Notice you get more heartburn right after ovulation? Here’s why–and how to prevent it

/Notice you get more heartburn right after ovulation? Here’s why–and how to prevent it

Notice you get more heartburn right after ovulation? Here’s why–and how to prevent it

My Hormonology

Kelly, a Hormonology reader, wrote to me saying she gets more heartburn during Week 3 of her cycle–which is the week that starts right after ovulation. She wondered if it had to do with her hormones.

Well, I did a search for studies examining a connection between heartburn and cycling hormones–especially progesterone, which rises throughout Week 3. However, the researchers found that while hormones, specifically progesterone, can be a factor when it comes to heartburn symptoms, it’s only during pregnancy when this hormone rises to much higher levels, according to this study and this study.

But, this doesn’t mean heartburn isn’t more common during this week of your cycle. Here’s why….

The link between your monthly cycle and heartburn

Research shows you’re more drawn toward larger food portions and high-fat foods (such as French fries, cheese, guacamole, butter and ice cream) in your Week 3 due to progesterone, which pushes you to increase your calorie consumption in case you got pregnant during ovulation and are now eating for two. (Your body doesn’t get the memo that you’re not pregnant till the start of your premenstrual Week 4.)

And, research shows that heavy meals and fatty foods are major triggers for heartburn symptoms.

That’s because large meals put pressure on the stomach, pushing acidy contents up into your throat.

And, high-fat foods relax the lower esophageal sphincter–a ring of muscle between the stomach and esophagus that stops acid from backing up into the throat.

Plus, fat-rich foods are slower to digest, which triggers the production of even more irritating stomach acid that can creep up.

All in all, not a great combo if you’re trying to avoid painful heartburn.

Post-ovulation heartburn fixes

So, what can you do if you get heartburn during Week 3 of your cycle?

Try noticing if you have food consumption changes on these days that up your risk of heartburn (such as eating larger meals and more fatty foods). If so, make dietary tweaks–reducing portion sizes and limiting fat-rich foods–and see if that helps.

Also helpful: Avoid common heartburn triggers, which include chocolate (sorry!), caffeine (yeah, that stinks, too, I know), alcohol (you can see this is not going to be your favorite list), peppermint, tomatoes, onions, garlic, citrus fruits and carbonated beverages.

This doesn’t mean you have to give up these foods and beverages altogether–unless your heartburn just won’t go away or your doctor tells you these are definite no-nos. But, cutting back and not having a lot of these heartburn triggers all at once–for instance, a garlicky pasta dish with lots of tomato sauce along with wine followed by coffee and chocolate ice cream–would probably be a good idea.

Also, avoid eating large meals at least two hours before bedtime since this gives the body time to digest the food and help it pass through your stomach so acid doesn’t seep back up when you lie down.

Handy heartburn-dodging trick

Want to lower your risk of experiencing painful heartburn even more? Chew gum for about an hour after meals!

Chewing gum prompts you to produce more saliva, which neutralizes stomach acid causing heartburn symptoms. In fact, patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD–a digestive disorder that causes frequent heartburn) who tried this easy method in a 2001 study found it helped ease their pain.

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My Hormonology

By | 2018-01-26T19:06:51+00:00 August 17th, 2017|health, hormonology tip, Week 3|5 Comments

About the Author:

Gabrielle Lichterman is the founder of Hormonology, author of 28 Days: What Your Cycle Reveals about Your Love Life, Moods and Potential and creator of the popular Hormone Horoscope menstrual cycle tracker apps. In 2005, Gabrielle pioneered the growing movement among women to live in sync with their menstrual cycles and learn about the many ways their hormones impact their moods, health and behavior with the publication of her book, 28 Days. She's also a longtime women's health journalist whose articles have been published in major publications around the globe. Gabrielle's new updated and expanded version of 28 Days is due to be published December 2018. You can help get this book published by participating in her fundraiser at MyHormonology.com/28-days-fundraiser.

5 Comments

  1. Gabrielle Lichterman April 12, 2018 at 3:13 pm

    I’m sorry to hear you’re having all of these difficulties. It is possible that you’re sensitive to progesterone. This is a hormone that slows down the digestive tract, which can trigger a build-up of air inside the intestines due to a bit of a road-block situation where you’re not moving your bowels as frequently. But, really, any kind of change that you’re uncomfortable with should be addressed with your doctor — both your GP and gyn. That’s because bloating can be symptoms of underlying disorders. I recommend making appointments with both healthcare providers to rule out any issues. If those test results show that there is no issue, then you could likely point to progesterone being the culprit. In that case, peppermint (such as peppermint tea or candy that uses real peppermint oil) can help alleviate trapped air by relaxing the smooth muscles of the intenstines.

  2. Bryony April 4, 2018 at 9:37 am

    It is possible for anyone to have a reaction to progesterone. I get very windy, particularly farty, in the final week before my period. At one point I went on the pill but had to go back to the doctor’s after 3 days because it made me bloat up so badly – he said I must be sensitive to progesterone (and asked if I normally suffered from wind before my period), and put me on a low-dose pill, the ones that give you a higher risk of blood clots instead! (Fortunately off that now, my coil works very well.)

    My concern is that I have been getting very bloated with gas in my stomach around the time of ovulation – I have always been able to feel when I ovulate as whichever ovary feels hot and inflamed, and hurts a little when it pops, but for about a year I’ve noticed my stomach really swells up and I have to burp up gases as they don’t seem to be processed in the downward direction. Oddly, I don’t seem to get constipated – solids seem to be processed fine, if they go through a little slower it’s not really noticeable, and I eat lots of vegetables – it’s just gases where I see a change, but it’s very painful to feel your stomach swelling up with gas and be unable to burp or fart it out! I often joke to my husband that I need a sharp knitting needle to pop my stomach like the sheep in James Herriot! Any ideas why this could be? A normal part of the hormonal cycle, or an indication of other things (ovarian cyst, endometriosis or other things I haven’t discovered the possibility of yet)? I’ve had an ultrasound which found nothing, but I think they only scanned my upper abdomen so may not have looked at my reproductive system – they found some tiny polyps in my gall bladder but didn’t think that would cause it. My guts have always been highly linked to my menstrual cycle – when I was younger, the first day of my period I would throw up if I ate anything as I presume the muscles in my lower abdomen went into lockdown and had a “nothing shall pass” policy going on. Fortunately that has stopped now (oddly, I think having a coil fitted helped with that, no idea how), but I’m having problems with what the doctors call gastritis, though I think it’s a side-effect of gas backing up in my stomach rather than being the cause of the problem, and various gastritis medications haven’t helped.

  3. Gabrielle Lichterman March 17, 2018 at 6:10 pm

    Any time you experience an unexpected change during your menstrual cycle that concerns you, you should talk with your healthcare provider. He or she knows your medical history and can help you better uncover the issue.

  4. Anonymous February 20, 2018 at 9:23 am

    Only in this period cycle, as soon as I ovulated, I got heartburn and then during premenstrual week, it turned more into nausea! I still have not gotten my period (it should come any time). I never had heartburn and nausea within a menstrual cycle. I did home pregnancy tests and I received negative results. I will be doing a beta blood test on friday. Would heartburn and nausea be caused by elevated progesterone or Hcg levels?

  5. theresa January 7, 2018 at 7:24 pm

    Thats incorrect, I haven’t changed my food consumption at all during my ovulatory week and yet my heartburn is worse.

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