Feeling hot during period

Can Hot Flashes Occur During Menstruation?

Q1. Is it possible to have hot flashes during your period? What could this mean, and is there anything I can do to treat them?

— Barb, Canada

Yes, it’s definitely possible. In fact, you can have hot flashes several years before your final menstrual period because estrogen levels often fluctuate when a woman is going through perimenopause (the years before menopause).

Why do these hot flashes occur? They’re related to the fluctuation and decline in estrogen levels, which can narrow the range of temperatures the body can tolerate (called the thermoneutral zone). Our bodies can normally handle small-to-moderate changes in core temperature, thanks to temperature regulation. For example, when our temperature increases a little, we don’t usually feel uncomfortably warm or begin to sweat; conversely, when body temperature gets a little lower, we don’t get the chills. However, when estrogen levels drop, that may decrease the body’s tolerance of these temperature changes. So now when the core temperature increases, it leads to hot flashes and sweats, which are caused by blood vessel dilation and the body’s attempt to dissipate the heat and lower the temperature.

Unfortunately, some women have severe hot flashes for more than five years after their last period — occasionally even ten or more years. For women with prolonged hot flashes occurring more than a decade past menopause, I don’t recommend using hormone therapy to treat your symptoms. Instead, try lifestyle changes, such as decreasing your intake of spicy food, caffeine, and alcohol. Also, be sure to wear layered clothing, use a portable fan, and try deep breathing when a hot flash comes on. You can also increase the soy in your diet (getting soy from food is better than using over-the-counter soy supplements) or try the herb black cohosh. Learn more about how to treat menopausal symptoms without hormones.

For a more detailed discussion of this topic and related ones, you may find my new book, Hot Flashes, Hormones & Your Health (McGraw-Hill), to be of interest. This book discusses the latest scientific evidence on the effects of hormone therapy and other options for symptom management, and helps you decide which treatment is best suited to your personal health profile.

Q2. Is it normal for your feet and ankles to swell during menstruation, and can anything be done to stop it? I’ve noticed I begin to swell three days before my period starts, and I’m still swollen on the fourth day. The swelling does go down a little at night when I prop my feet up.

— Angela, Washington

Fluid retention is very common during periods and the few days before your period begins. The easiest way to diminish the swelling is by lowering your intake of salty foods (chips, fries, olives, fast-food items, etc.) and drinking plenty of water the week before your period. You could also try wearing elastic stockings (also known as support or compression stockings), which can help stimulate circulation in your legs and stop swelling. If you spend all day on your feet, the stockings are probably your best bet for long-lasting relief.

Another option: Try elevating your feet even a few inches off the ground when you’re sitting down. For example, keeping a small ottoman or stepstool under your desk at work and using it to prop your feet up can help reduce the swelling a lot. Finally, mild diuretics can help ease swelling in severe cases, but these are medications that your doctor will need to prescribe. The best idea is to discuss all of these options with your doctor, so the two of you can devise a plan together.

Q3. I have not had a period in two months — I doubt that I’m pregnant since I don’t feel that way. Could this be due to the one or two days I missed taking my pill?

— Laura, Chicago

Missing one or two days of active (non-placebo) pills in a birth control pill pack should not cause you to miss your period. Sometimes the hormone levels in the birth control pill are low enough that you actually do not bleed every cycle. If you had skipped an entire week of active pills or had recently lost a lot of weight, then those two situations might also cause you to miss a period.

Of course, it’s important to get a pregnancy blood test to confirm that you aren’t pregnant — it is possible to be pregnant and not experience any of the typical symptoms, such as nausea and morning sickness. If you haven’t had your period in three cycles in spite of a negative pregnancy test, see your gynecologist for further tests, including a sonogram and a pelvic examination.

Q4. I’m 48 years old and I’ve been having spotting between my periods for the past few months. I’d love to just stop having my period completely, but I don’t want to take hormones. Do I have any other options?

— Michelle, Pennsylvania

In your mid-forties, there are no simple ways to end your periods without the use of hormones. One option that comes to mind is uterine ablation, a surgical procedure to remove the inner lining of the uterus. Uterine ablation will decrease periods for several months at a time; however, this surgery seems much too drastic, and the results are not long-lasting.

If there’s a chance you may change your mind about the use of hormones, consider these choices: Lupron (leuprolide), a hormone injection commonly used to treat endometriosis and fibroids, can effectively put you into a menopausal, period-free state for several months at a time — but I wouldn’t advise it, as the side effects are not physically pleasant. Also, birth control pills (active non-placebo pills) taken continuously can obliterate your periods for months at a time.

These are your options, short of removing your uterus — which, from my medical point of view, is far too invasive a solution.

Q5. Is it normal to have a period for five weeks or longer? This has been going on for a year now. I have only had two regular periods and the rest have lasted from three to five weeks.

— Pam, Georgia

Five-week-long periods are not normal at any age! This suggests several possible causes: that your uterine lining is not completely shedding during each cycle, that your hormone levels may not be normal, or that there may be something abnormal about the uterus itself, like a cyst, fibroid or polyp. It’s important to have a sonogram to check your uterus for growths. Also, ask your doctor to check your hormone levels to be sure you’re ovulating. Depending on your age, you may need to have a uterine biopsy to rule out uterine cancer.

Q6. My daughter has PMDD. How do you suggest we treat this condition?

