Heaviness or headaches. Fluid retention leading to headaches, breast tenderness, abdominal bloating, and weigh gain.
So now that we know that water retention and bloating tend to occur in the premenstrual and follicular stages and starts to be relieved during the luteal stage and is flushed during the period stage.
For some women this happens every month and for others it is just an occasional gain. However if it starts in premenstrual and goes until bleeding starts to be completely relieved, that can mean 3-4 weeks of water retention and being miserably uncomfortable. So what are the causes of this water retention and weight gain?
The most common cause is hormonal changes and imbalance due to the increase of estrogen that starts slowly in the premenstrual stage and is excessive in the follicular stage. The luteal stage sees the estrogen diminish and progesterone increase which maintains an imbalance. This causes fluid to be retained in the feet, hand, legs and abdomen.
Another cause of water retention is the dehydration that can occur before and during the period but mostly before.
Women often do not drink enough water in these stages of the cycle. Dehydration always leads to water retention as the body tries to keep what it has. Finally if a woman has high sodium this will increase the fluid retention.
Many women experience a higher metabolism rate in the first three stages of the cycle leading to food cravings and increased consumption of sodium. There can also be erratic glucose levels during this time due to reduced magnesium levels and therefore higher sugar consumption.
Bloating is also due to gas build up and indigestion. Yet many women simply refer to the weight gain and water retention as bloating.
However it is really gas in the intestines and it usually happens because women are less active in the premenstrual and follicular stages. It might also be the result of constipation and the cause of cramping.Due to hormonal fluctuations, women are often plagued with bloated bellies and puffy extremities the week before their periods, but water retention can also be the result of a poor diet. Whether it’s PMS-related or simply too many dips into the salty chip bag, here’s ￼a list of foods that fight water retention.
Water You may think restricting your water intake will reduce your bloat, but dehydration ￼will actually make your body hold on to water. When it comes to water, drink, drink, and ￼drink some more. Drink a glass as soon as you wake up and keep sipping all day, aiming ￼for eight (8-ounce) glasses total. Slip in a few slices of lemon, lime, or orange as citrus is ￼high in potassium and can relieve bloating.
Melons, citrus, and other potassium-rich fruits will help reduce water retention because they are high in the mineral potassium that balances sodium levels. Start your day with a fruit salad or a fruit smoothie.
Watercress, an often overlooked leafy green, is a natural diuretic that is also high in potassium. Other bloat-fighting foods include other leafy greens, celery, tomatoes, carrots, onions, and peppers. The flavonoids in vegetables (and fruit) can alleviate water retention. Get your fill by tossing veggies into a salad at lunch and dinner.
Salmon. Loaded with omega-3s, salmon is a super food that is not only food for the heart, brain, and joints, it can also fend off PMS. Other rich sources of omega-3s include tuna,mackerel, herring, and flax. Include salmon and other fatty fish in your diet at least twice ￼per week.
Whole grains and nuts.Tasty sources of vitamin B6, a nutrient associated with PMS relief, whole grain products and nuts are a good nosh when you’re feeling bloated. Make sure the whole grains you choose are low in sodium and avoid salted nuts. Bonus: Whole￼grains are a great source of fiber and nuts are packed with good for you fats.
Herbs.Some herbs are also believed to help reduce water retention. Celery seed (do not￼take if you are pregnant), evening primrose oil, and dandelion root are just a few bloat-￼fighting options. Talk to a naturopath or herbalist about these herbs and others that are natural diuretics.
Foods to avoid. The salt shaker is only one way to avoid water retention. More importantly, limit your intake of processed, packaged foods, which are nearly always￼loaded with sodium. Instead, comprise your diet of fresh, wholesome foods, which in￼addition to reducing your risk of bloating, are a boon to your health.
The most effective herbs and foods discussed below are effective natural diuretic
- Dandelion Leaf
- Uva Ursi Leaf Extract
- Green Tea Leaf
- Parsley Extract
- Buchu Leaf Extract
- Juniper Berry Exctradt
- Hydrangea Rood
- Corn Silk
- Magnesium Citrate
- Vitamin B6
How do Natural Diuretics works:
Uva Ursi Leaf has antimicrobial properties that help flush excess water from your system. It also treats urinary tract, bladder and kidney infections.
Cranberries contain antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer qualities.
