Q Dear Auntie Pearl, every time I have my monthlies I swell up like a bleddie balloon.
It's bad, some months my stomach is so round it actually looks like I am pregnant!
Then I stress about that I might be preggies, and the fact that I am so swollen.
Is there something wrong, do other vroumense also swell up like this, or is it just me?
I’ve had some mense ask me whether I am pregnant.
Please help me.
After not working for so long in lockdown I really don't have money to go to the gynae now, so what else can I do?
A My dearest, Auntie really feels for you and knows only too well how bloated you can get when it's time for your monthly period.
Aai tog nuh, girls and women who deal with periods have to bear so much; the pain, bloating, bleeding and alles that go with your monthlies.
Now angel, bloating is probably the least-favourite period symptom – and let’s call a spade a spade mos, it’s annoying and uncomfortable!
And it usually feels like nothing can make it go away or make it better.
Then Auntie’s not even talking about those cramps and emotional upheaval that also come along for the ride!
Now listen up gesiggie, even though bloating can be very uncomfortable it’s actually a completely normal and common symptom of periods.
Research shows almost 70 percent of us who experience periods, have bloating during this time.
Now Auntie knows what you are thinking – just because everyone is dealing with it doesn’t make it lekker, why does it happen and what can we do?
Well, the bloat comes because your estrogen levels are all over the place and right before your period you have a drop in your progesterone.
When estrogen levels are higher, your body will try and hold on to more water.
While this happens the progesterone can also cause your food to be digested slower which means you could feel full, verstop AND bloated.
So if you put those two things together you are in for a real bloated time!
Some mense have to deal with bloating up to five days before their period arrives and usually it goes away once you’ve been menstruating for a few days.
Some have no bloating, ons is mos maar almal different.
So what can we do to make ourselves less bloated and feeling less [email protected] before and during our period? Here are a few tips for you:
Eat better by adding as many of these foods to your diet just before and during your period: bananas, tomatoes, nuts, celery, cucumbers, watermelon, lemon juice, garlic and ginger.
Stay away from extra gasses in your tummy by avoiding foods like broccoli, beans, cabbage, cauliflower and lettuce before and during your period.
The sweatier you get, the less bloated you will feel!
Light exercise like swimming, yoga and fast walking are great to beat the bloat.
Or just lie in front of the TV and do some stretches or weights even.
Skip the coffee and the dop, as well as the sugary drinks!
All those things mess with your tummy, dehydrate you and make you retain water.
Stay hydrated with lekker normal water - and aim for eight glasses a day. Your bloated tummy, as well as your skin will thank you.
Score a bietjie extra sleep.
Now sweetie pie, Auntie can list more and more healthy and good things you can do to help and ban this bloat you are dealing with on a monthly basis, but the truth is only you can play around with these things Auntie has mentioned and see what works for you.
Remember, we are all different and our bodies are all different - what works for Auntie might not work for you, and the other way around.
A gynecologist might also have other things you could try and, very importantly sweetness, if you feel you are bloated all the time and not just around the time of your period, then you really do need to talk to a doctor, gynae or medical professional.
Auntie hears what you are saying, you are counting the kroon carefully after not working during lockdown, but you also have to look out for your health.
The Marie Stopes clinics have Well Women appointments which are quick check-ups available to all South African women at a reasonable price.
These check-ups can help spot early signs of cervical cancer, breast cancer and pelvic disorders as well as HIV and STIs.
So maybe give them a call at their call centre on 0800 11 77 85.
They have clinics in Cape Town, Houtbay and also in Mitchells Plain, with many options for how to pay, hartjie. So see which one is closest to you and find out how they can help you.