Hormone Imbalance Side Effect: Bloating
If you're suddenly having a tug of war with your clothes, it may have little to do with last night's indulgent Italian meal. Although it's natural for your weight to fluctuate as much as 5 pounds in either direction due to fluid changes throughout the month, you're especially likely to feel as though you've plumped up before your period. "We believe that progesterone is responsible, even though we don't know exactly why," says Santoro. "One explanation is that changing levels of the hormone slow the digestive process, making you feel more constipated, bloated, and gassy."
What to do about bloating caused by hormone imbalance:
A few simple changes to your diet can bring down the bloat. Steer clear of high-fat meals, which take longer to digest. Eliminate known gas-producing foods, such as beans and cruciferous vegetables (e.g., cauliflower and broccoli), as well as carbonated drinks like soda. And even if squeezing into stretchy workout pants is the last thing you feel like doing, a daily bike ride or treadmill run will help you feel less puffy, according to a recent study in the European Journal of Applied Physiology. The researchers believe that daily cardio sessions can reduce PMS-related symptoms like bloating, possibly by lowering circulating levels of progesterone.