PMS Increases Metabolism and Weight Loss

For those of us who struggle with PMS every month, it is helpful to know that there is an underlying benefit of having our hormones go wild – weight loss. That’s right ladies, research has shown that pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS), a nuisance for many, can actually help you to lose weight faster at that time of the month than at any other time.

Pre-menstrual symptoms have provided the material for many a comedy routine and joke, such as the woman’s bumper sticker that reads “Back off – I have PMS and a gun”. But they are far from funny ‘ha ha’ to the three out of four women who suffer from the symptoms of Pre-Menstrual Syndrome (PMS) on a regular monthly basis nor is it for the people around them (just ask my husband :p). PMS symptoms increase in severity with age until the onset of menopause, and the common indicators are: abdominal cramps, bloating (including hands and feet), sore and tender breasts, irritability, fatigue, headache, back pain, depression, crying spells, and difficulty sleeping.

PMS is a 28 day pattern of recurring moods, behaviors and physical symptoms that occur between ovulation and the end of the menstrual period. PMS is the result of cycle changes in ovarian hormones. This was proven because PMS disappears during pregnancy and menopause.

So with all the unpleasantness of PMS, it is a welcome relief to learn that it can also help with weight loss. During PMS, hormones are released by our body’s cells and one of the ways they affect the body is by increasing metabolism. Metabolism is the rate at which our bodies convert food into energy. Two weeks prior to commencing the menstrual period, womens production of estrogen and progesterone hormones step up to their highest levels, which speeds up metabolism and results in burning more fat. An Australian clinical trial showed that up to 30% more fat is burned off during this monthly period than the rest of the time. Just how much your metabolism rises or the amount of fat you burn off is entirely dependent on your body type, size, age, diet and exercise.

With an increase in your metabolism should also come with an increase in your energy levels. During this time, take advantage of the extra energy by working out and being active. You will burn more calories during PMS than other times of the month so take advantage of it and get moving.

By the way, don’t get discouraged by bloating near the end of PMS. This is just water weight and will be lost easily when menstruation is over. To ease PMS symptoms, avoid salt as it is very bloating, kiss off the caffeine, and take a multi-vitamin as well as calcium supplement daily. For moderate relief of pain try a non steroidal anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and a water pill or diuretic will help reduce bloating. In more extreme cases antidepressants such as Prozac, Paxil or Zoloft may be called for. There are also women who also take oral contraceptives (the Pill), not so much for birth control but solely to stabilize hormones and reduce the affects of PMS.


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12 comments to PMS Increases Metabolism and Weight Loss

  • shqipe

    This is very strange because i was dieting for a long time and during these days of PMS i was not able to lose any weight while other weeeks i lost 2-4 kg with a very balanced diet. I don’t know if its the taste that change during these days or i cannot eat a lot of fruits and vegetables that i used to eat other weeks before and lose weight normally. I don’t really understand i cannot lose weight while on PMS why????
    what is affecting my metabolism to stop and lose weight that week before menstruation cycle???

  • There may be a couple of factors that are slowing your weight loss during PMS. For example, some women tend to eat more and/or have cravings for fatty and sugary foods. Watch your diet closely and keep your calories in check during PMS.

    Another reason may be water retention, which can be a real devil for some women. I know for myself that I get really bloated from water retention starting about 5 days before my period. I avoid the scale during these times as best as possible.

    There are a few things you should try to do during PMS that can help alleviate water retention and keep you losing weight. Exercising is the best thing you can do. Also, try to eat six small meals a day instead of three big ones and minimize the amount of salt in your diet. Taking calcium and magnesium supplements can also help to alleviate PMS symptoms before and during menstruation.

  • Confused

    Same here. During PMS i don’t seem to lose weight than other times. even though im on the same diet! I drink 3liters of water.. could it possibly be water retention? i don’t have puffy hands or feet. I have not once felt i lost more weight or well weight at all during PMS!

  • shqipe

    Thank you for your reply. As i said before i’m on the diet and even during PMS i strongly control myself and do not eat fatty foods, i especially eat fruits, vegetables, white meat and drink up to 2 l water daily.But again i cannot lose weight at all, i always put up to 2 kg these days. Ok i know this is temporary weigh gain but what is slowing my metabolism to burn calories i don’t really know. I know as well that many womans have this similar condition as mine but till now i haven’t found the right answer why this is happening.

  • Irma

    I do believe in this theory, I have the worst PMS, however when I am on a diet, I do see the results just after my period is completely finished. My belief is that it does work during the PMS but since you retain more water it cannot be really seen.
    The same thing has happened to me for years, so I always wait for the results just after my period is finished.

  • cindy

    the past two weeks I’ve been going through pms. I ATE, I CRAVED and ATE. there were times I ate 3000 calories in a few hours. I just knew I was going to gain a few pounds. So, I tried on my jeans to see if I could still fit them. I can. The same as I always have. Wow. I couldn’t believe it. It must be true then. The body increases metabolism while going through the pms phase. That’s great to know now. I’m 33 years old and never knew that before.

  • I can appreciate the increase in metabolism, as it would explain the increase in appetite… but increase in energy? Fatigue is a more likely symptom of PMS.

  • Lees

    Compare your weight before your cycle to after you’ve finished. Don’t bother with it DURING the PMS phase. I never notice any loss during the PMS, but continuing to eat healthy and be active (even though fatigued sometimes) actually does work! If I’m conscientous, I always weigh less after my cycle, sometimes by a couple of pounds.

    I find that I need more fat during the PMS phase, so eating a palmful of trail mix that is heavy on tree nuts whenever I get hungry helps a lot. I also take in a few slices of avacado here and there. As long as it’s a healthy fat, it seems to satisfy and help me accomplish my goals. I have WAY fewer cravings for fatty sweets, although I do put semi-sweet chocolate chips in the trail mix.

    Good luck!

  • dawn

    i dont seem to want to get of my couch when im going through pms i just feel awful for about 2weeks before i use the gym but as soon as pms hits i cnt bring myself to go

  • Kim Newman

    I have been losing weight recently during PMS. This has never happened before. I need to lose at least 50 pounds. I have been gradually losing weight over the last 5 years, but for some reason the scale got stuck. Now it is a welcome change to lose weight during pms. In the last two months I have lost another 6 pounds. I always thought that you gained weight during pms. I think that with the changes I have made with food & exercise that now my body is responding. It makes sense that your metabolism would be higher in this time.

  • nikki k

    im 5’1 25yrs old,i lost 32 pounds recently on the treadmill and dicided to turn vegetarain (animal rights mostly)..i wanna lose my last 5 hmm maybe 10??..seems maybe i hit a ‘platua’ or something …cuz my wieght has flucuated between 116-118 for the last few month but i am i scale freak and weigh myself too much..:/im always beating myself up about it..anyways…..all the sudden i got my PMS now and ive noticed its gone down to 113 :/.im alittle shocked!.. and happy:) ohhh i hope it’ll stay like this and keep going down!!..lol

  • nikki k

    ohhhh i forgot to add!! ya know speaking of pms,and weight loss! haha…. ACTUALLY walking/runing on the tredmill helps cramps…thats kinda funny…:D this is like a triple bonus!..loli guess that makes sense cuz of the rush of adreniline.

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