If you suffer from PMS bloating, let me tell you sister, you are not alone! According to THIS STUDY92% of women experience water retention weight gain as a PMS symptom. So the chances are pretty good that you suffer from it, just like me! Oh… the joys of being a woman! We work so hard to eat right, exercise and then 1-2 weeks a month, we watch the scale go up- despite our valiant efforts! How frustrating, right? The good news is, I have some excellent tips to help!
LET’S GET TECHNICAL
There is a reason why this happens! In the second half of the menstrual cycle, called the luteal phase, both progesterone and estrogen levels begin to increase. It is believed that the increased progesterone levels during this phase cause an increase in another hormone called aldosterone. This is the hormone that make you retain sodium and, in turn, retain water!
The retained sodium causes the retention of water outside of cells (sorry to get so sciency on you) which gives you that bloated/swollen look. On the converse, your body is forced to get rid of potassium. Potassium brings water into cells and if you had adequate amounts retained, you would have a less bloated, more muscular look.
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO PREVENT IT?
- First, cut down on processed foods that will only contribute to your sodium overload since most are packed with salt! Have you ever looked at the sodium content of frozen meals? If not, take a look next time you are shopping! You’ll be shocked! Also, don’t oversalt your home cooked food!
- Second, load up on potassium rich foods. Potassium helps counteract sodium which usually contributes to water retention and bloat. Potassium-rich foods are avocados, kidney beans, potatoes, sweet potatoes and tomatoes! Yes, bananas (and other fresh fruits) are a great source of potassium but you might want to be careful because of the third recommendation which is…
- Cut down on your carbohydrate consumption. Bananas are higher in carbs so if you eat more to help with your potassium, you might be defeating the purpose since they are also high in natural sugars. Don’t get me wrong…I’m not saying carbs are bad. They may just make you retain even more water!
- Supplements like Magnesium and Vitamin B6 are good to help with water retention. However, unlike dietary changes, you will need to be on these daily for upwards of 2 months to see any effects. The usual recommended dose of Magnesium (in the form of glycinae or maleate) is 200-400 mg daily. I do not usually recommend Magnesium oxide. More info on Magnesium in my recent BLOG POST.) And take Vitamin B6 in its active form called Pyridoxal-5-Phosphate in the dose of 50 mg daily. Pro tip: you can even try some dark chocolate. This will not only satisfy your PMS cravings but dark chocolate contains magnesium! But watch your serving size! I didn’t say eat a dark chocolate bar a day because then your weight gain with no longer just be from water retention!!
- Another way of reducing water retention is to try a mild herbal diuretic like dandelion leaf or burdock. These can be taken during PMS, when the water retention is at its worst!
I hope that you find these natural remedies helpful in alleviating some of your PMS water retention and weight gain! Keep eating well and exercising! And if the scale tips up a bit each month, keep on, keeping on and just know that it will soon come back down!
Talk To Your Doctor
While I have so much knowledge and experience with holistic medicine, I don’t have experience with YOU and your specific body situation. Any information here is not meant to replace the expertise your doctor brings to the table. Instead, it’s to inform you so you know how to talk to your doctor, and ask for recommendations specific to your needs.
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