Hydrangea Root is a soothing diuretic that helps balance blood sugar and reduce water retention and bloating.
Corn silk is also rich in potassium and increases the rate of urine production by forcing out fluids trapped inside tissues and intercellular spaces.
Green tea is full of antioxidants that fight free radicals and is universally acclaimed for its weight loss and anti-aging potentials. The active phytochemicals found in green tea include epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) , flavonoids, tannins, caffeine, and polyphenols. It’s the caffeine in green tea that provides the diuretic component and also increases body metabolism by breaking down fat deposits in the body. The main diuretic action of dandelion involves increasing the flow of urine by enhancing the activities of the kidney and liver so the body can more efficiently process foods and liquids and metabolize fat while also purging harmful toxins. By increasing urinary function, more fluids are released from the body and excess water weight is reduced. Dandelion does not reduce potassium levels in the body which makes it a perfect diuretic herb. In fact, Dandelion is rich in potassium and can replenish the body’s store of the mineral. Other essential nutrients found in dandelion include iron, magnesium and various vitamins.
One of the volatile oils in Juniper Berries dilutes urine and disinfects the urinary tract as it gets excreted in the urine. Juniper berry stimulates the production of more urine and prevents uric acid from building up in the kidneys by keeping it dissolved in excess fluids and excreting it with urine.
The active compounds in the Buchu Leaf make it a good stimulant with beneficial cleansing properties that increase perspiration.
Parsley cleanses the kidneys by increasing urination. It does this by inhibiting the sodium and potassium ion pumps. This inhibition reduces the reabsorption of sodium and potassium salts in the kidney. As a result, there is an increase in osmotic pressure as well as fluid outflow leading to increased urine volume.Parsley is also rich in potassium and a variety of other minerals and vitamins.
1. Reduce sodium/salt consumption as sodium induces water retention. It is also true that a lack of sodium can induce the body to get rid of any excess fluid.
2. Diuretics – There are over the counter (OTC) medications developed especially for the symptoms of the menstrual cycle such as Pamprin and Midol. Midol contains caffeine it might not be such a good idea. There are also prescription diuretics that could be used. However the use of diuretics is not really recommended for period water retention as it will usually resolve itself when the period ends.
3. Calcium can prevent and stop water retention during periods so it is important to be sure to get enough. If you are not getting enough in your diet you need to get it through supplements.
4. Potassium helps in fluid regulation and can be found in foods such as bananas, apples, raisons, apricots, and tomatoes.
5. Caffeine should be limited. You do not have to give it up entirely but limit it. If you regularly use caffeine keep using a small amount as it releases endorphins and will assist with how to decrease the impact of other pms symptoms. Caffeine is also a natural diuretic.
6. Chasteberry is an herb that helps with relieving water retention. This herb also increases the production of progesterone and therefore will decrease the amount of estrogen in the system. In this way, chasteberry can bring about a hormonal balance that will eliminate period water retention.
7. Stay hydrated. This may seem counterintuitive but staying hydrated will actually keep the body from retaining fluid. This is because if you keep pushing fluids through your body, your kidneys will flush out excess sodium that might assist in fluid retention.
8. Exercise is vital to preventing or curing water retention. How much exercise is needed? Not that much. Just be sure you do some aerobic exercise daily.
9. Vitamins – if you have any shortage of Vitamin B1, B5 and B6 it can lead to retention of fluids and water. So you might want to use supplements of these vitamins during your cycle.
10. Magnesium helps with alleviating excessive water during the menstrual cycle. It is found in nuts, green leafy vegetables, seeds and whole grains.
11. Diet: This is a big factor in water retention during menstruation because of the many properties in food to retain or expel fluid and how you eat is as important as what you eat. Things to avoid include refined sugar. Avoid simple carbohydrates in favor of complex carbohydrates.
There should be plenty of fiber and lean protein as well. It is recommended that smaller meals be eaten 4-5 times a day instead of three large meals. Eat foods that have a lot of iron and drink at least one glass of milk each day, preferably skim milk. Milk prevents water retention. It is also important to eat foods that have high amounts of water so that this fluid can help the kidneys to flush out all the fluid in the body. These foods include berries, watermelon, cucumbers and lettuce.
So you can see there are not only potentially serious consequences of water retention during periods, there are also few good ways to deal with it.