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, 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 abdominal menstrual 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)
If you experience persistent bloating during ovulation, consult a gynecologist to identify any underlying condition and get proper treatment.
Which Hormone Causes Bloating During Ovulation?
In a typical menstrual cycle, the mid-cycle estradiol (estrogen) levels are the highest right before ovulation, initiating positive feedback on the luteinizing hormone (LH) and resulting in an LH surge that allows ovulation. Additionally, following ovulation, progesterone levels rise (2) (10).
These hormonal imbalances, 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).
- Track your menstrual cycle to understand your ovulation period (4). You can even start a menstrual binnacle to keep track of all the characteristics that are present in your period.
- You may also take over-the-counter (OTC) medications, such as simethicone or charcoal capsules.
- Sometimes, birth control pills (BCPs) can help relieve menstrual 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, cramping, 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, it is important to prioritize reproductive health and 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 period. You can also use fertility tracking apps to help you track the ovulation dates if you want to conceive. Such apps can also be used to track menstrual cycles and provide information about menstrual discomfort or menstrual irregularities.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How does bloating during ovulation affect a woman’s daily life and activities?
Bloating during ovulation may not be a cause of concern in many women. But bloating and other associated symptoms may be unpleasant for others. The severity of pelvic and abdominal pain can vary from woman to woman and inadvertently disrupt daily functions. Bloating may cause a feeling of fullness and an increase in body weight, which can be mentally stressful for some women (1).
2. Why does bloating occur during ovulation, and not at any other time during the menstrual cycle?
Bloating can occur before or after ovulation and some women may experience bloating during their periods due to factors, such as dietary choices, hormonal changes, and stress. The varying levels of estrogen cause bloating. Estrogen levels rise during the first half of the menstrual cycle and decrease once the egg is released, leading to the excretion of excess water from the body (10).
3. Are there any long-term consequences of experiencing bloating during ovulation?
Bloating during ovulation is usually very brief. However, if the symptoms are chronic or severe, it is best to visit a healthcare professional for an examination and proper treatment (1).
4. How much bloating is normal during ovulation?
Bloating during ovulation is common and usually goes away after the phase is over. So if you experience fullness around the time of your periods, know that it is a common symptom that arises from hormonal fluctuations. You may try different remedies and make the necessary changes in your diet if the bloating is not too uncomfortable. However, if it is accompanied by other symptoms such as nausea and vomiting, you may consult your doctor to understand the cause as it may require medical intervention.
Infographic: Management Of Bloating During Ovulation
While bloating during ovulation is typically normal, it may cause discomfort and hinder your day-to-day activities. It may range from mild to severe bloating; therefore, knowing to manage the condition effectively could be a boon. Take a look at this infographic below to learn about various management tips for bloating during ovulation.
- Abdominal bloating or gassiness is one of the secondary symptoms of ovulation.
- Hormonal fluctuations, especially the excess estrogen, may cause increased water retention, resulting in bloating during ovulation.
- Including low-FODMAP foods, adequate hydration, and avoiding junk food are some ways of managing the condition.
Have you wondered why you feel bloated during ovulation and worried about whether it is normal? The following animated video explains why this happens and how to reduce bloating efficiently.
- 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.
- Menstrual disorders.
- Bloated Stomach.