6 Ways to Relieve Water Retention Before Period: Chinese Medicine Tips
Premenstrual Syndrome, which is more commonly known as PMS, is something that just about every living woman has experienced throughout her life. In fact, PMS affects about 90% of menstruating women and includes such symptoms as moodiness, headaches, water retention, and bloating. These symptoms can range from mild to severe. Mild cases do not interfere with daily activities, but more sever symptoms will have a negative effect on a woman’s quality of life.
Causes of Water Retention Before Period
The symptom of water retention can be an uncomfortable annoyance. According to the Mayo Clinic, water retention is likely caused thanks to the fluctuations in hormones that occur throughout a woman’s menstrual cycle. It is also believed that diet can possibly play a role. The onset of bloating due to water retention usually begins around one to two days prior to the start of a woman’s period. In some women, they may start up to five days prior to their period and last its entire duration.
The Role of Hormones
When it comes to hormones, there are a variety of factors at play. During this time in a woman’s menstrual cycle, progesterone and estrogen levels will usually drop. Prolactin levels may increase which may cause reduced urine output. An increase in both aldosterone and insulin have been shown to increase water retention. A lack of thyroid hormone due to an underactive thyroid gland is also known to cause swelling and puffiness. Low levels of the hormone dopamine, which regulates water and electrolyte balance, is another cause of water retention before period.
Water Retention Causes and Relief According to Traditional Chinese Medicine
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), water retention is said to be caused due to an imbalance of the spleen, stomach, and liver. Both the stomach and the spleen play an important role in digestion and the breakdown of all essential nutrients. When these organs are not in balance, it can lead to Qi stagnation. The Qi, along with the blood, are controlled by the liver. Bloating and water retention before period are both symptoms of a sluggish liver.
Tips for Reducing Water Retention Before Period
Those who suffering from water retention with PMS have a number of options to relieve symptoms. Read on to learn more how to reduce water retention before period:
1. Acupuncture: Used in TCM for thousands of years, acupuncture works to promotes blood flow as well as the movement of fluids throughout the body. A study out of the Department of Korean Gynecology at the College of Korean Medicine in Seoul demonstrated that treatment with acupuncture was able to significantly reduce some water retention symptoms such as swelling and weight gain. Its ability to reduce inflammation showed relief of symptoms in those studied. Acupuncture also aids in the control of cortisol production. Excessive levels of cortisol have been shown to influence water weight.
2. Reduce Intake of Salt and Sugary Foods: Sodium chloride, more commonly known as table salt, is an electrolyte that will cause the body to conserve water. If you continue to eat salty foods at the onset of your period, this may cause your body to retain more water. Be sure to check the amount of salt in packaged foods and limit the amount of additional salt added to meals and during food preparation. The same is true for sugar. Sugar, a simple carbohydrate, requires insulin to digest. An increase in insulin, as previously noted, can cause water retention before period thanks to its function as a sodium retainer.
3. Eat Foods That are Rich in Potassium: A diet that is low in potassium will also cause the body to retain sodium. Increasing your potassium intake will help to rid the body of sodium and increase urine production. Consider adding potassium-rich foods, such as avocados, halibut, spinach, melon, and tuna to your diet to increase your potassium intake during your menstrual cycle.
4. Try Taking Dandelion: Also known by the scientific name of Taraxacum officinale, dandelion is a natural diuretic. A study out of the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences demonstrated that subjects who were given dandelion extracts experienced a significant increase in the amount of urine excreted during a five-hour period. Dandelion supplements are available to purchase here.
5. Drink Green Tea: Green tea extracts are another well-known natural diuretic. Drinking green tea will has been shown to provide a substantial increase in diuretic activity causing the body to lose water. If you are not a fan of the taste of green tea, now they are also available in supplement form. They are available to purchase here.
6. Acupressure: Point Zigongxue is an acupressure point that is located on the lower abdomen. Applying pressure to this area, which is located about four finger widths below the navel and about three finger widths laterally to each side, will work to both raise and regulate Qi as well as regulate menstruation. Press this area for 2-3 minutes on both sides to relieve not only water retention but many of the other unpleasant symptoms associated with PMS.
Water retention before period is a very common symptom that many women experience throughout their childbearing years. Though there may be drugs on the market that can assist with these symptoms, there are plenty of drug-free options including Chinese herbs, acupuncture, and acupressure that can provide relief. Small changes in your diet will also go a long way to improve symptoms. A trip to the local grocer for avocados, melon, and green tea is an easy way to get started. If you are struggling with water retention before period, speak with your TCM practitioner about the drug-free options that are available.
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* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. We can’t guarantee the treatment result, as the symptoms of conditions are unpredictable and vary greatly from person to person. The treatment length and recovery time also varies for individual. Please visit our clinics website: GinSen where a specialists will discuss your care and provide a consultation, and the treatment will be designed to meet your individual needs.