— Shonold, Wisconsin

PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder), also known as PMS (premenstrual syndrome), is characterized by mood swings, excess bloating, abdominal pain, and breast tenderness in the week before the onset of a woman’s period. Women of any age can experience this, although it tends to be particularly common among women in their forties, as they approach menopause.

These symptoms can be very disruptive, depending on their severity, but fortunately there are treatment options. The most effective treatment is the birth control pill, which regulates hormone levels during the menstrual cycle. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (a class of antidepressants) like Prozac are also very effective when used either daily or for the seven to ten days before the onset of the period. You can also try lifestyle changes. These nonmedication options include increasing protein intake and doing more exercise, particularly cardiovascular exercises such as walking, running, swimming, and so on.

Q7. I get bad headaches and joint pain for about three to four days before my period each month. I have seen my family doctor about this, and he says that some women just suffer these symptoms and there’s nothing I can do. I take a daily vitamin and eat relatively healthy, but I feel as if my body is telling me that I am lacking something during those days, since I don’t suffer these symptoms any other time. Is my doctor right, or is there anything I can do to relieve this pain?

Headaches and joint pain are common PMS symptoms. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to help alleviate the discomfort.

Some studies have shown that high doses of calcium (more than 1,500 mg a day) can alleviate PMS symptoms. Staying well hydrated also helps, so be sure to drink lots of water. Also helpful is a diet that’s high in protein. Another strategy you can use is to start taking the birth control pill, if you aren’t already on it, as it regulates hormone levels and can prevent these symptoms. Certain pill preparations, especially those with an added low-dose diuretic (such as Yasmin), are particularly effective. Finally, taking a low dose of an antidepressant such as Paxil, Prozac, or Zoloft ten days before your period might be helpful as well.

Learn more in the Everyday Health Women’s Health Center.

Periods and sweating

An introduction to periods and sweating

Do you find your temperature fluctuates at different times of the month? Do you get really hot and sweaty in bed as a result of so-called ‘night sweats’? But hot flushes and night sweats only happen to menopausal women, right? Not necessarily. Pre-menopausal women have the same sex hormones as women going through the menopause and believe it or not these hormones can fluctuate significantly during each and every menstrual cycle too.

Your hormones fluctuate month to month in order to give you your period and a host of symptoms can arise as a result of this; including changes in your body temperature.

If you are worried about changes in your body temperature or they occur alongside other symptoms which aren’t a result of your period, it might be worth a trip to your doctor. Excessive sweating could also be a sign of another condition such as hyperthyroidism.

On this page I explain some of the mechanisms behind changing body temperature in and around the time of your period and what can be done to help. This includes a range of dietary changes, practical changes you can make at home or through the use of herbal remedies.

How can your period cause you to sweat?

There are a number of ways in which your menstrual cycle can affect your body temperature. This area isn’t well understood but we are gradually learning more as time goes on.

  • Hormones – If your changes in body temperature are occurring around the time that your period is due each month, it is likely that hormones are having some part to play. Some women find they experience a very slight increase in body temperature around the time of ovulation due to a spike in progesterone. From then on, during the second half of your cycle progesterone levels stays elevated compared to oestrogen and your body temperature stays higher. This means that you might feel warmer throughout these two weeks leading up to your period but any hormonal cause of a raised body temperature is likely to diminish nearer the time of your period as your progesterone levels begin to fall

  • Affects on the hypothalamus – Fluctuating female sex hormones are thought to somehow influence the temperature control centre in the brain, the hypothalamus. Exactly why or how this happens isn’t well understood but big fluctuations in oestrogen in particular are thought to be problematic. A drop in oestrogen in menopausal women is thought to give rise to hot flushes and night sweats and this might happen to a lesser extent if a younger woman has a hormone imbalance
  • Menopause – Experiencing night sweats or hot flushes could be a sign you are approaching the menopause. The average female goes through the menopause in the UK at between 45 and 55 years of age. The peri-menopause is the preliminary stage of the menopause, the period of time before the final menstrual cycle, and it is during this stage that many symptoms can arise at once. Visit our menopause pages for more information on what to look out for
  • Being over or under weight – Your body weight can have a big influence on hormones. Fat is very important – both the fat you consume in your diet and how much you have in the form of adipose tissue stored around your body. The consumption of healthy fats such as the essential fatty acids omega-3 and 6, is necessary for the proper production of many hormones. Then, if you have too much adipose tissue, it can affect levels of your hormones, oestrogen for example. Aim to keep your body weight within a healthy BMI and consume healthy fats regularly as part of a healthy balanced diet
  • Other symptoms of periods – Other symptoms of your menstrual period could be contributing to an increase in body temperature. If your periods are particularly painful this can make your feel warm and flustered or if you find you feel angry or irritated as a result of mood swings, this could also be having an effect. Pay attention to your symptoms in order to better understand what’s causing you to sweat
  • Medication – Be aware of any side effects of medication or contraception you are on. Progesterone-only methods of contraception such as the mini pill of the implant could potentially keep your body temperature slightly raised and make you more likely to sweat.

Diet, lifestyle and home remedies

There are some simple steps you can take at home and in the workplace in order to try and keep sweating at bay. Overheating can be embarrassing and inconvenient, especially if the change in body temperature comes over you quite suddenly. Feeling embarrassed or flustered could make the issue worse and this can turn into a vicious cycle.

