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Is PMS Causing My Weight Gain?

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Do you ever feel like you gain weight during your period? You are not alone. Many women experience a weight gain of one to six pounds (some even up to 10 pounds) during the time of their menstrual period without making any changes to their daily food or exercise schedule.

The most common PMS symptoms are stomach cramps, back pain, irritability, bloating, and weight gain. It doesn’t quite seem fair.

The bad news is during the time of your period, and in many cases, days leading up to it, you may experience cramps, mood swings and unwanted weight gain. The good news is the extra pounds will probably disappear about the time that the tampon box does.

Here is the reason why.

According to information gathered from Buzzle.com, there are four main reasons for weight gain during your favorite time of the month.

Water Retention
Water retention is often to blame for weight gain during a period. This is normally caused by hormonal changes that a women experiences at the time.

Gas accumulation in the intestine can cause menstrual bloating. This can be a result of the changes that are occurring in the body during this hormonal time and can be affected by inactivity before and during the menstrual cycle.

Severe menstrual cramps can be caused by bloating. Continuing to stay active, drinking lots of water and consuming foods containing water may be helpful in counter-acting this full and sometimes painful feeling.

Satisfying Food Craving and/or Overeating
As tempted as you are by the M & M’s and greasy French fries, don’t do it.

Your sugar craving may be strong and your bad mood may alter your willpower to stick to healthy snacks. I don’t think that I have ever heard a friend say, “I am PMSing, let’s go get some fresh veggies!” What are the biggest PMS food cravings? According to Medicinenet.com, Chocolate comes in as number one. Other sugary treats are a close second. Salty foods fall into third.

As reported by Buzzle.com, “Overeating (or eating less healthy options) may occur if the brain does not get sufficient quantity of glucose for its activities. In most cases, the glucose levels in the body go for a toss during period. Women tend to overeat during periods, due rise in the metabolism levels. Usually, women consume about 100 to 200 calories more than what they regularly consume, especially on the days, they are bleeding heavily.”

Decreased Magnesium Levels
During pre-menstrual days red cell magnesium levels will drop, leading to a low production of insulin. “When the levels of insulin in the body drop, which creates sugar cravings, as the brain goes into panic situation. This results in over consumption of sugar and in turn weight gain.” (Buzzle.com)

Stepping on the scale during this time could make your mood even worse. Here are some things to remember.

Reduce your sodium intake to reduce chances of water retention. Make sure your body is getting enough calcium to prevent water retention and bloating issues.

Do not avoid exercise, stay active. Eat healthy despite sugar and fried food cravings.

Eat healthy and small meals and snacks regularly to stabilize your glucose levels. Stay well hydrated.


Is PMS Sabotaging Your Diet?Medicinenet.com. By Charlene Laino. Retrieved 24. Sept. 2011.

Weight Gain During Period. Buzzle.com. By Bhakti Satalkar; 9/13/2011. Retrieved 24. Sept 2011.

Reviewed October 4, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.



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