Getting Back to Feeling Like Yourself Again
We often think of bloating as a symptom of PMS that happens in the week before a period starts. However, some people who menstruate also experience bloating midway through their cycle during the ovulation phase of the menstrual cycle. If you’re someone who experiences this bloating, then you likely want to understand more about what it is, what causes it and how long it can last. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about ovulation bloating so that you can sail through your menstrual cycle with ease.
What Causes Ovulation Bloating?
Ovulation is part of the menstrual cycle in which a mature egg is released from the ovaries and travels along the fallopian tube toward the uterus. This release typically occurs between days 11 and 14 of the menstrual cycle though it can vary from person to person. These eggs are hoping to be fertilized to become a baby, so there is a hormonal cascade that accompanies this release that is designed to prepare the body for pregnancy. Unfortunately for some people, these hormonal shifts can cause some uncomfortable symptoms, such as bloating.
Just before the release of the egg from the ovaries, estrogen can spike, which is what causes bloating. Higher levels of estrogen can cause water retention in the body, which can result in ovulation bloating. Some people may also experience some digestive disturbances due to hormonal shifts, which can also exacerbate the symptoms of ovulation bloating thanks to slower digestion and more gas.
Other common symptoms of ovulation include:
- Breast swelling or tenderness.
- Boost in sex drive.
- Light spotting.
- Slight cramping on one side of the lower abdomen–often referred to as Mittelschmerz pain.
- Some mild vaginal discharge.
- Increased energy.
- Heightened sense of smell, vision and/or taste.
- Changes in basal body temperature.
How Long Does Ovulation Bloating Last?
Typically, ovulation bloating can last as little as a few hours to just a couple of days since luteinizing hormone spikes just before ovulation, which can help decrease the symptoms of excess estrogen.
However, if you find that you are experiencing ovulation bloating that is very painful or lasts longer than a few days, then it can be worth booking an appointment with your doctor. Severe ovulation bloating can sometimes be indicative of underlying health issues such as polycystic ovarian syndrome or endometriosis.
Tips for a Healthy, Happy Menstrual Cycle
While hormonal fluctuations are part of the menstrual cycle and will always cause changes in the body, there are some diet and lifestyle tips you can incorporate into your routine to help have a happy, healthy monthly cycle.
1. Boost Intake of Potassium and Magnesium
These two minerals play crucial roles in enzymatic functions throughout the body. When it comes to ovulation bloating, eating potassium-rich foods such as bananas, avocados or legumes can help with the sodium-potassium balance needed to prevent water retention. When we’re deficient in potassium, our body tends to hang onto excess salt and water, causing bloating.
Eating magnesium-rich foods such as lemons, cocoa, leafy greens or quinoa can also help reduce water retention.
2. Reduce Sodium Intake
While salt is necessary for a properly functioning body and for making food taste amazing, too much can lead to water retention, making ovulation bloating worse. During this phase of your cycle, lay off ultra-salty foods while consuming more potassium and magnesium-rich foods to keep bloating minimal.
3. Try a Probiotic + Fiber!
As mentioned above, digestive disturbances such as slower digestion and gas caused by hormonal shifts can make ovulation bloating worse. Support optimal gut health by eating probiotic-rich foods to support a healthy microbiome. These include fermented foods that are unpasteurized, such as kombucha, yogurt, lacto-fermented pickles/vegetables, kefir or sauerkraut. Consume 1-3 small servings daily (start with one serving and work up to more over a few weeks) to support a healthy gut.
You’ll also want to feed your microbiome with sources of soluble fiber to keep things moving promptly. I love incorporating ground chia or flax seeds, asparagus, oats and legumes into my diet for delicious sources of easy-to-digest fiber.
4. Incorporate More Movement Into Your Life
Exercise has many incredible health benefits from mood-boosting to increasing muscle mass and mobility. Another great bonus of exercise is that it can help support gut motility, which can decrease symptoms of ovulation bloating. As a bonus, exercise can improve sleep quality and duration, which can sometimes be disturbed due to hormone fluctuations during the menstrual cycle.
By incorporating these four simple tips into your daily routine, you can help limit ovulation bloating while supporting overall health. Remember that it’s the small daily habits we undertake that make the most difference to our health, so start by incorporating one tip at a time until it’s second nature, then add more over time.