7 Major Causes of Weight Gain During Periods and How to Avoid it

weight gain during periods

Getting cranky over PMSing and the weighing scale has terrible news? You cannot be more frustrated. It is as if the world is playing a conspiration against you. Well, look up! You are not alone. Weight gain during menstruation is quite common, and a lot of women find it struggling to lose those extra pounds.

But with the knowledge of a few tricks, it is quite easy and straightforward to get rid of that excess baggage. Want to know what are those tricks? Give some part of your day to read this for all the answers and make yourself ready for the next cycle and many more cycles to come. Scroll down!

weight gain during periods - infographic

Why do you gain weight before your period?

1. Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)

Premenstrual Syndrome or PMS(1) begins one or two weeks before the actual menstruation starts. Its most common symptoms are bloating depression, food cravings, and anxiety. These result in binge craving and eating of sugary and salty foods. As a consequence, by the time PMSing phase comes to an end marking the start of your period, you are in addition of 5 pounds.

2. Retention of water

retention of water

Water retention(2) is one of the most significant reasons for weight gain before and during periods. Water gets absorbed in the body from numerous sources during the time of the day and is retained by the tissues of the body during periods. This condition gets referred to as edema.

Edema influences the body due to several hormonal fluctuations and hormonal changes during periods. It is quite common for any woman to feel bloated at this time. Any alterations in the movements of the bowel can also cause water retention. But the primary cause is the abrupt and sudden decrease in progesterone levels in the body.

3. Avoiding workouts, aren’t you?

Most women find an excuse during periods to shove their workout regime down the drain during PMSing, and you might be doing so too. It happens as when you are PMSing, you do not feel your best and your body and brain becomes sluggish. So, you find it better to skip your workout sessions entirely or even if you try on to take them, you do not put the best of your efforts. As a result, you gain water weight and begin storing fat.

4. Weight gain due to a gut problem

weight gain due to gut problem

Most women suffer from problems of gut like indigestions, bloating, and constipation when they are PMSing. When the digestive system of the body is not functioning correctly, the metabolism activity of the body slows down which causes your consumed food items to get stored in the body as fat. As a result, you encounter an increase in the stress levels of your body which leads to inflammation. Inflammation further reaches out to induce weight gain(3).

5. Liberal food cravings and binge eating

Overeating, overconsumption of food and increased cravings for binge good are the other reasons for weight gain during periods(4). As brought up before, when you are PMSing, you are under the influence of mental stress and do not feel so good. It causes you to end up consuming high sodium foods and high sugar foods. In turn, this hikes up the blood sugar levels of your body and increases water retention.

6. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome or POCS(5) affects three women out of five. Most metabolically overweight or merely overweight women tend to have POCS. If by any chance you have POCS, there is a probability that you will be more prone to weight gain during your menstruation cycle than others.

It is because your metabolic activity is slow and is further aggravates to the situation of weight gain eventually.

7. A drastic decrease in magnesium levels in the body

Just after you get finished with your menstruation cycle, the magnesium content in your body drops(6). It may lead to lower the levels of insulin in your body leading to increasing the craving for glucose in your body. With an increase in the food cravings, especially the ones those are high in sugar content will undoubtedly lead to weight gain before as well as after your period cycle.

So, as you have seen, there are majorly seven reasons which are the leading causes of weight gain/reason for weight gain during periods. However, the main question is, how can you prevent yourself from gaining this unwanted and unnecessary weight? Here is a plan to avoid weight gain during and before periods. Have a look!

How to manage weight during periods?

Menstrual weight gain is a common aspect in most women. The situation may not have any short-term harms and conditions. However, in the long run, weight gain is harmful. To avoid any unnecessary weight gain, here are the most defined practical ways to prevent gaining weight during your menstrual cycle:

1. Prepare yourself for what is to come

You cannot avoid menstruation, and you got to face it anyway. It may sound vague, but when you try to understand your menstrual cycles and your body’s reaction to the hormonal fluctuations and changes, you will be able to stay at par from all the causes and reasons during periods.

Deck up your kitchen with healthful snacks like fruits, popcorn, homemade low sugar brownies so that when hunger strikes during your PMSing, you do not have to resort to snacking unhealthy foods or gorge upon high sugar or high sodium foods to suppress your hunger hormones.

