Bloating and irregular periods are two separate issues, but they can sometimes co-occur, leaving some women wondering if there is a link between the two. Find out more about irregular periods and bloating and how they can be connected below so you can have the information necessary for optimal reproductive and gastrointestinal health.
What are Irregular Periods?
Irregular periods are defined as periods that are outside the range of normal for a woman, including those that are heavier, lighter, shorter, longer, or painful, among other symptoms. Because each woman's menstrual cycle is unique, what is considered irregular varies from woman to woman. Nevertheless, for a cycle to be considered normal, it should fall between 21 to 35 days.
A principal cause of irregular periods is due to hormonal imbalance. In all women, estrogen and progesterone guide the healthy flow of the menstrual cycle in preparation for a fertilized egg to implant by the end of each month.
However, women with irregular periods will normally have erratic hormone fluctuations, which leads to irregularities in length, flow, or timing of periods and causes inconsistent ovulation dates.
What Is Bloating?
Bloating is a feeling of tightness or fullness in the abdomen, which can be very uncomfortable and sometimes even painful. In some cases, there is a visible distension of the abdominal area.
While bloating does not usually last long, for some women, it can occur often, especially those who are passing through periods of hormonal flux, such as menopause.
Aside from hormonal imbalance, other causes of bloating include improper eating habits, lactose intolerance, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), constipation, and more.
There are a number of symptoms associated with bloating, and a person can experience all or just one of these. They are:
- A feeling of fullness in the abdominal area
- A feeling of tightness near the stomach
- Increased gas
- Increased burping
The Link between a Bloated Stomach and Irregular Periods
To begin with, bloating is a common premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptom. Women can suffer from a distended stomach during the week or two leading up to their menstrual bleed, even if their periods are occurring on an irregular basis.
Also, menopause could also be a link between a bloated stomach and irregular periods as both are common symptoms in this transformative life stage.
However, while both irregular periods and bloating in the stomach can be due to hormonal factors, happening apart from one another, there are - indeed - some factors that can cause both to occur at the same time. They include:
- Medications, like birth control pills or chemotherapy drugs
- Thyroid gland disorders
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Eating disorders, such as anorexia or bulimia
- Among others
If a woman suspects that she is suffering from irregular periods and bloating due to one of the prior causes, it is important that she speak with her doctor to establish a viable treatment plan.
Women should keep in mind that they will only find relief from both irregular periods and bloating once the underlying cause of both is detected and addressed appropriately. As such, it is smart to visit a trusted healthcare professional sooner rather than later.
Likewise, women who are certain that they are suffering from a bloated stomach and irregular periods due to hormonal fluctuations brought on by menopause can look to natural and effective irregular period treatments or bloating treatments that focus on promoting endocrine system health for optimal well-being. Your reproductive and gastrointestinal health begins and starts with your initiative!
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