol also encourages us to store more water (water retention) and can cause dehydration, both triggers. 

Milk thistle has long been known for its hepatoprotective (liver protecting) properties. Taking a few drops of milk thistle tincture in water daily can enhance liver function, helping to excrete toxins and old hormones. Because A. Vogel's product is complex, it also contains artichoke, dandelion, bolbo and peppermint - all of which work together to aid digestion and liver detoxification and support healthy bowel movements. In Traditional Chinese Medicine mint is regarded as a herb that can help the body cope better with stress, a factor which can contribute to bloating. In addition, as a carminative herb, mint also calms digestion - so if you find drinking mint tea after a meal helpful you may find this tincture particularly effective. 

Milk Thistle

A. Vogel's milk thistle contains fresh plant extracts to support liver function

Simply drinking a glass of water with a slice of lemon first thing in the morning can help to stimulate digestion and bile flow, in turn improving liver function.

Reduce water retention

There are many natural diuretics that may help reduce water retention and bloating, including a number of fruits, vegetables and herbs that work by increasing urinary outout. For instance, lemons have natural diuretic properties, and bananas are rich in the electrolyte potassium which may help maintain fluid balance in the body. Herbs such as dandelion and parsley are fantastic at increasing urination, which may reduce water retention and bloating.

Although it may seem somewhat contradicatory, drinking plenty of water is important in helping to ensure you are adequately hydrated. 

We have specifically focused here on remedies to help balance female hormone health and reduce bloating around ovulation, but you may also like to read about other natural remedies for bloating

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