Weight gain during period is a very common question that is asked to a doctor and other health professionals. The most common answer that comes to the mind is “water retention” by the body due to PMS—Premenstrual Syndrome. Other than water retention being the major PMS symptom that can show its head 6 to 10 days before period, other symptoms for period weight gain include fall in Mg (magnesium) levels, overeating, and bloating.
Do you gain weight during your period?
The answer given by at least three-quarter of women is “yes”! And would you believe when I say the weight gain can range from 500 g to 4 kg due to bloating and water retention? OMG! What a headache for us women. But wait! Once you read the causes and treatments given below, you will know how to control this weight gain.
Causes for Weight Gain during Period
Let us take a peek at the causes for weight gain during period:
Water retention (Edema)
As I have mentioned above, water retention is a major and very common cause that will surely make you gain weight. When your hormone levels fluctuate at the time of period, Edema occurs. Even lose bowel and bloating during this time or at the onset of period can cause water retention.
Fall in Mg (magnesium) levels
A few days prior to your period, there can be a drop in serum Mg levels. This fall will then lower your insulin levels. As a result, you will crave for something sweet (if nothing, then sugar) and once you overeat on it, weight is what you gain.
Overeating (due to food cravings)
I have seen many women among my relatives who literally start “gorging” whatever food they can lay their hands in, during period. The cravings usually start 2 to 3 days prior to period, and during the cycle, it increases, leading to overeating about 200 to 300 calories each day. This overeating/food craving is due to metabolism increase and hormonal changes. Hence, weight gain occurs. Now, it is not your fault; don’t get stressed out. This is a temporary cause and disappears when your period ends.
Constipation, cramps, 5 to 7 days’ physical inactivity, and intestinal gas lead to bloating during menstrual cycle.
Treatment for Weight Gain During Period
Every problem has a solution, one or the other. When you gain weight during period, there are treatments to control it.
To reduce PMS symptoms, exercise is a good form of treatment. But not high intensity exercises; do light cardio (nothing that involves jumping), walk on a treadmill, walk in a park, or do yoga. The main point is keeping yourself active. If you have problems like cramps, uterine swelling, or pain, then do not exercise for the first four days. You can resume exercising—light intensity on the 5th and 6th day, and from the 7th day, follow your usual routine. If you are not into any kind of exercises, then walking an hour daily would be fine.
Modification in your daily food intake
Avoid fried, junk, and processed foods that are mostly salty and contain high calories. Reduce your salt intake; otherwise, your body would tend to retain more water. No alcohol, no caffeine and keep yourself well hydrated. Eat lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains that would not allow your body to gain weight during period.
I have seen women going under depression during the menstrual cycle, and overeating. Have you ever wondered why it is so? During period, our hormone fluctuates, and this fluctuation affects a neurotransmitter in our brain called “serotonin” for which you face such symptom. What you need is hormone regulation and for this, your physician is the best person to prescribe proper treatment.
WARNING: Please do not buy any medicine over the counter, or because someone has said so, or because you are your own physician! Consult a physician and buy his/her prescribed medicines. REMEMBER, DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS are a MUST.
Weight gain during period is a common issue faced by many women. Now that you know the causes and have the treatment options, it will not be difficult for you to control the weight gain, if you want. Stop getting stressed out and combat the weight gain.