It’s true: The scale really does move and your jeans really do get tighter during that time of the month.
Good thing most of that weight is water weight. Thanks to PMS, you retain fluid when you get your period. So when you see the scale climb up, don't freak out.
It all has to do with hormones. There are 3 phases of your menstrual cycle: Follicular, ovulatory and luteal. In the beginning part of your mestraul cycle (follicular), estrogen and progesterone hormone levels are low. Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH), are released from the brain and travel in the blood to the ovaries. These hormones grow eggs in the ovaries each in their own follicle. Estrogen levels will also start to rise. This is when you're bleeding. Good times.
Around day 13-16 is the ovulatory phase where the egg is released from the ovary.
Day 16-28 is the luteal phase. The follicle that released the egg is now empty. The hormone progesterone is released, which prepares the uterus for a fertilized egg to implant. If the egg is fertilized, the woman is pregnant. If no sperm is present, the egg passes through the uterus. The lining of the uterus breaks down and sheds, and the next menstrual period begins.
What's happening is your estrogen levels peak during the latter part of your menstrual cycle. This indirectly causes you to bloat and retain fluid. Thankfully when you begin your period, estrogen drops and you'll feel some relief, and then you get to deal with the cramps.
There are some positives to the situation. Your boobs may increase by a full cup size! This is a blessing for all my women with humble breasts. LOL This happens because of progesterone levels spiking in the second half of your cycle. This leads to more water retention, constipation, cravings, breast tenderness and sometimes water weight.
Chips, candy, ice cream, alcohol, donuts...everything that sounds amazing leads to further fluid retention. Unfortunately, those foods are exactly what your body doesn't need. Make sure you stay hydrated, and aim for lean protein to keep you full. Watch the coffee intake too! You may feel tired, but coffee is a diuretic and will not help keep you hydrated.
All you want to do is curl up in a ball and sleep. I get it. Even though working out might sound dreadful, getting a little sweat will keep your body in check. You will shed that extra water weight and the endorphin boost might relieve some of those cramps.
Overall, you might gain a few pounds of water weight the days before you get your period. That's when hormones are most out of wack. The best thing to alleviate the weight gain is drink lots of water, avoid salty sugary foods, and continue to exercise. Another thing to check with your doctor is your iron and calcium levels. Then most importantly, breathe, you're gonna be okay.