Many women experience fluid retention in the few days before their period starts. Fluid retention, which occurs because of hormone changes associated with the menstrual cycle, can cause breast tenderness, uncomfortable swelling in your hands and feet, abdominal bloating and weight gain. You can take some simple steps to reduce fluid retention around the time of your period. In severe cases, your doctor might prescribe medication.
Diet and Nutrition
Attention to a healthy, lower sodium diet can improve premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms. Sodium attracts and holds fluid, so cutting down on your sodium intake can reduce fluid retention around the time of your period. Using less salt, curbing your intake of restaurant foods, processed foods, and canned foods are helpful steps to cut sodium intake. Eating a well-balanced diet rich in nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, vitamin D and B vitamins may also help, according to a review published in the March 2016 issue of "Today's Dietitian. Emphasizing fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, beans and calcium-rich foods such as nonfat milk or yogurt or calcium-fortified plant milk can help achieve this nutrient-rich diet.
Other Lifestyle Strategies
If you experience swelling in the legs and feet, elevating your feet several times a day can improve symptoms. Avoid sitting for long periods of time, though, as this could aggravate your symptoms. Regular physical activity, such as walking or other aerobic exercise can improve blood circulation and also help control fluid retention. Wearing supportive stockings and avoiding extreme heat may also help.
Supplements and Medications
Some women choose to try over-the-counter (OTC) supplements to help improve PMS symptoms such as swelling. But the evidence on most of these is limited or not available. A review published in the October 2009 issue of "The Canadian Journal of Clinical Pharmacology" evaluated available research on the effectiveness of 62 herbs, vitamins and minerals on PMS symptoms, finding supportive, quality evidence only for calcium, vitamin B6 and chasteberry. Some women may benefit from OTC medications for even prescription diuretics for PMS relief. If your symptoms are severe enough to interfere with your daily activities, seek treatment advice from your doctor.