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Periods and Bloating: How to Reduce Bloating Before Period?

Bloating is an all-too-common problem for many people. Unfortunately, that goes double for women. About 30% of women have reported that they suffer from PMS symptoms such as bloating. Whether it is bloating before period or bloating during period, it can cause discomfort and frustration in those who are struggling with it. If you happen to be one of those 30%, or someone who experiences chronic bloating then read on to learn more about how to reduce bloating before period.

Why do we Get Bloated Before Our Periods?

There are many factors that come into play with regard to bloating. Most of those factors are related to hormone levels. Bloating and water retention before period can happen as a result of low levels of the hormones progesterone and estrogen. Since one of the jobs of progesterone is to rid the body of extra water, the result of that drop in hormones is often water retention before period.



Reasons for Bloating According to Traditional Chinese Medicine

The ancient practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine, or TCM, states that the cause of bloating is linked to an imbalance of Qi in the spleen, stomach, and liver.

If the vital energy of the Qi is not properly balanced or is stagnant, this tells TCM practitioners that there is some sort of deficiency in the body. In 2015, a study out of the Department of Gastroenterology at the First Affiliated Hospital of Dalian Medical University in Liaoning Province found that those who reported bloating as a symptom of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) were found to have imbalances in both their liver and spleen as well. Spleen, stomach, and liver imbalances may also be responsible for irregular periods.

Spleen: When the spleen is not in balance, it does a poor job of moving food and fluids. When the flow of fluids is disrupted, the result is often both fluid accumulation and dampness.

Stomach: An excess of yin energy, referred to in TCM as coldness, in the stomach is another possible reason for bloating and fluid retention. Those with stomach cold syndrome sometimes report a dull pain in the epigastric, or upper abdominal, area. Though the causes are unclear, this coldness may be the result of a low pulse rate or slow energy metabolism. During the menstrual cycle, it is associated with blood stasis.


What causes of the above imbalances, deficiencies, or coldness? That can come from a variety of factors. For example, stress, overeating, eating cold foods, missing meals, and general overexertion are all likely causes of imbalance and deficiency.

Learn more about TCM’s view on Periods and Bloating directly from our expert team!

Tips to Reduce Bloating Before Period

In TCM, there are many natural, drug-free options that you can try to alleviate water retention before period. These include:


1. Acupuncture: Practiced in TCM for thousands of years, acupuncture is an effective treatment for bloating. Acupuncture can be hugely beneficial for bloating before period and general chronic bloating because it not only targets the symptom of bloating or digestive disorder, but it also focuses on the underlying cause. Acupuncture works to provide relief from bloating by:

  • Resolving stagnation
  • Strengthening digestive process, stomach and spleen
  • Encouraging free movement of Qi
  • Reducing stress and calms mind


2. Diet: Those suffering from bloating during period will want to avoid foods such as legumes, sweets, dairy, cold food and refined carbohydrates found in bread and cereal. Try eliminating these foods and sticking with lean protein such as chicken and egg whites. Be sure to include fruits, such as blueberries and strawberries, as their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities have been shown to have protective effects against the symptoms associated with premenstrual syndrome (PMS).


3. Acupressure: There are a few acupressure points that you can stimulate at home to bring relief to your bloating symptoms.

  • Stomach-36 (ST36) :  Applying pressure to “Stomach-36”, also known as ST36 or point Zu San Li, can help to strengthen the stomach and spleen while also tonifying Qi. It is located on the inside of the lower leg about one finger-length below the anterior crest of the tibia.
  • Taichong (LR3): Point LR3, also known as Taichong, is distal to the bottom of the first and second metatarsals of the foot. Stimulating this point will help to move liver Qi.
  • Yinlingquan (SP9): Applying pressure to point SP9, known in TCM as Yinlingquan, will help to move water, regulate the spleen, and resolve coldness. It is located on the back of the lower leg behind the knee.

To learn visit our Acupressure points for gas and bloating article.


4. Regular Exercise: Good advice for all aspects of health, getting regular exercise will help to improve circulation and provide relief from bloating. According to a study from 2013, regular exercise may help alleviate PMS symptoms such as boating.I It is recommended people should strive to get 2.5 hours of moderate exercise every week to keep healthy.


5.Adequate Sleep: Like exercise, a good night’s sleep also does wonders for overall health. Poor sleep quality can result in an increase in the symptoms associated with PMS. You should aim to get at least 8 hours of sleep a night.


6. Herbs: Many Chinese medicinal herbs can also help to ease bloating during period.

  • Vitex Agnus Castus has been shown to improve symptoms of bloating associated with premenstrual syndrome. 
  • Ginger contains an enzyme effective in improving gut function. 1 – 2 cups of ginger tea a day is a simple yet effective solution for boating.
  • Hawthorn berries: Commonly known in TCM as Shan Zha, can boost your gut flora to improve digestion, it is also linked to improving blood flow and reducing bloating.


Since so many women struggle with bloating before period, take some comfort in knowing that you are in good company. Thankfully, there are many natural options that will help you to reduce or eliminate bloating. Both acupuncture and acupressure can help to resolve stagnation, strengthen the spleen and stomach, and invigorate liver Qi. Plenty of quality sleep and a regular exercise routine will also help to alleviate symptoms. Consider eliminating foods that are known to cause bloating. Adding Chinese medicinal herbs will both soothe the liver while nourishing the blood and reducing coldness. If you are looking for drug-free ways to reduce water retention before period, then speak with your healthcare practitioner to learn more about how TCM can reduce bloating. 

Supplement Mentioned In This Blog

Vitex Agnus Castus is a popular herbal supplement used for a variety of health problems related to the Menstrual Cycle such as Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) and Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD). This traditional Vitex Agnus Castus Chasteberry herb is primarily used to support women who are transitioning through menopause and relieve PMS symptoms.

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* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. We can’t guarantee the treatment result, as the symptoms of conditions are unpredictable and vary greatly from person to person. The treatment length and recovery time also varies for individual. Please visit our consultation page where a specialists will discuss your care and provide a consultation, and the treatment will be designed to meet your individual needs.

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