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Severe Bloating During Ovulation: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Does ovulation cause bloating? It certainly might, and it's hardly pleasant. Learn all about ovulation bloating in women and find useful tips to manage it with Flo.

Ovulation may produce lots of fabulous symptoms such as heightened senses, increased energy, sex drive, and a general feeling of well-being and optimism. But for some women, ovulation may also bring certain uncomfortable and unwanted symptoms such as bloating, breast tenderness, and one-sided abdominal pain.

Ovulation is the release of a mature egg from the ovaries. It then travels down the fallopian tubes and is ready to be fertilized by a sperm. In most of the females, ovulation may occur between days 11 and 21 of their menstrual cycles. It is common to experience bloating during ovulation typically around days 11 to 14 of your menstrual cycle. 

Bloating during ovulation may occur due to an increase in the levels of estrogen hormone before the luteinizing hormone (LH) surge. The luteinizing hormone surge happens just before the occurrence of ovulation. 

The changes in the levels of hormones may lead to retention of water by your body, which may result in ovulation bloating. Fluid retention due to ovulation bloating should get better within a couple of days. Visit a physician if bloating during ovulation continues for a longer duration (for more than a few days) or you think your bloating is due to some medical condition. Bloating in women at the middle of their menstrual cycle may occur due to various medical conditions including endometriosis, an ovarian cyst or polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).

What role does ovulation play in conceiving?

What role does ovulation play in conceiving?

Our new course explains fertility and conception in detail! Explore Getting Pregnant 101.

According to the American Pregnancy Association, bloating during ovulation is one of the common symptoms of ovulation. It usually occurs between the 11th and 14th day of your menstrual cycle. How long does ovulation bloating last? It may last from a couple of hours to one or two days.

In some women, ovulation may cause pain in one side of their lower abdomen. This is called Mittelschmerz pain and it usually lasts for a few minutes to one or two days. It may be dull or sharp pain and associated with mild vaginal discharge or bleeding. 

The primary cause of ovulation bloating is the hormonal changes that occur during and after ovulation.

These hormonal changes may play havoc with your digestive tract. Due to high estrogen levels, your body may retain more water. The combined effect of these changes is bloating during ovulation. 

During the time of ovulation, you may gain some weight due to fuller breasts and ovulation bloating. This weight gain during ovulation is due to water retention that happens in response to the change in the hormonal levels.

You may also have increased cravings for some foods during this time. You may crave and eat foods high in salts such as chips, cheese and other types of processed foods. Eating a large amount of these foods rich in salt also leads to water retention, which results in bloating and weight gain during ovulation. 

Apart from bloating, the other symptoms and signs of ovulation are as follows:

  • Changes in your vaginal discharge: you may experience an increased vaginal discharge that is clear, stretchy and wet. The discharge may be present in your underwear or you may notice it while wiping after using the washroom.
  • Changes in your basal body temperature (BBT): your basal body temperature may rise slightly after ovulation. You may track your BBT using a thermometer at the same time before getting up in the morning. 
  • Changes in the position of the cervix: at the time of ovulation, your cervix may be soft, high, open and wet (identified by the acronym SHOW). But, without adequate practice, you may find it hard to differentiate between the position of the cervix at ovulation and during other times of the menstrual cycle. Hence, you should check the cervix at regular intervals so that you are able to notice the changes in the cervix. 

In addition to ovulation bloating and the other symptoms mentioned above, some secondary symptoms of ovulation are:

  • light spotting
  • tenderness of breasts
  • slight cramping or pain on one side of abdomen or pelvis
  • increased sense of taste, vision or smell
  • increased sex drive

If you want to get pregnant, then having sexual intercourse regularly beginning five days before you ovulate and on the day you ovulate may improve your possibility of getting pregnant. 

You may track your ovulation by using an ovulation kit.

The easiest way in which you can tell if you are having bloating before period or ovulation bloating is to track when during your monthly menstrual cycle the bloating occurs. Ovulation bloating may happen during the middle of your menstrual cycle between days 11 and 14 of your cycle. Bloating before a period or PMS bloating may begin after ovulation. It may start one week before the time your menses begin and may last up to one week after they stop.

Apart from bloating, there are other symptoms of PMS that may include:

  • tenderness in breasts or swollen breasts
  • diarrhea or constipation before period
  • cramping in abdomen
  • fatigue
  • a headache
  • mood swings
  • irritability

You may also develop nausea during your periods.

  • Drink lots of water all through the day. 
  • Limit the intake of salt in your diet. Reduce your consumption of processed and junk foods that have a high amount of salt. 
  • Try eating a low-FODMAP diet (FODMAP is for fermentable oligo-, di-, monosaccharides and polyols). FODMAPs are indigestible carbohydrates that trigger digestive symptoms such as bloating, stomach pain and gas. Avoiding high-FODMAP foods such as wheat, onions, broccoli, garlic, cauliflower, cabbage, artichokes, apples, beans, watermelon, and pears may help in preventing bloating during ovulation. 
  • Taking a magnesium supplement may help with the symptom of bloating. However, you need your doctor’s approval before taking it. 
  • Engaging yourself in regular aerobic exercise all through the month may also help in managing bloating during ovulation. 
  • Practicing relaxation techniques including meditation and yoga may also help in reducing bloating.

In some women, ovulation may bring several uncomfortable and unwanted symptoms including bloating. Bloating during ovulation may typically happen around days 11 to 14 of your regular menstrual cycle. The cause of ovulation bloating is the increase in the levels of hormones at the time of ovulation, which results in water retention. The bloating may get better within a couple of days. Due to bloating at the time of ovulation you may also gain some weight. Ovulation also causes other symptoms in your body including changes in your vaginal discharge, changes in your basal body temperature and changes in the position of the cervix. Ovulation bloating is different from bloating before periods. You may take several measures such as drinking lots of water, limiting your salt intake, avoiding eating high-FODMAP foods, taking a magnesium supplement, engaging in an exercise regimen and practicing relaxation techniques to manage your symptoms of bloating during ovulation.


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