Weight Gain During Ovulation: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments
Whenever the crimson tide is on the rise, you brace yourself for all the aches and pains, and discomfort that comes with it. There are the sore boobs, headaches, cramps, and of course, the occasional crying spells. You've gotten around to accepting all these except for one thing: your weight gain.
During your period, extra bulges seem to pop up here and there all over your body. Yet, you pinky swear they weren't there just a few days ago! And all the bloating and heaviness... It's like sinister forces are uniting to conspire against you.
Stop right there! Before you go suspecting black magic, know that it's not just you—it's pretty normal to experience weight gain during ovulation. So let's break down the facts.
How ovulation affects weight gain
But first, how do you know when you're ovulating? When you suddenly feel like your feminine parts have sprung a leak, or you notice a clear, wet goo on your undies, or feel a bit warm, then it's likely that you are going through ovulation.
What is ovulation?
Ovulation is what happens when your eggs get mature enough to fly the coop, (basically the ovary). Typically, this starts 14 days before you start your next menstrual cycle. Once your ovary releases an egg, it travels down to your fallopian tube and stays there from 12 hours to an entire day, waiting to get fertilized. If no suitable sperm cell is available or man enough for the task, the egg changes locations and moves to the uterus. There, it disintegrates (such is fate). During your period, your body will shed what’s left of the egg together with the unused uterine lining (the sturdy wallpaper put up on your uterus walls to prepare for fertilization). So what does all this have to do with gaining weight?
Ovulation has a lot to do with why you're swelling out. Your ovulation has 2 major events: the follicular and luteal phases. The first half of your cycle is the follicular phase, where the ovary picks out the follicles or egg sacs that it will nurture. Next, the body produces follicle-stimulating hormones and luteinizing hormones (FSH and LH) to stimulate the eggs in the follicles to mature. Then estrogen and testosterone (the female and male hormones) levels rise, and growth factors (proteins that grow specific tissues) are released.
The next half of your cycle is the luteal phase. At the start of this phase, estrogen levels will surge further as the uterine lining thickens. Here, the progesterone levels will also shoot up to prepare for the expected pregnancy. Towards the end of your cycle, your hormonal levels will decrease and return to normal.
So you can just imagine what happens during your period. At its onset, the hormone levels are at rock bottom. Then the party begins, and more and more hormones are now painting the town red. Afterwhich, the chemical club goes wild at mid-party. By the end of your cycle, all the fun eventually winds down, and the merrymaking hormones sober up and go back to their usual routines.
No wonder your body goes out of whack with all that chaos. Research shows that these hormonal fluctuations trigger the symptoms leading to weight gain.
The fluctuating hormone levels induce premenstrual cravings for carbs and sugars at the beginning of your menstruation. Then, as you go deeper into your period and experience mood swings and fatigue, your body decides that it wants to eat regularly (which includes frequent snacking) to keep your blood sugar levels—and your moods—steady. It also doesn't help that the progesterone and testosterone, which also go up and down during ovulation, may be appetite stimulants, making you want to eat more than usual.
Hormonal imbalance can also cause low spirits. The starchy and sweet sinful goodies release serotonin, making you feel happier and calmer. So if you seem to be intent on a self-destructive binge the next time your cycle comes around, don't be too hard on yourself—it could be the fault of your hormones.
Water retention and swelling
How about the water retention that also makes you gain weight? That's right, the culprits may again be the see-sawing of your hormones. These hormones control your body functions, ensuring the balance between fluid loss and gain. When the controls are off, your tissues accumulate more water than they should, causing water retention—and weight or water gain.
The earlier estrogen can also make your body retain more water, giving you more of that heavy feeling. With your body acting as a water reservoir during ovulation, you can feel bloated and all puffy, like a freshly whipped marshmallow.
Is all hope lost then?
Although you can blame your crazy hormones, there's a whole heap that you can do to prevent and control your weight gain during ovulation. Here are some of the most effective and natural ways to deal with those unwanted pounds during your period.
Eat a healthful diet
Denying your cravings will only make you desire them more. Instead, work at it the smarter way by replacing those cookies, cakes, and white bread with complex carbs. Grain-like foods like quinoa and buckwheat and whole grains such as brown rice and legumes can take longer to break down, making you feel full longer. They also give you a lot more energy which can tide you over to your next meal and make you ditch the frequent snacking.
Pop some supplements
Don't underestimate the power of supplements in battling the bulges.
Taking B vitamins, Vitamin D, iron supplements, and magnesium may boost your metabolism and help you overcome weight gain during ovulation.
B vitamins, such as B12 and B6, strengthen your body's ability to convert proteins, fats, and carbohydrates into energy. Vitamin D, on the other hand, may stabilize blood sugar, which can stave off those cravings. Besides these, there's also iron that carries oxygen to the muscles to burn fat and magnesium, which may reduce water retention.
Pack a powerful distressing combo with physical activity and some R&R. Exercise not only burns calories but also releases happiness hormones that lift your spirits and prevent stress eating. If menstrual cramps are cramping your exercise plan, try doing yoga stretches that can relieve abdominal pain, so you can quickly get back to your workout and lose those pounds.
Some rest and recreation while on your period may sound counter-intuitive. But when you lack proper rest, you'll run low on energy, which will make you want to indulge in sugars and bad carbs to boost your energy levels. But when you're well-rested and relaxed, your body is less likely to be as fixated on consuming energy-spiking bad calories. Having some R & R can also strengthen your body's self-healing powers and make you cope better with stress.
One thing that can get you totally distressed is slipping into comfortable clothing that’s designed specifically for those days when you have your period. Ruby Love's Bliss Seamless Period Underwear, for example, has built-in absorbent cotton liners which angle perfectly to collect your flow, allowing you to move more freely and with confidence. And then there’s our Brief Period Underwear, with dri-tech mesh to stop front, side, and back leaks, so you can go about your day without worrying your pretty little head. Ruby Love's period clothing can be worn with or without a pad for complete leak-proof protection so you can be blissfully carefree. Shop here to have the time of your month!