by BR Amelia
Once a month my stomach becomes rock hard. Alas, this is not due to exercise. It's quite simply a sign that Aunty Flow is on her way for her monthly visit. Along with a feeling of rock hardness, comes discomfort, sluggishness, and a feeling of wanting to make like a bear and hibernate. The joys of the period bloat.
Having endured this for many moons, I've been on a mission in recent times to find a way to reduce the bloat, if not remove it altogether. So, what causes the bloat and how can we beat it ? Read on...
What Causes Period Bloat?
One word: Hormones.
To get a little more in depth... it's believed that the fluctuation of estrogen and progesterone, that occurs around that time of the month, also causes your cells to hold onto water and salt, which is why you feel more bloated than usual.
Unfortunately while there's not a lot we can do to erase this feeling completely, there are things we can do to help reduce the feeling of it... namely, pay attention to what we eat and how we move our body.
Beating The Bloat
You know how when you get your period, or around that time of the month, you become a food monster, gobbling up sweets and treats? This is not ideal if you're trying not to retain water. The key to keeping the bloat at bay is to avoid salty foods, refined carbohydrates, as well as caffeine, sugary fizzy drinks and alcohol.
Keep your diet on the low sodium side, and be sure to eat loads of fresh fruit and vegetables. Bonus points if it also has a diuretic effect - such as lemons, garlic, ginger, cucumber and watermelon. Potassium and protein-rich foods (such as bananas, spinach and avocado, and lean meats, eggs, and seafood) are also recommended if you want to avoid that heavy feeling.
Ironically, it's also recommended that you drink more water. The thinking behind it being that if you're dehydrated you're more likely to hold onto that water, especially around that time of the month, so the more more water you drink the more water you'll pass by going to the toilet, the less bloated you'll be.
Finally, get some light exercise in. As much as the temptation to lounge about might strike, you're better to get up off the couch and get some steps in. I tried this in an effort to beat the bloat during my last period, going for two power walks on the first two days of my period, and it definitely made a difference to how bloated I felt while also lifting my spirits thanks to the release of endorphins.
As always, if you're bloating is bothering you, or if it continues for a longer length of time that usual, do talk to a health professional to ensure there are no other underlying health conditions.
So, my lovelies, do you experience bloat? And, if so, in the spirit of sharing is caring, what are your top tips and tricks to beat it? Get chatting below!