  • Watch your diet – Eating the right foods and in the right amounts can help to keep your body temperature stable. Digesting and processing the food you eat requires energy and this energy generates heat – this is called diet-induced thermogenesis (DIT). The amount and the calorific content of the food you eat will determine how much heat you produce digesting it. Foods heavy in animal protein or saturated fats can be more taxing on the body and are a bigger burden on the digestive system – there be could be some truth in the prospect of ‘meat sweats’! Try incorporating more plant sources of protein and avoid fatty, fried foods – try not to give in to those comfort food cravings around the time of your period!
  • Limit caffeine – Caffeine stimulates the sympathetic nervous system. This puts your body into ‘fight or flight mode’. As a result of this your heart rate, breathing rate and temperature increase in preparation. Cut down and swap caffeinated drinks for plenty of water, herbal teas or a coffee substitute instead and you are less likely to break out in a sweat
  • Have a warm bath! – Yes, this might not make much sense initially, but actually, it could help. By lying in a warm bath this encourages your body to try and keep cool. This means when you come out from the warmth of your tub, your body remains in ‘keep cool mode’ and you are less likely to overheat
  • Make some practical changes to your bedroom routine – Many women find that they get too hot in bed and suffer from what we call night sweats. Opt for loose-fitting cotton or linen pyjamas (synthetic materials may make you more likely to sweat) and try opening your bedroom window a little during the night.

Herbal remedies to help

In addition to home remedies introducing a herbal remedy can often be very beneficial.

  • Sage – Menoforce® Sage tablets is a licensed herbal remedy for the relief of excessive sweating and hot flushes. This product is targeted mainly at menopausal women but often younger women going through the peri-menopause can struggle with body temperature regulation throughout their monthly cycle
  • Soy isoflavones – Soy isoflavones can offer support during all stages of the menopause as they act to gently support your oestrogen levels. This can also be useful for younger women who are experiencing hormone imbalances. Low oestrogen could be contributing to your sweating, especially if you typically experience very light, irregular periods and low mood.

Please note, if you are taking a hormonal contraceptive such as the pill, hormone-balancing herbal remedies may not be suitable for you.

How can my doctor help?

If home and herbal remedies fail to help to get erratic changes in body temperature under control, it might be time to pay your doctor a visit.

Your doctor will most likely ask when you find you sweat the most and how this relates to your menstrual cycle. If hormones seem to be behind the sweating they might suggest you try a hormonal contraceptive such as the pill, or if you are approaching menopause they might discuss the possibility of Hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Always be sure you are aware of any side effects of any medication you are considering and what the long-term implications are.

Many of us have stopped to wonder: Can PMS cause hot flashes? Indeed it can — and it may worry you the first few times it happens. But the good news is that it’s completely normal, especially if you’re a woman going through perimenopause, the time in which a woman’s ovaries gradually begin to make less estrogen. Perimenopause usually begins in a woman’s 40s, but it can start in her 30s or even earlier in some cases.

Take a look at the question we got from an anonymous reader who was worried about her hot flashes, and who noticed a pattern that aligned with her menstrual cycle: “I’m 46 and I’m still having regular periods, but I recently started getting hot flashes. They occur a few days before my period, along with my other PMS symptoms. Is this normal?”

Can PMS cause hot flashes?

In a word, yes. In fact, this is extremely common. The hot flashes are caused by the sharp decline in estrogen and progesterone levels that occurs just before your period. Hot flashes before your period don’t necessarily mean you’re in perimenopause, but it is a sign that it may be approaching. As you may know, hot flashes are sudden feelings of warmth that are usually most intense over the face, neck, and chest. They are caused by blood vessel dilation and the body’s attempt to dissipate the heat and lower the temperature. Your skin might redden, as if you’re blushing. Hot flashes can also cause sweating, and if you lose too much body heat, you might feel chilly afterward.

How to Treat Hot Flashes During Your Period

A few “go-to” supplements for hot flashes are black cohosh and evening primrose oil, which can help ease symptoms in four weeks. You can also try eating more soy the week before your period to help balance estrogen and progesterone. And when you feel a hot flash coming on, try applying cool water, aloe vera gel, or peppermint oil to your wrists and the back of your neck. Many women say these strategies help relieve the discomfort. But if these menopause remedies don’t ease your hot flashes after two months, see your OB-GYN for more options.

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So That’s Why You Feel So Bloated During PMS! 

Remember that scene in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory when gum-loving Violet Beauregarde decides to chew on that “meal in a gum stick” that’s still under development at the factory? You may recall she starts slowly swelling into a perfectly rounded ball shape due to a weird side effect, and literally has to be rolled out of the room. That’s basically the feeling of PMS bloat, are we right?

PMS bloat does not mess around, but what causes it and, more importantly, what helps alleviate and prevent it? We spoke to a couple pros to get the details on all that uncomfortable swelling.

Most Common Areas to Swell

Let’s get real for a second. It feels like we’re swelling everywhere during PMS, which occurs roughly one to two weeks before menses depending on your personal cycle. While you may certainly feel bloated from head to toe, the most common areas to swell are the breasts, face, abdomen, legs, ankles, and feet.

What’s the culprit? We asked Dr. Jason James, a board-certified OBGYN who also serves as chairman of the department of OBGYN at Baptist Hospital of Miami.

“A lot of the bloating symptoms are caused by water retention that is increased by hormonal changes associated with the menstrual cycle,” he explains. “This will result in swollen face, legs, and even breasts.”

It doesn’t help that we crave junk food—often high in sodium—at this time of the month, either. The unfortunate truth is that salt intake further compounds water retention in the body. However, note that water retention isn’t the only reason our bodies swell during PMS.

