Have you ever wondered why at a certain time of the month, you suddenly feel like your stomach is swelling or is just feeling puffier than usual? You suddenly feel gassy, and your favorite shirt feels tighter than usual.
Fret not – it may be because of your monthly period! In this article, we’ll walk you through what happens during ovulation and give you tips and tricks on how to handle abdominal bloating during that time of the month.
What is ovulation bloating?
Ovulation begins when the egg is released from your ovary, which usually falls on the 14th day of your 28 days menstrual cycle. During ovulation, the egg travels down the fallopian tube and stays there for a 24-hour period. This comes with several symptoms and is one of the reasons you may experience bloating.
And just before ovulation starts, your body’s estrogen levels spike. From there, your luteinizing hormone takes over and is responsible for signaling the body to release the egg. This rollercoaster of hormones triggers water retention and complications in the gastrointestinal tract, which leaves you feeling puffy, full, and gassy.
Additionally, you may experience increased cravings for food that have high sodium content, such as chips and other processed foods during the ovulation period, which aggravates water retention.
To sum it up, the hormonal imbalance during the ovulation period is responsible for the puffy and swollen feeling in your stomach.
Ovulation bloating: How long does it last?
There is no definite timeline for the duration of bloating due to ovulation. It depends on every individual. There are instances when it goes away on its own within a few hours, but it can also extend up to the whole duration of the ovulation process. One thing’s for sure: it should go away eventually.
Bloating due to ovulation vs. premenstrual bloating: how to tell the difference?
Most women confuse bloating during ovulation with bloating before menstruation. While both occur before your menstruation, the quickest way to determine which one you are experiencing is to track your menstrual cycle and pinpoint the current day when you are feeling bloated.
As mentioned earlier, ovulation bloating usually starts on the 11th to 14th day of your menstrual cycle and lasts for 24 hours. Premenstrual bloating, on the other hand, usually occurs a week before your period and can last up to a week after. Additional PMS symptoms that may accompany premenstrual bloating are period-induced diarrhea, nausea, cramping in the abdomen, mood swings, breast tenderness, and fatigue.
How to manage ovulation bloating?
Bloating and swelling of the stomach can tend to be uncomfortable, more so if coupled with other symptoms of ovulation and your menstrual cycle. Though it is perfectly normal to experience bloating during ovulation, it does not mean you have to endure it and suffer throughout.
Here are a few tips on how to ease the pain and uncomfortable feelings that come with bloating:
1. Proper Diet
As foods rich in sodium strengthen water retention, you should watch and limit your daily sodium intake during the ovulation period. This also means avoiding junk foods or lactose-rich ones, as these are harder to digest and leave you feeling full and gassy.
You may also consider adopting a low-FODMAP diet. FODMAP is a set of foods high in indigestible carbohydrates that can cause digestive problems, stomach pain, gassiness, and ultimately bloating.
Eating small portions of food throughout the day instead of two or three big meals can also help reduce the bloated feeling that comes with your cycle. Lastly, drink lots of water throughout the day!
2. Manage your Stress
High levels of stress can cause your stomach to produce low amounts of acid. It results in a slow digestive process, which leads to bloating.
During the ovulation process, you should avoid stress-inducing activities. If it’s not possible, it would be a great idea to turn to exercise for your body to release happy hormones, or find an outlet that is suitable for you to release unwanted stress.
Incorporate a gentle workout routine throughout the ovulation process to help you ease the unwanted symptoms.
Working out might not sound thrilling when you are already feeling uncomfortable due to bloating, but movement and exercise aid in relieving the discomfort brought about by ovulation bloating. You also get endorphins as a bonus!
4. Relaxation Techniques
Yoga, meditation, and aerobic exercises are some of the things you can do to alleviate the discomfort caused by ovulation bloating.
It is also proven that relaxation techniques can help in the decrease of stress hormones while increasing happy hormones.
To aid in producing good bacteria in your stomach and gut, probiotics might help. As it helps to achieve better digestion, it also aids in easing the bloated feeling in your gut.
However, it is best to consult with a medical professional as to what type of probiotic helps ease bloating. While probiotics generally aid in digestion, not all of the probiotics work to reduce your bloated stomach and gut.
6. Intake of Digestive Enzyme Supplements
Certain indigestible carbohydrates trigger abdominal bloating. If you do consume food with these, there are supplements you can take that aid in breaking them down.
For instance, the lactase enzyme aids in breaking down lactose in food so that your body can absorb it instead of causing bloating, the same way that the Beano enzyme breaks down carbohydrates in high-fiber food.
7. Keep Track of Your Cycle
Along with the many benefits of tracking your menstrual cycle, one of them is being able to tell when your ovulation period will come. This way, you may be able to prepare well and change your daily routine beforehand to ease, if not avoid, the symptoms that come with it.
As you approach your ovulation period, you may practice and apply the tips discussed above and be ready to combat bloating.
Overall, as bloating occurs in the stomach and the digestive tract, the ultimate pro-tip is to adopt and maintain your digestive health and avoid food that triggers water retention. Following these tips may help ease the bloated feeling you get during the ovulation period.
When should you worry about bloating?
We’ve established that bloating is normal during ovulation as well as throughout your menstrual cycle. But when is it a cause for worry?
Ovulation bloating and premenstrual bloating can last until after a week of your menstruation. If your bloating persists and feels uncomfortable after this period, it may be time to consult with a medical professional about its root cause.
If your bloating is coupled with other symptoms not generally brought about by ovulation or your menstrual cycle as mentioned above, it is wise to have it checked out to ensure nothing out of the ordinary is going on.
It is essential to note that severe bloating can be sometimes a symptom of polycystic ovarian syndrome, an ovarian cyst, and one of the early signs of ovarian cancer.
Although ovulation bloating is perfectly normal, it may get to a point where it is so uncomfortable and painful for some women. It won’t hurt to try a few lifestyle changes to alleviate the pain and reduce bloating during this period.
Ovulation bloating won’t be present forever, but if it does persist, alongside unusual symptoms, it is time to consult a healthcare provider, as severe bloating may be an indicator of something more serious going on.