I know my period is on the way when all of a sudden my tummy feels like it's magically expanding, I crave everything but can't stomach anything, and my abdominal pain is absolutely no gain to anyone around me who has to deal with my sufferings and desire to just crawl right back into bed. The period bloating struggle is real, and after getting my period approximately 228 times, I've decided to look into why I get so bloated around that time of the month and how to go about fixing it.
Caleb Backe, a health and wellness expert for Maple Holistics, says that menstrual bloating occurs as a result of the body retaining more water than usual. "Although hormones are the root cause of period bloating, there are several nutritional factors involved too," Backe says.
Here are five ways to help your period bloating fade away and not come back the next month.
Fill Up on Veggies
Backe recommends trading in any foods that are high in sodium to make sure that you're eating foods that are high in protein. One of the best foods to gnaw on are your veggies.
"Many nutritionists extol the benefits of leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, and whole grains for PMS symptoms, but this is a serious error," Backe says. "These healthy foods actually exacerbate bloating thanks to their high soluble fiber content."
Grab Your Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is known to have magic powers when it comes to helping regulating your blood sugar and improving your skin, but it can also help with stubborn period bloating.
"Apple cider vinegar cleanses the digestive tract and aids in digestion," says Rebecca Lee, a registered nurse and founder of RemediesForMe.com. "That's why it's great for bloating and flatulence."
Lee says that apple cider vinegar also balances your stomach's pH levels, which is beneficial toward your digestive health and functioning. She adds that If you're new to ACV, add one teaspoon to a tall glass of water.
DIY This Concoction
A great remedy for bloating is one that you can DIY by gathering just two items from your kitchen and mixing them together. Lee says those two items are lemons and baking soda.
"The juice from lemons mixed with baking soda creates carbon dioxide, which is great for digestion," Lee says. "This mix is great for bloating and starts working immediately."
Lee suggests adding one teaspoon of baking soda and the juice from one lemon to a tall glass of water.
Up Your Magnesium Intake
When you're rummaging through your vitamin cabinet, pull out the magnesium during the time when period bloating is hitting your stomach hard.
"When it comes to bloating and PMS, a boost in magnesium intake can actually promote natural cell detoxification and decrease bloat," says Dr. Jacqueline Schaffer, MD, a board-certified medical doctor and author of Irresistible You. "Foods like spinach, pumpkin seeds, and bananas are all high in magnesium. You can also find the mineral in a variety of supplements (often in the form of dissolvable powders) at your local health food store."
Take Your B6 Vitamins
In addition to magnesium, another vitamin to make sure you're taking to help combat period bloating is B6.
"If you're not taking a supplement with B vitamins (found in most compound multivitamins or on their own), pinto beans, avocado, sunflower seeds, and pistachios are great sources of B vitamins," says Dr. Schaffer.
Schaffer explains that B6 can help your body balance water retention — one of the primary causes of bloat around that time of the month.