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why do you get bloated before your period

Remember that scene in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory when gum-loving Violet Beauregarde decides to chew on that "meal in a gum stick" that's still under development at the factory? You may recall she starts slowly swelling into a perfectly rounded ball shape due to a weird side effect, and literally has to be rolled out of the room. That's basically the feeling of PMS bloat, are we right? PMS bloat does not mess around, but what causes it and, more importantly, what helps alleviate and prevent it? We spoke to a couple pros to get the details on all that uncomfortable swelling. Most Common Areas to Swell Let's get real for a second. It feels like we're swelling
everywhere during PMS, which occurs roughly one to two weeks before menses depending on your personal cycle. While you may certainly feel bloatedPfrom head to toe, the most common areas to swell are the breasts, face, abdomen, legs, ankles, and feet. What's the culprit? We asked, a board-certified OBGYN who also serves as chairman of the department of OBGYN at Baptist Hospital of Miami. "A lot of the bloating symptoms are caused by water retention that is increased by hormonal changes associated with the menstrual cycle," he explains. "This will result in swollen face, legs, and even breasts. " It doesn't help that we crave junk foodoften high in sodiumat this time of the month, either.


The unfortunate truth is that salt intake further compounds water retention in the body. However, note that water retention isn't the only reason our bodies swell during PMS. "Hormone changes can slow down bowel motility, resulting in gas retention, which causes a swollen abdomen," says Dr. James. "Increased blood flow to the uterus can cause uterine swelling, which also leads to a bloated abdomen. " And as for the tender, painful-to-the-touch breasts we deal with during PMS? The hormonal changesnamely an increase in progesterone and estrogenare to blame for that, as well, explains Dr. Alyssa Dweck, a New York-based gynecologist and assistant clinical professor of OBGYN at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine. "People also feel fatigued and don't exercise as much or drink a lot of caffeine, which can also cause changes in the breast," she explains. "At the end of your cycle when you're about to get your period, if you haven't gotten pregnant, what usually happens is the progesterone and estrogen levels plummet. " That means a reduction in swelling and pain, which is one thing you can thank your periodPfor.


Preventing and Alleviating PMS Bloat OK, so we know what causes our bodies to go Violet Beauregard on us during PMS. Let's talk about the preventative measures and treatments. P For starters, we can watch our diets. P "Try and stick to a healthy diet and avoid too many salty foods," says Dr. James. "Additionally, too much caffeine can minimize some of the fluid changes and hormonal influences on the various tissues in the body. " Regarding tender breasts, "Using a period tracker to avoid those dietary things when you're PMS-ing can curb swelling," says Dr. Dweck, who also addsPthat wearing a bra with very good support can be helpful. P She also advocates evening primrose oil and B6 vitamins as supplements that can alleviate pain and swelling. Finally, both Dr. Dweck and Dr. James agree that exercise is another way to scare away the bloat monster. "Vigorous exercise will make sure to maintain your circulation and rid excess fluids and gas," explains Dr. James. It can also help with your cramps (which may seem counterintuitive) and give you an endorphin boost.


As a rule of thumb, if you experience severe pain or bloating during your cycleespecially if it's hindering you from going about your day as normalit's best to seek out the advice of your doctor. While thereвs no one-size-fits-all cure, several lifestyle modifications may reduce it before and during your period. 1. Eat the right foods You should avoid eating too much salt. How do you know if your diet is too high in salt? The recommends limiting your daily salt intake to no more than 2,300 mg. Processed foods contain a lot of salt as well as other ingredients that may not be the healthiest for you. Instead, focus on eating fruits and vegetables, as well as other healthy foods like whole grains, lean protein, nuts, and seeds. 2. Drink lots of water Make sure you drink plenty of water on the days leading up to your period. Try carrying a water bottle around with you, and aim to fill it up several times a day. Thereвs no single recommendation for the amount of water to drink each day. The amount varies from person to person and depends on the environment, personal health, and other factors. A good rule of thumb is to aim for a minimum of eight 8 ounce glasses of water a day.


Many reusable water bottles hold 32 or 24 ounces. So depending on the size you use, you may only need to drink 2 to 3 bottles a day to get your 64 ounces. 3. Skip alcohol and caffeine Experts believe that both alcohol and caffeine contribute to bloating and other symptoms of (PMS). Instead of these beverages, drink more water. If you have a hard time skipping your morning cup of coffee, try replacing it with a drink that has less caffeine, like tea, or substitute some of the caffeinated coffee for a decaffeinated type. 4. Exercise regularly Regular exercise is key to reducing your PMS symptoms. Experts For an optimal fitness plan, add some exercises to build your muscles a few times a week. 5. Consider medication If home remedies donвt reduce your bloating before and during your period, you may want to talk to your doctor about other treatments. Some of these include: Birth control. Taking birth control pills may help you reduce PMS symptoms. You should talk with your doctor about the best birth control method for you. Diuretics. These pills help reduce the fluid your body stores. Your doctor may prescribe them to ease severe bloating.

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