Bag Lady?

by | Jun 25, 2021 | Anti-Aging, Women's Health

Health Blog: Anti-Aging | Women's Health
June 25, 2021

Ever wonder why you wake up all puffy?

The bags under your eyes and your fingers feeling like mini sausages are signs of SO MANY THINGS!

Did you know?

Feeling “all swoll” is something men often strive for but women despise.  When a woman feels swollen, it’s usually due to hormones or some part of her lifestyle.  Swelling can sometimes mean an underling health issue surrounding the kidneys, but this is rarely the reason.

The bottom line…

Women don’t like to feel “swoll” like men do, so today, we’re helping women get rid of the “swell.”




Unfortunately, women deal with swelling and bloating more often than men. Robynne Chutkan, M.D., gastroenterologist and founder of Digestive Center for Women, told the Atlantic that women’s colons are 10 centimeters longer than men’s, which they think has something to do with being able to absorb more fluid during the whole childbearing thing. Additionally, our colon drops down lower in the abdomen, where it fights for space with our ovaries, uterus, fallopian tubes, and bladder. We also of course deal with more hormonal changes. Put all that together and you’ve got a recipe for a lot of swelling up.

Here are 14 reasons your body feels swollen. (

  1. You’re PMSing

Let’s get the obvious one out of the way first here: One of your many superpowers is that, during the week leading up to your period, many things enlarge in size. For one, your breasts get tender and swollen because your ovaries emit the hormone progesterone into your milk ducts. But progesterone’s work isn’t done yet — it also teams up with estrogen, which is also fluctuating during this week, and together, they cause major fluid retention. As a result, your stomach bloats, it’s hard to the touch, and you can barely get those jeans on.

  1. You’re Either Drinking Too Little Or Too Much Water

More likely, it’s too little. When you’re dehydrated, your blood vessels enlarge, leading to a swollen stomach, face, and even hands and ankles. To avoid waking up as a human balloon, drink a tall glass of water at night before you hop into bed, and kick off your day with some water (preferably with lemon).

On the flip side, your tummy might be bulging because you’ve been chugging too much H2O. If you drink a quart or more of water in one sitting, you could end up with a “water baby.”  This is much more likely to happen if you’re tossing back a lot of water with other liquids or food already in your belly.

  1. You’ve Been Eating Way Too Much Salt

UGH!  I wake up all the time feeling the fun ankle swell while looking in the mirror and wondering who’s lips are on my face.  I’ve never struggled with salt before, but after 44, I suddenly craved chex mix and salted peanuts more than ever.  I have to pay attention to the chips and salsa intake when I’m trying to skirt the swell.  It’s a pain, but well worth it when I feel lighter and look 5 years younger. 

Keep it to 1500 mg of sodium a day, which equals about 0.75 teaspoons of salt. Also, be careful about eating out all the time: The American Heart Association says 75 percent of the sodium Americans consume actually comes from restaurant foods and other processed foods. Time to start experimenting in the kitchen.

  1. You’re Constipated

If your belly is swollen and hard to the touch, and you know your period isn’t around the corner, ask yourself when you pooped last. Officially, if you’re having less than three bowel movements a week, your stool is hard, and you’re harboring some abdominal pain, you’re constipated. Another surefire sign is that your belly is protruding more than normal. You’re just backed up, my friend, so drink more water and get some fiber into your system.

  1. You Have A Lactose Intolerance

All it takes is half an hour for your belly to swell up after you’ve drank a glass of milk. Because our bodies produce less and less lactase as we get older, the enzyme we need to break down cow’s milk, it becomes harder to digest dairy as an adult.

  1. You’re Sensitive To Gluten

If you’re not equipped to properly process gluten, it causes an autoimmune response in your intestine walls, which causes swelling, abdominal pain, and gas. This is officially called villous atrophy, and it prevents you from digesting gluten. You don’t have to be allergic to gluten or possess a disease like Celiac’s in order to get bloated from foods like bread and pasta. It could just be that your system is extra sensitive to gluten, so you should either cut down on your consumption of it or throw it out of your diet altogether.

