Water retention: Relieve this premenstrual symptom
Water retention before your period can be uncomfortable and annoying. Understand how lifestyle changes, medications and dietary supplements can help provide relief.
By Mayo Clinic Staff
Water retention is a classic symptom of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). For most women, water retention is just a monthly bother — but in some cases, it can be severe enough to interfere with daily activities. Here's help to feel better.
Why water retention happens
Premenstrual water retention causes a bloated, heavy feeling the week or two before your period begins. What causes water retention and other PMS symptoms is unclear, but hormonal changes seem to play a major role. Heredity might be a factor as well. Your diet — such as a lack of certain vitamins or too much salt — might also contribute to water retention.
Put lifestyle changes to work
Taking good care of yourself can help eliminate or reduce water retention. Follow these tips:
Nov. 25, 2014
- Include physical activity in your daily routine. Women who participate in regular physical activity generally report fewer PMS symptoms.
- Skip the salt. Limiting the amount of salt in your diet can help prevent water retention. Eat fewer processed foods. Don't add extra salt to food at the table or during cooking. Also pay attention to hidden sources of sodium, such as soy sauce, canned vegetables, soups and deli meats.
- Eat a healthy diet. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains. Avoid caffeine and alcohol.
See more In-depth
- Yonkers KA, et al. Epidemiology and pathogenesis of premenstrual syndrome and premenstrual dysphoric disorder. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Oct. 7, 2014.
- Casper RF, et al. Treatment of premenstrual syndrome and premenstrual dysphoric disorder. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Oct. 7, 2014.
- Yonkers KA, et al. Clinical manifestations and diagnosis of premenstrual syndrome and premenstrual dysphoric disorder. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Oct. 7, 2014.
- Chocano-Bedoya PO, et al. Dietary B vitamin intake and incident premenstrual syndrome. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2011;93:1080.
- Natural medicines in the clinical management of premenstrual syndrome. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. http://naturaldatabase.com. Accessed Oct. 7, 2014.
- Frequently asked questions. Gynecologic problems FAQ057. Premenstrual syndrome. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. http://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Premenstrual-Syndrome-PMS. Accessed Oct. 7, 2014.
- Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) fact sheet. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/premenstrual-syndrome.html. Accessed Oct. 7, 2014.
- Freeman EW. Therapeutic management of premenstrual syndrome. Expert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy. 2010;11:2879.
- Harms RW (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Oct. 13, 2014.