“Hormone changes can slow down bowel motility, resulting in gas retention, which causes a swollen abdomen,” says Dr. James. “Increased blood flow to the uterus can cause uterine swelling, which also leads to a bloated abdomen.”

And as for the tender, painful-to-the-touch breasts we deal with during PMS? The hormonal changes—namely an increase in progesterone and estrogen—are to blame for that, as well, explains Dr. Alyssa Dweck, a New York-based gynecologist and assistant clinical professor of OBGYN at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine.

“People also feel fatigued and don’t exercise as much or drink a lot of caffeine, which can also cause changes in the breast,” she explains. “At the end of your cycle when you’re about to get your period, if you haven’t gotten pregnant, what usually happens is the progesterone and estrogen levels plummet.” That means a reduction in swelling and pain, which is one thing you can thank your period for.

Preventing and Alleviating PMS Bloat

OK, so we know what causes our bodies to go Violet Beauregard on us during PMS. Let’s talk about the preventative measures and treatments.

For starters, we can watch our diets.

“Try and stick to a healthy diet and avoid too many salty foods,” says Dr. James. “Additionally, too much caffeine can minimize some of the fluid changes and hormonal influences on the various tissues in the body.”

Regarding tender breasts, “Using a period tracker to avoid those dietary things when you’re PMS-ing can curb swelling,” says Dr. Dweck, who also adds that wearing a bra with very good support can be helpful.

She also advocates evening primrose oil and B6 vitamins as supplements that can alleviate pain and swelling.

Finally, both Dr. Dweck and Dr. James agree that exercise is another way to scare away the bloat monster.

“Vigorous exercise will make sure to maintain your circulation and rid excess fluids and gas,” explains Dr. James. It can also help with your cramps (which may seem counterintuitive) and give you an endorphin boost.

As a rule of thumb, if you experience severe pain or bloating during your cycle—especially if it’s hindering you from going about your day as normal—it’s best to seek out the advice of your doctor.



The present study aimed to analyze the most frequent symptoms and edema distribution in women during the premenstrual period. It was possible to verify that 91.7% had PMS, with the most prevalent symptoms related to irritability, physical symptoms, and anxiety. Moreover, the edema distribution during the premenstrual period was prevalent in the face, breast, abdomen, pubic areas, and distal upper limbs and proximal lower limbs.

The study population had a high prevalence of PMS, and although the sample did not characterize the female population more extensively as in epidemiological studies,5 it was representative of women with PMS, contemplating the objective proposed. All of the women who participated in this study were chosen because they had some complaint related to PMS, and it was identified that most of them presented with PMS (91.7%), although five did not. This corroborates other studies6,7 that investigated PMS characteristics and were also carried out in outpatient clinics or in universities,5 and identified that a small proportion of women had some complaints related to PMS, but there was not a syndrome, demonstrating the importance of the diagnosis.

The adapted version of the PSST20 was chosen because it follows the DSM-IV criteria and is widely used in the literature.5 In addition, it proved to be a practical instrument, particularly in the context of physical and psychological symptoms.

In this study, the anthropometric data of patients were comparable to those obtained by Endrikat et al10 whose participants had a mean age of 26.1 years, weight of 60.95 kg, and BMI of 22.77 kg/m2. The authors did not find significant differences in body weight between the premenstrual and menstrual periods. These data showed the presence of PMS in young women in the period between menarche and menopause who had normal BMI.25

The most prevalent symptoms in this population were anger or irritability, affecting 73.3% of women. This result agrees with that found in the literature, where the emotional symptoms were more intense,5–7,15 and changes in estrogen and progesterone levels may explain some symptoms, such as the combination of excess estrogen with agitation and irritability.2,10,13

Physical symptoms were the second-most frequent, and included breast tenderness, headache, cramps, and edema. This finding corroborates the classification of PMS in groups, in which emotional symptoms were more prevalent (PMS-A) and the physical symptoms came in second place (PMS-H).6,14

In clinical practice, edema is a common complaint in 92% of women in the second phase of their menstrual cycle, when the main hormone is progesterone.15 In this study, 65% (Table 1) of women complained of physical symptoms, including edema, higher than in other studies that found a 40% incidence.6–8 Episodes of edema during the menstrual period may have different etiologies, such as sodium and water retention, responsible for bloating, and edema in the mammary region and in the upper- and lower-limb extremities. This retention can occur due to an endocrine disorder when there are variations in estrogen and progesterone.12,26 Moreover, not only does the action of progesterone cause the venous wall to sag, affecting the return of blood, but it also acts as an agonist for aldosterone, which induces natriuresis, immediately compensated by increased renin-secretion levels.6,12 Changes in renin–angiotensin–aldosterone levels also increase progesterone, which is natriuretic.6,7,12

Regarding edema distribution, a statistically significant difference was observed in the circumference measures of the facial region, which corroborated the complaints of patients in clinical practice. However, the literature on the subject is insufficient, making comparisons between data with the same population characteristics difficult; however, in studies addressing lymphedema in the head and neck, facial measures were used to evaluate swelling,24,27 supporting the methodology used in the present study.

