Bloating occurs in many women as a premenstrual sign of your approaching period. Water retention causes the bloated feeling each month. Slowed digestion might also contribute to the bloating, according to MayoClinic.com. While bloating is a natural part of your period, there are steps you can take to reduce or avoid it. Many of the strategies are part of an overall healthy lifestyle.
Reduce Salt Intake
Excessive salt intake increases water retention, so start scaling back on your salt, especially around your period. Read nutrition labels on packaged foods to determine sodium levels. Many packaged foods, especially soups, sauces and deli meats, contain high sodium levels. A lower salt intake might improve your overall health in addition to reducing water retention. According to the American Heart Association, lower sodium consumption can lower your blood pressure and reduce the risk for heart disease.
Eat Healthy Foods
An overall healthy diet helps reduce water retention during PMS. Increased fiber consumption can improve digestion, helping food move through the system faster for reduced bloating. Increasing fiber too quickly can have the opposite effect, causing more bloating so add fiber slowly.
Exercise might not be on your mind during your period, but it can help reduce bloating. Physical activity helps things move more quickly through the digestive system, which can provide relief from bloating. Women who exercise regularly tend to have fewer PMS symptoms overall, according to MayoClinic.com. Take a walk or visit the gym for your favorite exercise class to fight off PMS symptoms.
Drink More Water
Drinking water helps flush the body, which may help water retention and overall bloating. Water can also help with constipation, which can increase bloating. Keep a bottle of water handy during your period to keep your body hydrated and flushed. Fruits and vegetables contain high water content so you can add them to your PMS diet for additional water consumption.
Over-the-counter PMS medications offer another option for relief from bloating and other symptoms. Most PMS-specific treatments contain diuretics, which help get rid of excess sodium and fluids in the body. Birth control pills can help reduce PMS symptoms, which might include bloating, notes MayoClinic.com. Birth control pills can cause other side effects so discuss this option with a doctor to determine if it is appropriate for you. Some dietary supplements available over-the-counter might provide some bloating relief, although conclusive research is limited. Calcium and magnesium are two supplements suggested by MayoClinic.com. Magnesium poses a risk for women with heart or kidney disease.