Weight gain during menopause – what’s normal and how to avoid it?

Around one week before your period is to begin, it’s common to start experiencing all the familiar signs: tender breasts, mood swings, and on top of that, weight gain during your PMS.

As well as most things related to menstrual cycle, feeling that your period might cause weight gain is not only your fantasies. In fact, there are a few physiological and psychological reasons why menstruation adds some extra kilos that can last longer than your period week. The good news is, though, with some awarenes of why and how, you don’t have to smile and put up with it. Here’s some useful tips and facts you need to be aware of.

How much weight gain is considered normal during your period?

So how much weight gain is OK? A lot of women usually see about two to six pounds of weight gain around period time, although everybody is different. If you are experiencing rapid or long-lasting weight gain, though, it’s best to consult your doctor, who can identify possible issues at play besides menstruation. It is also recommended to see your doctor if you realize that PMS symptoms are beginning to interfere with your life.

If you want to learn more about weight gain during your period, here are five reasons why those numbers on the scale seem to increase during menstruation. Plus, doctors explain how to fight putting on weight and bloating to make your this special time a bit less uncomfortable.

5 factors that contribute to weight gain during PMS

1. Fluid retention

Feeling bloated is a typical complaint during the PMS, when high levels of the female reproductive hormones estrogen and progesterone cause the body to shift its sodium setpoint and cause fluid retention. This is most noticeable in women during the second half of the menstrual cycle, when both estradiol and progesterone are at their strongest and abundant of the three estrogen and progesterone hormones.

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To keep fluid weight constant, try to avoid salty foods during the second half of your cycle. Skip the diuretics. In serious cases, some women might be prescribed them, although this should be done in accordance with your gynecologist.

2. Inquiries

How well the gastrointestinal tract works depends on how well it gets rid the body of waste. Progesterone causes certain relaxation of the smooth muscles, which in turn results in decreased gastrointestinal motility, which can lead to bloating and constipation in some women. In order to reduce the former and the latter, consider having more fiber in your diet, especially during the second half of the PMS.

3. Diet habits

Progesterone plays another significant role in the second half of the menstrual cycle. It lifts your appetite, acting as a trigger for you to overreat. Constant overeating, which is not compensated by increased physical activity, may result in lasting weight gain.

To prevent gaining weight, turn away from foods that reduce your overall well-being. Sorry,  but you need to avoid things you really crave, like sugary foods, like a lot of carbs. You also need to cut out caffeine, alcohol and really salty foods.

4. Premenstrual syndrome

For most women, their monthly “period” starts with at least one of a number of symptoms well-known as premenstrual syndrome, or PMS, around one or two weeks before the actual period starts. Some of the most common symptoms are bloating, food cravings and weight gain. A study of 259 healthy women with regular menstrual cycles indicated noticeable increases in appetite, protein intake and general cravings, including for such snacks as chocolate, sweets and salty flavors during the premenstrual stage before actual menstruation begins.

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Streesing out or experiencing anxiety are also common companions of PMS, which is believed to be caused by cyclical changes in the brain chemical serotonin. For some women, these mood symptoms may also lead to increased food intake. Up to 8 percent of women might experience a severe form of PMS, known as premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Food cravings or binge eating are one of the symptoms of PMDD. See a health care professional if you experience significant depression or anxiety during PMS as they may be related to binge eating or eating disordered behaviors. To compensate for weight gain during PMS or the second part of your cycle, do more exercise and switch to eating healthy, nutrient-rich foods.


If you are going though irregular periods and occasional weight gain, there may be a ground for concern. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, or PCOS, is an imbalance of reproductive hormones that is a cause of metabolic problems. It affects 10% of women of childbearing age.

In overweight women suffering from PCOS, losing weight may help regulate their menstrual cycles. Fat itself can produce estrogen, which can cause hormonal imbalances that can affect the cycle. Irregular cycles do not cause weight gain. Vice versa, weight gain may trigger irregular cycles.

For most women, however, weight gain during menstruation is only a temporary phenomenon. Sticking to an overall healthy lifestyle and diet will contain those extra pounds within manageable limits.

Is there anything you can do to combat weight gain?

Remember: with period weight gain, you don’t get fat. It’s mostly just water weight thanks to your hormones (and irregular gastrointestinal tract… and less than ideal eating and exercise habits). However, you may not feel like waiting five to seven days before your period ends before your body feels normal.

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So you can try these pretty quick tips to at least minimize swings in your pounds during your period.

  • Take in more water. Drink lots of water, at least eight glasses a day (which is around two liters) to flush your body. Staying hydrated helps combat fluid retention, even though it might seem counterproductive.
  • Move around. If it is possible, carry on exercising despite cramping and fatigue. Half an hour of daily exercise before and during your period, alternating between weight and cardio, can help release endorphins and fight the hormonal effects of your cycle.
  • Consider taking supplements. You can fight hormones and their side effects on your mood swings, hydration and skin taking some supplements that will decrease PMS problems. The recommended supplement is vitamin B, which can reduce bloating and other PMS symptoms.
  • Increase magnesium intake. Magnesium helps to reduce bloating by increasing the production of balanced stomach acid. When stomach acid is low, bloating and gas increases. To boost your magnesium levels, you can take it as a supplement or add more magnesium-rich foods, such as spinach, to your daily diet.
  • Avoid eating too much salt. Salt triggers fluid retention as it attracts water, so salt may be another culprit for your bloating. Managing your salt intake can help relieve some stomach problems during your cycle.
  • Finally, take into consideration that this time of the month is the perfect excuse to put on flouncy dresses or comfortable active garments, and just save your high-waisted jeans for later.

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