Is It Normal to Be More Hungry on Your Period?

Have you noticed that you're more hungry on your period? This is perfectly normal, due to the hormonal changes that your body tries to balance via food.
Is It Normal to Be More Hungry on Your Period?

Last update: 26 December, 2018

One of the most common signs that many women notice in their body when menstruation approaches is an increase in appetite. There are several reasons why you may feel more hungry on your period. We’ll also tell you how to calm those cravings.

The problem for many women is the guilt they feel after satisfying these “cravings.” Of course, we don’t exactly tend to crave vegetables or fruits. Rather, we tend to fall for the temptation of sweet, greasy and unhealthy foods.

But what produces this reaction? Is there a way to solve it each month so we don’t experience a considerable setback in our diets?

Why are you more hungry on your period?

You feel more hungry on your period because certain hormonal phenomena occur during this process. One of them is the increase in cortisol, which refers to the stress hormone.

Food, then, functions as a source of satisfaction and tranquility in the face of this disturbing stimulus.

In general, you’ll feel more hungry on your period during the second half of the cycle. This is divided into two phases: the follicular phase occurs during the first 11 days, and the luteal phase occurs from day 12 onward.

Mood changes may also occur

In many cases, women suffer changes in their mood due to the processes that occur in their bodies. Basically, this hormonal fluctuation causes glucose, serotonin and estrogen to be lost. Therefore, your body will “ask” you to replace it.

With hormonal changes, we not only refer to sensitivity or irritability, but also to a certain discouragement for accomplishing tasks or even doing activities that we like.

The good news is that food can also help in these cases. Next, we’ll discuss some general ways you can learn how to feed yourself during these difficult moments.

Is It Normal to Be More Hungry on Your Period?

How to respond to period cravings

Faced with this situation, professionals recommend taking into account some considerations that, in general, align with basic questions related to nutrition. For example, a first step is to choose natural and fresh foods over pre-packaged ones.

It’s also recommended that you consume foods rich in tryptophan, such as dairy products, eggs and red meats. The explanation for this is that they allow serotonin, a feel-good hormone, to be synthesized faster. That is, they make us feel better with greater immediacy.

It’s also advised that you cut out caffeine to mitigate the hypersensitivity of this time. This means avoiding coffee and soft drinks, etc. It’s also a good idea to avoid alcohol.

“You feel more hungry on your period because certain hormonal phenomena occur during this process.”

On the other hand, potassium and iron are great allies during this time. Potassium counteracts the increase in water at the cellular level. Fruits and vegetables are good choices. Iron, meanwhile, is a fundamental nutrient that is lost in large quantities during bleeding.

Finally, we should consider what we can do about those uncontrollable cravings. The best thing is to opt for healthier versions of the foods we crave, whenever possible.

In the case of chocolate, it may be a good idea to choose those that contain more cocoa. Thus, you’ll satisfy your cravings without needing to eat much.

Is It Normal to Be More Hungry on Your Period?

The following options can help you cope with this stage without falling for any unhealthy food that crosses your mind. Of course, you’ll need willpower to keep you away from temptation, but here are some ideas:

  • Toasted bread with peanut butter
  • An apple
  • Fish (especially blue)
  • Avoid salt (even hidden salt present in pre-packaged foods)
  • Drink a lot of water to avoid swelling
  • Eat foods rich in iron, like red meat. For vegetarians, nuts, oranges and plums offer similar benefits.

The last thing we should point out is that feeling hungry on your period occurs in many women around the world. Don’t worry if this happens to you too. The best thing is to maintain healthy habits so that your body gets used to calming these needs in a healthy way.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Dell’Osso L., Carmassi C., Mucci F., Marazzit D., Depression, serotonin and tryptophan. Curr Pharm Des, 2016. 22 (8): 949-54.
  • Mukamal K., Lazo M., Alcohol and cardiovascular disease. BMJ, 2017.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.