It’s that time of the month again and you dread wearing that best loved mini skirt, as it shows off your little tummy. Well at least it used to be little.
We suppose you already exercise at least 30 minutes a day and refrain from oily food? In that case, do not worry about this temporary weight gain. It could be due to premenstrual water retention as excess fluid gets trapped in your body's tissues. This is a problem that affects most women.
Auntie Flo and all her cousins
Before menstruation, the levels of female hormone estrogen increases to stimulate the thickening of the uterus lining. However, estrogen also acts on the renin-angiotensin system regulated by the kidney to cause water retention (edema). The water retention then causes sodium (salt) retention.
Hence, we tend to bloat up in the days leading to menstruation, resulting in swelling of our breasts, abdomen, and even fingers. Furthermore, you can even put the blame on estrogen for your painful premenstrual headaches and back pain, as excess fluid accumulates in the disks between the spine and inside the skull.
But aside from this natural phenomena, there can be some other causes for water retention.
The Pill (aka The Plug)
Like the proverbial Dutch boy plugging a leak with his thumb, the Pill can also cause edema. If you are currently on oral contraceptives, you might have observed weight gain and fluid retention associated with consuming certain brands.
The combination of two female sex hormones in these, estrogen and progestin, prevent the release of eggs from the ovaries. However, birth-control pill estrogen can also cause side-effects such as water and sodium retention. If bloatedness is bothersome for you, your doctor can prescribe you a lower estrogen level pill or switch you to another brand that does not have this effect on your body.
Menopause, edema doesn’t.
The difficulties of being a woman never seem to end even as we age. Even though we may be happy that the troubles of the monthly cycle have stopped and we can save money from buying tampons, edema never seems to leave us.
Water retention and menopause often go hand in hand due to a reduction in the production of estrogen and progesterone in the body. Some women take estrogen replacement hormones during hormone replacement therapy to replenish the depleted estrogen, canceling out their edema.
Baby bump bloat
Although we may have already addressed menopause - the end of fertility, we should also not forget pregnant mothers. These women suffer from nausea and vomiting in addition to becoming swollen and bloated. Moderate swelling is very common in pregnancy due to the increase in blood volume and hormones. The enlarging abdomen puts pressure on veins, leading to the swelling of ankles and feet.
Elevate your legs whenever possible to allow better blood circulation and do not cross your legs as it reduces circulation. Supportive hose or stockings provide graduated leg compression that prevents ankle swelling and helps reduce varicose and spider veins that occur during pregnancy.
You should also throw out your shoes with heels more than two inches as shoes should be comfortable and high-heeled shoes could exacerbate back and hip pain during pregnancy.
Sudden or severe edema accompanied with an increase in blood pressure and protein in the urine can be a sign of preeclampsia which can lead to serious complications for both mother and baby. Therefore, visit your doctor regularly to monitor your blood pressure and severity of fluid retention.
Bust the Blockade
In order to reduce water retention and puffiness throughout our life cycle as women natural remedies are a worthy alternative to standard medications, which can lead to osteoporosis.
Sodium retention can be prevented by eating less salty food and limiting salt intake to 1000 milligrams a day. Researchers from Mount Sinai Hospital in New York also found a daily calcium supplement of 500mg chewable tablet twice daily at breakfast and dinner provided relief from water retention in most women.
Additionally, adequate consumption of Vitamin C and Vitamin B6 will help to increase your fluid output. So do eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, such as kiwi, grapes and green leafy vegetables. Lastly, green tea is also a natural diuretic, so you now have yet another reason to add it to your list of favorite drinks.