Bloat. The word sounds just like it feels, doesn’t it? You feel extra fluffy and full. Your clothes don’t fit quite right, and if it’s a particularly bad bloating session, you’re in pain. As if cramps and bleeding weren’t already enough to deal with on your period! Wouldn’t it be nice if you could kick those period bloats to the curb? Well, you’re in luck! Here are our best period bloating remedies so that you can feel better sooner.
What is period bloating?
But first, let’s back up the bus. What do we mean by period bloating anyway?
It happens during that time in the month when gas, liquids, or solids are moving slower than normal through your digestive tract, thanks to the hormonal fluctuations of your menstrual cycle.
Things in your bowels are always moving. In fact, if things ever came to a complete halt, you would likely be in excruciating pain, and it would probably mean a trip to the hospital.
But your hormone fluctuations can sometimes slow things. This is what leads to the lovely bloating feeling, or even a swollen abdomen. You feel like your belly is extra full because it is!
So, how can you keep things moving in there?
Period Bloating Remedies
As promised, here are some amazing and effective ways to help reduce the bloats. They won’t all work for everyone, but you’ll definitely find one or two things that’ll help…
Move your body
Okay. Yes, we purposely avoided using the “e” word — exercise — because we don’t want you to get the wrong idea. If you don’t feel like you can make it through a high-intensity workout while on your period, don’t! Go for a short walk instead. Watch your favorite show while you walk on your treadmill’s lower setting. Do some light yoga. Whatever gets you to move your body will help get things moving in that GI tract.
In fact, a study from 2020 suggests that “mild physical activity enhances intestinal gas clearance and reduces symptoms in patients with bloating.” The study also suggests that just 30 minutes of walking each day can also improve symptoms of constipation. So, use it as an excuse to listen to your favorite podcast or watch your favorite show. You’ll probably see some changes in your bathroom attendance overall, which will help minimize period bloating.
How food can help the bloats
This is a hard one. But it’s also one of the most crucial period bloating remedies if you want to get it under control.
Now, you can look at this in a couple of different ways. If willpower is your superpower, you might be able to cut out all of the junk from your diet. It might take a while before you’re consistent, but you’ll get there. And that will positively affect your entire body, including your bloating.
For the rest of us mere mortals, instead of removing something from our diet, let’s think of adding things. In fact, even those willpower superheroes can benefit from these, so everyone listen up and takes notes.
Eat more fiber
No, eating fiber doesn’t mean munching on cereal that looks like rabbit food pellets. It can include fruits, vegetables, whole-grain bread and pasta, beans, etc. Basically, anything with insoluble fiber.
What’s insoluble fiber, you ask? Insoluble fiber is a type of fiber that your body cannot digest. So, your body just sends it right on through — if you catch our meaning.
There is another type of fiber called, unsurprisingly, soluble fiber. It attracts water and helps your stool keep its form. After all, you don’t want to swing from constipation to diarrhea! The good news is that both soluble and insoluble fibers are found in the same foods, so you don’t have to worry about eating the wrong thing. Just focus on eating more whole foods.
In other words, drink more water.
It seems a bit counterintuitive as period bloating remedies go, doesn’t it? You’re already feeling rather full, and now we’re telling you to drink more water?
Sort of. For the best results, you should always stay hydrated, and not just when the period bloats are around. In fact, a study from 2021 showed that those who kept hydrated had lower body fluid volumes than those who were less hydrated.
Not a fan of plain water? Find a sugar-free flavor additive or squeeze a little lemon into your glass and drink up! Clear, sugar-free beverages are the way to go if you want to banish the bloats.
What about coffee? Doesn’t coffee make you go to the bathroom lots?
For a lot of people, yes. In the medical community, caffeine is known as a diuretic, which means it makes you pee more. For this reason, coffee was labeled as dehydrating. However, now the research suggests that the liquid in coffee replaces the extra urine output. So you can keep your coffee but don’t get too crazy. Remember to keep it simple.
Add some herbal tea to your beverage options to help you stay hydrated and keep things moving. Obviously, tea is a liquid, so you’ll benefit from that. But for the maximum effects when it comes to helping with digestion and bloating, you can choose teas containing the following, as long as you’re not allergic to the herbs within:
If you’re experiencing constipation, you can also try laxative tea, often made with Senna. You can find laxative tea in the tea section or at a pharmacy. As with any medication, even over-the-counter ones, talk to a medical professional or pharmacist before you start taking it. Laxatives are generally safe for short-term use, i.e., no longer than seven days.
But if your constipation persists after a week of using the laxatives, please see a healthcare type asap.
Eat more often
Have you ever woken up feeling bloated and then skipped breakfast because you just knew if you ate anything, you would feel ten times worse?
It makes sense. Except that by mid-morning or lunchtime rolls around, you’re starving and end up eating way too much. So, you feel 100 times worse.
If that’s you, try eating little and often, and starting with breakfast. You might feel a tiny bit icky, but your GI tract will have something to move through it, and your body will get the energy it needs to function properly. And as period bloating remedies go, eating is one of the fun ones.
Have your GI and allergies tested
Certain conditions, such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), lactose or gluten intolerance, or an allergy to soy, eggs, and the like, can cause bloating and abdominal pain. If you suspect this could be contributing to long-term bloating — even when you’re not on your period — try keeping a food diary for a week.
Track everything you eat and drink and record when you feel bloated or experience abdominal pain or discomfort. Make an appointment with your doctor and bring your notes with you. They should be able to help diagnose you or refer you to someone who can.
If you receive a diagnosis, it’s important to follow your doctor’s treatment plan and listen to your body, no matter how challenging. You will probably find the sacrifice worth it and feel much better.
Let it go
The gas, we mean.
Don’t hold it in. If you feel bashful about breaking wind, take a bathroom break, head outside on your lunch break, or just carry some air freshener with you. You may find it mortifying, but it is a natural bodily function. You will survive, and your tummy will almost certainly feel better.
What if it’s — you know — stuck?
Well, we’ll refer back to our first tip: get in some extra movement. You can also try some stretches that focus on your core and hips. This can allow for extra room in your belly for the trapped wind to move about. Otherwise, you can have a partner massage your abdomen or lie on your back and bring your knees to your chest like a mom might do for her baby.
Be mindful of the time of the month
Period bloating only happens on your period, right?
Well… Not necessarily.
It’s also very common to experience bloating, namely water retention and maybe even gas, around Ovulation, which is typically about halfway through your cycle.
There is a massive hormonal shift right after Ovulation, where the Follicular phase ends and the Luteal phase begins. These shifts in hormones can affect how your body keeps and releases fluids, and its ability to digest food.
So, save your comfiest clothes for that times in your cycle. And tracking your cycle with the Hormona app is the best way to know when those days are coming. Which means you can plan your laundry accordingly.
Period bloating remedies: What now?
Some things in life can’t be controlled, and some things can. Unfortunately, period bloating falls into both of those categories. Hormone levels can certainly cause chaos in the GI tract. However, there are several things you can do to minimize bloating at other times. This includes:
- Moving your body daily
- Not chewing gum
- Staying away from fizzy sodas
- Eating more fiber — found in whole foods
- Staying hydrated with water, tea, or other clear, sugar-free liquids
- Eating small meals
- Letting the gas pass when it needs to
- Eating more slowly
In a perfect world, period bloating would be non-existent. But, if it still happens to you, try a few of these remedies, and remember this too shall, ahem, pass. But if they don’t, please see your doctor. No one should live in discomfort.