There was swelling all over the trunk, but with a significant difference in the mammary, epigastric, umbilical, and pubic areas. The existence of edema in the breasts may be associated with mastodynia, as during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle, epithelial cell proliferation is intensified. Estradiol acts in the endothelium to promote vasodilatation, and progesterone increases vascular permeability, facilitating the passage of fluid into the interstitial space and increasing the breast volume.6 The volume of the abdominal region (epigastric, umbilical, and pubic) may have increased due to local anatomy, as the uterus becomes widely vascularized during the luteal phase by the action of progesterone, causing greater water retention.15,26 The pelvic region may not have been affected by edema, due to the continuous use of modern pants that compress the area and increase drainage.28 Compression therapy is one of the main methods used to prevent and treat edema, as it enhances absorption and lymphatic venous flow.28

For both upper limbs, there was a variation in the circumference measures for the mid-third of the arm and distal forearm. Edema in the distal regions (forearm and wrist) probably occurs due to water and sodium retention when there is an alteration in the relationship between estrogen and progesterone.10,17,26 In addition, fat distribution occurs differently in body segments according to biotype,22 and in this study population, the women were gynecoid. In this particular biotype, adiposity is predominant in the gluteal–femoral regions, causing greater congestion in these microcirculatory areas.22 In the upper limbs, there is accumulation of adiposity, which can justify the increasing of the measures on the mid-third of the arm.22,29

In the lower limbs, there was a statistically significant difference in the circumference measures of the thigh region and the mid-third of the leg, which can be explained by the gynecoid biotype, as these women had higher amounts of localized adipose tissue and microcirculatory dysfunction in the gluteal–femoral regions associated with the development of cellulite.22,30 This pathology begins with water retention increased by cyclical hormonal variations, and one of the main causes of cellulite is hyperestrogenism. This condition induces the accumulation of hyaluronic acid, which increases osmotic pressure, forming edema in the interstitium and reducing the diffusion of nutrients, metabolites, and hormones.30 Venous congestion and lymph microcirculation also occurs, causing edema in these regions,29,30 as observed in this study sample. Possibly, the last measure of the ankle (−28 cm) may not have changed significantly because of the use of stockings, which may have acted as compression therapy and prevented the onset of edema.28,29

The values obtained from both the upper and lower limbs revealed a significant increase in volume in these body segments, providing an overview of edema behavior. This proved to be relevant in clinical practice, as it demonstrates changes in limb volume, being more representative and understandable to the patient, and also complementary to the circumference measures.23

Although edema was detected in most parts of the areas evaluated (facial, epigastric, umbilical, mammary, pubic, thighs, mid-third of the legs and arms, and distal third of the forearm), no significant difference was observed in the variation in body weight and BMI in the premenstrual phase. Possibly, the normal BMI of patients in this study may have contributed to the maintenance of these values, considering that in individuals with normal BMI, there was no significant change in adipocyte morphology (hypertrophy) or in physiology of the dermal and subcutaneous tissue, with respect to the microcirculatory dynamics.22,29,30

According to the symptoms and physical changes shown in the population studied, between the premenstrual and menstrual phases, it is possible to improve understanding of the burden for women, especially during the premenstrual period, which can modify psychological and physical conditions for them. These symptoms interfere with daily activities and relationships, demonstrating the need for adequate treatment in order to minimize symptoms and to maintain quality of life for the woman and her social network.1,4,7,31

These findings can help health care professionals to decide on the best treatment to control the edema and physical complaints of women with PMS, as there are a lot of resources to treat edema, such as pharmacological1,10,13,16 and nonpharmacological agents,16 which can include physiotherapeutic modalities (low-level laser therapy, electrotherapy, vacuum therapy as mechanical massage),28,29,31 exercises,11,18,26,31 compressive therapy,28,29 and manual lymphatic drainage.15,29 Therefore, more studies are necessary to verify and to compare these therapeutic modalities and their cost-effectiveness.

Edema was evaluated by circumferences and by calculating limb volume, but nowadays better options are available, such as using the tissue dielectric constant, which reflects the content of local tissue water and is sensitive to both free and bound water contained within the volume being measured.32 It is used as an index of local tissue water, but at the time of this research we did not have access to this technology, this being one of the limitations of this study. In addition, other factors can influence PMS, such as physical activity, smoking, and alcohol and oral contraceptive use, which were not considered in this sample, demonstrating another limitation of this work.

In conclusion, the most frequent symptoms in this study population were irritability, physical symptoms, and anxiety, with edema distribution in the face, breast, abdomen, pubic areas, and the distal upper and proximal lower limbs. Based on these findings, further studies may be able to investigate other variables, such as different BMI values, types of garments, and occupation. In addition, these results can contribute to prescribing physiotherapeutic measures to meet the needs of patients with PMS and associated edema.

Do you get bloated just before your period?

Yes, the feeling of bloating just before the period is a very common symptom.

One may have this feeling of bloating every month, once in a while, or there is no feeling at all. Relief from the feeling of bloating happens immediately after the start of monthly periods or a few days into it. As your period days pass by, the water retention declines rapidly and your tummy becomes flattened and the feeling of bloating vanishes.

How many days before a period do you bloat?

Bloating is a common early sign of PMS that many females experience. Feeling of bloating is there well before the start of your period. About 5 days before your period, the feeling of bloating increases and then is at its peak on the first day of a monthly period. You may experience the feeling of bloating every month, once in a while, or not at all.

Is bloating a sign of period or pregnancy?

Bloating could be a symptom of both PMS and early pregnancy. Bloating before and during a period is triggered by changes in the levels of the sex hormones – estrogen and progesterone. Hormonal changes in early pregnancy cause the feeling of bloating, similar to the feeling females experience just before the start of their period. The bloating in early pregnancy makes women feel more snug than usual at the waistline.

