Period Weight Gain! There is a reason why your period is referred as ‘that time of the month’ or shark week. Women often experience different issues when on their period. They go through a roller coaster of emotions and experience intense cramp pain. It this wasn’t enough there is also the discomfort of bloating.
Bloating not only causes internal uneasiness, it also leads to the additional stress of weight gain. If someone is trying to lose weight, they often feel defeated due to their fluctuating weight on their period. They think that all their healthy eating and working out has gone to waste.
To all the depressed women out there, weight gain during periods is completely normal and it eventually goes away. We have further rounded up all you need to know about weight gain during periods and how long does it last.
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Causes for Weight Gain During Menstruating
- Hormonal Changes
Different changes in hormones can cause an unexpected weight gain due to water retention. A few days before your period the progesterone and estrogen increase quite suddenly, to inform your body to start menstruating.
Both these hormones control the fluid regulation in your body. If these hormones vary, the tissues will start storing more water. This leads to edema or water retention.
This retention of water causes swelling in different parts of your body which includes your stomach, chest and other areas. This might cause a visible weight gain but this is not any increase in the amount of fat so there is no need to worry.
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Bloating is the swollen feeling in your stomach and other body parts. During menstruation you might feel your clothes become uncomfortably tight. This this is not actual weight gain but it might make you feel like you’ve put on some additional inches.
Another reason for bloating can be the hormonal changes leading to an increase in gas in your GI tract. The retention of water can also cause bloating. Stomach cramps also make you feel that you have gained weight at times. These cramps are propagated by chemicals called prostaglandins that are produced from our uterus.
This chemical is responsible for making the uterus contract and shed its inner lining. It is also the reason behind the immense abdominal pain on your period.
Bloating usually begins around five days before your period and lasts till the initial few days of menstruating. Stomach cramps also begin some days before your period and continue for a few days.
- Overeating due to Cravings
The different hormonal changes during your period often make you crave different things that results in overeating. A week before your period, the progesterone level goes up and this hormone stimulates your appetite. As the level of progesterone increases, you start eating more than normal.
Estrogen levels drop right before your period. Estrogen happens to be the hormone that regulates serotonin and serotonin is the happy hormone and the appetite reducer. So, the decrease in serotonin causes a decrease in your appetite.
Reduced levels of serotonin also increase the sugar cravings. High-crab foods also assist the body make serotonin. It its levels are less, your brain asks for more sugar and eating more sugar can result in some weight gain.
Moreover, the metabolic rate greatly varies during your menstrual cycle. When it increases, your body burns more calories and causes you to have a greater appetite. It also makes you crave high-calorie food.
- Gastrointestinal Issues
During your entire cycle, hormonal variations can cause gastrointestinal issues such as abdominal pain, diarrhea and constipation. The uneasiness and bloating in your abdomen can make you think that you have gained weight.
There is an increase in progesterone some days before your period and effects the muscle contractions in the stomach. This leads to constipation and reduced digestion.
The uterus also releases prostaglandins in the start of your period that cause muscle contraction in the gut and uterus. You may also experience abdominal and pelvic pain. Prostaglandins can lead to diarrhea as well by disturbing the electrolytes and fluid balance in the small intestine.
- Decrease in magnesium
There is usually as gradual decrease in the magnesium levels when your period starts. This reduction can incite sugar cravings and result in weight gain. Magnesium is a mineral that adjusts the hydration status of your body. Low levels of magnesium can result in dehydration.
Although, dehydration can disguise itself as hunger. It can also make you crave sugary foods when you’re in fact just thirsty. Eating high-sugar foods can also play a role in weight gain.
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How Long does the Weight Gain Last?
It is important to remember that weight gain during your period is only temporary and it’s not permanent. This is why this weigh gain is usually known as mere fluctuation in weight.
The increase in weight is usually most apparent in the few days before your period starts and when the progesterone level is the highest. Although it can extend into the first few days of your period when the levels of estrogen peak as well.
The period weight gain is closely related to the changes in hormones. Once these changes subside the problem dies down as well. Which is why the problem is only temporary and rarely lasts longer than the bleeding period.
So, the unusual weight gain also dies down when your period ends.
How Much Weight Gain is Normal?
First of all, it is important not to stress over how much weight we gain during our period. After all, it is mostly just water rather than challenging fat. However, if you are inquisitive to know how much is normal then it varies from zero to five pounds. Just like period symptoms vary from one person to another, weight gain does as well.
How to Control this Weight Gain?
This weight gain can also be controlled by following the given steps:
- Avoid foods that promote bloating.
- Exercise a little while on your period.
- Stay hydrated as much as you can.