Surefire tips to slim down

Jul 8, 2010 at 10:31 p.m. ET

Does the bloat from your monthly cycle eliminate half your wardrobe? Just because it’s your time of the month doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t fit into those skinny jeans. Help beat the bloat with these easy slim-down tips.

Woman with PMS

What brings on the bloat?

According to certified holistic health counselor and nutritionist Latham Thomas, bloating during the menstrual cycle occurs in about 85 percent of women and is brought on by hormonal changes. During PMS, progesterone sweeps through your body and is largely responsible for bloating.

So what's a girl to do? Heath experts offer tips to help you battle the bloat:

1Drink up

Though it's counterintuitive, Cheryl Myers, chief of scientific affairs and education at EuroPharma, suggests fighting the bloat by staying well hydrated. "If the body isn't well hydrated, it actually holds onto water. Drinking eight glasses of healthy, pure water every day can help improve menstrual health."

In addition, Myers recommends dietary supplements that promote better water balance in the body. Pyridoxal 5-phosphate, or P5P, allows the body to let go of excessive fluid buildup without causing dehydration. "Some women have reported losing up to five pounds of water weight in one week, although this varies from person to person," Myers said. As an added perk, P5P can improve the mood of women suffering from PMS.

Another option -- try an all-in-one pain reliever and diuertic to ease cramping, bloating, fatigue, backaches and headaches. Midol Complete Caplets should do the trick.

2Work it out

Health and fitness consultant Tari Rose recommends reducing PMS, bloating and fatigue by maintaining a cardio and fitness training regimen. "Keep in mind you may need to take it down a notch because your body may become more easily exhausted during this time," Rose said.

If cardio isn't your thing, Rose suggests focusing instead on yoga. "Yoga is a great way to relieve stress and PMS symptoms during your period. Stay away from inversion poses during menstruation; they can actually aggravate symptoms."

3Natural fixes

According to Thomas, vitamins and natural ingredients can manage your monthly bloating. She suggests taking calcium magnesium at night. Also, try magnesium-rich foods like beans, dark chocolate and nuts. Another solution? Dandelion tea. "It's made from fresh or dried dandelion and is a wonderful way to beat the bloat because it doesn't set off any imbalances in the body. Brew the tea and carry with you on the go," Thomas said.

4Nix these drinks

Do your best to avoid soft drinks, coffee, alcohol and caffeine. "These cause dehydration and an elevation in blood pressure, which will [cause] more water retention," Thomas said.

5Get regular

Maintaining bowel regularity is especially important during menstruation by helping reduce bloating and cramping. Brooke Worley of suggests adding fiber-rich foods to your diet, such as whole grains, vegetables, fruits and legumes.

More on using yoga to relieve PMS symptoms

Yoga for women: Menstruation sequence

Esther shows you some YOGA exercises to practice when you have your monthly period

More ways to deal with PMS