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Aunt Flo always brings a real basket of goodies with her when she visits. Sometimes when we are done with mood swings and a sharp stomach ache, we get another PMS gift – weight gain.
Whether you feel just a little bloated or your pants sit like a too tight sausage casing during your monthly period, many people experience weight gain.
While increasing the size of your jeans can suddenly be annoying, gaining weight is usually not something to be ashamed of. Reminder: Bodies are constantly changing, and weight is not a primary measure of health.
To better understand this phenomenon, we studied why there is weight gain, what to expect, and how to manage the monthly shift.
Period symptoms vary from person to person. Some people blow carelessly, while others are bedridden, wondering if they have crossed Satan and been cursed by convulsions.
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It is perfectly normal for your weight to fluctuate a few pounds every day, even if it isn’t the time of the month. During your period, your weight can fluctuate up to 5 pounds without affecting your health. Can it be annoying to feel bloated for days? Yes. Is it unusual? Not really.
If you’ve gained more than 5 pounds or are gaining weight quickly after your period is up, you should call your doctor to see if another illness could be to blame. But if you sway a little, don’t fret.
Your hormone levels rise and fall during your cycle. When progesterone drops, gas increases (according to a 2011 study). Your body chooses to hold onto extra water, which can cause you to gain up to 5 pounds.
This water retention can cause your face to look puffy, your waistband to tighten, and to make you feel like a camel carrying the water of a humpback with you.
Hormones can start the weight gain party, but other PMS symptoms keep them strong.
Imagine being tired, in a bad mood, and having mild to moderate pain all day. What kind of food would you grab for? Yes, kale and apple slices. I’m just having fun. You want a bag of Lay’s and a See’s Dark Truffle Box!
That’s an exaggeration, of course, but a small study from 2008 suggested a possible link between hormone fluctuations and binge eating. Just being tired can make you crave salty or sweet foods. So fatigue and hormones create a craving for bonanza.
Oh, we almost forgot about constipation! Hormonal fluctuations can affect your bowels, causing gas, constipation, or other toilet-related problems.
In a 2014 survey of 156 women, 73 percent said they had GI symptoms before or during their period. The extra gasoline and lack of feces can make your gas even worse, which makes these waistbands feel tight.
Your weight will almost always return to its original state. Water retention is most intense on the first day of your period, but decreases quickly afterwards. Your weight will usually return to normal about 5 days after your period starts.
Try as best you can not to worry about gaining weight. For the most part, it’s just water and it’s a normal part of life.
Even so, puffing can be very uncomfortable, and there are ways to safely lose water:
- Take magnesium. A 2012 study found that consuming 250 milligrams of magnesium per day helped decrease water retention during periods.
- Take vitamin B6. The same study found that a daily dose of B6 helped participants reduce their general PMS symptoms, including gas.
- Eat less salt. The more sodium you use, the more water you keep. Limiting your salt intake will help you lose water faster.
- Get some sleep. When you are rested, you can choose healthier foods and keep your body functioning better overall. Try to get 8 hours of sleep a night. Or take a nap, nap, or nap with the title “I’m taking a nap here”.
- Eat complex carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates keep you full longer and do not trigger blood sugar spikes. This will help your body fight inflammation and may keep you from consuming processed snacks.
- Limit coffee and alcohol. Caffeine and alcohol are inflammatory and make PMS symptoms worse. Maybe avoid lattes and martinis when playing ragtime.
If you can control your hormones with the power of your mind then yes! But unfortunately, none of us have that power (and if there’s a Marvel hero with the power of hormones, we only bought tickets to this movie).
With a few lifestyle changes, you can reduce your water retention and discomfort.
Smoking has been shown to make period symptoms worse – although there are many other reasons to quit smoking as well. If you smoke, try to quit. It can be a serious challenge, but it’s well worth the effort.
Being active also helps relieve symptoms. Whether you teach at home or go for a walk, doing regular activities throughout the month can help you feel better when the time is right.
Oddly enough, a 2011 study found that runners had experiences worse Water retention during her period as a non-runner. That doesn’t mean you should stop running – overall, it’s still great for you. But you will not be able to beat the weight gain.
Finally, try to keep your stress levels down. Whether you are meditating, keeping a journal, or talking to a friend, controlling stress hormones can reduce PMS symptoms.
Period weight gain is normal and not a cause for concern. Eating less salt, increasing your magnesium, staying active, and getting enough sleep can potentially keep the bloating at bay.
But even if the scales go up 5 pounds, they almost always go down when Aunt Flo ends her visit.