Some people experience symptoms, including bloating, during ovulation. A person may also start experiencing bloating due to premenstrual syndrome (PMS) at any point after ovulation.

Ovulation is the name for when one of the ovaries releases an egg as part of the menstrual cycle.

This article discusses whether ovulation causes abdominal bloating in more detail, signs of ovulation, and whether bloating relates to PMS. It also explores whether bloating after ovulation may indicate pregnancy, managing abdominal bloating, and when to speak with a healthcare professional.

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A range of causes may lead to abdominal bloating. Some people may notice a correlation between when they ovulate and abdominal bloating and discomfort. According to the Office on Women’s Health, some individuals may experience mild cramping on one side of their pelvic area when they ovulate.

Some research does suggest that there may be a link between abdominal bloating and ovulation.

For example, an older study from 2011 examined abdominal bloating, which the researchers defined as fluid retention, and ovulation in 62 female study participants. The researchers noted that bloating may occur about 5 days before ovulation.

Additionally, a small 2017 study suggested that females who do not take hormonal birth control may experience a small difference in the amount of water their bodies retain from pre-ovulation to the menstrual phase, while those who do take birth control may not.

The United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS) also lists bloating as a possible symptom of ovulation.

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According to the NHS, other signs of ovulation may include:

However, it highlights that these symptoms are not a reliable way to predict when a person is ovulating.

According to Planned Parenthood, people may also be able to track ovulation by:

  • tracking their period on a calendar or with an app
  • taking their temperature each morning
  • checking their vaginal discharge every day

Bloating may also be a symptom of PMS. According to the Office on Women’s Health, PMS symptoms may start after ovulation due to the levels of estrogen and progesterone falling dramatically in people who are not pregnant.

This bloating may resolve once a person’s period begins. However, many people also experience abdominal bloating during menstruation, according to an older 2014 study.

Abdominal bloating is also a possible symptom of early pregnancy, and a person who is pregnant may experience it as early as 4 weeks, according to the NHS. However, as bloating is also a potential symptom of PMS, it is not a reliable sign that someone is pregnant.

At-home pregnancy tests are most reliable when taken the day after a missed period, although some sensitive at-home tests may be able to detect high levels of human chorionic gonadotropin, which the body releases during pregnancy, in urine before a missed period.

Other early signs of pregnancy may include:

A mini review from 2022 suggests that some of the following treatments may help relieve bloating:

However, a person should speak with a healthcare professional before taking any medications or supplements to help with bloating.

The NHS recommends that the following strategies may also help reduce bloating:

  • drinking plenty of water
  • engaging in regular exercise
  • massaging the abdomen from right to left to release any trapped gas
  • limiting consumption of foods and drinks that may cause gas, such as:
  • chewing with the mouth closed
  • avoiding slouching while eating and eating large meals late at night before going to bed

A person should speak with a healthcare professional if they are concerned about abdominal bloating during ovulation.

According to the NHS, if the following symptoms occur, a person should contact a doctor:

A person may notice mild bloating and discomfort around the time of ovulation, which is when an egg is released from the ovaries. Some research suggests that there may be a link between bloating and ovulation.

Additionally, bloating may be a symptom of PMS, which can begin right after ovulation. It may also be a sign of early pregnancy. A person should take a pregnancy test if they think they could be pregnant.

A doctor may be able to recommend medications or other treatments to help with bloating. Additionally, certain lifestyle changes may help reduce bloating, such as drinking more water, exercising regularly, and not eating large meals before going to bed.

A person who is concerned about abdominal bloating, or experiences bloating alongside certain symptoms, such as blood in the stool and weight loss, should contact a doctor.