How do you stop bloating before your period?

To stop bloating before your period, follow these methods:

  • avoid salty foods as that helps to decrease water retention in the body and improve period bloating
  • eat potassium-rich foods
  • try diuretics (spinach, asparagus, pineapples, cucumber, leeks, ginger and garlic)
  • drink lots of water
  • avoid refined carbohydrates as these cause an increase in blood sugar levels which further elevates the insulin levels causing kidneys to retain more sodium. Excessive sodium leads to more water retention which causes bloating.
  • exercise regularly

How do I get rid of bloating fast?

There are some simple ways to get rid of bloating quite fast:

  1. Sip some lemon water
  2. Try some Cayenne pepper and turmeric. These two stimulate digestion, relieves pressure and cramps and eases gas.
  3. Drink coconut water to de-bloat.
  4. Drink ginger tea. Ginger gives relief from the menstrual cramps that trigger bloating.
  5. Drink peppermint tea to alleviate bloating.
  6. Eat asparagus, which is a natural diuretic.
  7. Eat spinach. Spinach alleviates belly bloat by pushing fiber through the digestive tract.
  8. Work out.

What helps with premenstrual bloating?

  • limit sugar substitutes
  • prop a pro-biotic
  • nibble on fresh parsley
  • drink peppermint tea
  • eat fermented foods
  • lower stress levels by practicing yoga and meditation
  • drink lemon water
  • take enough magnesium and calcium
  • cut the carbs

How do I get rid of bloating naturally?

  • Consume plant-based probiotics which have good microbes like Lactobacillus acidophilus. Some reliable options include kimchi, kombucha, tempeh, and sauerkraut.
  • Chew fennel seeds or drink fennel tea/ginger tea.
  • Sip lemon juice.
  • Avoid canned beans and coffee.
  • Try yoga.
  • Eat ripe bananas and legumes with kombu.

How do I get rid of bloating overnight?

In order to get rid of bloating overnight:

  • take a bath with Epsom salt
  • eat bananas as they are rich in potassium, a nutrient that helps in the regulation of fluid balance to flatten belly bloat
  • do not eat white onions, button mushrooms, raw spinach, artichokes, cauliflower, corn, broccoli, and kale
  • avoid eating gums that contain artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols like sorbitol and xylitol which cause bloating
  • pile on the Cilantro to beat the bloat
  • eat dark chocolate that has anti-inflammatory compounds
  • eat slowly to avoid gulping air that causes bloating
  • drink lemon water
  • avoid eating anything greasy

How many days before your period do you feel bloated?

Bloating is a very common symptom of PMS. Bloating may begin a week or two before your period starts. As you get closer to the start of your periods, the oscillating waves from the upper end of the uterus work their way towards the cervix with a frequency of around forty minutes. When your periods are to begin, these waves become intense and cause bloating.

Does bloating cause weight gain?

If the bloating was caused by gas i.e. you gulped something really fast and swallowed a lot of air, chewed gum, had carbonated drinks or ate some cruciferous veggies, then you will not feel any weight gain. The gas makes its way out of your system in some time. However, if the stomach pooch is caused by a heavy binge, you are constipated, or it is your PMS week – then the body has some water retention and it gains a few pounds at most. This extra weight vanishes when your period arrives or your body digests the extra food.

Causes and Treatment of Swollen Legs During Menstruation

Is it normal for your feet and ankles to swell during menstruation, and can anything be done to stop it? This is a very common question our readers, especially women, ask us on a regular basis.

Therefore, we feel it will be a good idea to write on it so that anyone affected by this can refer to this article any time.

Actually, fluid/water retention, also known as Oedema is very common during menstrual periods and the few days before your period begins. Meanwhile, there are steps that can be taken to alleviate or attempt to prevent it. You might be surprised to know that this excessive water retention is felt not only in the feet and ankles, but also in the abdomen, thighs, upper legs, face and breasts in some women.

First let’s look at the stages of the menstrual cycle and how Water Retention takes place in each stage;

Pre-menstrual Stage: This stage occurs about 2-3 weeks before the bleeding period and water retention begins in this stage but it is not extreme yet.

Follicular Stage: In this stage, the body produces large amounts of estrogen and the uterine lining begins to thicken. Serious water retention and bloating takes place in this stage. Ovulation also begins in this stage.

Luteal Stage: Progesterone replaces estrogen as the hormone in abundance and this means less bloating but there is still water retention at this stage too.

Period: In this stage the unfertilised eggs, the excess uterine lining and excess water are flushed out with the period bleeding. Bloat is relieved by this bleeding.

Post Menstrual Stage: This is the period right after the bleeding stops and many women experience all of the premenstrual symptoms including bloat, water retention, weight gain, headaches, cramps, anxiety or depression.

Causes of Water Retention

So now, we know that water retention and bloating tend to occur in the premenstrual and follicular stages and starts to be relieved during the luteal stage and is flushed during the period stage. For some women this happens every month and for others it is just an occasional gain.

However, if it starts in premenstrual and goes until bleeding starts to be completely relieved, that can mean 3-4 weeks of water retention and being miserably uncomfortable.

The most common cause is hormonal changes and imbalance due to the increase of estrogen that starts slowly in the premenstrual stage and is excessive in the follicular stage.

