How to limit water retention during menstruation?

Do you feel bloated and gain weight around or during your period? Water retention is a symptom many women experience during premenstrual syndrome (PMS).

What is water retention?

The menstrual cycle is governed by the hormonal system. As menstruation approaches, often a week before its arrival, estrogen and progesterone raise water levels in the body. This water will most often accumulate in the lower abdomen and breasts, but ankles, legs, fingers and feet may also swell. This is unique to each woman.
Weight gain before or during menstruation is normal.
Weight gain can also be aggravated by other PMS symptoms, such as digestive problems (constipation), food cravings, etc.
Don't panic if you feel heavier as your period approaches - it's perfectly normal.

Why do periods encourage water retention?

Hormonal fluctuations are the main cause of water retention. Progesterone and estrogen increase the amount of water in the body. This is a perfectly normal phenomenon. During hot weather, water retention is all the more noticeable because, with the heat, blood vessels tend to dilate and water is released outside the body. This phenomenon further accentuates the sensation of water retention.

Our tips for relieving water retention during menstruation!

As many PMS symptoms appear before the period, there are solutions to reduce the effects of water retention.

Eat a diet rich in fiber

We often forget that diet plays a vital role in our overall well-being, and has a huge influence on the menstrual cycle.
Fiber intake is very important in preventing water retention. Fiber is found in fruits, vegetables, legumes and wholegrain cereals.
Fiber helps prevent constipation, which often occurs when suffering from water retention. For example, you can eat broccoli, green beans, carrots and red cabbage, as well as walnuts, pistachios, etc.

Reduce your salt intake

Salt will increase water retention. Replace potato chips and other pre-prepared foods with less salty alternatives that will help reduce the feeling of water retention.

Avoid alcohol and coffee

Like salt, alcohol and coffee should be avoided if you're prone to water retention. Both are excitants that stimulate water retention.

Stay hydrated and exercise

Although you might think the opposite, to avoid water retention, it's important to stay sufficiently hydrated to flush out salt, toxins and anything else that's bad for your body. We recommend drinking around 2 liters of water a day.
Sport during your period can also help reduce water retention. In fact, sporting activity enables you to evacuate water through perspiration. Prefer gentle sports, i.e. those involving endurance rather than intensity, such as walking, hiking, yoga or cycling!

How to reduce swelling in case of water retention?

Even if water retention occurs mainly before and during menstruation, it can sometimes be more complicated to succeed in deflating after measurements. To help you, you can :

  • massage your most swollen areas with draining oils
  • if your water retention is more localized in the lower part of the body, such as the legs, you can elevate your legs with a cushion or other support when sitting or lying down, to help deflate.

In any case, if water retention is seriously affecting your daily life and quality of life, consult your doctor.

FAQs on water retention during menstruation

How can I avoid water retention during my period?

Water retention is common during menstruation. There's no need to worry. There are a few tips to help you avoid water retention during your period:

  • limit foods containing too much salt
  • limit stimulants such as alcohol and coffee
  • increase your fiber intake
  • eat diuretic foods, i.e. those that increase urinary secretion
  • engage in physical activity, which will help to deflate areas of water retention by stimulating blood circulation
  • sleep well and sufficiently

Does water retention cause weight gain?

When you have water retention, it's normal to experience a slight weight gain. This is completely normal, so don't worry. Most of the time, it disappears with the onset or end of menstruation.