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    Weight Gain Before and During Your Period: Are They Connected?

    Updated 03 February 2023 |
    Published 02 January 2019
    Fact Checked
    Tanya Tantry, MD
    Reviewed by Tanya Tantry, MD, Obstetrician & Gynecologist, Medical Consultant at Flo
    Flo Fact-Checking Standards

    Every piece of content at Flo Health adheres to the highest editorial standards for language, style, and medical accuracy. To learn what we do to deliver the best health and lifestyle insights to you, check out our content review principles.

    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.

    Weight gain before your period

    Do you gain weight before your period and want to know why? Let’s 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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    Causes of PMS weight gain

    According to the US Department of Health and Human Services Office of Women’s 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 aren’t entirely sure what causes the symptoms associated with premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Some of the most popular explanations include:

    • Cyclic changes in your sex hormones
    • Pituitary hormone fluctuations
    • Prostaglandin level changes
    • 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.

    It’s normal to gain three to five pounds before your period, and this weight gain usually goes away a few days after your period starts.

    PMS – Be prepared

    Understand your symptoms and get to know what’s linked to PMS and your cycle in the PMS chatbot.
    woman eating healthy salad

    How to manage weight gain before your period

    Have you ever had cravings for certain types of food just before your period? Although you may be craving comfort foods, some unhealthy options can lead to period weight gain. Try to cut back or avoid these less-healthy options before and during your period:

    • Salty foods
    • Caffeine
    • Sugar
    • Alcohol
    • Fatty foods

    Two things that might be able to help with PMS symptoms are exercising and drinking more water. It might seem counterintuitive, but increased water intake is one of the best things you can do to avoid feeling bloated and reduce the likelihood of weight gain before your period.

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