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Period weight gain: Why it happens and why it’s nothing to worry about

Period weight gain is normal and you might weigh upto 4 pounds heavier when you are down. Here’s why this happens!
cortisol and weight gain
Period weight gain is normal due to fluctuating hormones. Image courtesy: Freepik
Anjuri Nayar Singh Published: 18 Nov 2023, 10:30 am IST
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We all know the feeling of stepping on the weighing scale and getting the shock of your life when you realise you have put on a kg or two! However, before you decide to go on a crash diet, wait and check the date! If you are on your period or approaching your date, this weight gain may be perfectly normal. Hormonal changes are common during this time and these fluctuations can lead to weight gain during period.

However, if you are wondering when does period weight go away, well, here is the best part; this weight gain will totally disappear on its own! So, you might notice changes in the days leading up to your period, and once you are done with your period, your weight settles back. The same happens with bloating and other symptoms related to your periods.

How much weight do you gain on your period?

Well, brace yourselves because your weight might be up by 2 kilos during this time! “Weight gain in the latter part of your menstrual cycle, leading up to your period, may range from negligible to around 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds),” says Dr Mamatha CV, Consultant – Fertility & IVF, BirthRight by Rainbow Children’s Hospital.

It is all to do with the hormonal fluctuations, as well as water retention that leads to this sudden jump in kilos, she says. “The dominant hormone is progesterone during this period. This stimulates hunger leading to eating more during this time. Remember, these changes are part of the natural menstrual cycle and typically resolve independently and are temporary,” she adds.

A woman experiencing Period pain
Pain and mood swings are common during periods. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

According to this study, published in the American journal of human Biology, there are changes in body weight and body composition of women’s bodies when they are on their period. It states that body weight was 0.450 kg higher due to the presence of extracellular water.

Why do you gain weight during your period?

A slight weight gain during periods may be normal. You tend eating more during your period. Hormonal shifts during menstruation cause water retention, an increase in appetite, and metabolic changes. “Indulging in emotional eating and yearning for salty or sweet foods are normal and can lead to an increased consumption of calories,” explains Dr Mamatha. The following are some symptoms one may experience:

1. Water retention

An increase in the hormone progesterone can lead to water retention. This often causes bloating and a temporary increase in weight.

2. Increased appetite

Fluctuations in estrogen and progesterone levels can affect appetite. Some individuals may experience heightened cravings and increased food intake, contributing to weight gain.

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3. Metabolic changes

Hormonal shifts can influence metabolism. Some individuals may notice a slight decrease in metabolic rate during the premenstrual phase, potentially leading to weight gain. Especially, women who face painful periods avoid daily activities and choose rest or dormancy leading to the absence of calories burnt.

4. Emotional eating

We all know that hormonal changes really plays with our mood. And some of us actually love eating comfort foods during our mood swings.

5. Cravings for salty foods

Hormonal changes may also lead to cravings for salty foods. Consuming excess salt can contribute to water retention, further influencing weight fluctuations.

What else happens when you are on your period?

No matter how many years pass by, being on your period no easy feat! We are all aware that weight gain isn’t the only thing that goes wrong during this time, especially with the winter making period pain worse.  There are a many other conditions that women face when on their period. “Besides period weight gain, women also experience symptoms like mood swings, fatigue, cramps, food cravings and bloating during their period. Hormonal changes can influence emotions, while uterine contractions cause cramping. Bloating results from water retention,” says Dr. Kavitha Kovi, Senior Consultant- Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Aster Women and Children Hospital.

A plateful of a balanced meal.
A balanced diet helps with period weight gain. Image courtesy: Freepik

How can you treat these symptoms to feel better?

‘This shall pass’, yes, this is what you must tell yourself during this time! “These conditions will self-correct after the menstruation phase. Awareness is the key and it is also important is to not be overwhelmed or stressed,” says Dr Mamatha.

Also Read: 5 mood-boosting essential oils to use during periods

Talking about how these issues can be resolved, Dr Kovi says that one must focus on some pertinent lifestyle changes. “To alleviate period symptoms, try maintaining a balanced diet with regular meals to manage cravings. Staying hydrated can help reduce bloating. Exercise, like light walks, may alleviate cramps and improve mood. Hot water bag on the stomach or lower back also helps relieve some of the pain associated with periods. Over-the-counter pain relievers can also be effective for managing discomfort,” she says.

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About the Author

Anjuri Nayar Singh has over 12 years of experience in writing for various topics including lifestyle, films, television and OTT. She also writes on art and culture, education and human interest stories. ...Read More

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