You may experience ovulation bloating or experience bloating during other phases of your menstrual cycle.
In this article, we will discuss the reason for bloating during ovulation as well as some practical advice to help you to relieve it.
What is ovulation?
Ovulation is a part of your menstrual cycle. During ovulation, a mature egg is released from the ovaries and moves down to the uterine tube, where it can be fertilised by a sperm in the next 24-hour period (1).
Ovulation occurs in the middle of the menstrual cycle, about 14 days before the start of each period (2).
3 different ways to tell if you are ovulating
- Use your calendar to track when your period begins and ends and know how long your cycle lasts. Remember ovulation occurs about 14 days before the start of each period.
- Watch out for the changes in the texture of your cervical mucus, the sticky fluid that comes from the bottom of your uterus. During ovulation, cervical mucus becomes wetter, clearer and more slippery (3).
- Monitor your basal body temperature which is measured in the morning before getting up and moving around. During ovulation, body temperature increases slightly (4).
- Track other ovulation symptoms such as tender breasts, bloating, cramps, nausea, headaches, changes in libido and other symptoms (5).
Is ovulation bloating normal?
Why does ovulation bloating happen?
During ovulation, oestrogen and luteinizing hormone levels rise which allows ovulation to happen(8).
This hormonal alteration can create many changes in the body, including slower digestion. Slower digestion can lead to the accumulation of gases, resulting in bloating (9).
Weight gain during ovulation
Alterations in your hormones, in particular the spike of oestrogen, can result in fluid retention in body tissue (10).
This fluid retention in the body is also referred to as “water weight”. When water builds up in your body tissues, your weight can fluctuate from 2 to 4 pounds per day, depending on how much water you’re retaining (11).
Water weight gain may be uncomfortable, but it doesn’t mean you have gained muscle or fat. Water weight gain is temporary and will reverse once hormones normalise again.
When to seek help with ovulation bloating?
How to Manage and Reduce Bloating During Ovulation
Although we cannot change our hormones and the effects that these have on the body, there are some steps that we can take to minimise ovulation bloating.
- Try temporarily reducing your intake of fibre and FODMAPs during this time. FODMAPs are poorly absorbed carbohydrates, leading to gas production and bloating (13). Once your bloating has settled, these can be reintroduced.
- Consider your meal pattern and portion sizes. Research has shown that smaller and more frequent meals can help to reduce bloating (14).
- Exercise regularly. Exercise reduces bloating by increasing the rate at which the gut is moving. This means any built-up gas will pass through the digestive tract more easily (15). For example, yoga can reduce bloating by improving gastric motility (16).
- Practise relaxation techniques such as meditation. Breathing techniques target the gut-brain axis, where stress can have a direct impact on the gut and cause symptoms such as bloating (17).
Read our blog post for more instant bloating relief tips.
Ovulation bloating is a common and normal symptom of ovulation. Bloating during ovulation happens due to an increase in oestrogen levels and luteinizing hormones.
If you notice that you feel tight, full and unpleasant in the middle of your menstrual cycle, try our tips included in this blog post to help manage bloating during ovulation.
Written by Anastasija Gorbatenko, reviewed by Beth Willson Specialist Gastroenterology Dietitian BSc Hons and Kirsten Jackson Consultant Dietitian BSc Hons, RD, PG Cert
Beth is UK HCPC Registered Dietitian who specialises in gastrointestinal surgery. Beth graduated from University of Surrey in 2020 with a degree in Nutrition and Dietetics.
Last updated on November 26th, 2023 at 07:34 am