5 min read
by Team Thinx | 12/15/2023
Picture this: it's that time of the month, and suddenly, you find yourself drawn to the siren call of chocolate, salt, or perhaps the comforting embrace of carbs. Your body's cravings during your menstrual cycle have a story to tell. In this comprehensive guide, we'll dive into everything you need to know about period cravings, shedding light on why they occur, when period cravings start, and how to manage them.
The enigma of period cravings is a topic that has always been talked about. At the heart of these cravings lies a delicate interplay of hormones within your body. Understanding why these cravings arise, and how hormones play a part, can provide insight into the intricate rhythms of your menstrual cycle.
This hormone takes center stage in the first half of your cycle, surging in the days leading up to ovulation. Its effects are multifaceted, influencing not just the reproductive system but also exerting a notable influence on mood and energy levels. Estrogen's mood-boosting role allows you to feel generally happier, also playing an important role in your appetite regulation. As it surges, it might ignite cravings for foods that not only satisfy your palate but also align with your body's changing needs.
Following ovulation, progesterone takes over the reins from estrogen. Think of it as the calming conductor, stepping in to soothe the stage and prepare for the next act in the menstrual cycle. While it brings a sense of stability, it can also add an intriguing twist to the narrative of cravings. Progesterone's presence can lead to a desire for heartier, more comforting fare, reflecting its role in supporting potential pregnancy.
These neurotransmitters are responsible for mood and pleasure, and they are influenced by the ebb and flow of hormonal fluctuations. During your menstrual cycle, these hormones can leave you yearning for certain foods to boost your mood, providing momentary relief from the hormonal flux that accompanies this natural cycle.
As your menstrual cycle unfolds, so do the cravings, painting a vivid landscape of hormonal fluctuations. Let's embark on a more detailed journey through the weeks:
week 1 (menstruation): Surprisingly, period cravings can start as early as the beginning week of your cycle. This is when estrogen levels take a dip, potentially causing subtle shifts in mood and paving the way for cravings. Your body yearns for familiar, comforting foods that boost serotonin levels, offering a gentle antidote to the natural ebb and flow.
week 2 (follicular phase): With the emergence of the follicular phase, estrogen gains momentum, asserting its influence. As it rises, so too may your cravings for sweets and carbohydrates. Your body seeks quick sources of energy to propel you through this phase, often manifesting as a desire for the sweet indulgences that offer a momentary surge of vitality.
week 3 (luteal phase): This is a time when PMS symptoms often take center stage. You might find yourself drawn to salty snacks, or perhaps surrendering to the allure of rich, decadent chocolates.
week 4 (pre-menstrual): The week preceding your period, known as the pre-menstrual phase, can cause an increase in cravings. Here, estrogen and progesterone engage in a duet, creating a potent concoction of desires. Sweet, salty, and carb cravings intermingle, each one seeking to find its place in this hormonal ballet, leaving you with a tantalizing array of choices.
During the lead-up to menstruation, PMS and cravings often go hand in hand. Here's a sneak peek at some of the most common ones:
chocolate craving: A timeless classic. Dark chocolate, in particular, is rich in compounds that can boost serotonin levels, offering a comforting relief from hormonal fluctuations. Chocolate provides both a sensory pleasure and a subtle mood-lifting effect, making it a cherished go-to for many during this phase.
salty snacks: As progesterone levels rise, so too may your desire for salty indulgences. Your body craves the sodium to maintain electrolyte balance, creating a craving for snacks that offer a savory escape. From crunchy pretzels to perfectly seasoned chips, these salty delights satisfy both the palate and the body's nuanced needs.
sweet escapes: The call for sugary delights is a familiar one. Fluctuating blood sugar levels can leave you yearning for a quick pick-me-up, like a sweet treat. Whether it's a delicate pastry or a scoop of ice cream, these offer a momentary surge of energy and comfort.
carb craze: Carbohydrates provide a rapid energy boost during the demanding luteal phase. The body's natural inclination towards carbs stems from a primal need for sustained vitality. From warm, crusty bread to hearty pasta dishes, these carbohydrate-rich options offer both physical sustenance and emotional comfort during this phase of the menstrual cycle.
Navigating period cravings is not merely about indulgence, but also about equipping yourself with tools to foster a harmonious relationship with your body's natural rhythm. Here are some proactive strategies that can empower you on this journey:
The foundation of any well-rounded approach to managing period cravings lies in the realm of nutrition. A diet rich in essential nutrients like vitamin D, healthy fats, and fiber lays the groundwork for a smoother ride through the menstrual cycle. These elements serve as the cornerstones of hormonal balance, helping to temper the intensity of cravings and stabilize mood swings. By proactively incorporating these components into your meals, you create a nurturing environment for your body to thrive.
Cravings shouldn’t come with resistance or guilt. Instead, consider embracing them in a mindful manner. Opt for healthier versions of your favorite treats, seeking alternatives that satiate both your palate and your well-being. For example, swap out conventional chocolate for its darker, less processed counterpart.
Water’s influence extends beyond hydration, it also plays an important role in stabilizing blood sugar levels and warding off unnecessary hunger pangs. By ensuring you remain adequately hydrated throughout your menstrual cycle, you provide your body with the essential support it requires to navigate the ebb and flow of cravings. This simple yet powerful act can be a transformative tool in your arsenal for managing period cravings.
Incorporating these preemptive strategies into your routine can offer a proactive approach to dealing with cravings. By fortifying your body with balanced nutrition, approaching indulgence with mindfulness, and prioritizing hydration, you empower yourself to navigate the intricacies of your menstrual cycle.
In the midst of dealing with this rollercoaster ride of periods and emotions, having reliable support is key. Thinx, with our innovative range of products, offers comfortable solutions to manage leaks throughout your cycle. Products like the Cheeky, Modal Cotton Lace Hi-Waist, and Sport are designed with your needs in mind, ensuring you stay covered and confident. Say goodbye to worries about leaks and discomfort, and embrace a period experience that allows you to move through your day with confidence and ease.
Women’s Health. Why You Have Food Cravings on Your Period. www.womenshealthmag.com/health/a19947726/why-you-have-period-cravings/
Healthline Media. Why You Want to Eat All the Things Before Your Period. www.healthline.com/health/period-cravings
Always.co.uk. Is It Normal to Have Cravings before and during Period? | Always. www.always.co.uk/en-gb/tips-and-advice-for-women/pms-and-menstrual-cramps/cravings-before-and-during-period/
by Team Thinx