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?
Yes, feeling hungrier on your period is normal.
Let’s dive in.
In this article: 📝
- Is it normal to be extremely hungry on your period?
- Why am I so hungry 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?)
Another potential symptom in the lead-up to your period? Cravings and compulsive eating.
You see, progesterone peaks around one week before your period and is known for stimulating appetite and causing pre-period munchies.
Blame it on the hormones, baby!
But what about when you’re actually on your period?
Does your period make you hungry?
If this is what you are experiencing, then yes, increased hunger is indeed a symptom for you. Simple as that.
But if you need a little more info, we tackle what could be at the heart of period hunger below.
Why am I so hungry on my period
If you’re looking to understand those period hunger pangs, science has answers—some of which have to do with something called your basal metabolic rate (BMR).
Your BMR is how much energy you use just to keep your body alive even when you’re not moving.
Unlike resting metabolism (RMR), BMR doesn’t include any extra calories you need for walking, running, or dancing like nobody’s watching.
It turns out basal metabolic rate decreases during menstruation but rises around one week prior.
This means while bleeding can feel totally draining to you, for your body, the real work is building up your uterine lining in the three weeks beforehand.
And your resting metabolism also appears to increase slightly during the luteal phase of your cycle (after ovulation and before your period starts).
It then decreases again when you start bleeding and is at its lowest point one week before you next ovulate.
All these variations could cause an increase in energy intake—specifically from fat—and may explain that spike in your hunger levels.
And let’s not forget that rise in progesterone right before your period.
After all, progesterone has been linked to an increase in appetite and the munchies.
So, if you’re feeling the pang for your favorite comfort food, just know it’s perfectly natural considering the work your incredible body is doing behind the scenes (every month).
How can I stop being so hungry on my period?
Or do you really mean, is it okay to eat more on your period?
If your period 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.
But if you think low mood (caused by some taxing period symptoms) is causing your increased hunger, here are three tips to boost your mind and body:
1. Get some exercise
Exactly what you want to hear as you cope with cramps, bloating, and sore boobs.
We know that exercise can be tough when those PMS symptoms hit.
But there are stacks of evidence that show exercising can help improve your mood.
It may also help with other PMS symptoms.
Even a gentle walk will do.
2. 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.
We don’t have to shrug off these experiences as just being part of “that time of the month”.
Seek support from others, whether trained counselors, friends, or online communities.
You’re not alone in this.
3. Eat a balanced diet
Yet another piece of advice you’ve been aching to hear.
The thing is, food has a big impact on your hormones, and what you choose to consume (a lot of) could be helping or harming you.
Sure, fluctuations in progesterone and estrogen have you aching for fats and carbohydrates, and low moods may have you reaching for serotonin-boosting treats.
But a recent study shows sticking strictly to sweets, trans fats, and refined carbs may be making your menstrual cramps worse.
The key to balancing your health with feeling hungrier on your period is moderation.
100% honor the cravings—just make sure to show your hormones some love with lean proteins, leafy greens (for the iron levels), and plenty of veg.
And yes, dark chocolate is definitely on the menu.