This is a common question we are asked, and the simple answer is yes. It is normal to gain weight on your period.
When do you gain weight before your period? What about during your period? Do you lose weight after your period? Do you gain weight faster on your period? This blog post explores the answers to these questions, so read on.
Period Weight Gain
Periods can come with a whole range of symptoms, some of which start before your actual period. Otherwise known as premenstrual syndrome or PMS. In addition to breast tenderness, acne and mood swings, a sore, bloated abdomen is a physical PMS symptom indicating that your period is coming and that period weight gain might be coming soon. Due to the hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle, you might experience a combination of physical, emotional and behavioural symptoms each month. After all, every body is different.
How Much Weight Do You Gain On Your Period?
As mentioned, period-induced weight gain is a common PMS symptom. Weight gain during your period differs from person to person as everyone is different. It is normal to gain around 3 to 5 pounds during your period on average. Feeling a bit heavier or more bloated is to be expected. Let’s explore why some women gain weight during their period.
Why Do You Gain Weight On Your Period?
Period weight gain is caused by hormonal fluctuations, which might be the result of water retention, overeating, sugar cravings or skipping workouts due to period cramps.
Hormonal changes can cause weight gain on your period by increasing water retention, i.e. the way your body regulates fluid. In the days leading up to your period, your body’s oestrogen and progesterone levels (your sexual and reproductive hormones) decrease, letting your body know that it’s time to menstruate. When your oestrogen and progesterone levels fluctuate, your body accumulates more water.
Water retention in your abdomen can lead to uncomfortable bloating before and during periods, often described as feeling sore and swollen. Period cramps can also make you feel as if you have gained weight.
You may feel as if you gain weight faster when you’re about to come on your period. Unfortunately, healthy vegetables aren’t the usual go-to period craving for most. Changes in your hormones before your period can cause you to overeat and crave sugar and salt. In the week leading up to your period, your progesterone levels increase, which stimulates your appetite. As such, you may eat more.
The hormone oestrogen regulates serotonin, a neurotransmitter that reduces appetite and controls mood. If serotonin is low, you may crave more sugar. Eating more sugar and high-calorie foods increases your calorie intake and may therefore contribute to weight gain.
In the week leading up to your period, oestrogen and progesterone levels increase. You may feel more tired than usual and skip workouts. You may be less likely to exercise on your period when you experience period cramps and bloating from water retention. And, if you’re experiencing sugar cravings and overeating, you may gain weight.
Weight gain is also a common effect of polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS. Having PCOS makes it more difficult for your body to produce insulin, the hormone that normally converts sugars from foods into energy. This can cause insulin and sugar (or glucose) to build up. High insulin levels promote the production of male hormones (called androgens). Excess androgens can lead to symptoms like weight gain and irregular periods or no periods at all, because you’re less likely to ovulate.
WUKA Period Health Expert Dr. Nitu Bajekal notes that 2 out of 10 of those with PCOS are not carrying excess weight.
Periods after birth
It’s natural to gain weight during pregnancy. It’s also natural to not always go back to the size you were before as well. If your weight increases, fat tissue can affect your hormone levels and periods after pregnancy may be irregular or heavier than before pregnancy. WUKA Period Health Expert Dr. Brooke Vandermolen advises that it is important to build in exercise and do as much as possible to nourish your body with healthy, homemade food.
When On Your Period Do You Gain Weight?
This typically affects women a few days or even a couple of weeks prior to periods.
Weight Gain Before Period
Weight gain before your period is often referred to as PMS weight gain. PMS weight gain is due to hormonal changes experienced in the luteal phase of your menstrual cycle, just before your period. The luteal phase begins after ovulation and ends when your period comes. Bloating and fatigue are very common PMS symptoms. It is normal to gain around 3 to 5 pounds before your period, and you usually return to your normal weight a few days into your period.
If you experience severe bloating and water retention during your period, we recommend that you seek medical advice from your healthcare provider. You may be asked to keep a diary of your symptoms for wider understanding.
Weight Gain During Period
Weight gain during your period is generally less common than before your period. Hormonal changes tend to cause water retention before your period, which is why bloating and weight gain reduces when you get your period. If you don’t get pregnant, your body’s hormone levels change again. The drop in oestrogen and progesterone levels triggers menstruation and your uterus lining begins to shed. In other words, your period starts.
When Does Period Weight Gain Go Away?
Whether you typically lose weight after your period is another common question we hear. Generally, your weight will usually return to normal 3 to 5 days after your bleeding begins during your menstrual cycle. It is also possible to reduce PMS symptoms like period weight gain with some home remedies and lifestyle changes (diet, exercise and behavioural changes).
You can reduce water weight by walking and moving around. Exercise can make you sweat and dispel excess fluid. As PMS symptoms are relatively preventable, there are some great hacks to help with your period to be aware of, like staying hydrated and eating mindfully on and off your period.
Overall, there isn’t anything you can do to avoid period weight gain but there are ways you can minimise it. If weight fluctuations and PMS symptoms significantly interfere with your daily life, we recommend that you seek medical advice from your healthcare provider.
Consider your period to be the time of the month where you can flex your flow with WUKA period pants and crack out your period leggings for extra comfort - and leave the tight jeans for the week after.
👉 It is normal to gain around 3 to 5 pounds before your period.
👉 Period weight gain is a prevalent PMS symptom caused by hormonal fluctuations, sometimes due to water retention, overeating, sugar cravings or skipping workouts.
👉 Period weight gain usually returns to normal a couple of days after your period starts.