Feb 22, 2023

Why do I bloat and gain weight before my period?

Do your jeans start to feel a bit tighter in the days leading up to your period?

It’s actually pretty common. Around 70% of us experience bloating as a PMS symptom, so if you do feel a little heavier around your cycle, remember that it’s completely normal!

You may notice some bloating and discomfort just before your period begins, and it may also extend a few days into your cycle. Team Libra is here with the low down on why we experience period bloating and weight gain, as well as some tips to ease symptoms and help you feel more comfortable.

What causes period weight gain and bloating?

As with most period symptoms, bloating and weight gain are caused by a change in hormone levels, specifically oestrogen and progesterone.

Here’s the science behind it: An increase in oestrogen occurs in the days leading up to your period, which results in your body retaining more water and salt. The added water retention causes the cells in your body to swell, which may lead to some minor weight gain along with that bloated feeling. At the same time, progesterone decreases, which can slow down your digestive system and cause further bloating. Speaking of progesterone, do you ever find yourself experiencing an increase in trips to the bathroom or some diarrhoea during your period? Well, that’s also caused by lower progesterone levels and prostaglandins, the chemicals your body produces to help the uterus contract and shed its lining. The more you know!

It’s important to remember everyone’s body reacts differently to hormonal changes. Where you might feel bloated, your sister might get a few pimples and your bestie might need to use the loo more. If D&Ms about the struggle of periods have taught us anything, it’s that no experience is identical, and understanding your body is essential!

How long will period bloating and weight gain last?

Let’s get one thing straight: we’re for celebrating and embracing all bodies. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with looking a little different on your period, be it from acne to some weight gain. However, we can’t ignore that period-related changes in your appearance may lead to you feeling a bit bleh. And that’s okay. We’re here to tell you two things: you’re beautiful either way, and it doesn’t last forever.

Did you know 92% of people experience water retention during their cycle? That’s why most of us relate to feeling a little heavier. Weight gain typically occurs days before your period, and can last a few days into it. Then, as your hormones balance towards the end of your menstrual cycle, bloating and weight fluctuations decrease. 

If you constantly feel bloated or have a swollen abdomen, make sure to have a chat with your medical professional.

What are some remedies to help relieve the bloating and weight gain?

Firstly, it’s normal for our bodies to fluctuate throughout our lives and it’s something we should embrace rather than fear.

But of course, we understand if the weight fluctuation affects your self-confidence or the sensation of bloating makes you feel uncomfortable. So, we’re sharing a few useful tips to ease symptoms.

Try to avoid salty food

Even though hot chips and other salty foods taste so good, they can increase the amount of water the body retains. Instead, opt for non-processed foods, or channel your inner chef and make some delicious snacks at home where you can control the amount of salt you add.

Stay away from refined carbohydrates

Refined carbohydrates such as white flour, bread and pastries are not only hard to digest but they also spike your insulin levels, which causes the body to retain more water. Try swapping out refined carbohydrates for unrefined ones such as quinoa, beans and wholegrain rice, in the days leading up to your period. We know unrefined carbohydrates may not seem as enticing as a delicious croissant, but you can always get creative by trying new recipes and cooking techniques!

Go bananas for food rich in potassium

Potassium-rich foods such as bananas, spinach, avocados and lentils help counterbalance the amount of sodium in your body, meaning they can help to relieve period bloating. So next time your belly feels a bit swollen, why not snack on a banana or fix up some avo toast? 

Drink plenty of water

Drinking water helps your body in countless ways - and yes, it also helps to prevent period bloating! Water will not only neutralise the amount of sodium in your body, but it will also assist it in flushing out any trapped liquids which could be contributing to the bloating.

Not a fan of water? How about lemonade?

In some cases, you may want to take a diuretic. A diuretic is basically a substance that will help you to flush out any extra water in your system by increasing the amount you pee. Reach for foods that are natural diuretics such as lemons, cabbage, ginger and garlic.

Exercise regularly

Even though exercising when you’re feeling bloated or on your period may be the last thing you want to do, it can really help to get your digestive system moving and ease bloating. Exercise can also help to relieve period pain, so call up your bestie for a nice long walk, or get zen with some home yoga!

Wear comfortable clothes

A constrictive waistband can cause discomfort and pain when bloated, so use the time to kick back and relax in your favourite trackies. Or maybe take it as a fabulous excuse to stay in comfy PJs all day?

Remember, it’s normal for our bodies to experience physical changes throughout our cycle. Symptoms like bloating and weight gain are common AND temporary. Take time for yourself and listen to your body.

There’s always more to learn about our cycles, so why not expand your knowledge? Check out our blogs to learn what exactly is a period, to understand vaginal discharge and spotting, and what you need to know about PMS

Medical disclaimer

The medical information in this article is provided as an information resource only and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. Please consult your doctor for guidance about a specific medical condition.

Love, Libra x
Essity makes no warranties or representations regarding the completeness or accuracy of the information. This information should be used only as a guide and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional, medical or other health professional advice.


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