Weight gain during periods is a prevalent concern for women while having premenstrual syndrome (also known as PMS). Throughout your menstrual cycle, hormone levels fluctuate. Particularly severe changes occur during the one or two weeks before your period commences. As a result, you might experience premenstrual syndrome. Women who have PMS experience stronger than average hormonal changes, and those changes can lead to a variety of symptoms such as bloating, abdominal cramps, food cravings, increased appetite, stress, fatigue, irritability and anxiety. Some of these changes can lead to weight gain.
Weight gain during a woman's period is often short-lived, but it may be a cause of concern especially for those who are trying to reduce their weight. It may surprise you to learn that body weight can affect reproductive health also. In addition to conception and pregnancy problems, weight loss and weight gain can both significantly affect your menstrual cycle.
While some women do not gain any weight, most women will gain between one and ten pounds in the days leading up to and during the menstrual period. Luckily, as quick as it is to gain the weight, you will ordinarily lose the weight without an extreme change in diet or activity. This form of weight gain lessens when the menstrual period ends for the month. However, it often reappears the next month when the menstrual period commences again, and sometimes during ovulation. Understanding the causes and treatments of weight gain during period have help you have a better control of your weight.

Causes of Weight Gain During Period

Weight gain during the menstrual cycle has certain causes, including water retention, bloating, overeating or food craving and drop in magnesium levels.

1-Water retention

Most weight gain during your period is probably due to water retention. When a woman is on her period, her body holds extra water in the tissues. This is caused by the imbalance of hormone levels that occur.  Changes in bowel movements can also lead to water retention, but a natural drop in progesterone during the menstrual cycle is the most likely cause.


Another symptom associated with menstrual periods is bloating. This is due to an increase in the volume of gas in the intestines. If a woman is inactive during this time, it will cause bloating. Activity helps keep the amount of gas in the intestines down. Abdominal cramps are also associated with bloating, and can often become severe.  Another common symptom is constipation, which can also lead to an added bloating sensation during a woman's period.

3-Food Cravings / Overeating

Aside from water retention and bloating, real weight gain may be associated with an increase in food intake during a woman's period. Hormonal changes in a woman's body can cause food cravings and overeating.  An increase in hormone levels has a direct effect on a woman's metabolism. These are perceived by the brain as a lack of glucose which leads women to consume around 100-200 extra calories, especially on the days when they bleed heavily. Typically, once the menstrual cycle is over, a woman's increased craving for food will return to normal.

4-Decrease in Magnesium

Magnesium levels in the body typically go down in the days before your menstrual period starts. This can cause a decrease in insulin levels, which caused the brain to think glucose levels are low. This in turn leads to increased sugar consumption and a gain in weight.

Treatment for Weight Gain during Period

Weight gain during a woman's period is normal, but can be unpleasant. However, there are several things that can be done to help reduce weight gain. Most weight gain during your period will go away as your period stops. For those stubborn pounds that do not go away, understand how lifestyle changes, dietary modifications, medications and dietary supplements can help provide relief.

Dietary Modification

Minor modifications in your diet may be enough to avoid unhealthy weight gain during your period. According to Weight Watchers, most women don't overeat much before or during menstruation. Also, your metabolism can increase slightly during this time, compensating for a small increase in calorie intake. Nevertheless, if you experience strong hunger cravings, carefully watch what you consume. 

1. Eat a healthy diet

Eat a diet that is made up of lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, unsalted nuts, seeds, Omega 3 fatty acids and complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, to stabilize your urge to eat, along with. Try to eat small, well-balanced meals throughout the day that are low in refined sugars and other simple carbohydrates to reduce cravings. Be sure you eat plenty of protein and fiber. The extra fiber can help process the foods and move them through your intestines more efficiently. Foods which are high in potassium, such as bananas, can help reduce digestive bloating. Additionally yoghurt which is high in probiotics aids digestive system function.

2. Reduce Sodium Intake

Too much sodium before and during your period can result in water retention and weight gain. The easiest way to reduce sodium intake is to avoid processed and junk foods that are loaded with sodium. Don't add extra salt to food at the table or during cooking. Also pay attention to hidden sources of sodium, such as soy sauce, canned vegetables, soups and deli meats.

3. Stay Hydrated

Be sure to drink plenty of water and other fluids low in sugar. This will rid your body of added impurities, such as salt, that could be causing weight gain. It may seem counter intuitive to say drink a lot of water when water retention is one of the prime reasons for this weight gain. But in fact the opposite is actually true. The more water you drink the more you will pass through in urination. This will help flush out toxins and keep your cells healthy. If you struggle to drink plain water, adding a slice of lemon or lime will not only cheer the drink up, but has also been shown to reduce fluid retention.

4. Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol

Limit the alcohol and caffeine consumption before and during your period, which slows your metabolism and can increase emotional eating. 

