Why Do I Always Get Bloated During My Period?

May 02, 2023
Why Do I Always Get Bloated During My Period?
Do you ever feel like your pants and skirts feel tighter around your waist while you’re on your period? Find out what causes period bloating, and learn how you can get relief.

Bloating is one of the symptoms of post menstrual syndrome (PMS) and a consequence of the hormone fluctuations that occur during the menstrual cycle. 

PMS describes the symptoms that women experience right before their period and at the beginning of their period. These symptoms vary from woman to woman, but they may include mood swings, irritability, cramps, acne, greasy skin, breast tenderness, food cravings, headaches, acne, and bloating.  

Bloating usually starts a couple of days before your period and goes away a few days after the bleeding starts. About 70% of women experience it during their period.

However, it can feel uncomfortable and may prevent you from fitting into your clothing. Along with bloating, you may also feel a sense of heaviness in your stomach area. 

Below, we asked our experts at The Ashford Center to explain why bloating occurs and what you can do to find relief. 

Why bloating occurs during your period 

There are several possible causes of bloating before and during a menstrual cycle. These include fluctuating hormones (estrogen and progesterone) and increased production of prostaglandins, which are the chemicals that make muscles contract in the pelvic area. 

Bloating is often a consequence of the body retaining more water. Alongside bloating, you may also experience gas and changes in your bowel movements. 

Alongside these changes, other factors can prolong or contribute to the bloat that occurs as your hormones fluctuate, including the following:

  • Excessive caffeine and alcohol intake 
  • Not drinking enough water 
  • Having a diet high in salty foods 
  • Eating foods that are more likely to cause bloating (e.g., cabbage, Brussels sprouts, beans, and corn)

Sometimes, deficiencies in micronutrients such as magnesium and vitamin B12 can also contribute to bloating during a period. 

How to lessen bloating during your cycle 

Bloating is a symptom of PMS, and like many PMS symptoms, it can be relieved by better stress management, an active lifestyle, and high-quality sleep.

Eating slowly may also help with bloating, as doing so helps you swallow less air when chewing. Quitting carbonated drinks, at least temporarily, can also help. 

Getting help if your bloating persists 

PMS symptoms vary in severity, and while some women experience mild bloating that lasts a couple of days, others may have trouble fitting into their pants and experience severe discomfort. 

If that’s the case, contact us to schedule an appointment. Our experts will examine you and let you know what’s worsening your bloating. Sometimes, diuretics are prescribed to eliminate the excess water, and other times, birth control pills are used to relieve bloating.