Breaking all the myths about changes in body weight due to menstrual problems- It is true that menstrual problems can cause both weight gain and weight loss depending on the individual, their health condition and other external factors. In women, being over-weight increases your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes mellitus, heart diseases etc., while being under-weight increases your risk of having kidney stones, low blood pressure, osteoporosis etc.
It is essential to know that your hormone levels influence weight gain/ loss and your body weight impacts on your reproductive health, although it is to be noted that these changes in weight are only temporary and reversible.
Generally women with eating disorders are under-weight and have fewer periods or stay for a longer period of time without ovulating. This happens as a result of low levels of cholesterol thereby, low estrogen production.
There are certain mechanisms by which females undergo temporary weight loss during periods-
- Changes in body metabolism – It is said that overall body metabolism increases up to 20% just before and during menstruation. In addition to the low appetite and existing PMS symptoms, high metabolism takes place, resulting in rapid digestion and decreased absorption of fat and nutrients. This leads to temporary weight loss.
- Water retention – Water retention is majorly caused due to hormone imbalances and sudden fluctuation in their levels. Due to water retention during menstruation, you experience a change in appetite. The type of food and quantity of your meal influences your body weight.
- Hormonal fluctuations – During the entire course of menstruation, hormonal changes occur. Low levels of estrogen is associated with weight loss and other metabolic changes.
- Pre-menstrual syndrome – A simple reasoning of low appetite during menstruation caused due to anxiety, irritability and mood swings etc., results in weight loss. In addition, gastro-intestinal distress, a sign of PMS contributes to weight loss.
- Physical changes – It is known that period comes with tiredness, lethargy, abdominal cramps etc. The physical stress one experiences during menstruation and the minimal to zero physical activity tends to cause weight loss.
This temporary weight loss every couple of months could be frustrating. However, weight loss during menstrual cycles can be managed by staying hydrated and following a balanced and nutritional diet. Intake of salty and un-healthy food should be avoided. Avoiding carbohydrate rich meals helps in minimizing water weight in the body. By minimizing the chances and severity of water retention, body weight can be maintained at normal. Mild to moderate physical exercise helps in regulating appetite and maintain ideal body weight.
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