Choose Supplements Carefully

Countless vitamins, minerals and herbs have been verbalized well about as remedies for PMS symptoms, but few have been proved efficacious.
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Chromium
  • Iron
  • B vitamins, such as thiamin and riboflavin
  • Vitamin E
Consult your doctor before taking dietary supplements or herbal remedies. Taking high amounts of these products or taking them with other medicines can be harmful.
For example, too much vitamin E can be problematic for women who have diabetes or heart disease.


Calcium is a major player in several types of pms symptoms and prevention of water retention. and certainly it is in this one. Make sure you are getting enough calcium. Eating calcium-rich foods or even taking a calcium supplement can ease your cravings and help prevent bloating, according to Brown University.


Magnesium was addressed previously as seriously effective fluid retention during pms. Increasing your intake of magnesium may help with this troublesome symptom. Try cooked spinach, black beans and pumpkin seeds to increase the magnesium levels in your body. Like other minerals, you can also take magnesium supplements after consulting your doctor.


Chromium is an essential trace mineral which is important in stabilising blood sugar levels, reducing cravings for sugary foods or carbohydrates. It has also been shown to be effective in lowering cholesterol and aiding fat absorption. If weight gain is your main or only symptom, you might wish to consider using a chromium supplement.


Before and during your period, you may feel tired. This may be due to low iron leading to anemia. Be sure to eat foods high in iron including beans, meat, iron fortified grains, dark leafy green vegetables, meat and seafood. Your healthcare provider may want you to take an iron supplement if you are very anemic.


Vitamin B6 is recommended in doses of 100 to 200 mg per day to counteract pms symptoms including weight gain. This is because vitamin B6 reduces the amount of estrogen in the blood and increases the amount of progesterone. This leads to a better hormonal balance and that can affect a few of the major causes of weight gain during menstruation.

Herbal Supplements

Herbal supplements may help to correct some of the hormonal imbalances that happen during the menstrual cycle. Phytoestrogenic herbs such as black cohosh contain natural estrogen. Non-estrogenic herbs such as Macafem may help balance hormones without using estrogen. Before using any of these herbs, check with your healthcare provider to ensure that they are right for you.

Keep Healthy Lifestyle

Get plenty of exercise and sleep eight hours every night, before and during your period. Women who participate in regular physical activity generally report fewer PMS symptoms. Exercise can prevent, stop and get rid of any excess weight gain due to pms. Exercise is a great way to decrease stress and reduce your appetite. Exercise can reduce bloating because sweating helps release the extra water your body is retaining.  Severe cramps may be limiting, but these can be reduced by doing some simple stretching such as those used in yoga or tai chi. There are many low impact exercises that you can do that will help you control the unpleasant symptoms that occur during your period.

Consider Medications

If you can't control PMS symptoms with lifestyle changes alone, various medications might help. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, options to treat water retention and hormonal fluctuation during the menstrual cycle might include:

1. Birth control pills

Serotonin is a hormone level that is affected during a woman's menstrual cycle. This level can increase the chances of depression and cause your appetite to increase. When these levels are controlled, symptoms such as water retention and bloating are less likely to occur. Consult a doctor about the use of birth control pills to regulate your hormonal levels, which may help relieve PMS symptoms including water retention and bloating.  Some research suggests that oral contraceptives works by inhibiting ovulation and controlling the menstrual cycle.

2. Diuretics

If you have water retention that makes you extremely uncomfortable or that does not resolve when your period ends, check with your healthcare provider who may want to put you on a low-dose diuretic in the days before and during your period to help with your weight gain. However, this is not always the best option as they can strip your body of important vitamins and minerals. They are likely to be reluctant to prescribe appetite suppressants or fat absorption inhibitors as this is not really the cause of your weight gain.
Diuretics referred to as water pills— are available by prescription to help reduce fluid buildup. Diuretics do have some side effects, however, and it's rare that water retention alone would warrant use of this type of medication.

3. Over-the-counter pain medications

Over-the-counter pain medications like paracetamol or ibuprofen can avail mitigate painful cramps and uterine swelling. Ask your doctor to prescribe stronger pain relievers if ibuprofen does not provide adequate relief. Be cognizant that taking ibuprofen or other non steroidal anti-inflammatory (anti-swelling) drugs and diuretics at the same time can cause kidney damage.

Bottom Line

Weight gain and loss associated with the menstrual cycle and hormonal changes begin during the teen years and continue through and after the menopause. The weight gain at menopause age may be as much as 15 pounds or more and this weight is harder to lose. The weight gain in younger women is easier to avoid and lose. Major fluctuations in eating and weight during certain periods of the menstrual cycle are a common perception, but studies done in the area find that the changes are minor, temporary and will not impact weight-loss success.

Natural Fitness Tips
Natural Fitness Tips

No comments:

Post a Comment

please do not enter any spam link in the comment