Blog Nutrition Water Retention On Your Period: Why It Happens And What You Can Do About It

Water Retention On Your Period: Why It Happens And What You Can Do About It

You’ve probably felt it many times before—that heavy, bloated feeling during your period. You might even feel like you’ve gained weight. It’s called water retention, and it’s a common symptom of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Premenstrual water retention happens one to two days before your period starts (9). Most women worry about it when they see the scale creep up a few pounds. Good news, the weight gain is only temporary. Water retention goes away once your period starts. There are several reasons why you might retain water before your period. We’ll discuss them and offer some tips on how to relieve the bloating.


What Causes Water Retention Before Your Period?

Premenstrual water retention is likely caused by:

1. Hormonal Changes

Hormonal changes are the most common cause of water retention before your period. Just before your period starts, your body’s estrogen levels drop sharply. This can lead to fluid retention and bloating. 

The drop in estrogen can also cause your body to retain salt (sodium), which can make you feel even more bloated.

Progesterone is another hormone that can cause water retention (17). The level of this hormone rises after ovulation (about midway through your menstrual cycle). It is a benefit by helping prepare your body for pregnancy by thickening the lining of the uterus (13). 

See also
Natural Sweeteners For Those Who Are Stuck In A Vicious Sugar-Binging Cycle

If you don’t become pregnant, progesterone levels drop and estrogen levels rise again. This change in hormones can cause fluid retention and bloating a week or two before your period.

2. Dietary Changes

You might also retain water if you consume more salt than usual (11). This can happen if you eat a lot of processed foods (such as chips, pretzels, and frozen dinners) or if you add extra salt to your food. Too much salt can cause your body to hold onto water.

Read More: Sex On Period: Pros, Cons, And Tips

water retention period

3. Medications

Certain medications can cause water retention, such as (20):

  • Birth control pills
  • Hormone replacement therapy
  • Antidepressants
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

4. Appetite Changes

Your appetite may change just before your period. You might feel hungrier than usual or you might not feel like eating at all. These changes in appetite can cause weight gain or weight loss, which can also lead to water retention.

You may crave certain foods and feel the need to eat more of them. This is called premenstrual cravings. Common foods that women crave include chocolate, sweets, and carbs in general (15). 

See also
The Gut-Brain Connection Diet: A Simple Guide (With A Food List)

Carbs cause your body to retain water, especially after exercise (3). So, if you’re eating more carbs than usual, you may be more likely to retain water.

5. Stress

Stress can also cause water retention. When you’re stressed, your body releases hormones such as cortisol. These hormones can lead to fluid retention and weight gain (16).


How Long Does Water Retention Last?

Water retention usually lasts for one to two days. It should go away once your period starts. If you’re still retaining water after your period, it could be a sign of a more serious problem, such as kidney disease or heart failure (4) (8). If you feel this applies to you, talk to your doctor.

How Many Pounds Of Water Can You Retain Before Your Period?

Most women retain one to four pounds of water before their period. This can cause bloating and discomfort, but it’s usually nothing to worry about.

Which Other Premenopause Symptoms May You Experience

PMS is a group of symptoms that many women experience one to two weeks before their period. In addition to water retention, other common symptoms of PMS include (14):

  • Breast tenderness
  • Mood swings
  • Bloating
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Acne
See also
Refined Carbs: What They Are And Why You Need To Avoid Them

If you tend to let yourself off the hook, raise the white flag when things get tougher than you expected, send yourself on an unconscious binge-eating trip – BetterMe app is here to help you leave all of these sabotaging habits in the past!

water retention period

How To Relieve Premenstrual Water Retention

There are several things you can do to relieve premenstrual water retention:


Exercise can help reduce stress and improve your overall health. This can also help relieve water retention by increasing blood circulation and reducing bloating (10).

Eat Less Salt

Cutting back on salt will likely reduce water retention. Avoid processed foods, such as chips, pretzels, and frozen dinners. And don’t add extra salt to your food.

Drink More Water

Drinking more water might seem counterintuitive, but it can help reduce water retention. When you’re properly hydrated, your body doesn’t need to hold onto as much water (12).

Drink Herbal Teas

Herbal teas can also help with water retention and other PMS symptoms. Some of the best teas for PMS relief include:

  • Ginger tea: Ginger has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties that can help relieve pain, cramps, and other symptoms associated with PMS (6).
  • Peppermint tea: Peppermint has a soothing effect on the digestive system and can help relieve bloating, gas, and other digestive issues that can worsen during PMS (18).
  • Chamomile tea: Chamomile is a relaxant and can help reduce stress, anxiety, and irritability, all of which can be exacerbated during PMS (5).
  • Dandelion tea: Dandelion is a natural diuretic for reducing water retention and bloating (7).
  • Green tea: Green tea is rich in antioxidants and has been shown to help reduce inflammation, which can help relieve symptoms of PMS (2).
See also
Oysters Benefits, Side Effects, And Everything Else You Need To Know

water retention period

Take A Warm Bath

Taking a warm bath can also help reduce bloating and water retention. Add a few drops of lavender or chamomile essential oil to your bathtub to further relax your muscles and reduce stress.

