Beat the bloat

If water retention has you feeling like you’re about to pop, try these natural remedies.

Beat the bloat
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Stick a needle in it
No, getting acupuncture won’t drain the water from your bloated body, but it can help otherwise. “Acupuncture can stimulate your body’s fluid-regulating mechanisms,” Cohen says. A number of herbal formulas will also help, she adds; as with acupuncture, the treatment depends on which imbalance is to blame in your case.

Try homeopathy “If you have premenstrual water retention, it’s best to choose a homeopathic remedy that takes into account other PMS symptoms that are occurring,” says naturopathic physician Tori Hudson, N.D., medical director of A Woman’s Time health clinic in Portland, Ore., and author of Women’s Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (McGraw- Hill). “Good remedies include Lycopodium, nux vomica, pulsatilla, sepia, Natrum muriaticum, lachesis, caulophylumm and cimicifuga; Cyclease from Boiron is a good combination product.”

Consider supplements The balance between certain minerals, like sodium and potassium or calcium and magnesium, can play a critical role in preventing bloating. If you think you aren’t getting enough of these minerals from food, ask your doctor about taking a multivitamin-andmineral and/or calcium supplement. Research has found that magnesium (found in nuts, beans, seeds, grains and some vegetables) can reduce premenstrual bloating, and vitamin B6 is also a natural diuretic, Kimball says. Brown rice and red meat are good food sources of B6. If these solutions don’t help you feel less, uh, swell, your doctor might prescribe a short course of low-dose diuretics. Unless there’s a serious underlying medical need, “We don’t like to put people on long-term diuretics because of the side effects,” says Verbalis. These side effects include potassium loss, increased blood pressure and strain on the heart, and “rebound” fluid retention—the last thing you need.