Updated: Jul 21
Do you experience bloating and cramping during ovulation? If you answered yes you are not alone. Pain and bloating during ovulation is something I'm seeing more often with clients these days and it can be quite uncomfortable. Thankfully there is plenty that you can do to ease these symptoms.
Does Ovulation Cause Bloating & Cramping?
When you ovulate, you may experience some cramping and bloating. Although these symptoms are usually mild, they can be uncomfortable sometimes.
The fluctuation of various hormones throughout the month contributes to cramping and bloating during ovulation. Ovulation occurs about 14 days before your period starts. Your body releases an egg from one of your ovaries and if the egg goes unfertilized, it will travel down the fallopian tube and eventually leave your body along with the uterine lining during menstruation.
During ovulation, your estrogen hormones are at the highest levels of your cycle. This can cause water retention and bloat, which makes you feel full in your abdomen. Usually, between days 11-14, you will experience a spike in estrogen. This increase can contribute to digestive issues, mood swings and bloating during ovulation.
Following ovulation, your progesterone levels will also rise and if the balance of estrogen and progesterone is off it can lead to increased bloating.
Bloating & cramping during ovulation is also caused by prostaglandins—the same hormone-like chemicals that cause menstrual cramps. The main reason why you get these symptoms is due to the fact that the lining of your uterus is being broken down, so your body releases prostaglandins to help with this process. The build-up of these chemicals in your system can give you a bloated feeling around your pelvis as well as cramps in other parts of the body like your back or thighs.
How To Manage & Reduce Bloating During Ovulation
Bloating can be a real problem during the time that women are ovulating. It's common, but it doesn't mean you need to just deal with it. There is lots than can be done to ease pain and bloating during ovulation
Opt for well-balanced meals with plenty of protein, fibre, and healthy fats. The key is to focus on eating plenty of whole foods that will help provide your body with the nourishment and energy it needs during this phase of your menstrual cycle.
Include leafy greens, and cruciferous veggies to help detox any excess estrogen. This is especially important if you are estrogen dominant.
Lastly, limit your intake of salt as this may ease water retention and other artificial sweeteners and processed foods that can contribute to digestive issues like bloating.
Herbal Teas & Natural Diuretics:
Include food and herbal teas that act as natural diuretics and can help rescue water retention that is contributing to bloat. A few teas to try include dandelion root, hibiscus and parsley. You can also eat cucumbers, pineapple and ginger. These can easily be added to your morning smoothie to help beat the bloat.
Studies have shown that magnesium helps with bloating and water retention. Ensure you are including magnesium-rich foods such as spinach, pumpkin seeds and almonds. If you decide to supplement you can use magnesium citrate, it may help alleviate bloat during ovulation. Be cautious not to overdo it with supplementing as it can lead to digestive upset.
Getting in some form of daily movement will help support digestion. Slowed digestion is a major contributor to bloat. During ovulation you will likely experience more energy so physically, this is a good time to work out. Swimming, running, spinning, or using weights are all good options.
Track Your Cycle:
Tracking your cycle can be a powerful tool in guiding you on how to support your body best and work with your body's natural rhythm. You'll be able to ensure that you are proactively eating foods and choosing workouts that support the hormonal fluctuations and have you feeling your best. You can learn more about the best workouts and foods to eat for each phase of your cycle here.
Stress can have a significant impact on your digestive system and your hormones. This will ultimately contribute to heightened symptoms during ovulation. Find ways to manage stress and include activities that help you to relax. Yoga, meditation or leisurely walks outdoors are all good options.
When To Get Support With Ovulation Pain & Bloating
If you are experiencing severe pain and discomfort or if your abdominal bloating is so severe that it interrupts your daily life, talk to your doctor or a trained health care practitioner.
It's always good to investigate further if:
You notice other symptoms along with your cramping and bloating during ovulation, such as painful urination or bowel movements, sudden weight gain or loss, irregular periods, nausea, vomiting, fainting spells, fatigue or exhaustion.
You have tried home remedies and they do not work. Your body may be telling you that there is something else going on here. It might be time to take a closer look at your hormones, diet and lifestyle and get some extra support - I can help with that!!
You are worried about your health. While mild ovulation pain and bloating is completely normal, sometimes this can indicate an underlying medical condition such as endometriosis (a condition where uterine tissue grows outside of the uterus causing pelvic/abdominal pain), polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).
I have provided you with a number of ways to reduce your bloating and cramping during ovulation. If you try everything but nothing seems to work it might be time to take a closer look at your hormones and see what's going on. You can learn more about the Nourish To Thrive Program here.