In the week leading up to my period, water retention makes my abdomen feel bloated, and my hands and feet become puffy. Luckily, I have found some natural ways to treat my period water retention.
You can reduce water retention before and during your period by changing your diet to include potassium, Vitamin B6, or magnesium supplements. You may also find that drinking natural teas, such as lemongrass or parsley, getting a massage, or moving more can help with this common symptom of premenstrual tension.
While there is no quick fix for this common complaint, you can rest assured that you are not alone. This article will introduce some natural ways to reduce water retention when you have your period.
Why am I retaining water before and during my period?
Yesterday you felt slim, and your jeans zipped up easily; today, you feel like nothing looks good, and your jeans feel tight and uncomfortable! It can be a sign of period water retention. Let’s read on to see why your body retains water before and during period.
In the week leading up to menstruation, your hormones fluctuate as they ready your body for ovulation. Water retention or oedema can happen before and during your period when estrogen levels remain higher than progesterone.
You should be in the middle of your cycle when estrogen levels are highest, as estrogen triggers ovulation. Sometimes estrogen levels do not decrease when they should, and you can experience what is known as estrogen dominance.
These fluctuations can cause your body tissue to retain water around your abdomen, face, breasts, and limbs. Another name for these symptoms is premenstrual syndrome or PMS.
Water retention is perfectly normal during this time. According to this study, almost 92% of women retain water before and during their period.
Are you wondering if you have period water retention? Let’s check the symptoms.
- Abdominal bloating – water usually gathers in the abdominal region before and during menstruation.
- Unexplained weight fluctuations – fluid can add weight to your body in no time at all.
- Swelling of limbs – arms and legs can also store excess water
- Aching joints – fluid can gather in joints causing aching
- Indented skin – when you press your swollen skin, it holds a dimple for a short time
Water retention or oedema is a common health issue for menstruating women. This symptom of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) can happen before or during your period when your hormones are fluctuating. Water retention can occur in several parts of your body, including your abdomen, limbs, and face.
Natural diuretic teas can help with water retention during your period
|TEA (Organic)||Cups / Day||Brew Time||Main Benefit||Cost / 100g|
|Green Tea||1-3||4'||PMS relief||$11|
|Raspberry Leaf||1-3||5'||PMS relief||$12.49|
When you are having your period, sometimes all you want to do is curl up on the lounge with a nice comforting cup of tea. Just because you are retaining water doesn’t mean you should stop drinking fluid.
Drinking teas with diuretic properties can help your body get rid of excess water whilst menstruating. Teas such as lemongrass and parsley can increase urination by stimulating your body to release fluid.
If you have PMS and your body is retaining fluid, drinking these teas can have the benefit of keeping you hydrated while working as a diuretic. What a lovely natural way to keep your fluids balanced.
Lemongrass tea can be an effective treatment
Sipping Lemongrass Tea is a lovely way to relax after dinner. If you feel the effects of your period and notice that you have some water retention, lemongrass tea also has diuretic properties to help you get rid of some extra fluid.
When served as a hot or cooled beverage, the diuretic properties of lemongrass tea can promote urination. Peeing more frequently can help release water from your body during menstruation.
This study shows how researchers found lemongrass was a diuretic in action when taken over six weeks. The subjects showed an increase in urination frequency.
If you like to combine lemongrass with other herbs, Siam Ginger Lemongrass Tea blended with ginger, orange segments, peppermint and liquorice root tea can be another option for you.
This delicious blend is a natural treatment for water retention and other symptoms of PMS, including headaches, nausea and cramping.
Parsley tea has properties to help you lose water
While it might look like lemongrass has all the answers, it is not the only tea. Another effective diuretic is parsley. When made into tea, this versatile and health-giving herb has many benefits.
Like lemongrass, parsley has natural diuretic properties and can make you pee more. This results in the release of fluids before or during your period.
Parsley tea is not to everyone’s taste as it is slightly bitter when brewed; however, this study shows how effective it increased urine flow in subjects. Therefore, parsley can be a safe and natural way to treat water retention.
If you want to find out more about dandelion root tea, this article shows how effective it is in reducing water retention and bloating.
Lemongrass and parsley teas are both natural diuretics. They can safely rid your body of excess water when menstruating and retaining fluid. Several other teas, such as green tea, stinging nettle, hibiscus, fennel, and dandelion root teas, are known diuretics and can perform the same function.
Supplements can help get rid of water retention when you are menstruating
Eating a healthy diet rich in vitamins and minerals can help get rid of water retention. If you can’t get all your vitamins and minerals from your diet, supplements may benefit you.
You can take supplements such as potassium, magnesium, and Vitamin B6, at this time to help reduce water retention when you are menstruating.
Potassium can help balance your fluid levels
Potassium is an electrolyte that can help balance your fluid levels by reducing sodium (salt) levels in your body.
It is common for women to crave salty foods or ‘comfort food’ when menstruating. However, eating a lot of salty food can cause your cells to hold onto water.
