Weight gain during menstruation: what causes it?

Some women experience pain during their period, others feel bloated and sometimes gain weight during or just before their period. How can you stop this weight gain?

Weight gain during menstruation: is it normal?

We don't usually talk about weight gain, but about body variations, since normal weight is restored at the end of periods when a new menstrual cycle begins.
In most cases, increased body weight before the period is one of the many inconveniences associated with menstrual symptoms. These are also known as premenstrual syndrome. Some menstruating women will also put on weight, as they consume a lot of sugar, more salt and more fat, due to these menstrual cravings.

What causes weight gain during menstruation?

But why do we put on weight before or during the menstrual period? What causes these weight gains or changes?

The main culprit: hormones

The two hormones responsible for the changes on the scale are progesterone and estrogen! They occur just before and during menstruation.
During menstruation, women experience a drop in estrogen and progesterone, which are responsible for sugar cravings... but that's not all. She will also experience a drop in serotonin, the hormone of happiness, a powerful natural antidepressant. The need for sugar is heightened during blood loss, as the body and brain seek to replace serotonin with amino acids and tryptophan in order to make carbohydrates and serotonin again!

Increased water retention

Water retention is an accumulation of fluid in the body and tissues that causes certain limbs to swell. It's caused by heat, but also by hormones that impact the endocrine system. The imbalance between progesterone and estrogen will cause swelling to be felt in the legs, breasts and stomach. Don't hesitate to elevate your legs, massage and do lymphatic drainage if you suffer from this.

Constipation and bloating

Your pre-menstrual weight gain may be linked to constipation or bloating. Progesterone is the culprit! In fact, this abundant hormone is the cause of slower intestinal transit and, consequently, poorer digestion! With the onset of menstruation, the drop in progesterone and uterine contractions can lead to diarrhoea.

Increased appetite

Many studies confirm that blood loss has an impact on metabolism andappetite. Menstruating women are hungrier than usual and crave products and foods rich in carbohydrates and calories. This can lead to weight gain during your menstrual flow!

A temporary drop in physical activity

During or before your period, weight gain can lead to a drop in physical activity. Menstrual fatigue can discourage some women from practising their usual sports. Reduced sporting activity and fatigue can lead to a nasty surprise on the scales, as can eating disorders such as bulimia and a sedentary lifestyle. A winning combo for menstruation and weight gain. Don't hesitate to listen to yourself during menstruation. Bear in mind, however, that theendorphins produced when you exercise tend to ease cramps and create a feeling of well-being!

How can I limit weight gain before and during my period?

Putting on weight during your period is not inevitable, especially if it makes you feel insecure or uncomfortable. Here are a few tips to help you avoid it:

Stay properly hydrated throughout the day

To avoid water retention, it's important to stay well hydrated. Drink at least 1.5 L of unsweetened beverages a day. This will not only promote excellent drainage, but also the proper functioning of your digestive system and intestines.

Set up a healthy routine

During menstruation, your body needs to compensate for the drop in certain hormones, so you need to take in a variety of foods. You also need to set up a healthy routine to rest, feel good, eat well and keep moving with the healthiest possible lifestyle:

  • eat foods rich in fiber
  • respect your feeling of satiety
  • reduce your salt intake
  • eat foods with diuretic properties
  • Play sports!

Homeopathic treatment

There are several treatments available to prevent the effects of premenstrual syndrome and menstruation. Some plants, such as chasteberry, have menstrual cycle-regulating properties. You can talk to your GP about takinghomeopathic and/or herbal remedies to reduce the symptoms that can lead to weight gain during or before your period.

Using menstrual briefs to cope with bloating

Clothes that don't constrict you, that evolve and adapt to your changes on the scale are ideal! Likewise, menstrual briefs that are particularly comfortable and easy to put on will be very welcome.

FAQs on weight gain and menstruation

What is normal weight gain during menstruation?

Weight gain during menstruation is completely normal. By the end of the cycle, women are generally back to their normal weight.

Can I gain weight during my period?

It is possible to gain weight during your period. Water retention, constipation, cravings, consumption of carbohydrates, sugars and salts and lack of exercise are all causes linked to hormonal changes. Weight generally returns to normal at the end of the flow!

Why shouldn't I weigh myself during my period?

It's possible to weigh yourself during your period, but it's important to remember that it's possible to gain weight before and during your menstrual flow. A body change linked to hormonal variations takes place throughout this period, so there's no need for a compulsory trip to the scale to put pressure on yourself during your period!

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