How to limit water retention during periods ?

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

What is water retention?

The menstrual cycle is governed by the hormonal system. As menstruation approaches periods, often a week before its arrival, estrogen and progesterone raise the level of water 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.
It is therefore normal to notice weight gain before or during periods.
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 you approach periods, this is completely normal.

Why does periods promote water retention?

Fluctuating hormones are responsible for water retention. In fact, 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 at periods !

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

Eat a high-fiber diet

We often forget that diet plays a vital role in our overall well-being, and has an enormous 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 everything else that's bad for your body. We recommend drinking around 2 liters of water a day.
In addition to this, sporting activities during your periods sessions can help to reduce the phenomenon of 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 caused by water retention?

Even if water retention occurs mainly before and during periods, 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 body, such as on 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.

The FAQ for water retention during periods

How to avoid water retention during periods ?

Water retention is common during periods. There's no need to worry. There are tricks to avoid water retention during your periods :

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


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 arrival or end of periods .