Many women experience fluid retention in the few days before their period starts. Fluid retention, which occurs because of hormone changes associated with the menstrual cycle, can cause breast tenderness, uncomfortable swelling in your hands and feet, abdominal bloating and weight gain. You can take some simple steps to reduce fluid retention around the time of your period. In severe cases, your doctor might prescribe medication.
Diet and Exercise
Diet and exercise can reduce excess fluid. Sodium attracts and holds fluid, so cutting down on your salt intake can reduce fluid retention around the time of your period. Many women experience sugar cravings before their period. But excess carbohydrate intake, particularly when combined with high salt intake, can worsen fluid retention. Maintaining a routine of aerobic exercise 3 to 4 times a week can also help control fluid retention.
- Diet and exercise can reduce excess fluid.
- Sodium attracts and holds fluid, so cutting down on your salt intake can reduce fluid retention around the time of your period.
Supplements and Medications
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In severe cases, over-the counter supplements might help with fluid retention. A study of 150 women published in 2010 in the "Iranian Journal of Nursing and Midwifery Research" found that daily supplementation of 250 mg of magnesium plus 40 mg of vitamin B6 reduced self-reported premenstrual syndrome symptoms more significantly than magnesium alone or a pill with no active ingredients 167. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved three over-the-counter medications to treat fluid retention: ammonium chloride, caffeine and pamabrom, the drug most commonly used in over-the-counter medications for premenstrual symptoms 8.
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- Hypertension: Hormonal and Volume Dysregulation in Women With Premenstrual Syndrome
- Netter's Obstetrics and Gynecology; Roger P. Smith, M.D.
- Manual of Outpatient Gynecology; Carol Havens and Nancy D. Sullivan
- Foundations of Adult Health Nursing; Lois White, et al.
- Diseases of the Kidney and Urinary Tract; Robert W. Schrier
- Iranian Journal of Nursing and Midwifery Research: Evaluating the Effect of Magnesium and Magnesium Plus Vitamin B6 Supplement on the Severity of Premenstrual Syndrome
- Pharmacy Times: Managing Premenstrual Syndrome
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration: OTC Active Ingredients
A registered nurse with more than 25 years of experience in oncology, labor/delivery, neonatal intensive care, infertility and ophthalmology, Sharon Perkins has also coauthored and edited numerous health books for the Wiley "Dummies" series. Perkins also has extensive experience working in home health with medically fragile pediatric patients.