Weight Loss

7 Major Causes Of Weight Gain During Periods And How To Avoid It

ISSA Certified Specialist in Fitness & Nutrition
7 Major Causes Of Weight Gain During Periods And How To Avoid It August 29, 2018

You are PMSing and cranky, and the weighing scale delivered bad news. How frustrating! It’s as if the universe is conspiring against you. Well, you are not alone. Weight gain during periods is common, and many women struggle to lose the extra pounds. But if you know a few tricks, it is actually very simple and easy to get rid of the flab. What are those tricks? Give this post a read for all the answers and prepare yourself for the next cycle and the cycles to come. Swipe up!

7 Reasons For Weight Gain During Periods

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1. Water Retention

Water retention is one of the major reasons for weight gain during periods. Water that is absorbed in the body from various sources during the day is retained by the body tissues during menstruation. This condition is also known as edema.

This edema influences the body because of severe hormonal fluctuations that occur during the periodic cycle. It is normal for any woman to feel bloated at such times. In fact, any changes in the bowel movements can also result in water retention. But the main cause is the sudden and abrupt decrease in the progesterone levels in the body.

2. PMS

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PMS or premenstrual syndrome starts one or two weeks before the actual period. And its most common symptoms are food cravings, bloating, anxiety, and depression. These result in binge eating and craving for salty and sugary foods. As a result, by the end of the PMSing phase and the start of your period, you gain about 5 pounds.

[ Read: 27 Effective Home Remedies To Treat Premenstrual Syndrome ]

3. Skip Workouts

Most women tend to skip workouts when they are PMSing, and I am sure you do it too! This happens because when you are PMSing and not feeling your best, your brain and body become sluggish. So, either you skip your workout sessions completely or go about them without putting in real effort. As a result, you gain water weight and start storing fat (as you cannot stop binge eating).

4. Gut Problems

Most women suffer from gut problems like constipation, indigestion, and bloating when they are PMSing. When the digestive system does not function properly, the metabolism slows down. And, as a result, you tend to store everything you consume as fat. Moreover, the stress levels in your body increase, leading to inflammation and inflammation-induced weight gain.

5. Food Cravings

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Increased cravings for food and overeating can also be other reasons for weight gain before and during periods. As mentioned before, when you are PMSing, you are under mental stress, and to feel good, you end up binging on high-sugar and high-sodium foods. This, in turn, increases water retention and spikes blood glucose levels.

[ Read: Top 10 Foods To Relieve Menstrual Cramps ]

6. Decrease In The Level Of Magnesium 

Just before your menstruation cycle, the magnesium levels in your body might drop. This can lead to lower levels of insulin, which increase the craving for glucose. This leads to increased food cravings, especially high-sugar foods, and that can lead to weight gain before and during your periods.


PCOS or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome affects 3 out of 5 women. Most overweight or metabolically overweight (the women look slim but have disrupted metabolism, which causes PCOS) women tend to have PCOS. If you have PCOs, chances are you will be more prone to weight gain during your periods. And that’s because your metabolism is slow, which is further aggravated by the reasons mentioned above.

So, these are the seven major reasons for weight gain during periods. But the main question is, how to prevent or protect yourself from gaining this unnecessary weight? Here’s a strategic plan to prevent weight gain before and during periods. Take a look.

Ways To Prevent Weight Gain During Periods


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Here are the most practical ways to prevent weight gain during your period.

  • Be Prepared

I know, it sounds vague now, but when you try to understand your cycles and your body’s response to the hormonal changes, you will be able to prevent all the causes of weight gain during your period.

Stock your kitchen with healthy snacks like popcorn, fruits, and homemade low-sugar brownies so that once the hunger hormones kick in, you don’t resort to unhealthy snacking and gorging on high-sugar and high-sodium foods.

  • Cut Back On Caffeine

Since you will feel a lot more anxious when you PMS, cutting back on caffeine will make you calmer and prevent other related symptoms like crankiness.

  • Drink Water
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Drinking water will keep your cells hydrated, flush out the toxins from your colon, and keep your metabolism active. This, in turn, will prevent weight gain before and during your periods.

  • Do Not Skip Meals

Consume at least 5-6 meals per day. Along with breakfast, lunch, and dinner, snack twice a day. This will keep your metabolism from stalling, balance your hormones, and keep you satiated.

  • Cut Down On Salt

Salty or high-sodium foods like junk foods and processed foods can cause water retention in your body. Cutting down on these before and during your periods will help prevent water weight gain.

  • Do Not Skip Your Workout Sessions
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I know you don’t feel like going to the gym or working out at home. But working out will actually uplift your mood. And when you feel better, you will not binge on unhealthy food, sleep well, and feel less stressed out.

  • Supplements

Calcium is helpful in combating PMS symptoms, and hence, it is advised to consume enough calcium during this period. If you wish, you can also use a diuretic or a natural herbal remedy for controlling your weight gain.

Magnesium is another important nutrient that you must consume to balance the hormonal changes in your body.

Omega-3 supplements or fish oil supplements may also help reduce the stress levels when you PMS and prevent you from consuming a lot of unhealthy food.

However, remember, it is necessary to consult an expert medical professional before consuming any supplements or medications as not doing so can have adverse effects on your body.

  • Vitamins

Vitamin B6 helps reduce the estrogen levels and also increases the progesterone levels in the blood. This helps in balancing the fluctuating hormones, which controls weight gain. To get rid of the PMS symptoms during menstruation, take 100 to 200 mg of vitamin B6 per day.

  • Recognize The Triggers
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Maintaining a PMS journal will help you identify the time of the month around which you start PMSing and understand how you feel, and what actions you take. This will make you more conscious the next time you PMS and binge eat or skip workout sessions.

These are the main reasons for weight gain and how you can avoid it before and during your monthly cycle. By understanding your body better and taking action accordingly, you will find it easy to tackle this problem. Tweak your lifestyle and see the difference in the next cycle for yourself. Take care!

Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

How much weight do I gain during my period?

You can gain anywhere around 2-5 pounds before and during your period.

How long does period weight gain last?

For many women, the weight gain lasts until the first day of their period. But if you have PCOS and other metabolic or health issues, your weight gain can last longer. And, it can be difficult for you to shed the extra pounds.

How long will it take to lose water weight after your period?

You will start losing the weight right when your period starts. And it will take about 3-4 days to lose the water weight. However, depending on your lifestyle and food habits, it may take 7-8 days to lose the weight gained.

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