The luteal stage sees the estrogen diminish and progesterone increase which maintains an imbalance. This causes fluid to be retained in the feet, hand, legs and abdomen.

Another cause of water retention is the dehydration that can occur before and during the period, but mostly before.

Women often do not drink enough water in these stages of the cycle. Dehydration always leads to water retention as the body tries to keep what it has. Finally if a woman has high sodium due to high salt intake, this will increase the fluid retention the more.

Many women experience a higher metabolism rate in the first three stages of the cycle, leading to food cravings and increased consumption of sodium (salt). There can also be erratic glucose levels during this time due to reduced magnesium levels and therefore higher sugar consumption.

Bloating is also due to gas build up and indigestion. Yet, many women simply refer to the weight gain and water retention as bloating. Meanwhile, it is really gas in the intestines and it usually happens because women are less active in the premenstrual and follicular stages of their cylce. It might also be the result of constipation and the cause of cramping.

Consequences of Water Retention

There are several consequences of water retention, but for the most part these are not serious. Especially when this fluid retention is due to the menstrual cycle, it is not usually serious and it is temporary.

For the most part, period-related water retention will be gone on its own when the period is over and the bleeding has stopped. However, for some women there are consequences and some are more serious than others;

Weight gain: This is a fairly common occurrence with period-related water retention. Some women will not gain anything at all but on average the typical woman will gain 1-6 pounds. However it could be as many as 10 pounds for other women.

Heaviness in Breasts: Excess water retention can cause heaviness in the breasts and make it uncomfortable for the woman experiencing this.

Ascites: This is a serious condition that would be very rare to come from period-induced water retention but it has happened to some women. This is severe water retention in the abdomen, far beyond what usually happens with cramping in the menstrual cycle. This extreme amount of water in the abdomen can place pressure on the lungs and make breathing difficult.

Low Sodium: Excessive water retention can cause low sodium levels. This loss of sodium can result in headaches, nausea, fatigue, vomiting, restlessness, muscle weakness and irritability. At times it could even cause hallucinations.

How to Get Rid of Period-induced Water/Fluid Retention

There are a variety of things a woman can do to reduce the amount of water she retains during her menstrual cycle or to prevent excessive fluid retention. Some are very simple while others require a little more effort and commitment. However, most women will do what they can do reduce the uncomfortableness of fluid retention;

Reduce sodium/salt consumption as sodium induces water retention. It is also true that a lack of sodium can induce the body to get rid of any excess fluid.

Calcium can prevent and stop water retention during periods so it is important to be sure to get enough. If you are not getting enough in your diet you need to get it through supplements.

Potassium helps in fluid regulation and can be found in foods such as bananas, apples, apricots, and tomatoes.

Caffeine intake should be limited. You may not have to give it up entirely but limit it. If you regularly use caffeine, keep using a small amount as it releases endorphins and will assist with how to decrease the impact of other pms symptoms. Caffeine is also a natural diuretic.

Chasteberry is an herb that helps with relieving water retention. This herb also increases the production of progesterone and therefore will decrease the amount of estrogen in the system. In this way, chasteberry can bring about a hormonal balance that will eliminate period-iduced water retention.

Stay hydrated – this may seem counterintuitive but staying hydrated will actually keep the body from retaining fluid. This is because if you keep pushing fluids through your body, your kidneys will flush out excess sodium that might assist in fluid retention.

Exercise is vital in preventing or curing water retention. How much exercise is needed? Not that much. Just be sure you do some aerobic exercise daily.

Vitamins – if you have any shortage of Vitamin B1, B5 and B6, it can lead to retention of fluids and water. So you might want to use supplements of these vitamins during your cycle.

Magnesium helps with alleviating excessive water during the menstrual cycle. It is found in nuts, green leafy vegetables, seeds and whole grains.

Diet: This is a big factor in water retention during menstruation because of the many properties in food to retain or expel fluid and how you eat is as important as what you eat. Things to avoid include refined sugar. Avoid simple carbohydrates in favour of complex carbohydrates.

There should be plenty of fiber and lean protein as well in your diet. It is recommended that smaller meals be eaten 4-5 times a day instead of three large meals. Eat foods that have a lot of iron and drink at least one glass of milk each day, preferably skim milk. Milk prevents water retention. It is also important to eat foods that have high amounts of water so that this fluid can help the kidneys to flush out all the fluid in the body. These foods include berries, watermelon, cucumbers and lettuce.

So you can see there are not only potentially serious consequences of water retention during periods, there are also few good ways to deal with it.

The easiest way to diminish the swelling is by lowering your intake of salty foods (chips, fries, olives, fast-food items, etc.) and drinking plenty of water the week before your period. You could also try wearing elastic stockings (also known as support or compression stockings), which can help stimulate circulation in your legs and stop swelling. If you spend all day on your feet, the stockings are probably your best bet for long-lasting relief.

Another option: Try elevating your feet even a few inches off the ground when you’re sitting down. For example, keeping a small stepstool under your desk at work and using it to prop your feet up can help reduce the swelling a lot.

If you have gained one or two things from this article, it means a lot of other women out there too will benefit from it. Kindly take just a minute to share it for others to also benefit.

If you have any issue with your menstruation, click here to read about a Natural Remedy For Menstrual Disorder.

Ask questions and make your comments in the box below. We will like to hear from you.

Everything you need to know about edema

Edema can result from circulatory problems, infection, tissue death, malnutrition, kidney disease, total body fluid overload, and electrolyte problems.

