What Causes PCOS Bloating?

Woman having a stomach ache

Bloating is one of the most common symptoms women with PCOS experience. You may experience bloating by just eating a small amount of food. Suffering from PCOS bloating can make you look 5 months pregnant! Everything feels tight, you feel heavy, uncomfortable and at times even find it hard to breathe.


What Causes PCOS Bloating?


Hormone Imbalance


When you have PCOS you suffer from a hormone imbalance. However, the 2 key hormones that seem to wreck havoc and cause abdominal bloating are estrogen and progesterone.


When estrogen levels are high, such as before ovulation, is when we begin to retain more water. It is that water retention that leads to bloating. When progesterone is high, such as during the luteal phase of menstruation, your Gastrointestinal Transit begins to slow down, which means food passes a lot more slowly through your intestine and as a result, causes bloating and constipation.


Gut Bacteria


Our gut has good bacteria and yeast living in it that help with digestion and often this can cause bloating. We have good bacteria in our gut, however, we also have other benign bacteria and yeasts that if we let multiply can cause bloating and poor digestion.


If you are missing certain bacteria in the gut, it can affect the breakdown and digestion of food, which leads to foods fermenting in the gut causing gas and discomfort.


Food Allergy


Certain foods may be causing you to bloat, for example, dairy ( which you should be avoiding if you have PCOS) and gluten.


Symptoms of a food Allergy include:




Abdominal Pains


Acid Reflux

Gas/ Wind



Shortness of Breath


FODMAP'S- Food Intolerance


If you do not have a food intolerance but experience some of the symptoms outlined above, you may want to try following a low FODMAP diet. A FODMAP diet requires you to restrict short chain carbohydrates from the diet that are fermented by gut bacteria and this should help with bloating.


It should be noted, however, that a low FODMAP diet is only a short term treatment. Furthermore, when you experience symptoms such as bloating, gas or discomfort try to identify the level of pain and the severity. It is common and normal to experience bloating and gas and therefore it is important to identify whether these are the symptoms of a food intolerance, IBS or is it just a normal part of healthy digestion.


Birth Control Pill


The Birth control pills affects the menstrual cycle and as result causes bloating. Hormonal changes occur when women are on the birth control pill and this is the cause of the bloating many women experience.


Further symptoms of the birth control pill:




Breakthrough Bleeding


Mood swings,

Abdomial Pain

A feeling of fullness and heaviness in the abdominal area

Heavy chest pain





If you liked this post, why not give it a share...

Like what you've read so far?

Don't miss a post. Sign up to PCOS and Nutrition's email updates and get the latest PCOS and nutrition news, recipes, products and product reviews direct to your inbox. Plus you will receive PCOS and Nutrition's "Ten Top Nutrition Tips for Living a Healthy and Balanced Lifestyle". All free.

We respect your privacy. We will NEVER sell, rent or share your email address. That's more than a policy, it's our personal guarantee!