Health & Wellness

Q&A: Is it normal to have excessive bloating during your period?

Bloating is a very common pre-menstrual and menstrual symptom. Not only can you feel bloated like your stomach is protruding forward, but constipation contributes also. Various degrees of bloating are very common, so let’s talk about what can be done about it. Actually, certain behaviors make bloating worse. As that time of the month comes, food can take on a new meaning. Many women tend to crave and eat more sugary and salty snacks, leaving us feeling sluggish. We all know the feeling, this huge desire to eat dessert and salty carbohydrates like chips and french fries. These foods increase water retention, which increases bloating and can worsen all of our PMS symptoms. So let’s focus on the positive, how to be proactive and decrease the bloating. First, watch your diet, drink plenty of fluids - this means water, not pop, coffee or energy drinks. Think food pyramid and include all food groups, and focus on lean protein, fresh vegetables and fruits. Unless you have a sensitivity, don’t forget to eat dairy, such as low-fat yogurt. Take a multivitamin that includes vitamin B, vitamin C and iron. Exercise will also help decrease your symptoms. If all the above does not greatly improve your symptoms, schedule a visit to your healthcare provider who can discuss medication options with you. Specific birth control pills will decrease bloating also.

I sure hope so, because I get really bloated some months! One month I actually gained eight pounds that all went away when my period was over. It can be quite frustrating but I’ve found that the healthier my diet, the less bloated I get.

Our bodies all react differently and there is no right way or wrong way to have a period. Some of my friends don’t get bloated at all. And I have one friend who never eats chocolate except during her period when she eats one of those giant one-pound bars.

If the bloating bothers you, try eating less processed food and less salt and fat the week before your period and see if you notice any change. You might want to consider talking with your healthcare provider and/or a nutritionist as well.

I think it depends on what you mean by excessive. There is definitely some bloating and weight gain going on when you’re getting your period. My clothes definitely don’t fit as well as they should and it can be a little uncomfortable. But if you think it might be too much, talk to your healthcare provider and let them know your concerns. Also, check out what our heath expert, Michelle, has to say too!