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Bloating And Water Retention
Two types of temporary weight gain occur during PMS: bloating and water retention. The hormonal changes in your body cause your flesh to retain more water than average. Even if you haven’t consumed extra calories or added fat to your body, you may weigh a few more pounds than normal. Some people call this water-weight gain bloating, but the University of Maryland Medical Center notes that bloating also involves swelling in the stomach area caused by extra gas in your digestive system, which is yet another effect of hormonal changes.
Weight Gain Before And During Your Period: Are They Connected
Many people complain about feeling bloated or gaining weight before and during their period. What are the physiological reasons for this period-related weight gain, and what can be done about it? This article will explore the reasons why you might experience weight gain before your period and ways to address period weight gain.
Do you gain weight before your period and want to know why? Lets take a look at the reasons why people often gain weight before their period and what you can do to manage it.
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What To Avoid During Period To Stay Fit
Besides including the above-listed foods in your diet, you should also try to cut your consumption of the following :
- Salty foods
- Cruciferous vegetables
- Baked goods
While alcohol, salty and sugary foods, and baked goods are all on the blacklist of any healthy diet, cruciferous vegetables, which are overall healthy, are not your best choice in this situation if you suffer from bloating. Broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and kale can promote gassiness and add to bloating.
Your Hormones Are Probably To Blame
The female sex hormone estrogen peaks during the latter part of your menstrual cycle, right before your period, says Mary Jane Minkin, MD, clinical professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences at the Yale School of Medicine. And high levels of it can indirectly lead your body to retain fluid, making you feel bloated and potentially causing you to gain a few pounds of water weight.
The good news: Estrogen levels drop as you start your period, so youll feel some relief just in time for the cramps to kick in.
The other hormone at play here is progesterone, says Natasha Johnson, MD, a gynecologist at Brigham and Womens Hospital in Boston. Progesterone levels spike in the second half of your cycle, leading to water retention, breast tenderness, and sometimes water weight, she says.
Some women notice their breasts increase by a full size on their periodsagain, thanks to progesterone which causes your body to pull fluid from the blood vessels to the tissues, making them appear fuller, perhaps to get ready for a potential pregnancy, she says. But again, this is only temporary, so if you don’t get pregnant, your body will go back to normal.
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Causes Of Pms Weight Gain
According to the US Department of Health and Human Services Office of Womens Health, up to 90 percent of women report having premenstrual symptoms of bloating, headaches, and moodiness. Weight gain before your period is also referred to as PMS weight gain. This weight gain is related to hormonal changes that occur in the luteal phase, which is the phase just before you get your period.
The luteal phase is the second phase of your menstrual cycle. It begins right after ovulation and ends when your period starts.
Researchers arent entirely sure what causes the symptoms associated with premenstrual syndrome . Some of the most popular explanations include:
- Cyclic changes in your sex hormones
- Pituitary hormone fluctuations
- Cyclic changes of certain brain chemicals, including neurotransmitters like serotonin
The most common symptoms of PMS are mood swings, bloating, fatigue, hot flashes, and headaches.
These behavioral and physical symptoms can be mild to quite severe and can interfere with everyday life.
Some people who experience weight gain before their period also report that their breasts get slightly larger and more tender. Some experience constipation, while others crave certain foods. These cravings are often for sweet, salty, or high-fat foods, but unfortunately, these types of unhealthy foods can actually make your PMS symptoms worse.
Do You Get Heavy Period After Weight Loss
For the longest time now, women have been trying to establish an association between weight and heavy periods. Some believe that a heavy period is a result of tremendous weight loss. On the other hand, others believe that weight does not influence heavy periods. But what does science say?
To begin with, it is essential to note that a heavy period can mean two things. One is constantly changing your pad or tampon every hour or so. Two, a heavy cycle could mean passing blood clots that are bigger than a quarter . If not, WebMD states that it could mean having periods that last for more than seven days . Several factors cause such a menstrual cycle.
According to experts, the most common cause of heavy periods is the wombs inability to properly contract . Remember that the womb contractions help shed the lining of the womb, leaving your body together with some blood .
Heavy blood flow may also result from childbirth or using a contraceptive coil . Experts acknowledge that your menstrual cycle is not directly impacted by weight loss . However, they recognize that lower body weight may affect hormone production and lead to lighter periods .
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When Does Period Weight Gain Go Away
Since both water retention and bloating are symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, they also disappear once the period begins. The hormonal changes that take place before your period starts all go back to normal once your menstrual flow starts.
If it still bothers you, taking vitamins and supplements may help reduce the symptoms. Taking calcium and potassium, for example, helps stop water retention and improves fluid regulation. The herb chasteberry helps in the production of progesterone that brings about hormonal balance. Magnesium also helps your body deal with excessive water during your period. Find more information on Naturesupplies.
Supplements Combat Food Cravings Too
While there’s no proof that taking supplements can help curb food craving per se, studies have shown that certain vitamins and minerals can help improve your mood and make you more amenable to a healthy diet, Peeke notes. All Weight Loss Clinic members are encouraged to take a daily multivitamin/mineral in addition to eating their nutrient-dense diets.
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Being Overweight Or Obese
Being overweight or obese can also affect your menstrual cycle. If you’re overweight, your body may produce an excess amount of oestrogen, one of the hormones that regulate the reproductive system in women.
The excess oestrogen can affect how often you have periods, and can also cause your periods to stop. Your GP may refer you to a dietitian if you have a BMI of 30 or more, and it’s affecting your periods. The dietitian will be able to advise you about losing weight safely.
