July 19, 2024
Discover why period weight gain is such a common occurrence among women. Find out ways to reduce bloating, manage your appetite, and prevent stress during your period. Learn how to differentiate between period weight gain and pregnancy weight gain. Ultimately, our goal is to help you manage the effects of period weight gain in a healthy and natural way.


Weight gain is a common occurrence during a menstrual cycle in many women. Struggling with unexpected weight gain, even with regular exercise and a healthy diet, can be incredibly frustrating. This article aims to help you understand why weight gain happens during your period and what you can do about it.

Period weight gain is a well-known phenomenon. Nearly 70% of women gain some weight during their menstrual cycles. The weight gain can be attributed to several factors apart from overeating or lack of exercise.

Hormonal Changes and Weight Gain During Your Menstrual Cycle

Our body goes through several hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle, which leads to weight gain. Hormones like estrogen, progesterone and a hormone called luteinizing hormone (LH) are produced by the ovaries and play a significant role in the menstrual cycle.

Estrogen levels are at their peak a few days before ovulation. It increases insulin resistance and insulin levels, leading to an increased appetite and causing weight gain.

Similarly, progesterone levels rise after ovulation, which increases water retention in our body, causing us to feel bloated. This retention of water can also make it seem like we’ve gained weight, even though we haven’t.

Other hormones like cortisol, which is the hormone released in stressful situations, can increase inflammation in our body, thereby leading to retaining more water.

During a period, our metabolism slows down, making it more difficult for our body to burn fat. All these hormonal changes and fluctuations contribute to periods of weight gain, which can go on for up to two weeks during a menstrual cycle.

We can manage these hormones with simple lifestyle changes like a nutritious diet and regular exercise. Foods rich in Omega-3s and fiber like fish and nuts, and magnesium-rich foods like dark chocolate, can offset the hormonal changes and cravings.

Period Bloating: Causes and Remedies

Bloating is a common symptom that brings discomfort, causing us to feel like we’ve gained weight. It can be caused by consuming gas-producing food, constipation, hormonal changes, or a combination of all these factors.

The best way to reduce bloating during your period is to stay hydrated and avoid salt-heavy food and carbonated drinks. Drinking chamomile tea has been known to be effective in reducing bloating. Some other remedies include light exercise, massages, hot compresses, and even a mild diuretic like dandelion tea.

Understanding Menstrual Cravings and Emotional Eating

Period cravings are real, and the hormonal fluctuations during the menstrual cycle can significantly impact our appetite. We’ve all experienced the urge to snack on something sweet or salty during periods. Cravings are not necessarily a bad thing, but when we give in to the urge to eat unhealthy food, we tend to overeat and make unhealthy dietary decisions.

One way to manage these cravings is to supplement your diet with nutrient-rich food. Our body can crave a specific nutrient when it lacks it. Planning meals during periods by including foods like green leafy vegetables, nuts, and fresh fruits can help overcome sugar cravings.

An extensive study suggests that regulating our eating habits with small, frequent meals and healthy snacking can help curb period-related cravings and overeating.

The Role of Stress in Menstrual Weight Gain

Stress has long been recognized as a contributing factor to weight gain. Stress triggers the brain to release cortisol, which interferes with insulin production, leading to weight gain.

During periods, our body undergoes several changes. The hormonal fluctuations often make a woman more vulnerable to stress. Take time for yourself during your period to meditate, practice yoga or perform other relaxation techniques to decrease stress levels.

When we’re stressed, we tend to crave starch and carbohydrates like bread, pasta, and other foods high in sugar. Instead, go for food with natural sugar and healthy fats to make you feel satiated and energized.

Period-Related Weight Gain: When to Worry and When to Relax

During a menstrual cycle, it’s normal to gain a few pounds. According to historical studies, women can gain anywhere between 1 to 2 pounds during their menstrual cycle. If it’s more than that, there could other underlying health issues contributing to it.

If you’re experiencing more than two pounds of weight gain, it is advisable to get in touch with your doctor. Your doctor will examine you and run tests, if necessary, to assess the potential cause of the weight gain.

Period Weight Gain or Pregnancy Weight Gain? How to Tell the Difference

Distinguishing between pregnancy weight gain and period weight gain can be challenging. They share common symptoms that can confuse anyone. Period weight gain is generally local to the lower abdomen and hips, whereas pregnancy weight gain tends to be more widespread, covering the entire belly.

If you have any reason to suspect a possible pregnancy, consult your doctor or take a pregnancy test to confirm your condition. In cases where there is no chance of pregnancy, period weight gain is the most likely answer.


Weight gain during periods is a common affair. The hormones and physical changes during the menstrual cycle can cause significant fluctuations in our weight. Understanding the root cause of period weight gain can help us take steps to manage it.

Simple lifestyle adjustments like a balanced diet, light exercise, and stress management techniques can all aid in curbing the effects of period weight gain. Try to make dietary decisions a little easier during your period by having healthy and nutritious snacks like fruits and nuts.

Don’t stress about the few pounds of weight gain during periods. It’s a sign of a healthy menstrual cycle. But if you feel that the weight gain is too much, don’t hesitate to speak with your doctor to find out the cause of your weight gain.

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