Do You Really Gain Weight During PMS?

When it comes to premenstrual syndrome (PMS), it’s hard to decide which symptom is worst. Because let’s face it, they’re all terrible. For some it may be the painful cramping and mood swings, for others it may be the headaches and the nonstop food cravings. But one thing most women can agree on—PMS isn’t exactly a feel-good experience.

And to top it all off, the period weight gain definitely doesn’t help the situation. But it can be hard to tell if you actually put on extra weight during thattime of month, or if it’s just the result of feeling bloated, uncomfortable and yucky. Well, as it turns out, it’s a combination of all of the above.

The key takeaway, though, is that you aren’t alone in feeling this way. And depending on which stage of the cycle you’re in, the culprit behind your heaviness may vary. Thankfully, Sheila Warren, RN, GMC’s Wellness Navigator, provides some much needed insight on 5 ways your period can mess with your waistline.

1.    The dynamic duo. In this case, we aren’t referring to cookies ‘n’ cream or PB & J, instead we’re focusing on estrogen and progesterone. As you may know, these two hormones play an instrumental role in the whole reproductive system.

So, each month, during ovulation and right before your period starts, your estrogen and progesterone levels skyrocket. As a result, your body retains water, which can increase your weight by as much as 10 pounds—but 5 is the average.

2.    Excess gas.After you’ve survived PMS and your period starts (finally!), your progesterone and estrogen levels drop significantly, and so does the water weight. However, in its place comes excess gas, which can make you feel bloated.

While bloating doesn’t actually make you any heavier, it can make you feel bigger.

3.    Tummy troubles. It isn’t just excess gas that makes your midsection feel all poufy; it may also be the result of constipation. As it turns out, that rapid rise of hormones during ovulation can cause constipation.

Once your hormone levels fall during your period, this can have the opposite impact, making diarrhea more likely. And to compound things, all those irresistible cravings can disrupt digestion, too.

4.    Indulgence. Let’s face the facts: salt-filled foods and all-things chocolate always sound delicious. However, when PMS symptoms kick in and you start your period, you don’t necessarily feel your best. One way to cope with feeling tired, uncomfortable and yucky, is to indulge in those cravings.

However, because you aren’t exactly craving celery and hummus during lady time, giving into those unhealthy foods only worsens the discomfort. And if you skip your workout, you’ll really be battling the bloat.

5.    It’s something else. While battling some discomfort during Aunt Flow’s visit is normal, if you notice steady weight gain without fluctuation or a change in your behavior, there could be another cause. Common conditions like Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and hypothyroidism can cause a change in weight.

One of the best things you can do is to keep a period diary, and to work with your primary care provider. As the healthcare expert that knows you best, he or she can help identify any abnormalities or changes in your body and health. You are unique and your health care should be, too.

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