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Aunt Rose (periods) always brings a real basket of goodies when she visits females monthly. Even after facing all-stabbing abdominal pain, mood swing games, body aches, and so on, women sometimes get another PMS (premenstrual symptoms) gift in the form of “weight gain.” Whether you feel just a little bloated or your new pair of jeans fit too tight during your time of the month, weight gain during periods happens to lots of people. Though suddenly sizing up your jeans can be disturbing, period weight gain isn’t anything to be ashamed of.
Always remember: Bodies change all the time, and your weight is not the first measurement of health.
So, to better understand this, let’s learn why period weight gain happens, what to expect, and how to manage the monthly shift.
Is Weight Gain During Periods Normal?
Menstrual or period symptoms vary from female to female. Some females breathe through life without a care in the world, while a few are bedbound, wondering if they crossed Satan and got cursed with cramps.
According to a study, approximately 96% of women experience PMS symptoms, and the rest experience period-related swelling in the legs. Gaining weight during your period is perfectly normal. During their periods, women’s body weight can fluctuate by up to 2-3 kg without affecting their health. But if you have gained more than 3 kg or you keep rapidly gaining weight once your menstrual cycle is over, consider consulting your doctor.
Reasons For Weight Gain During Periods
Here are a few reasons why those numbers on the scale seem to inch up during your period.
1. Water Retention
Water retention is one of the leading causes of weight gain in females during the menstrual cycle. This occurs due to hormonal fluctuations during periods. After ovulation, the levels of progesterone and estrogen fall, which is the symptom that you are due for your period. The presence of these two hormones regulates the water balance in your body. When tissue fluid accumulates in your lower abdomen, you start to feel heavy or gain weight.
In this case, you can feel water retention or heaviness in your breasts or stomach. This increases the water percentage in a female body, which causes weight gain.
2. Disturbed Digestion
The improper hormonal balance slows down gut functions and impairs the digestion process. Several times, fluctuating estrogen and progesterone hormones increase gas retention in the stomach, causing bloating. Also, many females experience stomach cramps before and during their periods due to the secretion of prostaglandins (hormones) that initiate uterus contraction. Several studies have found that these symptoms increase rectal sensitivity, and females experienced them frequently during their periods.
3. Skip Workouts
Many females tend to skip their daily workouts when they are on their periods. This happens because when your body enters a bleeding phase and you are not feeling your best, your brain and body become slow and idle. That’s the reason many women either skip their workout sessions completely or perform workouts without putting in real effort. As a result, females gain water weight and start storing fat.
Instead of completely avoiding exercise, it is preferable to practice simple yoga asanas or breathing exercises to ensure adequate oxygen supply to your muscles and thus alleviate menstrual cramps.
4. Gut Problems
During periods, many women face gut problems like indigestion, constipation, and bloating. This is caused by an increase in progesterone levels just a few days before your period, which slows down gut movement. The entire digestive tract of the female body becomes very slow and causes constipation. To avoid this constipation issue, you can include yoga for constipation, especially these days. It will help you feel relaxed and light.
5. Food Cravings
At this time of the month, many women have cravings for food, and overeating can also be another reason for weight gain. Various different studies believe that fluctuating hormones and serotonin levels during a woman’s cycle are to blame. During periods, hormonal changes can cause a drop in blood sugar levels, which also leads to sugar cravings.
6. Mood Swings
Mood swings during periods are the most common symptoms among women. Also, mood swings and food cravings are often linked with each other. The hormonal changes in the female body make them crave salty and sugary foods. All these snacks and sugary foods are not healthy enough to maintain your weight.
These are the six major reasons for female weight gain during periods. However, there are some other symptoms accompanying weight gain during periods.
Symptoms In Addition To Weight Gain During Periods
Weight gain during periods is temporary and characterized by swollen hands and feet, bloating, and tender breasts. All these symptoms are accompanied by the following symptoms that are also normal during your periods:
- Anxiety or depression
- Irregular Sleeping Patterns
- Crying spells or angry outbursts
- Confusion or poor concentration
- Fatigue and Exhaustion
- Appetite Changes
- Social Withdrawal
- Changes in Sexual Desire
- Acne and Pimples
The female body can expect any of these during the menstrual cycle. But the question here is “how to prevent gaining that unnecessary weight?” Here we are sharing a strategic plan to prevent weight gain before and during periods. So, let’s have a look:
Ways To Prevent Weight Gain During Periods
Here are some practical ways to prevent weight gain during your period.
1. Be Prepared
It might sound vague, but keeping track of your monthly cycle will help you understand your periods and your body’s response to hormonal changes. Also, this will help you to prevent all the causes of weight gain during your periods.
You can stock your kitchen with healthy snacks like fruits, popcorn, banana chips, and homemade low-sugar brownies so that once the hunger hormones kick in, you don’t resort to unhealthy snacking.