The fluid inside your cells is called intracellular fluid (ICF), and outside your cells is extracellular fluid (ECF).
Potassium helps maintain the balance between the ICF and ECF cells by keeping sodium levels in check to maintain a good fluid balance. Therefore, low potassium can cause either dehydration or water retention.
You can take supplements in powder or tablet form, or you can increase your intake of foods rich in potassium, such as dark green vegetables, bananas, sweet potato, and avocadoes.
Either of these methods can provide your body with some of the potassium required to balance fluids and help you to get rid of water. If you would like to read up more on what you can do when experiencing sodium overload, check out this article.
Vitamin B6 can help to prevent fluid
Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) can help in cases of mild fluid retention. When taken as a supplement to your diet, it can act as a mild diuretic when you’re menstruating.
Vitamin B6 is significant as it helps form our red blood cells, and as this study mentions, it may act as a diuretic. We can promote urination and eliminate fluid retained during menstruation by using diuretics.
Over the counter supplements in the form of pyridoxine hydrochloride can be substituted if your diet is not adequate. Vitamin B6 is water-soluble, so it can be taken with water or juice. The recommended daily intake is 1.3 mg for women aged 19 – 50 years. Alternatively, you can absorb vitamin B6 by eating brown rice, potatoes, walnuts and red meat.
Magnesium supplements can reduce water retention
Magnesium is a vital mineral that keeps every cell in your body functioning. Taking a magnesium supplement can also help reduce water retention.
If your diet is lacking in magnesium, a supplement could help you to get rid of water retention without the risk of overloading your system. The recommended daily intake (RDI) of magnesium is just over 300 mg for women.
This study reveals that when given a daily supplement of 200 mg of magnesium, menstruating women reported a significant reduction in fluid retention during their menstrual cycle and additional benefits in the treatment of PMS.
Alternatively, a diet high in magnesium can give you some of your daily requirements. Check out this article to see other ways to increase your magnesium intake without consuming it in your food.
If you are experiencing water retention when you menstruate, you may lack minerals and vitamins, such as Potassium, Magnesium and Vitamin B6. In most cases, you can obtain the vitamins and minerals you require by eating a balanced diet high in leafy greens, nuts, and dietary fibre. However, if your diet is lacking, you may benefit from taking a supplement.
A detox could help your liver to flush out toxins and water retention
If you feel sluggish when your period is approaching and your body is retaining water, it may be time to put your liver to work and have a detox! Clearing the toxins from your body could stop your body from retaining water.
A detox can benefit your whole body, especially if you experience fluid retention during your menstrual cycle. Eliminating caffeine, alcohol, sugar, and salty junk food can help your liver to flush out toxins and reduce water retention.
As with everything we do with our bodies, common sense is vital. If you know that you have severe PMS symptoms, it may be prudent to start your cleanse the week following your period, so you do not have to deal with triggers due to eliminating some foods and beverages right at the start.
By the time you cycle through to the beginning of your next period, chances are you will notice a change in the way your period manifests and hopefully a reduction in fluid.
It’s a case of everyone having individual reactions to a detox. Listen to your body, and hopefully, you will see some positive changes to your well-being and water retention soon.
Natural caffeine-free teas such as New Me 28 Day Teatox or Tea Cleanse Berry De Labillardiere can also be used to help detox your body. This article talks about some of the best detox teas available in Australia.
A detox where you eliminate caffeine, sugar, alcohol, and salt can help your liver get rid of fluid by flushing out toxins. The benefits of a detox are far-reaching and can also positively impact your general well-being.
Regular exercise and movement can lessen fluid in your legs
Physical exercise when you have your period has many benefits. It can make you feel good and could be the way to eliminate fluid retention in your legs and other body parts.
If you regularly exercise, some of the excess water in your body will shift to your muscles, and some will leave your body as sweat. Exercise can reduce the extracellular fluid which sits outside the cells (ECF) and causes you to look and feel bloated.
Any form of exercise that is strenuous enough to make you sweat will help you eliminate water from your body. You should also combine cardio exercise with a weight-bearing workout to enable the fluid to move into your muscle mass.
While exercising, it is essential to remain adequately hydrated. Strenuous exercise coupled with low water intake can cause your sodium levels to rise, resulting in more water retention.
According to the Australian Government Health Direct website, you should consume around 8 glasses of water over a day. If you are exercising in hot weather, your intake could be more than usual.
Regular exercise and movement can reduce the fluid you have retained by shifting water to your muscles or sweat when menstruating. Exercising can make you feel good too. Remaining hydrated is also vital to keep your body from becoming dehydrated.
Other helpful tips to relieve and reduce water retention whilst menstruating
What if I told you that you could eat chocolate, drink mocktails, and have a massage when you have your period? Well, you can. We will look at some of the other ways you can get rid of water retention.
Changing your diet can help with premenstrual water retention
We have talked about the importance of eating a balanced diet to maintain magnesium, potassium, and Vitamin B6 levels while menstruating. Adding certain foods or avoiding others can also help with premenstrual water retention.
