Like most things menstruation-related, the feeling that your period may cause weight gain isnБt all in your head. In fact, there are several physiological and psychological reasons why menstruation adds pounds that may last longer than the week of your period. The good news: With some knowledge of the why and how, you donБt need to grin and bear it. HereБs what you need to know:
1. Fluid retention Feeling bloated is a common complaint during the menstrual cycle, when elevated levels of the female reproductive hormones estrogen and progesterone lead to a shift in the bodyБs set point for sodium and cause fluid retention. БThis may be the most noticeable to women during the second half of their menstrual cycle, when both estradiol the most potent and common of the three estrogen hormones and progesterone levels are at their highest,Б says, associate professor, division of reproductive endocrinology and infertility, at the UCSF Center for Reproductive Health. To keep fluid weight at bay, avoid salty foods during the second half of your menstrual cycle.
Skip the diuretics, says, a doctor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Cleveland Clinic. БIn severe cases some women may be prescribed them, but that should be something done in conjunction with your gynecologist,Б says Dr. Stephens. 2. Constipation Your period affects how well your gastrointestinal tract works to push out waste from your body. БProgesterone causes some relaxation of smooth muscle, leading to a reduction in gastrointestinal motility, which may lead to bloating and constipation in some women,Б says Dr. Huddleston. To reduce both, increase the amount of fiber in your diet, particularly in the second half of the menstrual cycle, she suggests. 3. Food intake Progesterone plays another weighty role during the second half of the menstrual cycle. It increases appetite, causing you to eat more. БConsistent overeating that is not offset by an increase in physical activity can lead to permanent weight gain,Б says Dr. Huddleston. To keep from gaining weight, avoid foods that decrease overall well-being.
БUnfortunately, you want to avoid things you really crave, like sugary foods, like lots of carbs,Б says Dr. Stephens. БYou want to avoid caffeine and alcohol, and really salty foods. Б 4. PMS For most women, their monthly БcycleБ starts with at least one of the host of symptoms known as premenstrual syndrome, or PMS, about one or two weeks before their actual period begins. Bloating, food cravings, and weight gain are among the most common symptoms. A study of 259 healthy,б protein intake, and total cravings, including those for chocolate, sweets, and salty flavors during the luteal, or premenstrual, phase before menstruation begins. Experiencing depression or anxiety are also hallmarks of PMS, which is thought to be caused by cyclic changes in the brain chemical serotonin. БFor some women, these mood symptoms can also lead to increased food intake,Б says Dr. Huddleston. About 3 to 8 percent of women may experience a severe form of PMS known as premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
Food cravings or binge eating are one of theб. See a health professional if you experience significant depression or anxiety during PMS, says Dr. Huddleston, as they can be associated with binge eating or eating disordered behaviors. To offset the weight gain during PMS or the second half of your cycle, increase exercise and focus on consuming healthy, nutrient-rich foods. 5. PCOS If you experience irregular periods and weight gain, there may be cause for concern. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, or PCOS, is an imbalance of reproductive hormones that causes metabolism problems. It affects one in 10 women of child bearing age. б б б б б б In obese women with PCOS, losing weight may help regulate their menstrual cycles. БFat itself can produce estrogen which can cause hormonal imbalances that can affect the cycle,Б says Dr. Stephens. БIrregular cycles do not cause weight gain. Weight gain can cause irregular cycles.
Б For most women, weight gain during menstruation is only temporary. Maintaining an overall healthy lifestyle and diet will keep those extra fluctuating pounds from becoming permanent. The menstrual cycle is different for all women; some notice no changes at all before their periods, while others feel tired and irritable, and may even gain weight. If you fall in the weight-gaining category, don\’t despair. Any added pounds are only temporary, and some lifestyle changes can help you reduce the bloating significantly. Just before menstruation, estrogen levels spike, which can cause your body to retain water. You could gain several pounds of water weight during this time, but you will lose it in the next few days. If the water retention bothers you, avoid foods and beverages that contribute to bloating such as salt, sugar and alcohol. Also drink plenty of water and eat water-rich foods, such as fruits, vegetables and broth-based soups, which will help your body expel more water naturally.