You might dread the week before your period and the accompanying symptoms of feeling bloated and craving junk food. But is PMS a real thing? Actually, premenstrual syndrome is completely normal, and does lead to weight gain for a short time.
At New England Women’s Healthcare, our team is ready to assist you with any gynecologic issues you’re experiencing, including unwanted symptoms during PMS. Leading our team are eight OBGYN specialists, who offer a number of therapies and treatments to get you feeling your best during that time of the month.
What is premenstrual syndrome?
Premenstrual syndrome is a common problem among women. It happens about a week or so before your period starts, and it involves a number of uncomfortable symptoms, such as:
In most cases, PMS symptoms resolve on their own after your period starts. In some cases, though, the symptoms are bad enough to interfere with your life. In this case, you may have what’s known as premenstrual dysphoric disorder.
Hormone changes leading up to your period often cause the symptoms of PMS. Once your period starts and your hormones regulate, the symptoms disappear as quickly as they appeared.
Understanding why you gain weight during PMS
One of the most uncomfortable symptoms of PMS is weight gain. Before your period, it may seem like all you can wear are yoga pants and sweatshirts. Although you might not believe the scale, there are a number of reasons that you feel heavier before your period, and they include:
The hormone changes that occur around your period cause excess gas in your gastrointestinal tract. This can give you the feeling of weight gain and cause your clothes to feel uncomfortable and tighter than usual.
Changes in hormones
Estrogen and progesterone play a role in fluid regulation in your body. When these hormones drop before your period, your body retains water. This leads to a feeling of weight gain, through fluid accumulating in areas like your abdomen and breasts.
You may not realize it, but progesterone also stimulates your appetite, which is why you may be craving junk food and sweets. Your metabolism also fluctuates, which makes you eat more and feel like you’ve put on a few pounds.
Your level of magnesium decreases when your period starts. This makes you crave sugary foods. Magnesium also regulates your hydration, and when you're lacking enough of this mineral, it triggers dehydration. This sometimes comes across as hunger, leading to food cravings, especially for sugar.
Your hormones also cause problems in your stomach and intestines in the week leading up to your period. Your digestion is slower, which can lead to bloating, constipation, and abdominal pain. It’s no wonder you feel like you’ve put on a pound or two.
Tips to avoid the bloat of PMS
Although PMS symptoms are usually harmless, they don’t make you feel great about your body. The weight gain related to PMS is very uncomfortable, even though it lasts only a few days to a week.
There are, however, steps you can take to decrease the feelings of bloating and weight gain during the week leading up to your period. Some of the tips our team recommends include:
- Avoiding salty foods
- Staying hydrated
- Reducing caffeine
- Skipping the sugar
Our team also recommends taking magnesium supplements, which helps to alleviate bloating, breast tenderness, and mood problems. Diuretics are another option if the water retention you’re experiencing is too much.
However, make sure to take the time and contact our team before indulging in over-the-counter diuretic pills. They can be unpredictable, and you should be monitored when taking any medication like that. Our team can prescribe diuretic pills that are safe to use.
If you need help managing your PMS symptoms, don’t hesitate to contact one of our offices in Wilmington or Woburn, Massachusetts, to schedule a consultation. You may also request an appointment with one of our providers on the website.