Ovulation can feel like the “second time of the month” for a lot of women with its accompanying pains and discomforts.
Hormone surges can cause a variety of symptoms similar to PMS such as breakouts, bloating, mood swings, and…gas???
Is it normal to be gassy during ovulation? Unfortunately, yes. Many women experience gassiness and bloating around the time they ovulate. This is due to fluctuating hormone levels that slow digestion and produce extra gas. The gas and bloat can begin a few days before ovulation and may linger for several days.
Let’s look a little deeper into why this uncomfortable and unpleasant symptom is a normal part of the ovulation process.
Bloating During Ovulation and Gas
You’re finally over the annoying period bloat and starting to feel like your normal self again, until the bloat creeps right back up a week or so later. Hello, ovulation. Welcome back.
When Does Ovulation Bloating Start?
On average, ovulation occurs on day 14 of a 28-day cycle. It is common to experience bloating for a few days leading up to actual ovulation, perhaps beginning around day 11.
This is due to rising estrogen levels wreaking havoc on your digestive tract and causing water retention.
What Causes Bloating After Ovulation?
Unfortunately, sometimes bloating may linger after ovulation. Between ovulation and menstruation bloating, we can’t really catch a break! We have a little hormone called progesterone to thank for that.
After ovulation, progesterone levels ramp up to prepare for a possible pregnancy. Progesterone is known for causing slowed digestion and bloating.
Trapped Gas During Ovulation
Gas pains are another common and uncomfortable symptom of ovulation. Rising progesterone levels during ovulation cause slowed digestion, increased gas, and constipation.
Gassy After Ovulation
You may remain a little gassy for the days following ovulation as your hormone levels and GI tract return to normal.
Try to give yourself a little bit of grace during your entire fertile window surrounding ovulation as there is a lot going on from the waist down during that time.
Smelly Gas After Ovulation
Not only will you notice more gas during ovulation, but you may also notice that it is stinkier than usual.
This is likely due to the slowed digestion which gives food and bacteria more time to ferment in your colon, resulting in extra smelly gas. While extremely unpleasant, it is normal and not a cause for concern.
Ovulation Bloating vs. PMS Bloating
For most women, ovulation and PMS bloating feel the same. The only way to differentiate between the two is by tracking your monthly cycle.
Ovulation bloating occurs in the middle of your cycle while premenstrual bloating appears about a week before your period.
Other symptoms will likely accompany PMS bloating such as abdominal cramping, breast tenderness/fullness, fatigue, headaches, and mood swings.
Ovulation bloating is usually relatively mild compared to premenstrual bloating and is typically gone in a few days’ time.
Extreme Bloating During Ovulation
Some women hardly notice bloating during ovulation and may not even realize they are ovulating. Other women may experience severe bloating and discomfort, similar to a second period without the bleeding.
If you are concerned about your bloating, speak to your healthcare provider. It is possible that there are other underlying medical conditions (such as PCOS, endometriosis, or an ovarian cyst) intensifying the bloating.
PCOS Bloating During Ovulation
Women with PCOS often have irregular cycles and do not ovulate or bleed each month. However, bloating is a very common symptom of PCOS regardless of whether a woman is ovulating or not.
Without ovulation and an increase in progesterone, estrogen levels may remain elevated and cause severe bloating.
Endometriosis Ovulation Bloating
Endometriosis is a chronic disorder in which uterine tissue grows outside of the uterus.
It can cause severe pelvic pain and discomfort at any time, but it tends to get worse around the time of ovulation and during your menstrual period.
Endometriosis can make ovulation bloating worse and can cause more painful symptoms such as abdominal cramps and bleeding during ovulation.
Ovulation Bloating and Pain
Compared to the bloating and pain experienced during your period, ovulation bloating should be relatively mild and painless.
The following are normal ovulation symptoms that a healthy woman (one who has not been diagnosed with another medical condition affecting ovulation) can expect:
- Mild bloating lasting a few days
- Gas pains
- Breast tenderness
- Mild pelvic or abdominal pain (less than PMS)
- Light spotting or discharge
When To Worry
If your ovulation symptoms seem to be just as or more severe than your PMS symptoms, it may be time to pay attention.
You should consult your doctor if you experience any of the following during ovulation:
- Prolonged bloating and pelvic pain
- Heavy bleeding during ovulation
- Painful periods
- Pain with intercourse
- Pain with bowel movements or urination
How To Reduce Bloating & Gas During Ovulation
While bloating may be inevitable during ovulation, there are some things you can do to minimize it or at least make sure that it doesn’t overstay its welcome.
- Diet – High-potassium foods such as bananas, asparagus, and tomatoes can help promote a good fluid balance to counteract the water retention caused by hormones. Protein is another safe bet. Avoid foods such as broccoli, beans, cabbage, and cauliflower that cause gas.
- Stay away from carbonated or sugary drinks
- Exercise – Even if it is the last thing you want to do, movement during ovulation can help to reduce the annoying bloat by getting things moving in your digestive tract.
- Relax – Stress can make bloating worse, so manage stress by incorporating relaxation techniques such as meditation and yoga into your routine.
Other Ovulation Symptoms You May Experience
While many women do not realize they are ovulating, there are a number of symptoms that you might experience including:
- Change in cervical mucus to an egg-white consistency
- Rise in basal body temperature
- Breast tenderness
- Abdominal cramping
- Nausea and/or dizziness
- Libido changes
- Changes in the cervix
Bloating After Ovulation — Am I Pregnant?
Let’s say you have been tracking your cycle, and you know you ovulated recently. However, you still feel bloated even though ovulation was several days ago. Being pregnant is certainly a possibility.
If you conceived this cycle, your body will be ramping up the levels of progesterone to support pregnancy, which usually causes some bloating and gas.
While bloating can be one of the first signs of pregnancy, it is also a symptom of several other things.
The best way to know for sure if you are pregnant is to take a pregnancy test around the time of your expected period.
Can Ovulations Feel Like Gas Pains?
While most women do not feel anything during ovulation, others may experience symptoms that let them know exactly when they are ovulating.
Ovulation pains have been described as a dull cramp or a sharp, sudden twinge on either the right or left side of the abdomen, depending on which ovary is releasing the egg.
It is possible that the twinge may resemble the feeling of gas pains.
In summary, it is common to feel a little extra gassy around the time of ovulation.
It’s a normal reaction to fluctuating hormones and a natural body function that really is beyond your control during that time of your cycle. Just embrace it, and know that it should be over in a few days!
Charlynn is an educator and mom to fraternal boy/girl twins. She loves learning through the experiences she has with her littles and using her knowledge to help other moms as they embark on the journey of motherhood.