Do You Gain Weight on Your Period? What to Know
Other conditions can also contribute to weight gain, some of which may require medical care. Talk with a doctor if you notice any rapid or significant weight changes.
Learn more about why people gain weight during their periods, related symptoms, treatment, and prevention.
Many factors may contribute to weight changes during a period. Some may be due to the temporary physical changes in the body caused by the menstrual cycle, whereas others are due to how PMS can affect your habits.
Before your period starts, estrogen levels
Estrogen and progesterone can influence how the body controls fluids. Changes in these hormone levels can lead to water retention.
As a result, your weight and body composition may temporarily increase around your period due to fluid buildup rather than gaining fat.
Bloating is a common symptom of PMS. Gas and water retention
In addition to weight gain that water retention may temporarily cause, bloating can cause the stomach to look larger. This may add to the appearance of a weight increase.
Decrease in magnesium
Magnesium levels tend to decrease before menstruation starts.
Low magnesium levels have been linked to low serotonin production. As a result, you may experience cravings and appetite increases.
If you eat more than your body needs to support your activity level, the body stores the excess energy as fat, leading to weight gain.
Your appetite may also change
Added sugars can have a high number of calories, which may also contribute to weight gain.
Skipping physical activity
Some people may find their energy levels
Not getting enough physical activity can contribute to weight gain.
Q: How much weight can you gain on your period?
A: Studies suggest that the average weight gain during a period is 1–5 lb. This weight gain is usually temporary and goes away once your period is over.
Stacy A. Henigsman, DO Answers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice.
Weight increases due to fluid retention, gastrointestinal problems, and bloating may cause feelings of swelling, puffiness, and tenderness.
Emotional symptoms of PMS can include:
- mood changes, such as irritability
- sleeping more or less
- difficulty with concentration or memory
- lower interest in sex
Here are some ways to help treat or manage weight gain and bloating during a period.
- Staying hydrated: Not drinking enough fluids
can worsen Trusted Source PubMed Central Highly respected database from the National Institutes of Health Go to sourcewater retention, as dehydration may encourage the body to store more water. Talking with a doctor or registered dietitian about how much water you should drink, as this can vary per person, can be helpful.
- Staying active: Regular physical activity
can help Trusted Source PubMed Central Highly respected database from the National Institutes of Health Go to sourcealleviate bloating and may help reduce Trusted Source PubMed Central Highly respected database from the National Institutes of Health Go to sourceweight gain from eating more food than your body requires. Consider trying to be active after waking when energy levels are typically higher. Finding a manageable, lower intensity activity may also help you stay active during this time. Adjusting your habits, such as activity, to your menstrual cycle is called cycle-syncing.
- Eating a balanced diet: Eating a balanced diet can help you take in enough magnesium and also manage cravings and appetite increases. You can talk with a doctor or dietitian about what dietary approach and food intake levels they recommend. Also, consider preparing healthy snacks in advance to help you avoid snacking on high sugar foods or other ingredients you might crave.
- Asking your doctor about magnesium supplements: Talk with your doctor about testing your magnesium levels around your menstrual cycle. If your levels are too low, they may recommend magnesium supplements or eating foods high in magnesium.
Read more about magnesium supplements, including benefits, safety, and types.
Medical treatment options
If lifestyle approaches do not seem to be helpful, consider talking with your doctor about medical treatments. Options can include:
- Diuretics: Talk with your doctor about whether diuretic medications may be safe and appropriate for you. Diuretic medications or “water” pills
can help reduce Trusted Source PubMed Central Highly respected database from the National Institutes of Health Go to sourcefluid buildup, so they may help address excess water retention.
- Hormonal birth control: Hormonal treatments can help reduce and relieve PMS symptoms, including those that can lead to weight gain. However, reactions to hormonal treatments vary, so it may take trial and error to find the best option for your symptoms. Some options include:
- combined oral contraceptive pills
- estrogen gel or patches
- gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) analog medications (for severe PMS)
- the synthetic hormone danazol (Danocrine)
You may not be able to prevent weight gain during a period completely.
- getting regular physical activity
- staying hydrated
- quitting smoking if you smoke
- getting enough fiber in your diet
- managing stress, such as with meditation or psychotherapy
Limiting or avoiding the following foods and ingredients may also help:
- added sugar
- sorbitol, an artificial sweetener
- carbonated drinks
- chewing gum
- cruciferous vegetables
- beans or other legumes
It’s important that you always talk with a doctor or dietitian before making significant changes to your diet.
Stacy A. Henigsman, DO, reviewed the answers to these commonly asked questions about weight gain associated with a period.
When does period weight gain start?
You may first notice weight gain a few days before your period starts to a few days after.
However, not everyone will have the same effects or symptom timeline.
When does period weight go away?
Weight gain due to PMS symptoms, such as water retention, may go away or improve by the end of your period or the first week of your menstrual cycle.
However, some causes of weight gain, such as overeating or physical inactivity, may lead to longer-term weight increases.
Some people do gain weight while on their period. This can happen due to premenstrual syndrome (PMS) causing temporary water retention and bloating. You may also experience less motivation for physical activity and appetite increases that contribute to overeating.
Talk with your doctor if you notice any symptoms of PMS or have questions about your weight.