It sometimes seems that women cannot catch a break when it comes to weight gain. They are prone to add weight at numerous stages in their life. For example, during their pregnancy, after giving birth, while breastfeeding, during their period, and/or ovulation. Of all these, the majority do not understand weight gain during ovulation. So, in this read, we will be discussing ovulation, causes of weight gain during ovulation, and the average weight gain during ovulation. Stay tuned!
What Is Ovulation?
Ovulation refers to the process in which the ovary releases a mature egg. Most women ovulate about halfway through their menstrual cycle. The egg can be fertilized between 12 and 24 hours after its release.
You can tell if you will be ovulating soon by looking for various signs. They include (2):
- Cervical mucus that is clearer and thinner and with a slippery consistency like that of egg whites.
- Breast tenderness.
- Cramping in the lower abdomen.
- A slight reduction in the basal or resting temperature, followed by a slight increase.
Some women have been known to confuse these signs with pregnancy signs. This is understandable, given that some of these symptoms are also the ones you need to look out for with pregnancy. For example, breast tenderness and bloating.
The only way you can be a hundred percent sure about pregnancy is by taking a test. You can do this with a home pregnancy test and visit the doctor for a blood test to confirm.
Is Weight Gain During Ovulation Normal?
As you near ovulation, you may start to notice a few changes about yourself. Your appetite could be increasing, or you may see you have fuller breasts and bloating. Other people also report weight gain.
As we all know, weight is one of the most sensitive topics among women. Almost three-quarters of women globally are dissatisfied with their weight, so some take drastic measures to shed pounds.
Any slight weight gain may have them searching in tabloid pages on the cause of the weight gain. This is what happens when they report extra pounds during ovulation. The majority of them want to know if weight gain during ovulation is normal.
Indeed it is. Although some women do not report any weight gain, others do. So let us take a look at some of the causes of weight gain when you are ovulating.
What Causes Weight Gain During Ovulation?
Several factors result in weight gain during ovulation. This extra weight may be caused by the following:
Low Progesterone Levels
Progesterone is the hormone responsible for fertility and menstruation (1). It is secreted by the cells within the ovaries known as the corpus luteum (1). This hormone is vital in females as it prepares the endometrium, the innermost uterus lining, for pregnancy (1).
During the first half of the menstrual cycle and through ovulation, progesterone levels in a female’s body tend to be lower and estrogen levels higher. After ovulation, that changes and progesterone increases while estrogen decreases. When these hormones are in balance, there is nothing to worry about. You may experience temporary appetite changes at different times of your menstrual cycle as these hormones naturally fluctuate. These things balance each other out over time if everything is working normally.
Women with abnormally low progesterone levels tend to have irregular periods. Other symptoms of low progesterone include missed periods, abnormal uterine bleeding, recurrent pregnancy loss, and abdominal pain during pregnancy (1).
Chronically low progesterone may result in weight gain if there is estrogen dominance. Remember that progesterone and estrogen levels need to remain balanced. So, if the progesterone levels are low and estrogen levels abnormally high, estrogen dominance may result in weight gain (3).
According to Medical News Today, women with estrogen dominance report weight gain, particularly around their waist and hips (3). Fat deposits around your waist result in love handles, as most people call them, and are challenging to lose.
In addition to weight gain, Medical News Today reports that you can notice additional side effects due to high estrogen levels. Some of these include headaches, sleeping difficulties, hair loss, fatigue, cold hands and feet, bloating, and mood changes (3).
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Causes Of Low Progesterone
To gain weight from estrogen dominance your progesterone levels have to be low as well as estrogen being high. Here are some common causes of low progesterone (1):
Anovulation refers to when a woman’s cycle extends to thirty-five days and is probably not ovulating (1). According to Medical News Today, when your cycle lasts for thirty-two or more days, it indicates a lack of ovulation (1). Low progesterone levels are often blamed for this. That said, you can contact your doctor and have them diagnose if you have anovulation for clarification purposes.
Menopause also leads to the reduced production of this hormone. As a result, some women take hormone replacement therapy and other progesterone supplements to help reduce menopause symptoms and avoid uterine cancer, respectively (1).
Women who do not ovulate are suspected of having low progesterone levels. However, you can never be sure until a doctor conducts an assessment to verify this. You can verify by going for screening for ovulation dysfunction as per the Endocrine Society Guidelines.
