Feeling bloated during your menstrual cycle can be a symptom of ovulation. It’s quite common to feel bloated along with other symptoms, such as tenderness of the breasts and ovulation pain in one side of your pelvis (called mittelschmerz) during ovulation.
All these symptoms can be quite uncomfortable. Thankfully, there are a few things that you can do to ease bloat ovulation and any associated pain to make the whole experience a bit manageable.
Do you bloat when ovulating?
Your body is going through a lot during the ovulatory phase of your menstrual cycle. Your oestrogen levels increase and peak around the 11-14th day, which can cause mood swings, digestive problems, and headaches. The digestive tract changes due to elevated oestrogen levels can increase water retention in your body for many days.
The motility of your gastrointestinal tract reduces dues to oestrogen, leading to slowed digestion and gas accumulation. These changes can cause bloating and a general feeling of uncomfortableness. Another effect of elevated oestrogen levels is weight gain. As you retain more water, you tend to put on extra weight right around the time you ovulate. However, as the water retention is temporary, the weight gain should be too.
How to manage and reduce bloat during ovulation?
There is no reason to suffer through bloat when ovulating, as many strategies are available to help manage these symptoms.
A few changes in your diet during the ovulatory phase of the cycle can help you feel a bit better. You can start by reducing salt intake during the ovulatory phase of your cycle. Salt causes water retention in the body and can exacerbate bloating. Another thing that you should do is drink extra water to make sure that the excess salt in your system flushes out.
In some instances, bloating can also occur due to other causes, including intolerance to certain foods. The most common foods that can cause intolerance in many women are called FODMAPs, or fermentable carbohydrates. These food groups include wheat, fructose, lactose, and artificial sweeteners. If you can reduce consuming these foods around the ovulation period, it might help ease the feeling of bloating.
A potassium deficiency in your body is a common cause of water retention. Many women fail to meet their daily quota of potassium through their diet. The potassium deficiency can lead your body to retain salt, which can cause water retention. Consuming foods rich in potassium, such as bananas, might help to elevate your potassium levels around ovulation.
Magnesium (Mg) is a mineral that can ease bloating by reducing water retention when consumed in high amounts. It is found in foods such as fish, almonds, and avocados. Try to include these foods regularly in your diet, especially around ovulation.
Magnesium is available as a dietary supplement as well. Some research has found that consuming a high amount of magnesium may help reduce bloating. That said, magnesium can cause diarrhoea and stomach upset if consumed in large excess, so be careful and always follow the advice of your healthcare professional.
Diuretics are substances that cause increased urine production and hence decrease water retention in your body. As more water leaves your body, you tend to feel less bloated. There are many natural diuretics that you can include in your diet to help your body get rid of the accumulated water, including ginger, cucumbers, and even pineapples.
Stress can also result in feeling bloated, impacting the amount of acid produced in the stomach. Reduced acid production can cause difficulties in digestion, leading to bloating during ovulation.
One of the best ways to reduce stress is through exercise. Brisk walks, a bit of aerobics or even a yoga session can relieve the extra stress associated with ovulation (particularly if you are trying to conceive) and help manage bloating.
Healthy gut bacteria can help ease the feeling of being bloated by improving your digestion around ovulation. Studies have shown that bacterial strains, especially Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium lactis, can relieve bloating during ovulation.
That said, not all probiotic food products and supplements are alike. Look for supplements or foods with at least 1 billion colony-forming units (CFUs) of healthy bacteria per serving for best results.
It can also help soothe your digestive tract and help ease bloating around ovulation. Peppermint oil capsules are often used to treat irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) as they can decrease gas formation and minimise symptoms associated with diarrhoea and constipation. The best peppermint oil capsules are those that are enteric-coated. These capsules release peppermint oil in your small intestine, not your stomach, preventing acid reflux.
Before taking any type of supplements, be sure to check with your healthcare professionals if they are safe to consume during pregnancy, breastfeeding, or when trying to conceive.
Digestive enzymes help you to digest your food easily. People who are lactose intolerant can use the enzyme lactase as medication. This enzyme should be taken with the dairy product that you are consuming. Studies have found that alpha-galactosidase is another enzyme that can aid digestion, particularly for individuals with severe IBS.
Tracking your cycle
Keeping track of your ovulation using the Fertility2Family ovulation tests can help you plan a strategy to help ease the bloating and other related symptoms during ovulation. If you know when you are ovulating, you can change your diet and lifestyle to manage the symptoms proactively.
Fertility2Family offers an easy home ovulation test in Australia that helps to measure hormone levels with great accuracy, meaning you can pinpoint exactly when you ovulate.
Another way of knowing when you are about to ovulate is to track your cervical mucus. Your cervical mucus attains an egg-white consistency right before you ovulate. Keeping tabs on your basal body temperature can also help.
How long does ovulation bloating last?
Bloating is considered a normal sign of the onset of the luteal phase of your cycle. However, it typically resolves itself within a few days. If you are experiencing bloat ovulation for over a few days, it is advisable to seek medical attention. Medical conditions, including PCOS or IBS, can also leave you feeling bloated; a medical examination can rule these out.
