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Does salt intake increase period bloating?

Suffering from period bloating? Beware of these five foods that can cause period bloating.
View All Images Bloating due to high-fiber diet
Avoid period bloating by eating the right foods. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Shruti Bhattacharya Published: 28 Mar 2024, 03:45 pm IST
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It is common to experience bloating before or during periods. A menstrual cycle can also come with stomach-related problems such as constipation, diarrhea and abdominal cramps. This is due to swelling and discomfort in the abdominal region as a result of hormonal changes. But the foods you eat during this phase may also affect how your stomach feels. If you have irregular eating habits or consume certain types of food during your period, it can lead to uncomfortable symptoms like bloating, extreme cramps, fatigue, and mood swings. A balanced diet can help avoid bloating, irregular digestion, and other problems during menstruation. Let us understand the causes of period bloating and the impact of foods.

What is period bloating?

Period bloating occurs as a result of fluctuations in progesterone and estrogen levels, causing the body to retain extra water and salt. The sensation of being bloated is brought on by the body’s cells swelling with water, says obstetrician and gynaecologist Dr Bratati Bhattacharyya. Also, bloating is the result of a bloated or inflated belly. It may result in an unpleasant constriction. Constipation, difficulty swallowing air, irritable bowel syndrome, gastric reflux, digestive issues, and celiac disease are among the conditions that can lead to bloating, according to a 2020 study published in MedlinePlus journal.

A woman experiencing period bloating
Food and period bloating may be connected. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

Usually, a woman experiences bloating one to two days before the onset of her menstrual cycle. However, symptoms can appear in some women up to five days in advance. Period bloating usually goes away a few days after your menstruation.

What are the causes of period bloating?

A menstrual cycle occurs once a month. It is a cyclical process that prepares a woman’s body for pregnancy. The uterus develops a lining in the weeks before menstruation, sometimes known as a period, to get ready to support a potentially fertilised egg. This hormonal fluctuation before the onset of menstruation may be a major cause of period bloating for some people, according to a 2011 study published in Gastroenterology and Hepatology journal.

What foods can cause period bloating?

Here are some foods that might secretly cause period bloating:

1. Salty food

Consuming excessive salt during your periods can induce water retention, which worsens bloating. High sodium content foods include processed foods, canned soups, salty snacks, and fast food, says nutritionist Dr Priyanka Rohtagi.

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2. Carbonated drink

Consuming too many carbonated drinks during your periods? Stop immediately! Carbonated soft drinks, sparkling water, and soda can cause gas production and upset the stomach. This could result in unexpected bloating.

3. Sugary foods

Having a sweet tooth can bring a lot of problems after leaving a sweet sensation in your mouth. Consuming a lot of sugar might disrupt gut bacteria balance and cause bloating and discomfort. Excess sugar can be found in sweets, sugary drinks, and desserts. So, it is advisable to avoid sugary foods during periods.

4. Spicy foods

Spicy foods often cause an upset stomach in many people, resulting in bloating, diarrhea, stomach pain, and even nausea. It would be better to stay away from spicy meals during your period if your stomach finds them difficult to handle.

5. Processed foods

Foods that are preservative- and additive-laden, such as packaged snacks, baked goods, and ready-to-eat meals, can cause bloating and disrupt gastric function. So, avoid eating processed food during periods.

Home remedies to reduce period bloating

Here are some of the ways to reduce period bloating at home:

1. Eat potassium-rich food

Consuming foods high in potassium may reduce bloating during menstruation, as it may aid in lowering water retention. Potassium-rich foods include dark greens like spinach, sweet potato, banana and avocado with tomatoes.

2. Add diuretics

A diuretic is something that causes an increase in urine production. Urinating more frequently leads to elimination of excess water from the body. So, diuretics may help with period bloating since they reduce water retention. If you want to lessen bloating during your period, try eating more of these items, suggests Dr Rohtagi.

Natural diuretics that can be found in food include asparagus, peach, cucumber, pineapple, leek, garlic and ginger

3. Exercise regularly

A 2013 study published in the Iranian Journal of Nursing found that regular exercise could potentially aid with PMS (premenstrual syndrome) symptoms. As a PMS symptom, period bloating may be lessened with frequent activity. It is recommended to exercise regularly to avoid period bloating.

A woman experiencing period bloating
Fix period bloating issue by exercising. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

4. Drink water

Period bloating might be managed by increasing water consumption. However, there isn’t any scientific proof to back this up. Nevertheless, drinking more water promotes hydration, which enhances overall well-being.

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About the Author

Shruti Bhattacharya is a content writer and editor for over 2 years. She specialises in writing on a variety of topics such as wellness, lifestyle, beauty, technology and fashion. Her current focus is on creating factually correct and informative stories for readers. ...Read More

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