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Female health: Eight ways to stop bloating

Bloating is actually water retention that occurs especially during PMS. Hormones go haywire, fluctuating and causing a disturbance in women’s bodies.


Image via Adobe Stock

The hormone oestrogen rises causing aldosterone to retain water in the kidneys. If you have water retention for medical reasons you will need to see your doctor. If it’s just bloating blues at that time of the month here are a few ways to get rid of water retention.

Avoid water retention

Drink lots of water

Drink at least eight glasses of water per day and more if you exercise. Although it doesn’t seem to make sense to drink water if you are retaining water it is the best thing for you as it flushes out your system. Water retention puts a strain on your kidneys so flushing your kidneys with water will aid in protecting your kidneys. Avoid drinks that will dehydrate you such coffee and alcohol. Switch to herbal teas.

Avoid salt

Reduce your sodium intake as salt increases fluid retention. Cut down on processed foods and fast foods which contain a lot of salt. Check the nutritional information on food packaging. You should stay away from snacks like chips and pretzels.

Eat bananas

Bananas contain high amounts of potassium and vitamin B6 which decrease water retention. If you are not a banana lover then raisins also contain potassium.


You can take over the counter diuretics to reduce water retention but natural diuretics work even better and can be found in cranberries. You could make a delicious cranberry juice. Cabbage is also good, so a yummy coleslaw salad for lunch could also do the trick. Celery, lettuce, carrots, onion and tomato also are natural diuretics.


Eat a small portion of plain yoghurt instead of rich heavy treats that bloat you. Yoghurt contains live cultures that aid in digestion and help the good bacteria in your stomach. Add a touch of cranberries or honey if you like it sweet.

Take vitamins

You can take vitamin capsules or look for them in foods. Vitamin B6 is known to reduce water retention. Vitamin B6 can be found brown rice, salmon and tuna and bananas as mentioned earlier. Vitamins B1 and B5 are found in low-fat dairy and fresh fruits as well as iron found in green leafy vegetables. Other vitamins also help — vitamin C found in citrus fruit and chillies, calcium found in spinach and magnesium and potassium. If you are taking vitamin capsules, take 1200mg of calcium to reduce bloating as well as alleviate other PMS symptoms. Take 200mg of magnesium a day.

Apply ice-packs or a hot water bottle

If your ankles or feet are swelling up, applying ice-packs reduces the pressure and alleviates any pain associated with the water retention. Even applying a hot water bottle to your bloated area will help. Apply a cold compress made from yarrow tea which will draw out the fluid and reduce pain.


Exercise increases the circulation in your body and reduces swelling and bloating. You also will work up a sweat which will get rid of excess water. Walking, running or any exercise that gets your swollen feet moving will help reduce water retention greatly. Exercise not only reduces water retention but can prevent it as it keeps your blood moving.

When resting it is important to try to keep your feet up, above your heart, use a pillow or two to prop up your legs. This just takes the gravitational pressure off your feet. Even if seated at work, every couple of minutes try lifting your legs parallel to the floor. Don’t sit cross-legged as it aggravates the blood flow in the veins in your thighs causing more pain to your legs and feet.

Water retention and bloating are uncomfortable and seems to come at the time of the month when everything else does. So don’t go bananas over bloating — instead eat those bananas! Eat your fruits and vegetables, drink water and avoid things like smoking and alcohol. Rest and lift those legs and you are bound to feel better and reduce that bloating.

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