Published On By Rachel Nall

Weight Gain During Period

You may gain weight temporarily during your period due to hormonal changes, food cravings, and overeating. Some women may find weight gain often confusing and frustrating.

However, understanding the reasons affecting weight could help alleviate stress and discomfort.

During Pre Menstrual Syndrome(PMS), you may go through emotional, physical, and behavioral changes that affect your body.

Following some useful methods could help relieve period distress and weight gain. While weight gain during the menstrual cycle is normal, knowing ways how to handle it could give you more control over this situation.

Is weight gain during period normal? In this article, we have discussed the main causes of why you may experience weight gain and have mentioned some easy tips to manage it.

What Is The Normal Percentage Of Weight Gain During Period?

It is expected to encounter fluctuations in weight during the menstrual cycle. The weight gain you experience during your period can vary from person to person.

According to a study by the American Journal of Human Biology, women may experience an increase of 0.5 kg of weight during their menstrual period. However, period weight gain is usually temporary and goes away once your period is over.

Causes Of Weight Gain During Periods

  • Hormonal Changes

    Hormonal changes may cause weight gain during your menstrual cycle. Before periods, estrogen and progesterone levels rapidly start to decrease, signaling the start of menstruation.

    When these hormones fluctuate, your body retains more water, resulting in water retention or edema. It may cause swelling or puffiness in your breasts and stomach, increasing your body weight.

    Water retention is common during premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and affects approximately 92 percent of menstruating women.

    The hormonal changes during your menstrual cycle could also impact your appetite and food cravings. During the follicular stage, when estrogen is prevalent, appetite may be suppressed.

    However, during the luteal phase, when progesterone is dominant, appetite may be boosted, leading to increased calorie intake and food cravings, especially for sweets, chocolate, and salty foods.

  • Over Eating Or Food Cravings

    The hormonal changes during your period may make you more likely to overeat and have intense cravings for certain types of food.

    Progesterone levels increase a few weeks before your period, which may cause you to eat more than usual. Estrogen drops right before your period, and so does serotonin, resulting in a bigger appetite and more food cravings.

    Low serotonin levels might also lead to increased sugar cravings, which can cause you to consume high-sugar foods, increasing your calorie intake and potentially leading to weight gain.

    During the menstrual period, the metabolic rate also fluctuates. It could make your body burn more calories, triggering a bigger appetite and cravings for high-calorie foods.

  • Gastrointestinal Problems

    Hormonal fluctuations during periods lead to various gastrointestinal problems, such as constipation, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. These issues might cause discomfort and make you feel like you’ve gained weight.

    Progesterone hormone may increase a week before your period, which could damage intestinal muscle contractions and result in slow digestion and constipation. It may also cause discomfort and make you feel bloated.

    When your period begins, the uterus discharges prostaglandins responsible for muscle contractions in the uterus and gut. This effect may cause pelvic and abdominal pain, known as Primary dysmenorrhea (PD).

    Prostaglandins can also disrupt electrolytes and fluid proportion in the small intestine, resulting in diarrhea.

    However, it is often common to experience gastrointestinal issues (GI problems) before and during your period.

  • Bloating

    Bloating during your period may make your clothes feel tight and cause discomfort in your stomach. However, bloating is not weight gain, even if it may feel like you’ve gained a few extra pounds.

    Hormonal changes during your period can increase gas in your gastrointestinal tract, leading to bloating and making your stomach feel tight or swollen.

    Bloating may start as early as five days before your period and might continue into the first few days of menstruation.

  • Skipping Exercise Routine

    Bloating and cramps during the period may make you skip your exercise routine, potentially contributing to weight gain. However, recognizing regular exercise’s impact on managing weight gain during your period is crucial.

    Exercise could boost your mood and optimal energy, helping to fight fatigue that usually accompanies hormonal changes before your period.

    You may feel uncomfortable exercising as your period approaches due to fatigue and low endurance levels. Staying active could help alleviate some period symptoms and make you feel better.

  • Decrease In Magnesium Levels

    Magnesium levels could gradually decrease when the period begins, which can induce sugar cravings and contribute to weight gain. Magnesium is a mineral that may help regulate your body’s hydration status.

    Low magnesium levels could cause dehydration and may increase your hunger pangs, making you crave sugary foods when you’re just thirsty.

3 Ways To Avoid Weight Gain During Periods

  1. Medication

    Medication could help manage PMS symptoms and relieve discomfort during your menstrual cycle. Various types of medication might address specific symptoms and provide relief.

    • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): Medications, such as ibuprofen or naproxen, could help reduce pain and inflammation associated with menstrual cramps. They work by blocking the production of prostaglandins, a chemical that causes pain and inflammation in the body.
    • Hormonal contraceptives: Birth control pills, patches, or intrauterine devices that contain hormones could regulate your menstrual cycle and reduce bloating and weight gain. These contraceptives work by stabilizing hormone levels and preventing ovulation.
    • Diuretics: Doctors may sometimes prescribe diuretics to help reduce water retention during periods. Diuretics help the body eliminate excess fluid, alleviating bloating and swelling.
    • Antidepressants: Antidepressants, like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, could be effective in diminishing the severity of physical and emotional symptoms associated with PMS. These medications may increase the serotonin levels in the brain, improving mood and reducing symptoms like irritability and food cravings.
    • Herbal supplements: Some herbal formulas, such as chaste berry or evening primrose oil, may alleviate PMS symptoms. However, it’s better to consult a healthcare professional before trying herbal remedies, as they might interact with your other medications or have potential side effects.
  2. Diet

    Following a healthy and balanced diet could help manage weight gain during your period. You could alleviate weight gain and other symptoms, such as low energy levels, by making mindful choices about what you eat.

    • Focus on complex carbohydrates: Including whole grains and vegetables in your diet might help reduce mood symptoms and food cravings. These foods provide sustained energy and can keep you feeling fuller for longer.
    • Incorporate calcium-rich foods: Adding yogurt, leafy green vegetables, and other calcium-rich foods to your meals can alleviate symptoms associated with PMS.
    • Reduce fat, salt, and sugar intake: Cutting off fat, sugar, and salt intake can help manage weight gain during your period. Choose healthier fats like those in avocados and low-sodium options, and limit added sugars in your diet.
    • Control caffeine and alcohol consumption: Caffeine and alcohol could disrupt hormonal balance and worsen symptoms of PMS. Reducing these substances could help manage weight gain and improve overall health.
    • Eat smaller, more frequent meals: Managing your blood sugar levels stable by eating smaller portions throughout the day can help prevent overeating and manage cravings. Consume balanced meals that include protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats.
  3. Supplements

    Supplements like magnesium and vitamin B6 may help manage symptoms of PMS, including bloating, breast tenderness, and mood disturbances. Magnesium may help reduce these symptoms and improve your overall comfort during your period.

    Vitamin B6 may regulate hormone levels and reduce mood swings and irritability. You could experience some relief from these emotional disturbances by including vitamin B6 in your routine.

    Fish oil supplements contain Omega-3, which could decrease inflammation and alleviate symptoms such as breast tenderness and mood disruptions.

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Treatments To Manage Weight Gain During Periods

Weight gain during your period is common, but you could try these natural methods to avoid unwanted weight gain or water buildup.

  • Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of water could help alleviate bloating and flush excess water from your body.
  • Eat a healthy diet: A balanced diet containing fruits, vegetables, and whole grains might help satisfy cravings and keep you feeling full for longer hours.
  • Exercise regularly: Regular exercise could help reduce water retention, potentially boosting your energy levels.
  • Manage stress: Stress may worsen period-related symptoms, including weight gain. Try to include stress-reducing activities like yoga or meditation into your routine.
  • Sleep enough: Getting sufficient rest can help reduce stress and improve your overall health.
  • Consider birth control: Birth control, such as hormonal contraceptives, could regulate your menstrual cycle and reduce symptoms like weight gain.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can Weight Gain During Your Period Be a Sign of an Underlying Medical Condition?
    Weight gain during your period is a normal part of the menstrual cycle due to hormone changes and water retention. However, significant or sudden weight gain may indicate an underlying health concern, so it is essential to consult a doctor to examine your condition.
  2. What Are Some Tips for Managing Food Cravings and Overeating During Your Period?
    You can include a balanced diet with fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to manage food cravings and overeating during your period. Staying hydrated, exercising regularly, managing stress, and getting enough sleep are also essential for avoiding overeating.
  3. Are There Any Specific Medications That Can Be Prescribed to Help With Weight Gain During Your Period?
    Yes. Diuretics like Aldactone may help shed excess fluid from the body, avoiding water retention and bloating during PMS.
  4. How Long Does the Weight Gain Typically Last During Your Period?
    The duration of weight gain during your period varies from person to person. On average, it can last for three to four days to a week. However, it is essential to note that this weight gain is generally temporary.

Conclusion

Weight gain during the menstrual period is a common concern for many women due to hormonal changes, water retention, and food cravings. However, the weight gain is usually temporary and resolves once the period is over.

Hormonal changes before or during periods could result in overeating, bloating, and excessive sugar cravings, which can lead to weight gain.

However, reducing your salt intake, working out, and staying hydrated could ease your sensation of weight gain during period. You could also get proper rest and sleep to support hormonal functioning while you are on your period.

If you experience severe cramps, bloating, and abdominal pain during your period, consulting a healthcare provider will provide you with personalized advice and treatment options.

Disclaimer
  • The information in this review is for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice.
  • It is not recommended to disregard/delay seeking professional medical advice or treatment because of what you read or accessed through this review.
  • The results may vary from individual to individual.
  • It is recommended to consult your doctor for any underlying medical conditions or if you are on any prescribed medicines before trying any product or tips.

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