Read More: Yoga For Period Cramps: Does It Work?

Wear Loose, Comfortable Clothes

Wearing tight clothes can make you feel more bloated and uncomfortable. So, it’s important to wear loose, comfortable clothes when you’re experiencing premenstrual water retention.

Take Supplements

Several supplements can help relieve PMS symptoms, such as (19):

  • Vitamin B6: Vitamin B6 can help reduce bloating, water retention, and breast tenderness.
  • Calcium: Calcium can help reduce cramps, bloating, and fatigue.
  • Magnesium: Magnesium can help reduce cramps, anxiety, and irritability.
  • Evening primrose oil: Evening primrose oil has been shown to reduce breast tenderness, cramps, and other symptoms associated with PMS.
See also
Red Meat Pregnancy: Cravings, Nutrition, And What The Experts Say

Try Acupuncture Or Massage

Acupuncture and massage can both help relieve stress and promote relaxation (1). This, in turn should help reduce water retention.

BetterMe app is a foolproof way to go from zero to a weight loss hero in a safe and sustainable way! What are you waiting for? Start transforming your body now!

When To See A Doctor

Water retention is a common symptom of PMS. However, if you’re experiencing severe water retention, it could be a sign of a more serious condition such as kidney disease or heart failure. It’s important to see a doctor if you’re retaining water to rule out any underlying medical conditions.

The Bottom Line

Water retention is a common symptom of PMS that can cause bloating, swelling, and weight gain. There are several things you can do to relieve premenstrual water retention, such as exercise, eating less salt, and drinking more water. If you’re experiencing severe water retention, see a doctor to rule out any underlying medical conditions.



This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!


  1. Alternative techniques (2013,
  2. Association of tea drinking and dysmenorrhoea among reproductive-age women in Shanghai, China (2013–2015): a cross-sectional study (2019,
  3. Carbohydrate exerts a mild influence on fluid retention following exercise-induced dehydration (2008,
  4. Chronic kidney disease: How effective are diet and exercise? (2006,
  5. Efficacy of Chamomile in the Treatment of Premenstrual Syndrome: A Systematic Review (2009,
  6. Efficacy of Oral Ginger (Zingiber officinale) for Dysmenorrhea: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis (2016,
  7. Evaluation of mint efficacy regarding dysmenorrhea in comparison with mefenamic acid: A double blinded randomized crossover study (2016,
  8. Fluid Retention Is Associated With Cardiovascular Mortality in Patients Undergoing Long-Term Hemodialysis (2009,
  9. Fluid Retention over the Menstrual Cycle: 1-Year Data from the Prospective Ovulation Cohort (2011,
  10. Health benefits of physical activity: the evidence (2006,
  11. Increased salt consumption induces body water conservation and decreases fluid intake (2017,
  12. Just Add Water (2008,
  13. Physiology, Progesterone (2021,
  14. Premenstrual syndrome: Overview (2021,
  15. Premenstrual Syndrome Is Associated with Dietary and Lifestyle Behaviors among University Students: A Cross-Sectional Study from Sharjah, UAE (2019,
  16. Psychosocial Stress and Change in Weight Among US Adults (2009,
  17. Relationship between Aldosterone and Progesterone in the Human Menstrual Cycle (2006,
  18. Review article: the physiological effects and safety of peppermint oil and its efficacy in irritable bowel syndrome and other functional disorders (2018,
  19. Vitamin or mineral supplements for premenstrual syndrome (2018,
  20. When Your Weight Gain Is Caused by Medicine (n.d.,
150 million people
have chosen BetterMe

I've struggled to maintain programs…

I've struggled to maintain programs before, but somehow I've been able to stick with this. I enjoy the workouts and have made healthy changes to my diet with the challenges. Its nice for something to really have stuck and worked. I did the sugar free challenge and it's really changed how I relate to the signals my body is giving me about the food I'm eating.

Our Journey

This has been an awesome journey for my wife and I. Not only are we losing weight , but we are living a new life style. Our eating habits have been reformed by following the meal plan and our bodies have become stronger by simply doing the ten minute, sometimes twenty minute workouts. It really has been easy and convenient to transition into a healthier routine and has truly re energized our lives moving forward into the future.

It Works! This program is working for me!

lynne R.
This program is working for me! After a little over a month, I have lost 10 pounds. Slow, but steady. Guided exercises are done daily and there is an option to do other routines beside the one chosen for the day. It is very helpful having the recipes for all meals plus a snack. Would like if we could know the ingredients the day before. Makes preparing alot easier. I like the fact that alternative foods are suggested in case you can't eat(or don't like) the recipes listed. This is a very good program. Stick to it and YOU will see results. I have!