Experiencing menstrual bloating during ovulation is common and can be mitigated with lifestyle changes. Start by paying attention to what you eat. Include exercise in your daily routine and drink plenty of water. If you suspect the bloating is due to some underlying medical condition or if it does not resolve within a few days, talk to your doctor. Remember, feeling bloated during ovulation is common, and you are not alone in dealing with this problem.
Ovulation bloat FAQ
What are some other symptoms of ovulation besides bloating?
Ovulation is a part of the menstrual cycle where a mature egg is released from the ovary. Besides bloating, several other symptoms can indicate ovulation is occurring. These include a change in cervical mucus, which may become clear and stretchy, similar to egg whites, indicating the most fertile period. Some women may also experience mild pelvic pain or a cramp on one side of the lower abdomen, known as mittelschmerz. Other signs can include a heightened sense of smell, taste or vision, breast tenderness, and an increased libido. It’s important to note that these symptoms can vary significantly from woman to woman, and some may not experience any noticeable symptoms.
How does the menstrual cycle affect digestion and gas accumulation?
The menstrual cycle can significantly impact digestion due to fluctuating hormone levels. During ovulation, oestrogen levels peak, leading to water retention and slowing down the gastrointestinal tract’s motility. This slowing down can result in food passing more slowly through the gut, leading to constipation and the accumulation of gas, which can cause bloating and discomfort. The hormone progesterone, which rises after ovulation, can also cause digestive issues by relaxing smooth muscle tissue throughout your body, including your gastrointestinal tract, which slows digestion.
How does stress contribute to bloating during ovulation?
Stress can have a significant impact on various bodily functions, including digestion. When stressed, our body goes into “fight or flight” mode, which can disrupt digestive processes. This disruption can lead to a variety of symptoms, including bloating. Furthermore, stress can affect hormonal balance. During ovulation, if a woman is under significant stress, it can exacerbate hormonal fluctuations, leading to increased water retention and bloating. Managing stress through exercise, meditation, and deep breathing can help alleviate these symptoms.
Are there any specific exercises that can help reduce ovulation bloating?
Exercise can be an effective way to reduce bloating during ovulation. Physical activity helps stimulate the muscles in your gastrointestinal tract, which helps to move gas and stool through your system, reducing bloating. Low-impact exercises like walking, yoga, and swimming can be particularly beneficial. Yoga poses that can help with bloating include the child’s pose, the supine twist, and the happy baby pose. These poses can help to gently massage and compress the abdominal organs, helping to stimulate digestion and relieve bloating. However, it’s important to listen to your body and not push yourself too hard, especially if you feel uncomfortable.
Can certain types of food or drinks exacerbate bloating during ovulation?
Yes, certain types of food and drinks can exacerbate bloating during ovulation. Foods that are high in salt can lead to water retention, which can increase bloating. Additionally, foods high in FODMAPs (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols) can cause some people to bloat and other digestive issues. These include certain fruits and vegetables, beans, lentils, wheat, dairy products, and artificial sweeteners. Carbonated drinks can also increase gas in the digestive system, contributing to bloating. Maintaining a balanced diet and staying hydrated, especially during ovulation, is recommended to help manage bloating.
How do probiotics help in managing bloating during ovulation?
Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are good for your health, especially your digestive system. They help keep your gut healthy by balancing your gut flora, the community of microorganisms in your intestines. An imbalance in gut flora can lead to digestive problems, including bloating. Certain strains of probiotics, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium lactis, are particularly effective in relieving bloating. They work by enhancing the gut’s motility, improving the digestion process, and reducing gas production. Probiotics can be taken as supplements or found in fermented foods like yoghurt, kefir, and sauerkraut.
Can over-the-counter medications help with ovulation bloating?
Over-the-counter medications can sometimes help with ovulation bloating, but it’s always best to consult a healthcare professional before starting any new medication. Over-the-counter diuretics can help reduce water retention and bloating. Simethicone can help reduce gas and bloating. Digestive enzymes, like lactase and alpha-galactosidase, can aid digestion and help alleviate bloating. However, these should be used as a last resort after lifestyle and dietary changes have been attempted.
How can tracking my menstrual cycle help manage ovulation bloating?
Tracking your menstrual cycle can help you anticipate when you might experience bloating and other ovulation symptoms. By understanding your body’s patterns, you can proactively change your diet and lifestyle to help manage these symptoms. For example, you might eat less salty foods or increase your water and potassium-rich foods around ovulation to help reduce bloating. Many apps and tools are available to help you track your menstrual cycle, or you can keep a simple journal noting the start and end dates of your period and any symptoms you experience.
Fertility2Family is your trusted companion
For those navigating the complex fertility journey, Fertility2Family is your trusted companion. We offer a wealth of resources, including an extensive blog covering a wide range of fertility-related topics, and a variety of products, such as ovulation tests, to support you on your path to parenthood. Visit our fertility-related blog for expert insights and guidance. Whether you’re tracking your cycle or seeking comprehensive fertility solutions, Fertility2Family is here to empower you every step of the way.
Evan is the founder of Fertility2Family and is passionate about fertility education & providing affordable products to help people in their fertility journey. Evan is a qualified enrolled nurse and has expertise in guiding & managing patients through their fertility journeys.