There are many possible causes of edema, including:

Heart failure

If one or both of the lower chambers of the heart cannot pump blood properly, the blood can accumulate in the limbs, causing edema.

Kidney disease or kidney damage

A person with a kidney disorder may not be able to eliminate enough fluid and sodium from the blood. This puts pressure on the blood vessels, which causes some of the liquid to leak out. Swelling can occur around the legs and eyes.

Damage to the glomeruli, the capillaries in the kidneys that filter waste and excess fluids from the blood, can result in nephrotic syndrome. One symptom of this is a low level of the protein albumin in the blood. This can lead to edema.

Liver disease

Cirrhosis affects liver function. It can lead to changes in the secretion of hormones and fluid-regulating chemicals and reduced protein production. This causes fluid to leak out of blood vessels into surrounding tissue.

Cirrhosis also increases pressure within the portal vein, the large vein that carries blood from the intestines, spleen, and pancreas, into the liver. Edema can result in the legs and the abdominal cavity.

Certain medications

Some medications increase the risk:

  • vasodilators, or drugs that open blood vessels
  • calcium channel blockers
  • non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • estrogens
  • some chemotherapy drugs
  • some diabetes drugs, such as thiazolidinediones (TZDs)


During pregnancy, the body releases hormones that encourage fluid retention, and a woman tends to retain more sodium and water than usual. The face, hands, lower limbs, and feet may swell.

When a woman is resting in a reclined position during pregnancy, the enlarged uterus can press on a vein known as the inferior vena cava. This can obstruct the femoral veins, leading to edema.

During pregnancy, the blood clots more easily. This can increase the risk of deep venous thrombosis (DVT), another cause of edema.

Eclampsia, which results from pregnancy-induced hypertension, or high blood pressure, can also cause edema.

Dietary factors

A number of dietary factors impact the risk of edema, such as:

  • consuming too much salt, in people who are susceptible to developing edema
  • malnutrition, where edema can result from low protein levels in the blood
  • a low consumption of vitamin B 1, B 6, and B 5


Complications of diabetes include:

  • cardiovascular disease
  • acute renal failure
  • acute liver failure
  • protein-losing enteropathy, an intestinal condition that causes protein loss

These, and certain medications for diabetes, can result in edema.

Diabetic macular edema is the swelling of the retina in diabetes.

Conditions affecting the brain

Some causes of swelling in the brain include:

Head injury: A blow to the head may result in an accumulation of fluids in the brain.

Stroke: A major stroke can result in brain swelling.

Brain tumor: A brain tumor will accumulate water around itself, especially as it builds new blood vessels.


Some foods and insect bites may cause edema of the face or skin in people who are allergic or sensitive to them. Severe swelling can be a sign of anaphylaxis. Swelling in the throat can close a person’s airway, so they cannot breathe. This is a medical emergency.

Problems with the extremities

A blood clot: Any blockage, such as a clot in a vein, can prevent blood from flowing. As pressure increases in the vein, fluids start to leak into the surrounding tissue, causing edema.

Varicose veins: These usually occur because valves become damaged. Pressure increases in the veins, and they start to bulge. The pressure also increases the risk of fluids leaking into the surrounding tissue.

A cyst, growth, or tumor: Any lump can cause edema if it presses against a lymph duct or a vein. As pressure builds up, fluids can leak into surrounding tissue.

Lymphedema: The lymphatic system helps remove excess fluid from tissues. Any damage to this system, such as surgery, infection, or tumor, can result in edema.

Miscellaneous conditions

Prolonged immobility: People who are immobilized for a long time can develop edema in their skin. This can be due both to fluid pooling in gravity dependent areas and the release of antidiuretic hormone from the pituitary.

High altitude: This, combined with physical exertion, can increase the risk. Acute mountain sickness can lead to high-altitude pulmonary edema or high-altitude cerebral edema.

Burns and sunburn: The skin reacts to a burn by retaining fluid. This causes localized swelling.

Infection or inflammation: Any tissue that is infected or inflamed can become swollen. This is usually most noticeable in the skin.

Menstruation and pre-menstruation: Hormone levels fluctuate during the menstrual cycle. During the days before menstrual bleeding, levels of progesterone are lower, and this may cause fluid retention.

The contraceptive pill: Any medication that includes estrogen can cause fluid retention. It is not uncommon for women to put on weight when they first start using the pill.

Menopause: Around menopause, hormone fluctuations can cause fluid retention. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can also trigger edema.

Thyroid disease: Hormonal imbalances associated with thyroid problems can lead to edema.

Swelling for two

Most of us who’ve ever had children remember the misery of aching, swollen ankles towards the end of pregnancy. But oedema can also be a sign of a potentially dangerous condition of pregnancy called pre-eclampsia, where you also have raised blood pressure and protein in your urine. That’s why it’s important to have regular checks during pregnancy, including your blood pressure and urine.

Did the drugs do it?

Sudden swelling of your lips and tongue could be an allergic condition called angio-oedema – see a doctor urgently if this occurs.

Several medicines can lead to oedema as a side effect. For example, amlodipine, a common blood pressure lowering medicine, can cause oedema. This mostly affects your ankles and is worse in hot weather and at higher doses. Reducing the dose can solve the problem – speak to your GP.

Speak to your pharmacist, especially if swelling develops soon after starting on a new tablet. Treatment for oedema very much depends on the cause, but for most people the outlook is good. Keeping active and keeping your weight to healthy levels will both help.

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