Changes In Insulin Levels
The other reason for weight gain during ovulation for women who have diabetes is changes in insulin levels. Insulin is the hormone that regulates glucose (sugar) levels in the blood (4). Excess insulin may result in weight gain during ovulation in several ways.
Typically, insulin helps in blood sugar management by helping your body cells absorb glucose. However, when your body absorbs more glucose than is needed for energy right away, it stores it for later and the result is weight gain (4). According to Medical News Today, if the excess glucose is not removed, it is stored in tissues as fat (4).
During the luteal phase (the part of your cycle after ovulation), progesterone naturally increases which may cause an increase in insulin resistance, potentially making your blood sugar a little more difficult to control.
You may also add weight during the days leading up to your ovulation because of an increased appetite. Hormonal changes affect your appetite in various ways. Some of these include:
Increasing Your Food Cravings
Changes in appetite during ovulation may lead to cravings for specific foods. In most cases, women crave sugary foodstuffs, for example, chocolate or a piece of cake. These foods are high in sugar, which, as we all know, is high in calories. Aside from this, other women crave salty and spicy foods.
These foods may result in weight gain in two ways. An individual can overindulge in these foods and end up consuming more calories than their body is burning. In addition, these foods are rich in salt content, which leads to water retention (5).
Leading To Overeating
Still, under appetite changes, hormonal changes may increase your appetite, making you overindulge. The more food you eat, the more calories you consume and promote weight gain. So, be very careful with your portions if you do not want to add weight.
By Suppressing Hunger
Lastly, appetite changes during ovulation may promote weight gain when they suppress hunger and make you skip meals. Contrary to what you may think, skipping meals will not promote faster weight loss.
Instead, it will make you overeat at the next meal, an aspect that leads to excess calories. Likewise, skipping meals can make your body store more glucose as fat for fear of lack of energy source when you are not eating.
Extra weight gain during ovulation may also be caused by water retention. As the name suggests, water retention occurs when the body holds too much water. Some people also refer to this process as fluid retention. Hormone fluctuations throughout the menstrual cycle can lead to fluid retention and certain times. It is also caused by several other factors, some of which include (5):
You may add some pounds before or during ovulation if you are using medications that lead to water retention. These medications include pain relievers, antidepressants, birth control pills, chemotherapy and high blood pressure medication (5). Do not stop taking medication without talking to your doctor, even if you are sure it is responsible for the weight gain. Let your doctor propose this idea and recommend alternatives as well.
Unexplained weight gain during ovulation may also be associated with water retention caused by an undiagnosed disease. According to WebMD, such conditions include hypothyroidism, Cushing’s syndrome, heart disease, pulmonary edema, deep vein thrombosis, preeclampsia, and PCOS (5).
WebMD also doesn’t rule out the possibility of other severe conditions like kidney disease, liver cirrhosis, protein loss caused by severe malnutrition, and lymphedema (5). Schedule an appointment with your doctor for an assessment if you experience the signs and symptoms of any of the named diseases.
A sedentary lifestyle is also a number one cause of water retention and weight gain. Unfortunately, this is the most common lifestyle in today’s society and is associated with numerous health problems, including obesity and cardiovascular disease.
If you spend most of your day sitting or standing, your tissues tend to hold water (5). As a result, you notice that your legs and ankles are swollen. You can prevent fluid retention and promote blood circulation in your legs by elevating them past your heart level (5). Once they are less swollen, experts suggest you try moving around to keep blood circulating and prevent fluid retention (5).
How Much Weight Do You Gain During Ovulation?
It is common to gain weight during or around ovulation. Headaches, bloating, and weight gain during ovulation are considered normal. There is no set limit to ovulation-related weight gain. It is because of these factors that this extra weight varies from person to person. Nonetheless, experts remind women that the weight will disappear soon. Hence there is no need to worry about it.
The Bottom Line
Why is there weight gain during ovulation? It is possibly because of low progesterone levels, appetite changes, water retention, and changes in insulin levels. Usually these changes are temporary and balance each other out over time. Do not take any measures to combat this weight, for example, by stopping medication without seeking medical help. As always, talk to your doctor first before making any changes to your diet and lifestyle.
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 for decision-making. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Low progesterone: Symptoms, causes, and treatments (2018, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Ovulation Symptoms (2020, webmd.com)
- What are the symptoms of high estrogen? (2018, medicalnewstoday.com)
- What to know about insulin and weight gain (2019, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Why Am I Retaining Water? (2020, webmd.com)