2. Reduce Your Caffeine Consumption
Since you will feel a lot more stressed and uneasy when you have PMS, cutting back on caffeine will make you calm. Also, avoid other related symptoms, such as crankiness. While some research suggests that caffeine consumption has no effect on PMS symptoms, excessive caffeine consumption can cause gastrointestinal issues or bloat.
3. Drinking Water Can Stop Weight Gain During Periods
Drinking water during your periods will keep your cells hydrated, help you flush out the toxins from your colon, and keep your metabolism active. This, in turn, will prevent weight gain before and during your periods.
4. Do Not Skip Meals
Always consume at least 5–6 short meals per day. Along with breakfast, lunch, and dinner, you must include two different snacks per day. This will keep your metabolism moving and your hormones balanced. Also, doing so will keep you satiated.
5. Reduce Your Salt Consumption
Sodium-rich foods or processed foods can cause water retention in your body. Try to cut down on these foods, especially during your period. It will help prevent water weight gain in the body.
6. Do Not Skip Workout Sessions
Sometimes you may not feel like going to the gym or working out at home during your period, but exercising will help uplift your mood. For example, in the winter, you can shed weight by following weight loss tips at home. You need not go out to exercise so that you will feel better. Also, this will help you not binge on unhealthy food, sleep well, and feel less stressed out.
7. Take Supplements To Control Weight Gain During Periods
There are a few supplements that females must include in their diet:
- First is “magnesium”: Include magnesium in your diet as it is an important nutrient that females must consume to balance the menstrual hormonal changes in their bodies.
- Second is Omega-3: This supplement or fish oil may also help reduce stress levels during PMS.
Please Note: However, always remember, it is necessary to consult an expert medical professional, dietitian, or doctor before consuming any supplements or medications, as not doing so can have adverse effects on your body.
8. Include Vitamins To Balance Weight Gain During Periods
Vitamins like B6 help reduce estrogen levels and increase progesterone levels in the blood. Also, this helps in balancing the fluctuating hormones, which control weight gain. Start taking 100 mg of vitamin B6 per day to get rid of the PMS symptoms during menstruation.
9. Recognize The Triggers
Start writing or maintaining a PMS diary. Nowadays, there are several apps available that help you keep track of your menstrual cycle. Doing so will help you identify the time of the month you start your period and understand how you feel, and what actions you take.
Also, if you’re already on your period and feeling bloated, you can try the foods to eat during periods. These foods can help minimize symptoms and alleviate discomfort.
Also, read: Foods For Irregular Periods: Naturally Regularize Your Periods
Lost 8 Kg In 30 Days & Recovered From PCOD
Shevi from Himachal Pradesh approached Fitelo concerned about her weight gain. She was also worried about the problems associated with PCOD that she was facing. She strongly believes that appreciating and respecting your body is very important which is why she approached us. So, let’s find out how Fitelo helped her overweight issue. Watch this video:
A Word From Fitelo On Weight Gain During Periods
Well, now you that what causes weight gain during periods, you may be able to handle it better. Start drinking water, staying active (exercising), cutting back on caffeine, and taking supplements can help you stay better prepared for weight gain and PMS as well.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: PCOD vs PCOS Are They The Same?
Ans: PCOD vs PCOS both are different. PCOD is when you are getting infrequent, irregular, prolonged periods. Whereas PCOS is more severe than PCOD, in this condition the ovary stops producing eggs.
Q: How Much Weight Do I Gain During My Period?
Ans: You can gain anywhere from 2–3 kg before and during your period.
Q: How Long Do Period Weight Gain Symptoms Last?
Ans: For many females, the weight gain lasts until the first day of their period. But if you have PCOS and other health issues, your weight gain can last longer.
Q: How Long Will It Take To Lose Water Weight After Your Period?
Ans: You will start losing weight right when your period starts. And it will take about 3–4 days to lose the water weight. However, it also depends on your lifestyle and eating habits, it may take 6-7 days to lose the gained weight.
Q: Do You Burn More Calories During Your Period?
Ans: There is not enough scientific evidence to prove that you can burn more calories during your period. It depends on your body type, activity levels, and metabolic rate.
Q: Does Metabolism Increase During Your Period?
Ans: Various studies indicate that the Basal Metabolic Rate or BMR decreases during the days of your period.
Q: Is It Harder To Lose Weight When You Have Your Period?
While your period may not affect your ability to lose weight, it may have an adverse effect on your mood and its associated symptoms, such as stomach pain.
Pizza is one of the most common cravings you have while on a diet, and you are waiting for that cheat day to arrive as soon as possible. Surprisingly, there are a lot of healthier and more satisfying options available. However, for your convenience, we made a list of healthy swaps for Domino’s that you can have while enjoying your cheat day.
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This blog post was written to help you to make healthy and better food choices altogether. So, be aware and take care. The important thing to consider is your own health before starting a diet that is restrictive. Always seek advice from a doctor/dietitian before starting if you have any concerns.