Womens Health

Bloating And PMS

· Do you suffer with periodic bloating and abdominal discomfort?

· Is it related to your period?

· Do you get constipated or suffer with diarrhoea regularly?

· Does your weight vary throughout the month?

You are probably suffering from PMS bloat.

If your symptoms are really bad and incapacitating, don't ignore them. It's important to discuss them with your doctor, as you may have a severe form of PMS called premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). However, convincing your doctor to take milder symptoms seriously isn't always so easy, so why not keep a good symptom diary, which will help your doctor work out what's wrong.

Another reason to talk to your doctor is if you get stomach pain or cramps with diarrhea or constipation on a regular basis, which isn't always related to your period. You might have Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) or even Chron's disease, which need proper investigation and treatment. But if you are otherwise healthy and just have symptoms around your period it's worth trying some self-help measures first.


Dietary supplements can be useful. For example taking a daily 1200mg calcium carbonate supplement can really help reduce your PMS symptoms! Researchers from Columbia University discovered back in the 1990's that women's PMS problems were almost halved within three months when they took a calcium supplement. Calcium seems to reduce water retention, moodiness, pain and even those food cravings, so it's worth seeing if you find it of benefit.

Another supplement some women find helpful is vitamin B6, but you need to be careful not to take too much. If you are already taking a multi-vitamin that includes B6 you probably won't need to take more, as your daily dose shouldn't be more than 100mg in total. Many women also take Evening Primrose Oil to help with symptoms of PMS, and it can help with breast tenderness, but it doesn't seem to help with bloating symptoms.


Reducing the amount of salt you use will be good for your overall health, as most of us have too much in our diet. But reducing your salt intake won't help with abdominal distention that isn't related to water retention. If you have really bad water retention bloat around your period, your doctor may consider prescribing a diuretic.

The Pill

Although many women experienced weight gain with older versions of the Pill, today's oral contraceptives shouldn't really affect your weight. If you are thinking of using the Pill for the first time discuss your concerns with your doctor. If on the other hand you suffer with serious PMS, the Pill can be the answer to your prayers. This is because the Pill prevents you from ovulating. To check a PMS diagnosis, your doctor can give you a high oestrogen-low progesterone version of the Pill, even if you don't need it for contraceptive purposes. This will suppress your ovulation for up to six months. If your PMS symptoms go away, the doctor will then confirm that you definitely have PMS. If your bloating and other PMS type symptoms stay the same, the doctor will need to investigate other possibilities like IBS.

Keep A Symptom Diary

According to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynaecologists, keeping a symptom diary is the easiest way to help your doctor decide if you have PMS. It doesn't have to be complicated, you can just put symbols or code letters for your different symptoms. For example, the letter 'b' could stand for 'bloat' and 'c' for cramps and so on. You could also use a rating system to show the severity of the symptoms.

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