Let’s look at some foods we should eat more to reduce water retention.
- Dark chocolate, yes, you heard right! 70% dark chocolate with a low sugar content can be consumed in moderation, and it is rich in magnesium.
- Bananas are powerhouses of goodness. They not only pack a potassium punch, but they also contain Vitamin B6
- Nuts and grains are rich in magnesium and Vitamin B6. Eat them as a snack or toss them in your salads.
- Leafy greens like kale, spinach and broccoli are all high in potassium and magnesium.
- Avocados are a great source of healthy fat; they are also high in potassium.
- Tomatoes are delicious eaten cold in salads or cooked up into your favourite pasta sauce, and they are high in potassium.
- Sweet potatoes are another potassium-rich vegetable. Delicious roasted or mashed
- Coconut water is a super alternative to those sports drinks with additives. It is high in magnesium and potassium, and it tastes incredible!
- Watermelon is fresh and light, and it contains magnesium and potassium. What better way to treat yourself to a low calorie snack!
The foods to avoid are probably not surprising. They are also the foods we sometimes reach for when our period is approaching.
- Sugarin excess is unhealthy at any time. Avoid sugary drinks and sweets or have them in moderation.
- Carbohydrates can be consumed in moderation. Try to avoid cakes and processed foods high in carbs.
- Salty snacks like chips and salty nuts should be avoided. Nuts with no salt are a healthy option.
- Fast food or anything with unhealthy trans-fat should be avoided.
Changing your oral contraceptive could stop you from retaining water during your period
If you have been taking the same contraceptive pill for a long time and feel like no matter what you do, you can’t get rid of fluid, a change in type or dose could help you stop retaining water before or during your period.
High levels of estrogen are what causes water retention. A low dose estrogen pill could help you reduce body fluid. This study showed that a contraceptive pill high in estrogen caused significant water retention in women.
Contraceptive pills contain estrogen and progesterone, designed to stop ovulation. Most contraceptive pills allow your body to have a period once a month, and you may still experience the same symptoms of PMS at this time, or you may find that symptoms are reduced.
A discussion with your medical professional will enable you to make the right decision about your contraceptive pill.
Massage can help with swelling when you have your period
If you love a massage, this treatment could be for you! A lymphatic drainage massage can be beneficial when experiencing fluid retention during your period.
A lymphatic drainage massage works to rid the excess fluid by stimulating the area retaining water. Massage therapists will massage the area to increase circulation and return your body’s natural water balance.
Lymphatic drainage massage also has the added benefit of making you feel more relaxed and relieving cramps.
Try drinking ‘Mocktails’ and avoid alcohol when you have your period to stop bloating
Alcohol dehydrates your body and causes your cells to hold onto as much fluid as possible. This happens whether you are menstruating or not, so avoiding alcohol is recommended at this time.
The good news is you still can enjoy a party while you are menstruating. Mix up some delicious mocktails using Watermelon and coconut water as your base for many amazing fruity delights.
Simply add an umbrella and a straw and get creative. You can be the life of the party!
When you leave the high fat, salty foods from your diet, you will not only feel better, but you may notice a change in the way your body holds onto water. Other ways to control your water retention are; eating (or drinking) fresh fruit or vegetables, having a massage to drain your lymphatic system or talking to your doctor about your contraceptive pill.
When to seek medical treatment
Water retention when you are having your period is a fluctuating symptom, and it usually goes away each month once you have reached the beginning of your next menstrual cycle.
Mild water retention or oedema tends to go away without medical intervention. It is not generally a threat to your health; however, if you have water retention or oedema that is not responding to alternative treatment, it can be a sign of hypertension, a potentially serious medical condition.
If you feel like you have tried everything to reduce your fluid retention and your body is not responding to natural therapies or a change in diet, you should see your GP or speak to a medical professional. What works for some may not work for everyone.
Signs which could mean more severe oedema could be experiencing a fever, tight and shiny skin, retaining a dimple for some time after pressing your skin or red sores around the swollen area.
Alternatively, if you have symptoms of water retention and a history of kidney, heart, or liver disease, seek medical attention straight away. Seeking advice from a medical professional can sometimes be the reassurance you need.
Oedema or fluid retention can be a common side effect of premenstrual syndrome. It is usual for women to retain excess water at this time. However, there can be complications if oedema symptoms are more serious in nature. Seeking medical assistance is always recommended if you feel your symptoms are more serious.
Water retention can be uncomfortable for women when going through their menstrual cycle. If you choose natural therapies, it can be as simple as changing your diet and exercise habits, both of which can have benefits that far outreach the reduction in body fluid.
You can sip some natural teas such as lemongrass or parsley for their diuretic effects or treat yourself to a lymphatic drainage massage. Whatever course you decide to take, you can feel assured that you won’t harm yourself using the natural treatments we have discussed.
It is a perfectly normal symptom of PMS, and it is treatable. However, if you think your water retention is more serious, you should talk to a medical professional to help you solve the problem.