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Q: Why do I get so bloated before I have my period?  What can I do to prevent it?

Dr. Donnica:
Bloating is a common complaint for women, even at other times than just before menses. As we age, bloating may become more of a problem.  Some women are just more sensitive to certain bloating triggers than others. The list of triggers includes:

  • Hormonal changes of PMS
  • Eating certain foods (sugar, starches, salt)
  • Drinking too much alcohol (amount differs for different women; usually just two or more drinks can do it)
  • Being sedentary
  • Lengthy travel or prolonged sitting for any reason
  • Certain medicines (e.g. hormone replacement therapy, progesterone, antihistamines, aspirin, antidepressants, and antibiotics)

Bloating results from water retention, which in many women is influenced by the hormonal changes of our menstrual cycle.  Some women document weight changes of 3-6 pounds before and after their cycle. This is water weight.

Food triggers include the 3 S's:  starches, sugar, and salt. . .and of course, many women crave these foods during PMS.

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Created: 2/14/2001  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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