What Causes Weight Gain During a Period?

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  • Written By: Anna T.
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 30 September 2019
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The reason for weight gain during a period is likely linked to both water retention and abnormal food cravings. Not all women experience these problems before and during menstruation, but the majority of women likely do. Water retention and food cravings tend to start about one week before a woman's period occurs. Even though many women complain of gaining large amounts of weight during their periods as a result of these things, most probably do not gain more than 5 pounds (2.27 kg) before and during their menstrual cycles. This weight tends to come off rapidly once a woman's period is over.

Water retention is a common cause of weight gain around the time of menstruation. In some cases, water retention stops right when the period starts, but for some women, it continues to be a problem up until their periods end. Water retention tends to make many women feel bloated and uncomfortable around the time of their monthly cycles, and there are certain things that can make it worse. Most healthcare professionals recommend staying away from salty food before and during menstruation because salt causes the body to retain more water. Consuming excess amounts of caffeine and alcohol might also make water retention worse.


Food cravings are another factor that might contribute to weight gain during a period. There are a lot of women who claim to have cravings for excessively sweet, salty, and high-fat foods just before and during their periods. Women who give in to these cravings might notice a slight amount of weight gained as a result. Some evidence has shown that around the time of menstruation, a woman's metabolism might speed up by as much as 5 to 10%. This small increase in metabolism, if it occurs, may help to offset any excess weight gained from giving in to cravings for high-calorie foods.

Weight gain during a period is almost never something that becomes a long-term problem. The majority of women who gain a little weight around the time of menstruation will likely lose it once their periods are over. Most healthcare professionals advise women who suffer from excessive water retention or food cravings during their periods to do their best to eat healthy and get in some exercise to offset these symptoms. There are also some over-the-counter PMS medicines that might help a great deal with managing menstrual problems.


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Post 3

@ZipLine-- Actually, eating leads to blood production. It's a good thing to be eating well and gaining a little weight since you will be losing a lot of blood.

Post 2

@donasmrs-- No, I really gain weight during my periods because I crave chocolates like crazy.

I start craving chocolates and other sweets one week before my period and binge on them until my period is over.

So I'm basically gaining several pounds and then losing it every month because of my period. But I can't help it. The cravings are so strong, kind of like the food cravings during pregnancy. I'm not sure why this happens but it feels like my body is preparing for the period this way.

Post 1

I agree with the article that there isn't really weight gain before a period. It's just the body holding on to water.

Also the whole process of throwing out the endometrium causes bloating around the stomach. So women think that they have gained weight because their pants feel tighter.

I used to think this as well until I realized that this disappears completely after my period is over.

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