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Period Bloating - Why Don’t My Pants Fit and What Does it Have To Do with My Cycle?

It’s the week before your period and suddenly that cute top just doesn’t fit the same. Your breasts are sore, your tummy feels full and something just feels off!

Pre-period bloating (water retention) is very common and, like most other PMS symptoms, it’s got a lot to do with hormones.

Why am I bloated? 

Three common causes of cycle-related bloating are:

High estrogen levels

If your body has more estrogen than it can use, or get rid of, you can experience salt and water retention (AKA bloating). 

This will particularly affect you during the two weeks leading up to your period (your luteal phase) and this often worsens as you get closer to the start of your period. 

Ways to support your body

Support your body to break down and remove excess estrogen with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. Add them to your meals or make juices. Some high-fibre and water-balancing choices are carrot, beetroot, celery, lemon, dark leafy green and flax. Drink plenty of fresh water and steer clear of too many salty snacks (like chips).

High stress levels

Ever noticed during times of stress you how your eyes and body feel puffy? This is thanks to the stress hormone cortisol, which can indeed lead to puffiness and bloating. This is because the release of cortisol makes your body store more salt and therefore more water - hello bloat!

Ways to support your body

Gentle exercise is a beautiful way to increase oxygen and blood flow and reduce cortisol levels in your body. Try out those high-fibre fruits and veggies (such as pears, apples, broccoli and sweet potato) and avoid caffeine (cortisol producing) and salty snacks like chips (which lead to more water retention). 

Gut health issues

To do all the things it needs to do, your gut needs a healthy balance of bacteria (or you might have heard about - a healthy microbiome). 

Good gut bacteria help you to break down food, absorb essential nutrients, process and get rid of waste, and make all the juicy good hormones you need for a healthy mind, body and cycle!

If your gut health is a bit out of whack, this can lead to having too much estrogen, inflammation, irritable bowel syndrome and other challenges that can make you bloated. 

Ways to support your body:

Healing your gut is first and foremost about what you put into it. If you’re experiencing bloating and other issues, try reducing the amount of processed foods, sugars, dairy and gluten that you’re eating - there’s plenty of delicious and natural alternatives out there. 

Add in lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, healthy fats (avocados, salmon, olive oil), and protein from eggs, lean meats, or tofu. Consider chatting to a healthcare professional about a probiotic or other gut support supplements if changing your eating habits doesn’t improve your issues.

And remember, pre-period and period bloating is very common and often a natural part of having a cycle with changing hormone levels. 

Did you find this article helpful? 

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