Abdominal bloating occurs when the abdomen feels tight or full. This may cause the area to appear larger. The abdomen may feel hard or tight to the touch. The condition can cause discomfort and pain but is usually temporary and not a cause for concern. A... Read more
Abdominal bloating occurs when the abdomen feels tight or full. This may cause the area to appear larger. The abdomen may feel hard or tight to the touch. The condition can cause discomfort and pain but is usually temporary and not a cause for concern.
A missed period is when your menstrual period doesn’t occur when you thought it would (and is not just late). This happens when your menstrual cycle doesn’t follow its customary rhythm. While it can be a common occurrence for many women, a missed period may signal an underlying medical condition.
What causes abdominal bloating and missed periods?
Bloating is often caused by foods, such as broccoli, beans, and cabbage. These kinds of foods release gas in the intestines when they are digested. Indigestion and other temporary digestive issues also cause bloating.
The hormones estrogen and progesterone control your menstrual cycle. A number of factors can influence your body’s production of these hormones, including lifestyle factors. This can cause missed menstrual periods.
Young women who are just beginning menstruation may not develop a regular cycle right away.
Some medications may also upset the body's hormone balance and lead to missed periods and/or abdominal bloating.
Conditions that may cause abdominal bloating and missed periods at the same time are:
- anorexia nervosa and other eating disorders
- stress and anxiety
- medications such as birth control pills, chemotherapy drugs, and antidepressants
- early pregnancy
- ectopic pregnancy
- ovarian cancer
- ovarian cysts
- polycystic ovary syndrome
- a tumor or structural blockage that affects an egg's release from the fallopian tubes
- thyroid or pituitary gland disorders
When to seek medical help
A missed period and abdominal bloating may occur for many reasons that are not cause for concern. But if your missed periods continue or your bloating worsens, talk to your doctor's to help you determine the root cause. If you miss three periods in a row, see a doctor.
If you experience one of the following symptoms in addition to abdominal pain and bloating, seek emergency care:
- blood in your stool or dark stools that appear tarry in consistency
- diarrhea that does not go away in a day
- severe abdominal pain
- uncontrolled vomiting
- severe or worsening heartburn
- vaginal bleeding
(This information is a summary. Seek medical attention if you suspect you need urgent care.)
How are abdominal bloating and missed periods treated?
Your doctor has a number of medications that can help treat abdominal bloating and missed periods. These treatments will address most underlying causes. Birth control pills, thyroid hormones, and/or pituitary hormones are just some of the medications your doctor may prescribe. It all depends on the root cause of your abdominal bloating and missed period.
Eating a healthy diet, avoiding excess fat and salt, and drinking plenty of water can help reduce abdominal bloating. Fluids that contain caffeine, including coffee and tea, may contribute to bloating. They should be avoided if possible.
Exercising can help to reduce stress and bloating. Also know that excessive exercising can contribute to missed periods.
How to prevent abdominal bloating and missed periods
Stress can trigger missed periods, so make an attempt to keep your stress level down. Engage in activities you enjoy; exercise and listen to calm music. All of this can help you relax and minimize stress.
Eat several small meals throughout the day, instead of larger ones. Taking your time while eating can also help prevent abdominal bloating.