You might have noticed that you feel bloated before your period comes. But what about in the middle of your cycle? Water retention, or bloating, can be common around the time of Ovulation. Today we are going to talk about why that is and what you can do about it.
What is happening during ovulation?
Ovulation is a time of big hormonal shifts. The Estrogen levels have been increasing throughout the Follicular phase or first half of your cycle. Then, when the Estrogen level reaches a critical point, it triggers a quick increase in Luteinizing hormone, AKA, LH, which is often called the LH surge. The LH surge is what triggers your ovary to release your egg.
Once Ovulation has occurred, Estrogen and LH levels drop quite quickly. Progesterone levels then increase during the Luteal phase, or the second half, of your cycle.
What does Ovulation have to do with water retention?
These big hormonal changes can cause you to feel different around the time of ovulation. High Estrogen levels can make you feel good, gives us energy, boost your concentration, and even make you more interested in sex.
But it can also cause your body to hold onto water and swell slightly, which can lead to bloating. As you probably already know, hormones run almost every system in your body, including telling your kidneys how much water to get rid of and how much to hold onto. The main hormone involved in regulating this is called Antidiuretic hormone, ADH. But because the hormone systems are all linked, Estrogen and other hormones can also affect water retention.
Water retention and the Menstrual cycle
While water retention and bloating are more common before your period starts, or at the beginning of your period, it can also happen around Ovulation. The spike of Estrogen around that time triggers the body to hold onto more water. This bloated feeling usually starts a couple of days before your egg is released.
IMPORTANT NOTE: If you’re tracking your cycle as a method of non-hormonal contraception then bloating does not count as a sign of Ovulation. Please don’t rely on feeling bloated to give you accurate information about when you are ovulating. It might help you to work out the pattern of your cycles, but shouldn’t be relied on to avoid pregnancy.
What can I do about water retention around Ovulation?
There are some simple things that you can try to improve that bloated feeling:
- Lowering your salt intake. This is because the more salt there is in your blood, the more your body will hold onto water to try and dilute the salt.
- Exercise. Moving around can help your body move fluids more efficiently, as can yoga, pilates, and such.
- Avoid foods that might make bloating worse. They include things like wheat, onions, garlic, artichokes, apples, pears, cauliflower, broccoli, and cabbage. Cutting them out could help reduce discomfort.
If, though, your bloating persists for a couple of weeks or more, it’s time to think about having a conversation with a healthcare type. They can help you rule out any underlying hormone issues or food sensitivities that might be contributing.