It’s 8 pm and you are meeting your friends for a lovely bit of nosh. Unfortunately, your jeans are not cooperating. Not only are you scared of blinding someone with an imminent projectile button, your mini-muffin top has gone all out chain bakery. As you have an internal Spanx debate (“To Spanx or not to Spanx, is that even a question?”), you curse womanhood and this bastard named bloating.
Why do we bloat:
Bloating is one of the number one PMS symptoms. It is miserable and causes many a lady to dedicate a fourth of her closet to “Comfortable Period Clothes;” you know, the elastic-waist buffet pants, the hippie dresses, baggy sweaters, and those adorable jersey joggers that thankfully came into style to be worn for more than eating Ben and Jerry’s on couch.
Bloating is basically at the whim of your hormones. Estrogen and progesterone, which heartily encourage water retention, cause the bloat. Estrogen also makes the body irregular, either by constipation or diarrhea. Thank you womanhood for the making my life so full, literally.
Beat-down the bloat:
Bloating is a bi-product of the womanly experience, so you might as well arm yourself with an arsenal to banish the ballooning currently plaguing your waistline.
- Drink your herbs – Fennel, ginger, mint, and dandelion all help with digestion and water retention. You can buy a store bought tea, or just make your own by steeping one or more fresh ingredients in hot water until you attain maximum concentration. I am a big fan of any of the Yogi or Traditional Medicinals tea varieties.
- Make water with lemon a habit – A mainstay for the morning and beyond, this gets things going. It is most common to have it warm first thing in the morning to nudge sleepy systems into their work day. Keep sipping throughout the day to keep all systems a go(ing)!
- If you don’t want to go the natural route with teas, buy an over-the-counter diuretic. Follow the instructions and don’t take more than the indicated dose (It’s natural to think more is better, but trust me, not in this case).
- Drink plenty of water! It may sound counterproductive, but dehydrating your body just makes you hold onto the water longer.
- Avoid salt because it makes you retain water. The last thing you want is to do make this worse, right?
- Get some exercise – I am not recommending you tackle a Spartan Race. Even a nice relaxing walk or swim yields benefit as it gets digestion moving and encourages the body to release waste.
- Digestive enzymes – Take a digestive enzyme with every meal. It improves digestion overall and encourages the release of waste. I especially like DigestWise and Now Foods Super Enzymes.
- If gassiness is to blame, lay on your left side to expel gas. Not only is this a practical practice for your PMS, but also an aid to your Dutch-oven prowess for partner punishments (insert evil laugh here).
While you may feel like you should be the next float in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, you know it’s not that bad. Bloating generally ends by the third day of your period (according to science anyway), so if all else fails, just relax in your stretchy sweats and rub your belly like Buddha; he’s always smiling, right?