How Your Diet Can Influence Your Menstrual Cycle
Also, you can maintain balanced blood sugar levels by eating a healthy meal or snack every couple of hours. This will prevent your blood sugar levels from dropping too much and your adrenal glands from releasing adrenaline. Additionally, eating a diet too low in fat can have a negative impact on your menstrual cycle.
Read Also: Pregnancy Symptoms 1 Week Before Period
Exercising During Your Period
A woman’s metabolism isn’t stable, as her resting metabolic rate can vary throughout her menstrual cycle. You don’t usually burn more calories when you exercise during your period, but you may burn more calories when you exercise during the luteal phase of your menstrual cycle, which is just before your period, according to a 2018 study published by Scientific Reports. During this phase, estrogen levels are low while testosterone levels are increased, which can boost results from weight training during your period.
A study published in the Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences in 2014 noted that women’s body weights don’t significantly change throughout the menstrual cycle either, although there was a slight increase right before menstruation.
Ways To Fight Pms Cravings
How to Fight Food Cravings
So how can a woman combat PMS cravings and keep from gaining weight?
Eat complex carbs Though it might seem counterintuitive to feed a diet, Wurtman suggests reaching for a snack high in complex carbs whenever you feel an attack of the grumpies coming on. Taking in a few extra calories in rice cakes now will prevent you from raiding the icebox later on. Meals also should be high in complex carbs, such as whole-grain breads, pasta, and cereals. “Eaten on an empty stomach, baked potatoes, even half a bagel or low-sugar cereals, will increase serotonin levels within an hour,” Wurtman says.
Avoid processed sugar Simple sugars increase insulin secretion, which lowers blood sugar, Lark explains. And if insulin levels shoot up enough, your appetite for carbs and fats increases.
Try foods high in essential fatty acids Food high in essential fatty acids, such as salmon or safflower or canola oil mayonnaise, “slow absorption of carbs, stabilize the blood sugar, and stop cravings in their tracks,” Lark says. Try tuna with a little low-fat canola-oil mayo on a rice cake, she says, or a couple of tablespoons of flax meal in a protein shake.
Drink plenty of water Eight or so glasses of water a day help to flush the body out and reduce bloating, Peeke says.
Shun salt Not only will a diet low in salt reduce bloating and fluid retention, but it also can help reduce your risk of high blood pressure, Wurtman says.
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You Can Lose Weight Period
Changing hormones throughout the menstrual cycle often make weight loss difficult for premenopausal women.
But losing weight is not impossible.
Being conscious of how you feel and how your eating habits may change throughout your cycle is the key to sticking to your weight loss goals.
A fiber-rich diet thats not too high in simple carbs and sodium can help stabilize weight throughout the menstrual cycle.
Also, do your best to stay active with light to moderate exercise on a regular basis and to eat mindfully when cravings set in.
Finally, know that youll probably have days where hunger hormones are strong, or that you feel less energized in your workouts.
You may even feel like everything is working against you. Dont be discouraged, as this is completely normal.
With a few healthy diet and lifestyle changes, youll be more likely to experience weight loss from month to month.
About Kimberly Yawitz
Kim Yawitz is a registered dietitian and nutritionist in St. Louis, Missouri.
She currently works with sports nutrition and weight management clients for a private practice. Prior to that Kim worked as an inpatient clinical dietitian, developing nutrition care plans for patients with health concerns ranging from autoimmune disease to critical illness.
Learn more about her on the About page.
Joe Leech, Dietitian
Lose Weight On Your Period
Edited by Donna, Eng, Alma
It is more difficult for women to lose weight while they are on their period because hormonal shifts can cause all kinds of symptoms that defy weight loss plans including water retention that adds pounds and inches, cramping that interfere with exercise and food cravings. The bad moods associated with having your period can also trigger cravings for carbohydrates and make you feel less motivated to exercise. This is because your body is releasing elevated amounts of progesterone, which encourages your system to store fatter and water.
Maintaining weight-loss while you are on this period is easier if you begin to work with your body’s timing and start to prepare for hormonal shifts with certain lifestyle and diet practices as week before your period actually starts.
Recommended Reading: How To Calculate Due Date With Irregular Periods
How Does Weight Loss Affect Your Menstrual Cycle
In addition to conception and pregnancy problems, weight loss and weight gain can both significantly affect your menstrual cycle. The Effects of Estrogen. A womans ovaries produce the female sex hormones progesterone and estrogen, after getting certain cues from the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus.
Rapid Weight Loss And How It Affects Your Period
Flip through any fashion magazine and youre bombarded with images of perfect bodies. There they are stick-thin women with perfect hair and makeup, sometimes draped over hunky guys with abs of steel. Most of us know these images arent real life theyre an advertising ploy designed to sell the latest in fashion or makeup or shampoo.
What is the perfect body, the perfect weight? The answer could depend on where you live. Not all cultures value slender bodies. According to Bradley University, in Fiji larger bodies are symbols of health and connectedness to the community. People who lose a lot of weight or are very thin are regarded with suspicion or pity. In Jamaica, plump bodies are considered healthiest and most attractive. In western culture, a lean body is considered the beau ideal.
The National Institutes of Health provides a Body Mass Index calculator to provide an indication of whether someone is in the underweight, normal, overweight, or obese range. The BMI is just a loose guide to determining a healthy weight. It isnt a fail-safe and doesnt take into account factors such as age, muscle mass, bone density, or overall body composition .
There is no such thing as the perfect weight for everyone. Your ideal weight is a personal, individual thing.
Dr. Donald Hensrud recommends a moderate rate of weight loss, typically one or two pounds a week, based on a safe and healthy approach with lifestyle changes in eating and exercise.
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