How to stop bloat­ing dur­ing your pe­riod

Burton Mail - - Health & Lifestyle -

ALONG with painful cramps, skin break­outs and mood swings, feel­ing like an over­in­flated bal­loon is one of the most un­com­fort­able side-ef­fects of a wo­man’s pe­riod.

Char­ac­terised by a tight swelling of the lower ab­domen, bloat­ing in the lead up to men­stru­a­tion is a com­mon com­plaint, and the sever­ity can vary from wo­man to wo­man.

Here, ex­perts ex­plain how to make your monthly cy­cle sit a lit­tle eas­ier on your tummy...

WHY DO WE BLOAT DUR­ING OUR PE­RIOD?

“BLOAT­ING be­fore a pe­riod is one of the most com­mon symp­toms of pre-men­strual syn­drome, or PMS, and it’s ac­tu­ally as­so­ci­ated with fluid re­ten­tion,” says Dr Sarah Brewer, med­i­cal di­rec­tor at Healthspan.

“The ex­act cause is un­known, but it ap­pears to re­sult from an im­bal­ance be­tween the two fe­male hor­mones, oe­stro­gen and pro­ges­terone.”

Dr Brewer ex­plains that these hor­mones are pro­duced in a cycli­cal pat­tern so that, dur­ing the first half of the men­strual cy­cle, a wo­man’s oe­stro­gen lev­els are higher than those of pro­ges­terone.

“Once ovu­la­tion oc­curs, which is usu­ally in the mid­dle of the cy­cle, your pro­ges­terone lev­els rise rapidly to be­come higher than those of oe­stro­gen. This change in the rel­a­tive bal­ance of the fe­male hor­mones is what’s be­lieved to cause your body to re­tain fluid.”

Symp­toms tend to start within the two weeks be­fore the first day of your pe­riod, and they can last for a while, but Dr Brewer notes that they usu­ally im­prove within a day or two of your pe­riod start­ing.

WHAT ARE SOME TIPS FOR RE­LIEV­ING BLOAT­ING AT HOME?

“IT MIGHT sound old fash­ioned, but of­ten, a hot wa­ter bot­tle can re­ally be the best thing to help to re­lieve any pain or in­flam­ma­tion you’re ex­pe­ri­enc­ing,” says Dr Shree Datta, gy­nae­col­o­gist for In­tim­ina (in­tim­ina.com).

She adds: “I’d rec­om­mend drink­ing plenty of wa­ter and con­sider how much salt and fizzy drinks you are con­sum­ing too,” as car­bon­ated drinks and salty foods may fur­ther add to the bloat­ing sen­sa­tion.

Gen­tle ex­er­cise, such as yoga, may help re­lieve the tight feel­ing too.

Be­yond these sim­ple mea­sures, sup­ple­ments could pro­vide some re­lief.

“Stud­ies have found that, in par­tic­u­lar, mag­ne­sium can sig­nif­i­cantly im­prove pre­men­strual symp­toms as­so­ci­ated with fluid re­ten­tion, such as weight gain, bloat­ing, swelling and breast pain,” says Dr Brewer, who rec­om­mends Healthspan Opti-mag­ne­sium (£10.95 for 90 tablets, healthspan.co.uk).

“In some cases, Ibupro­fen can help too, if you’re able to take it,” adds Dr Datta, “par­tic­u­larly if you have bad pe­riod pains. Whilst some bloat­ing may be nor­mal around the time of your pe­riod, if it’s af­fect­ing your life­style, it’s im­por­tant to get checked over by your GP,” she con­tin­ues.

“If you have other symp­toms too, like de­bil­i­tat­ing pe­riod pains, this may be a sign of an un­der­ly­ing prob­lem, such as en­dometrio­sis, so you’d need to be re­ferred to a gy­nae­col­o­gist who can in­ves­ti­gate your symp­toms fur­ther.”

Hug­ging a hot wa­ter bot­tle could help...

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