Shedding Light on Why Women Gain Weight During Menstruation

Dinesh Patel
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Dr. Kaushal

Review medical content on WOW Rx Pharmacy, so that accurate drug use information is easily accessible to everybody.
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gain weight during menstruation

For many women, the monthly menstrual cycle brings about many physical and emotional changes. 

Among these changes, weight gain is common, often leading to discomfort and frustration. 

It can be quite unnerving for some women to gain weight, but rest assured, it is quite normal and temporary. 

This article will look at the reasons why women gain weight during menstruation and the management techniques. 

Average weight gain during menstruation

According to a study, on average, women experienced a gain of 0.450 kg during menstruation. 

Further analysis indicated a notable increase of 0.474 kg in extracellular water, contributing primarily to this weight gain.

Causes of weight gain during menstruation

Several physiological changes occur in the body during the menstrual cycle, driven by fluctuations in hormone levels.

These hormonal shifts can result in water retention, bloating, increased appetite, and gastrointestinal issues, all of which can contribute to temporary weight gain. 

A 2015 study reported that 65% of women experience swelling PMS that can contribute to weight gain during menstruation.

Water retention

Different hormones like Estrogen and Progesterone regulate the menstrual cycle. 

In the days leading up to menstruation, a rapid decrease in these hormones triggers water retention in the body tissues. 

This phenomenon, known as Edema, can lead to a temporary increase in body weight in the second phase of the menstrual cycle. 


BloatingSource: PBXStudio
Woman suffering from Bloating

Hormonal changes during menstruation can result in bloating two days before periods start. 

Additionally, water retention in the abdomen can exacerbate feelings of bloating and discomfort.

Food cravings and overeating

Fluctuations in hormone levels, particularly increased Progesterone, can stimulate appetite and lead to overeating. 

Furthermore, a drop in Serotonin levels before menstruation can trigger sugar cravings, leading to higher calorie intake and potential weight gain.

Gastrointestinal issues

Hormonal fluctuations can disrupt normal digestive processes, leading to constipation. 

These discomforts can contribute to the sensation of weight gain during menstruation.

Recommended Article
Besides constipation, menstruation can lead to more digestive issues. 
To know more about these issues, read Menstruation Poop: Managing Digestive Distress During Your Cycle.

Decrease in magnesium levels

As menstruation begins, magnesium levels in the body gradually decrease

This drop in magnesium can provoke intake of sugar cravings and contribute to weight gain.

Managing weight gain during menstruation

There are several strategies women can employ to alleviate symptoms of weight gain during menstruation. Some of these include:

Stay hydrated

Adequate hydration is crucial for reducing water retention and bloating during menstruation. 

Drink plenty of water throughout the day, and consider adding hydrating foods such as cucumbers and watermelon to your diet.

Eat nutritious foods

nutritional-dietSource: thesomegirl_from_Getty_Images_Pro
Nutritious Food

Incorporate plenty of fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins into your diet. 

Additionally, fiber-rich foods can also aid in digestion and alleviate constipation or bloating.

Consider diuretics

In some cases, diuretics may be recommended to help reduce water retention. 

However, it’s essential to consult with a doctor before taking any medications, as they may have side effects or interactions with other medications.

If you are taking NSAIDs like Ibuprofen, it is recommended not to take diuretics at the same time as it can cause kidney damage.

Supplement with magnesium

Magnesium supplements may help alleviate symptoms such as bloating, sugar cravings, and mood swings associated with menstruation

You can consume foods rich in magnesium, like leafy greens, seeds, nuts, and whole grains. However, consult with a doctor before starting any new magnesium supplements.

Maintain physical activity

Regular exercise can help alleviate symptoms like bloating and weight gain by promoting circulation and reducing fluid buildup. 

Engage in physical activities like walking, jogging, yoga, or swimming, aiming for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days.

Practice healthy habits

In addition to staying hydrated and engaging in physical activity, incorporating other healthy habits can help manage weight gain during menstruation. 

Limiting salt intake can help reduce water retention. Avoiding caffeine and sugary foods can stabilize energy levels and prevent mood swings.


Weight gain during menstruation is a multifaceted phenomenon influenced by various factors. 

These include hormonal fluctuations, water retention, gastrointestinal changes, and shifts in nutrient levels. 

While weight gain during this time can be unsettling and frustrating for many women, it’s important to recognize that it is a natural and temporary aspect of the menstrual cycle.

Managing weight gain during menstruation involves a combination of lifestyle adjustments and proactive measures. 

Strategies such as staying hydrated, consuming nutritious foods, considering diuretics, magnesium supplements, and regular physical activity can minimize the impact of weight gain. 

So, women should use these strategies with patience and must approach weight gain during menstruation with understanding. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you gain weight during menstruation?

Women can gain weight during menstruation. While some women may notice a slight increase, others may not experience any significant changes. However, it’s important to note that not all women experience weight gain during this time, and the amount can vary widely.

How much weight can you gain during menstruation?

The amount of weight gained during menstruation varies from person to person. Women may notice a weight gain of approximately 0.450 kg during their menstrual cycle. However, individual experiences can differ, and some women may notice more or less weight fluctuation during this time than others.

What causes weight gain during menstruation?

Hormonal fluctuations in Estrogen and Progesterone levels primarily cause weight gain during menstruation. These hormonal changes can lead to water retention, bloating, increased appetite, and food cravings. Additionally, changes in Serotonin levels before menstruation can trigger sugar cravings, potentially leading to higher calorie intake and weight gain.

Is menstrual weight gain normal?

Yes, menstrual weight gain is considered a normal part of the menstrual cycle for many women. It is primarily due to hormonal changes and typically resolves once menstruation ends. While it can be uncomfortable and frustrating, understanding it is temporary can help alleviate concerns.

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