2. Say ‘NO’ to caffeine

say no to caffeine

Cut back and take no caffeine. Premenstrual syndrome makes you feel anxious and nervous. If you keep on consuming a lot of caffeine content, your anxiety might exaggerate. When you cut back on caffeine-oriented products, it makes you feel calmer. It will also work on preventing other associated symptoms like crankiness, etc.

3. Drink gallons of water

It is always a good habit to drink lots of water, but drinking water during menstruations keeps your cells in the body hydrated, maintain your metabolism activity, and flush out the harmful toxins from your colon. This, in reciprocation, will prevent you from gaining weight during and before periods.

4. Do not let go of meals

Consume at least six meals each day. Along with a regular breakfast, lunch, and dinner, snack at least twice a day. Snacking this way will keep your metabolism from stalling keep you satiated and balance your hormones.

5. It is time to back on salt

High sodium or salt foods like processed foods and junk foods may cause retention of water in the body. Cutting down on these kinds of food before and during your periods will help you to prevent from gaining unnecessary weight.

6. Never miss out on your workout sessions

workout sessions

You might feel dull and may not want to leave your comfy bed during PMSing. Its okay to feel so. However, it is not at all okay to continue to do so. If you do not like going to your gym, you may as well work out at home.

Working out during premenstrual syndrome and menstruation cycle will uplift your mood. You will start to feel better, and it may even distract you from the fact that you are PMSing. The feeling to binge on unhealthy food, stress or anxiousness, and lack of sleep will slowly subside.

7. Add a few supplements to your diet

  • Calcium: an essential in combating the symptoms of PMS and so, it is advisable to consume enough of calcium-rich food during your periods. If you wish, you can also use a natural remedy or a diuretic for controlling your gaining of weight during periods.
  • Magnesium: another essential nutrient that should compulsorily be consumed by you to maintain and balance the hormonal changes in your body.
  • Omega 3 supplements/ fish oil supplements: these supplements help to reduce stress levels in your body when you are PMSing and prevent you from eating a lot of unhealthy food.
  • Vitamins: vitamin B6 aids in lowering the levels of estrogen in your body and also improves the levels of progesterone in the blood. It will further help in balancing the hormonal fluctuation and changes which have an impact on the weight gain of your body during periods. To get rid of the symptoms of PMS, you can take a 100 mg to 200 g vitamin B6 for your body each day.

However, before indulging into taking any supplements, it is essential that you recognize the need of your body. It is always better to consult with your doctor once so that there us harm and damage made.

8. Steer away from the triggers

Maintaining a journal of PMS will help you identify the time of the moth you start having your periods and PMS.it will help you understand you how you feel and what actions should you take.

It will also make you conscious and alert of the things which enhanced your weight gain and the next time you have a menstrual cycle, you will be able to forge those things and focus on preventing any unnecessary weight gain.

Weight gain is common during your periods. But exactly how much weight is it normal to gain? Find out next.

How much of the weight gain is normal on your period?

The results and perceptions may vary from person to person. However, for an average ratio of women, the amount of weight that is normal to gain during your period is as much as 5 pounds in the second half of your cycle which leads up to your period. In some cases, women may not look at all gain weight.

These are some of the significant reasons for gaining weight during your periods and a few ways to work upon on how to avoid them in the future menstrual cycles. By getting a better understanding of your body and the changes it encounters, you can improve its conditions in the best way accordingly.

It is quite easy to tackle this problem with the discussed tricks, and in no time, you will stop gaining weight during your periods. All you have to is tweak your lifestyle a bit, have a tiny bit of self-control, and the difference will be visible from your next menstrual cycle. Take care!

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can you gain 10 pounds during your periods?

On an average, the weight gain in women during periods is 5 pounds. In some cases, the weight gain can be less or more, depending on the eating habits, workout regime, and metabolic activity.

2. Can weight gain cause irregularity in periods?

Weight gain due to any cause can bring in changes in the body in a negative way. Hormonal production, an excess of insulin, and many more reasons may bring about irregularity in periods. Therefore, it is advisable to keep your weight in check during periods.

3. How much weight do you gain during your pregnancy?

On an average, a woman may put on about 25 pounds to 35 pounds of weight after she becomes pregnant. However, the value may differ depending on the eating habits, lifestyle choices, workout regime, and metabolic activity of the woman.

4. Why do I feel bloated during my period?

Bloating during the periods is a result of a change in the levels of estrogen and progesterone. Reduction in the levels of progesterone may imply to the happening of the same. It is not a big deal and happens to 90 % of the women who are having their periods.

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