It’s not just you: The scale really does move during that time of the month. Some women can even gain up to five pounds (or more) during their period, says Natasha Johnson, M.D., a gynecologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Awesome. Women's Health Magazine is here with the scoop!
The thing is, no one really knows what causes the symptoms of PMS, says Mary Jane Minkin, M.D., clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Yale Medical School. That’s because bloating and mood changes are hard for researchers to measure. “We’re relying on symptom diaries,” says Lisa Dabney, M.D., an assistant professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive science at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
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Come on, science! However, docs do have some theories.
The female sex hormone estrogen peaks during the latter part of your menstrual cycle, right before your period, says Minkin. And high levels of it can indirectly lead your body to retain fluid, making you feel bloated and potentially causing you to gain a few pounds of water weight. The good news: Estrogen levels drop as you start your period, so you’ll feel some relief just in time for the cramps to kick in.
The other hormone at play here is progesterone, says Johnson. Progesterone levels spike in the second half of your cycle, leading to water retention, breast tenderness and sometimes water weight, she says.
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Some women even notice their breasts increasing a full size! (Bonus?) Progesterone causes your body to pull fluid from the blood vessels to the tissues, perhaps to get ready for a potential pregnancy, she says. If you don't get knocked up, then progesterone levels fall, and your bod goes back to business as usual.
We're going to take a wild guess that your period doesn't leave you craving broccoli. It's the salty and sweet stuff that's on your mind. Unfortunately, those foods are exactly what you don't need right now, says Dabney. Munching on salty chips and simple carbs, like candy or donuts, leads to fluid retention, she says.
To read the rest of the article from Women's Health Magazine, click here!