Why am I still bloated after periods?
Before Aunt Flo arrives, your body starts giving some hints. The colour of your vaginal discharge might change, you might have mood swings, acne might pop up out of the blue or you might feel tired. Some even experience bloating, which is a common early symptom of menstruation. Bloating is something that some women experience before menstruation, and it may feel like your stomach has swollen or you have gained weight. But there are times when women feel bloated even after period ends.
According to a 2021 study published by Harvard T.H Chan, the most common symptom was period cramps, which was reported by 83 percent of the women who participated in the study. It was following by period bloating (63 percent).
Bloating after period
Bloating after period typically feels like a sensation of fullness or tightness in the abdominal area. You may use terms like “swollen” or “stuffed” feeling to describe it. You should not ignore bloating after period, as it can mean you have a health issue.
Here are five potential causes of why you may still feel bloated after your periods end.
1. Hormonal imbalance
Even after menstruation, there is cyclical hormonal fluctuation in the release of estrogen and progesterone, says Dr Madhu Juneja, Senior Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at Cloudnine group of Hospitals, Kalyani Nagar, Pune. This can disturb glycemic index (GI) system leading to gas and bloating.
What we eat and drink play a great role in how our body responds. Eating certain food items like beans, cabbage, chickpeas and kidney beans tend to lead to bloating. Even aerated drinks can make you feel bloated.
2. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
If you have Irritable Bowel Syndrome, its symptoms may exacerbate around period, which may continue afterward and bother you even more, the expert tells Health Shots.
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3. Water retention
The body’s tendency to hold onto water can lead to bloating which you might experience for several days, even after menstruation.
4. Ovarian cysts
Ovarian cysts can be another reason for bloating after menstruation. They can create a persistent dull sensation of fullness or pressure in the abdomen or pain in back or lower abdominal heaviness, says Dr Juneja. Sometimes, they don’t show any signs or symptoms and go undiagnosed. While most cysts are harmless and resolve on their own, some might cause symptoms including bloating. If the bloating is accompanied with pain or persists for an extended period, it’s better to consult a doctor.
Tips to get rid of bloating after period
Bloating after period can be managed through a combination of lifestyle and dietary changes. Here’s what to do:
• Drink enough water, but not too much. This can help to deal with water retention problem.
• Have high protein food, but as per your body weight demand, to reduce water retention.
• Avoid gas-producing foods and eat smaller and more frequent meals that ease digestive discomfort.
• Engage in physical activity like yoga or running to help with digestion and reduce bloating.
• Have a low-sodium diet, and include more fruits and vegetables. That means no processed foods as they have a lot of salt content.
• Take a break from alcohol and caffeine, as they can lead to bloating.
You may feel bloated every month around menstruation or maybe just once in a while. If it continues even after period and you are still unable to beat bloating, check with a doctor who can help in finding the cause and treat you accordingly.