PMS symptoms are experienced by many women every month. These symptoms can range from cravings for certain foods to increased sleepiness. Often, many changes accompany this monthly occurrence. Even if you do not track your periods diligently, some small changes in your body may signal its arrival. One of these indications is period weight gain.
Weight gain (up to 3kg) during your period is completely normal. So, do not worry when your pants feel too tight to zip up, or you’re just feeling bloated. It is just another PMS gift that Aunt Flo brings. Most weight gain during periods is water weight, and it is not permanent. So you don’t need to worry about it. This gained weight usually goes away after two to five days. Fluctuations in weight are normal, but PMS can cause additional problems, such as bloating and water retention.
Keep reading to discover why period weight gain happens and how to manage such monthly fluctuations.
Weight Gain During Periods: The Causes
Before you know how to tackle the problem, it is essential to know precisely why it happens. Here are common reasons for weight gain during your period.
Hormonal changes are generally the primary reasons why this weight gain occurs. Oestrogen dramatically decreases in the days before your period starts, and when sex hormones fluctuate, your body accumulates more water.
According to a study, up to 65% of females may experience period-related swelling and water retention. This water retention causes minimal swelling in your breasts or stomach, but it strictly affects your weight and does not increase your body’s fat level.
The hormonal changes during your menstruation can also change your appetite. It usually takes place in the form of binge eating. The week before your period begins, the progesterone in your body fluctuates drastically. Meanwhile, when the oestrogen drops during your period, so does the serotonin. This hormonal imbalance increases your appetite. Low serotonin in the body can also lead to sugar cravings, which means you eat more high-calorie foods. It inevitably leads to weight gain. Moreover, munching on calorie-dense snacks also leads to fluid retention, which again explains the increase in weight.
The lower progesterone levels with your period can also mean fewer spasms in your gastrointestinal tract. However, it can lead to gut health problems and constipation. Bloating is another common issue. You might drink more caffeine than usual when you’re on your period because you’re so tired. But too much caffeine can also make you bloated.
Lack of Magnesium
Magnesium levels also decrease once your period begins. This decrease in magnesium levels can also lead to sugar cravings, contributing to weight gain. Now, magnesium is one mineral essential to keep your body’s hydration levels. Therefore, low magnesium levels can lead to dehydration. Dehydration can sometimes mask itself as hunger and lead to cravings for high-calorie and high-sugar foods when you are just thirsty.
Lack of Physical Activity
You may experience changes in hormones, appetite, and energy levels during your period, which can make working out tough. If you decide to skip some workouts or take it easy during this time, that’s understandable. But beware that regularly disrupting your exercise routine can cause weight gain, especially if you’re susceptible to binge eating.
Want to Prevent Weight Gain During Periods? Here is What You Can Do
Stay Physically Active
Working out, stretching, and getting some physical activity can be extremely good for your well-being! Even though it may be the last thing you want to do that day, low-impact exercise could be the best way to manage weight fluctuations. Not only will it boost endorphins to improve mood swings, but also, the sweating will help you shed the water weight quickly.
Avoid the Salt, Skip the Sugar
Salt attracts water and encourages water retention, and foods with sugar tend to worsen bloating. Keep more nutritious alternatives handy if you manage to crave salt and sugar. This way, when a craving strikes, you can turn to some fruit or a granola bar instead of candy or chocolate.
Add More Magnesium and Diuretics to Your Diet
Magnesium helps reduce bloating by producing normal stomach acid. When stomach acid is low, you tend to have more gas and are bloated. You can increase magnesium-rich foods in your diet (e.g. spinach) or ask a medical professional for advice before starting supplements. Diuretics like vitamin C in citrus fruits can help you urinate and shed more water weight. Try to incorporate more citrus fruits into your diet.
You might gain a few pounds during your period due to water retention, bloating, cravings, and swelling. However, you can control this weight gain by eating correctly, exercising, staying hydrated, and taking magnesium supplements. If there is a concerning fluctuation, you should check with your doctor.