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Understanding Period Cravings

Cravings during your period are a common experience for many women, and there's a scientific explanation behind them. Let's dive into the 'why' and how to navigate these cravings for a more comfortable menstrual cycle!

Published on

November 25, 2023


Nadeen Daka

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If you find yourself craving specific foods and snacks during your period, rest assured you’re not alone. Nearly all menstruating women have experienced some form of period cravings, and studies suggest there are legitimate physiological explanations behind them. 

The science behind cravings

Period cravings can be attributed to the changes in hormone levels that occur throughout your menstrual cycle. Typically, they will appear during the luteal phase, a week or two before your actual period starts, alongside other PMS symptoms. 

A 2016 study published in the Faseb Journal suggests that changes in your estrogen and progesterone levels lead to cravings for carbs and sweets before your period (Krishnan and Tryon, 2016). Estrogen is thought to be responsible for carbohydrate cravings while progesterone is responsible for your sudden sweet tooth. 

Another study published earlier in 2012 highlights the relationship between carbohydrate cravings and serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin, a mood-stabilizing chemical, was found to be indirectly elevated by the consumption of carbohydrates. This is because it facilitates the transportation of the amino acid responsible for serotonin production across the blood-brain barrier. It makes sense that your brain would want to feel better on your period. 

Finally, a 2017 study suggests that some cravings are simply a result of one’s cultural background. The findings revealed that women in the US experience stronger cravings for chocolate compared to their counterparts in other countries. This is potentially because Western cultures idealize this craving more through popular media in their countries, resulting in its embrace by young women.  

So next time you find yourself craving a particular food around before or during your period, remember that it is not only normal but there is a valid reason for it. Not only that but it is actually recommended that you indulge in these cravings from time to time to fulfil your body’s needs and satisfy your mind! 

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