It is normal for a woman to gain a bit of weight during their menstrual cycle. This is a problem known to every woman the world over. There are also some extreme PMS symptoms along with hormonal changes that may lead to weight gain. It is a known right of passage to have nausea, back ache, cramps, bloating and weight gain once a month during a woman’s cycle. It is known to be temporary, thankfully. There are some things that may lead to weight gain during the periods.

What Causes Weight Gain During Period?

There are several possible reasons for weight gain during menstruation. It isn’t something to be truly worried about, but many women feel stressed over the additional pounds. Some common reasons for weight gain during or before your period can include:

Decreased Magnesium Levels

Right before menstruation, your magnesium levels will drop. This can lead to decreased levels of insulin, thus causing increased cravings for sugar. This will cause ore food cravings, particularly sweets, which will cause weight gain during your period.


Water Retention

Water retention is another common cause of weight gain during your period. Water is absorbed in the body from a range of sources, is retained in body tissue when you are on your period. This is also known as edema. This influences the body because of hormones released during your period. This is behind the common feeling of bloating. Some women also experience bowel changes, which may be behind the water retention. This is mainly caused by a sudden decrease in progesterone.


Food Cravings

In addition to edema, you may experience food cravings and overeating, both of which can promote weight gain during period. During your menstruation, there is a metabolic surge resulting in an increase in food consumption. The brain reads this as low sugar, thus a cause for overeating during periods.



Your period will also affect how well your digestion tract removes waste. Progesterone causes smooth muscles to relax, which can reduce motility of the gastrointestinal tract, leading to constipation and bloating in some women. To reduce it, try increasing the amount of fiber you get during the second half of your period.



For many ladies, their cycle starts with one of a few different symptoms that fall under the category of PMS. These can start as early as a week or two before a woman’s cycle. Symptoms include food cravings, bloating and weight gain. A study following over 250 women in good health showed significant appetite increases during regular menstruation, including increased protein intake, along with cravings for salty, sweet or chocolatey foods. Cravings for these foods notably increase right before your period starts.

Both anxiety and depression can be part of PMS symptoms. They are thought to be caused from the changes in your serotonin levels. These mood changes can also lead to food cravings. Some women may have severe PMS or PMDD, which can result in binge eating and extreme cravings. If you notice severe changes, you should consult your doctor. You can also try increasing exercise and consumption of nutrient-dense, healthy foods.



If your periods are irregular, or your weight gain extreme, you may have reason to be concerned. PCOS, or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is an imbalance of your reproductive hormones, and can cause metabolic troubles. One in ten women are affected. For women who are heavy, losing weight can help with their cycles. Fat can also produce estrogen, which will disrupt natural hormone balances. For most women, weight gain during period won’t last.


Missing Workouts

Women tend to skip exercise more during their period because of fatigue and cramps. Missing your workout can make you feel bloated and heavier. You can gain a lot of water weight at this time, and it can’t easily be secreted, especially if you aren’t sweating, which will lead to water retention.


More Salt

Women tend to eat more salt during their periods which can also be responsible for extra weight gain. When you can, consume foods low in salt like fruits and coconut water. This will help keep your body on track.


Acceptable Period Weight Gain

If you are concerned about how much weight gain during period is normal, you should remember it varies. It can range between a couple of pounds to ten pounds and still be considered normal. There are basically five stages to your period and weight gain tends to happen in the first stage, thus before your cycle.

How to Deal with the Weight Gain

Gaining weight before or during your period may be completely normal but there are many women who would prefer not to have such a fluctuation. Consider the following ways to help prevent it:

Herbal and Natural Supplements

Calcium can help with PMS symptoms, therefore make sure to get enough during your cycle. You can also use a natural diuretic to help with your weight gain. Don’t forget that magnesium is also important, so be sure to consume enough.

There are also medications you can take. Speak to your doctor for suggestions to balance your hormones.



B6 can help reduce estrogen in the blood and increase progesterone. This can help balance your hormones, which can help with weight gain. For the best results in minimizing PMS take between 100-200 mg of B6 a day.


Change in Lifestyle

It is best to implement healthy lifestyle changes throughout the month to prevent PMS from getting too strong. You can also add healthy measures to help minimize weight gain.

  • Avoid too much salt as it will cause water retention.

  • Avoid too much caffeine as it will increase anxiety and food cravings.

  • Avoid too much alcohol as it can cause food cravings and water retention.

  • Drink warm water with lime juice to reduce water retention.

  • Exercise regularly to relieve stress and avoid weight gain.

  • Eat plenty of lean protein and vegetables as well as Omega 3 fatty acids.

  • Drink lots of fluids to help flush toxins and avoid water retention.

  • Consume gas reducing foods such as plain yogurt. You can also enjoy cinnamon, ginger, mint tea, fennel seeds, pineapple and raw honey to reduce gas. Dairy and other lactose products besides yogurt can be gas producing and hard to digest. Avoid foods like beans, cabbage or Brussel sprouts.

If you are retaining uncomfortable amounts of water, you should speak to your doctor. They may recommend a diuretic. Some natural remedies include dong qai, chasteberry, black cohosh, and maca.


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