  1. You’re Consuming Too Much Artificial Sugar

Here’s my hot take on artificial sweeteners: they’re evil. The reason they don’t have any calories is because they were specifically designed to bypass absorption in your small intestine and instead go straight to your colon, where they ferment with the gut bacteria — leaving you with gas and a bloated tummy. Break up with artificial sugar for a while and see if your swollen stomach doesn’t start to subside.

  1. You Eat Your Meals Too Quickly

I used to think my mom was lying when she said it takes a full 15 minutes for my brain to get the signal from my stomach that I’m full. Well, in a way, she was — it actually takes 20 minutes.  Take your full lunch hour to chew slowly and actually enjoy that sandwich of yours.

  1. You Had Too Much To Drink Last Night

Going hard on booze can also be a culprit for various swollen body parts. Drinking a lot of alcohol, especially the heavier options such as beer, is very similar to eating a large, rich meal. This makes you and your stomach feel super full. Excess amounts of alcohol also tears up the lining of your stomach, which leads to inflammation, then bloating. All you can do now is hydrate, rest up, and stay away from extra sodium.

  1. You Haven’t Been Moving Around Enough

The less you move your body around, the less action your digestive system gets.

If you’re not using a standing desk (which you should seriously consider!), make sure you’re on your feet at least once every hour for 10 minutes.

And let’s not forget exercise. Getting your heart rate up can help flush out the toxins in your body that have been stagnant for a while.  Try Yoga, it’s a great way to reduce swelling.

You’ve Eaten Too Much Fiber

Although fiber is a nutrient that 97 percent of Americans aren’t getting enough of, there are times when you accidentally consume too much of it. Raw foods have their benefits, but eating too much in one sitting will make you bloated, because your intestinal flora have trouble handling all that fiber at once.

Drinking a sufficient amount of water along with your fiber intake is crucial in order for the fiber to do its job properly. Soluble fiber absorbs water and insoluble fiber traps it.  If it doesn’t get its fix of water, though, all that fiber turns hard as a rock.  Ankles, calves, and hands bloat too.

  1. You Just Got Off A Plane

Fluid builds up in your body when you’re tens of thousands of feet in the air and completely inactive in your seat.  It’s nothing serious, but you should move around as often as you can, avoid alcohol, and stretch out your body. You want to avoid the possibility of developing a blood clot in your legs.

  1. You Have A Minor Injury

The body’s first response to pretty much any injury is inflammation. Fluid naturally accumulates around the irritated area. It’s either edema, which is swelling in the tissue outside of your joint capsule, or effusion, which is swelling inside the joint capsule. Either way, minor stumbles and falls could result in a swollen ankle, knee, foot, wrist, etc. Rest it for a while, put some ice on it, and elevate it.

If swelling occurs within the first two hours, go see a doctor. It might be hemarthrosis, which is when blood actually gets into the joint capsule.

  1. You Have A Condition Or Disease You Don’t Know About

If being swollen everywhere is a common recurrence, there might be something more serious happening that you’re not aware of. For example, over 90 percent of people who have kidney disease don’t even know it, yet there are some visible signs that point to its existence. Decreased kidney function results in fluid retention, leading to swollen ankles and feet, and constantly puffy eyes. Also, a swollen lower body could mean your blood isn’t being pumped properly, which points to heart disease.

Tip of the Day

Another really great way to ensure your swelling stays at bay is to make sure you’re taking your vitamins.  Or your peptides!   Your hormones could also be so out of whack that it doesn’t matter how much water you’re drinking, you’re STILL the bag lady with big lips every morning.  SO it’s important to make sure your hormone levels are in check.  Goodness knows mine were nutty and I was swollen ALL THE TIME.  Now, with my combo of peptides and T-therapy, I feel SWELL!  Cheers to feeling SWELL in a good way!!!!


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Hi, I'm Clay

I’m one of the founders of Elite Health. We launched EHO to help people experience the best version of themselves. 

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