Bloating during ovulation is one of the symptoms of ovulation. While some women experience bloating around ovulation, some have it at different times of the menstrual cycle. It is a mild pressure, swelling, or a feeling of fullness in the abdominal area. You may also feel constipated, gassy, or when clothes become tighter around the abdomen when bloated (1) (2)
There are several other reasons for bloating, including pregnancy and constipation (3). This post will help you understand about causes and tips for managing bloating during ovulation.
Is Bloating A Sign Of Ovulation?
During the ovulatory phase, you may experience mild unilateral abdominal pain or cramps, commonly known as Mittelschmerz (“middle pain” or “pain in the middle of the month”), which may occur in either side of the pelvic region and last for a few hours to a few days.
If bloating is accompanied by other symptoms of ovulation, you could be ovulating. However, these ovulation symptoms vary among women (5). You may also experience bloating after ovulation due to premenstrual syndrome (PMS), which occurs a week or two before the menses (6).
What Causes Severe Bloating During Ovulation?
Generally, bloating during ovulation is not harmful. However, severe bloating, when accompanied by other symptoms, such as severe abdominal cramps, nausea, or vomiting, can be a symptom of underlying conditions such as (7) (8)
- Ovarian cancer (9)
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
Which Hormone Causes Bloating During Ovulation?
In a typical menstrual cycle, the mid-cycle peak of estradiol (estrogen) levels is the highest right before ovulation, initiating positive feedback on the luteinizing hormone (LH) and resulting in an LH surge. Additionally, following ovulation, progesterone levels rise (2) (10).
These hormonal alterations, specifically the excess of estrogen (also known as estrogen dominance), may trigger an increase in water retention, leading to bloating during ovulation (1).
Should You Worry About Bloating During Ovulation?
Although it can be quite uncomfortable, ovulation bloating is not a life-threatening condition. Most women may not notice ovulation bloating, while a few experience issues such as slow bowel movement, constipation, increased gas production, and abdominal discomfort (5).
Is Ovulation Associated With Weight Gain?
Ovulation and weight gain are not directly associated. However, bloating induced by high estradiol levels during ovulation may make you appear heavier before your menstrual bleeding, known as premenstrual weight gain (2). Additionally, increased progesterone levels during ovulation also induce fatigue and heaviness (5).
During the ovulatory phase, you may also notice cravings for salty foods, such as chips, cheese, and processed foods. This increased salt intake during ovulation may induce fluid retention (bloating) in your body, giving the impression of weight gain (1).
How Can You Manage Bloating During Ovulation?
- Include a low-FODMAP (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols) diet since high-FODMAP foods comprise indigestible carbohydrates that increase water retention in the tissues.
- Avoid junk foods and other processed foods (1).
- Avoid carbonated beverages.
- Use diuretics in reasonable doses to minimize water retention.
- Exercise regularly (2)
- Include probiotics, such as yogurt, and herbal ingredients, such as peppermint and turmeric, in your diet.
- Include magnesium and potassium-rich foods, such as bananas and nuts, in your diet (13).
- You may also take over-the-counter (OTC) medications, such as simethicone or charcoal capsules.
- Sometimes, birth control pills (BCPs) can help relieve bloating during ovulation by inhibiting hormonal changes.
- Bulk laxatives or bowel stimulants may be prescribed in extreme cases of ovulation bloating in operational settings.
How Is Ovulation Bloating Different From Pregnancy Bloating?
Typically, the symptoms of ovulation, including bloating, sore breasts, mood swings, and unilateral pelvic pain, are similar to those that appear in the early weeks of pregnancy. This may lead to confusion regarding whether you are ovulating or pregnant.
Therefore, be cautious during your ovulatory phase if you had unprotected sex and have other pregnancy symptoms, such as nausea or vomiting. Take a pregnancy test if there is any delay in your menstrual bleeding. Further, if you want to conceive, keep track of your ovulation dates (3).
Ovulation usually begins at around day 14 of a typical 28-day menstrual cycle and may have various symptoms, including bloating. Bloating is a feeling of fullness or gassiness due to hormonal fluctuations. Temporary bloating can be managed with diet modifications, plenty of water consumption, and routine exercise. However, if you experience severe bloating during ovulation with cramps, spotting, etc., consult your gynecologist to analyze the exact cause.
- Ovulation Symptoms: Bloating.
- Colin P. White et al.; (2011); Fluid Retention over the Menstrual Cycle: 1-Year Data from the Prospective Ovulation Cohort.
- Am I Pregnant Or…?
- Ovulation Symptoms.
- Problems with Menstrual Flows.
- Premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
- Ha Ryun Won and Jason Abbott; (2010); Optimal management of chronic cyclical pelvic pain: an evidence-based and pragmatic approach.
- Ovarian cysts.
- Bloated Stomach.
- Julie E. Holesh et al.; (2021); Physiology Ovulation.
- Anna Foley et al.; (2014); Management Strategies for Abdominal Bloating and Distension.
- S. Alagendran et al.; (2010); Evaluation of Salivary Electrolytes during Normal Menstrual Cycle with Special Reference to Ovulation.