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Weight Gain During Your Period: What’s That About?

01 February, 2023

PMS symptoms can come in all shapes and sizes, and you’re probably quite familiar with the signs that your period is due.

One pesky but common symptom is weight gain, which it can be quite annoying to deal with each month — especially when you can’t fit into your favourite jeans.

If you want to know more about weight gain during your period, keep reading to discover everything from why we gain weight just before or during our period to just what you can do to tackle this super fun PMS symptom.

Is it normal to gain weight during your period?

Err, absolutely. PMS symptoms are extremely common, with around 92% of women experiencing them each month. Weight gain is actually a side effect of PMS, and it’s completely normal to see the scales go up a bit.

Your body’s weight will naturally fluctuate throughout your menstrual cycle, but you may notice that you gain a little more than usual just before and during your period. It’s been said that women can gain anywhere from three to five pounds in the lead-up to their period. However, it should start to drop when your period starts.

Why does weight gain during your period happen?

There are quite a few different reasons why you’ll gain weight during your period. Let’s take a look at some of the common culprits.


Many women find that they experience bloating in the run-up to their period — a 2014 study showed that around 65% of women experience period-related bloating — so this could be one of the reasons your weight has gone up. Period bloating can make you feel as though you weigh more, and it’s normally due to hormonal changes in your body.

As your hormone levels fluctuate, your gastrointestinal tract can be impacted and become bloated. Hormone levels also control the way your body regulates and holds onto fluid, so these changes can cause water retention as a result, which increases bloating further.

Bloating will normally start around one week before your period is due, so you may feel heavier and sluggish around this time. Although period bloating isn’t really weight gain, it could make you feel as though you weigh more and you’ll notice the difference once it goes down.


All of the crazy hormonal changes that your body goes through in your menstrual cycle can sometimes cause you to overeat.

In the week leading up to your period, your progesterone levels increase. This hormone is in fact an appetite stimulant — so it’s no wonder you feel hungrier in this part of your cycle.

Your oestrogen levels also decrease right before your period, which can have a knock-on effect on your serotonin levels. Lower amounts of serotonin has been linked to an increased appetite, so you’ll find that you have to eat more to feel satisfied. You’ll also crave sweet and salty and high-fat foods — all delicious, but all terrible for exacerbating PMS symptoms like bloating.

Less energy

If you regularly exercise, you might find that you really struggle to find the energy leading up to your period. This is because your hormone levels increase in the week before your period, causing you to feel more tired than usual.

So, if you feel as though you don’t have the energy to exercise, you probably don’t! When you combine this with overeating, it’s easy to see why your weight increases.

Need more tips on exercising before your period is due? Visit our blog post on how to sync your workout routine with your menstrual cycle.


During the week before your period, the increased amount of progesterone can wreak havoc on your digestive system. High amounts of progesterone can slow down your digestion, which could lead to constipation.

Not being able to go to the bathroom might cause an increase in your weight. However, once your period begins and prostaglandins (the hormones that make your muscles contract) are released, you’ll find that this problem disappears quite quickly.

What is the average weight gain during your period?

The amount of weight that you gain during your period varies, and each woman may have a different average for their body. The general consensus is that you’ll notice a gain of anywhere between two to six pounds.

You may notice that you gain it mostly in your stomach, but it can be anywhere on your body. Many women experience swollen breasts as a result of PMS, and this can contribute to weight gain too.

Gaining weight before your period is a totally normal thing for women to experience each month. So, if you notice that your weight goes up by a few pounds, then you can rest assured that it should fall back off once your period begins.

When does period weight gain start?

Your menstrual cycle is broken up into four cycles, and weight gain will normally appear in only one of them.

Here are the phases:

  • Menstrual phase – This is when your period and the start of your cycle begins. You’ll most likely still be experiencing the side effects of PMS, including period pains, gastrointestinal issues, and bloating. If you did gain any weight in the lead-up to your period, this is when it will drop off once your symptoms subside. 

  • Follicular phase – This phase also starts on the first day of your period, but it ends just before you start to ovulate. During this phase, you might feel at your best, and you should find that your weight is pretty easy to maintain. 

  • Ovulation phase – As your oestrogen levels rise, your body will start to enter the ovulation phase. Some women experience symptoms during this time such as light pain and thicker discharge. You may also start to gain a little bit of weight while ovulating, as your body begins to bloat. 

  • Luteal phase – This phase is when you’ll notice the most weight gain before your period. This is because your progesterone levels are at their highest, causing your appetite to increase. Your serotonin levels could also decrease due to the lower amounts of oestrogen in your body. Again, this can cause you to overeat and see your weight go up.

For more information, please read our article on cycle syncing and what to eat in each phase of your cycle.

And when does period weight go away?

Typically, period weight will go away within the first few days of your period. This is because you’re back at the start of your cycle, and your hormones will regulate themselves again.

Although you may have to deal with weighing more in the lead-up to your period, once it starts, your weight should go back to normal.

How to avoid period weight gain

There are certain things you can do to help avoid period weight gain — you just need to make a few changes to your lifestyle.

Amend your diet

While you may be hungrier before and during your period, this doesn’t mean that you have to eat junk food. In fact, if you eat even healthier, you can eat more food for less calories. This should help you keep your period weight to a minimum.

Magnesium supplements

As your magnesium levels drop and potentially cause weight gain, it might be a good idea to start eating more foods with magnesium in them. Things like whole grains, seeds, and spinach contain magnesium, so try popping some of these into your diet.

Natural hormone treatment

You may want to take a look at using a natural hormone treatment like our bioidentical progesterone cream. This natural hormone solution could help you reduce symptoms of PMS, including weight gain and bloating.

Keep moving

With the increase in hormonal changes in your body, your motivation to exercise may dip before your period. However, it’s a good idea to still keep moving, even if you don’t feel like it.

You don’t have to do an intense workout session either. Try something a little lighter like some gentle cardio. This way, you’ll be able to maintain your weight and hopefully banish the dreaded period gain.

There are lots of reasons why you may gain weight during your period, but there are also things you can do to combat it.

If you want to know more about how you can manage your PMS symptoms, including weight gain, take our online assessment and see how we can help.

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