You start to feel it creep — the cramps, the crankiness, the cravings. It’s that time of the month again. Why am I so hungry on my period?, you ask yourself. Is this normal?
So is it normal to feel hungry on your period?
Yes, it’s normal. But depending on your exact situation, some medical attention might be a good idea.
In this article: 📝
- Is it normal to be extremely hungry on your period?
- Why do I eat so much on my period?
- How can I stop being so hungry on my period?
Is it normal to be extremely hungry on your period?
It’s no secret that periods love to announce their arrival, often quite dramatically.
(Hello, Headaches. How ya doin’, Mood Swings?)
Over 90% of women say they get some form of PMS, with symptoms ranging from irritating to debilitating.
So does your period make you hungry? Is this one of the symptoms you can expect?
If this is what you are experiencing, then yes, it is indeed a symptom for you. Simple as that.
Here’s what could be at the heart of it:
Why do I eat so much on my period?
If you’re looking to understand those hunger pangs, science has answers — some of which have to do with something called your resting metabolism.
Your resting metabolism is how much energy you use just to keep your body alive even when you’re not moving.
Resting metabolism doesn’t include any extra calories you need for walking, running, or dancing like nobody’s watching.
It turns out that resting metabolism appears to increase slightly during the luteal phase of your cycle (after ovulation and before your period starts).
Your resting metabolism then decreases again when you start bleeding and is at its lowest point one week before you next ovulate.
So if you feel hungrier when you have PMS, this could be why.
But there’s another critical factor to consider here — mood changes.
After ovulation and before your period, there’s a decrease in the sex hormones progesterone and estrogen.
The dip in estrogen may cause a drop in serotonin — an important chemical messenger in your body that helps with all sorts of things, including mood and memory.
PMS and depression often go together.
We don’t know exactly why this link is so strong, but experts believe that a key factor is, you guessed it, hormones.
And appetite and depression have very strong links.
Depression can make you want to eat more or less than you usually do.
If you tend to feel down during PMS, this can be one factor in your increasing appetite.
If mood changes are severe for you before your period, you may be experiencing premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).
PMDD can cause serious depression and anxiety a week or two before your period starts.
If this is the case for you, talk to your doctor.
Treatments like medication and talk therapy are available.
How can I stop being so hungry on my period?
If your hunger is due to a simple increase in resting metabolism, as we discussed above, then the best thing to do is just eat!
Your body needs the extra calories at this time.
If you think premenstrual depression is causing your increased hunger, the best thing to do is talk to your healthcare provider about treatment options.
Here are some general tips to boost your mood:
- Get some exercise. We know this can be tough when those PMS symptoms hit. But there are stacks of evidence that it can help improve your mood. It may also help with other PMS symptoms. A gentle walk will do.
- Practice mindfulness, meditation, and yoga. There’s a lot of recent research into the effects of mindfulness and meditation on mood. This study, for example, showed that there is a link between emotion regulation and these practices.
- Don’t try this alone. Seek support from others, whether trained counselors, friends, or online communities. You are not alone in this.
We don’t have to shrug off these experiences as just being part of “that time of the month”.
PMS and the more severe PMDD can be really tough to cope with.
Talk to your doctor if you’re struggling. Help is available.
🩸 More from The 411:
Prostaglandins and Period Pain: What You Need to Know
Things You Should Know About Your Period, But Don’t
Can You Have Two Periods in One Month?
How Late Can a Period Be?
Why Is My Period Blood Brown?
What to Know About Black Period Blood
Does Birth Control Make You Moody?
Having Sex on Your Period: What to Know
Boobs Sore After Period? What to Know
The 411 on Period Poop
8 Signs Your Period is Coming Tomorrow