How to Deal with Hunger Before Your Period

An unexpected period isn’t much fun for most of us, but there are a few telltale signs we can look out for to prepare us for our periods: major mood swings, breakouts, and in particular, feeling hungry. The PMS hunger is real –  in fact, we think if our period could speak it would say “feed me!”. We all know the frantic and endless hunt for snacks all too well. If you’ve ever thought “why am I so hungry before my period?”, read on – we’ve got the answers.

Why does your period make you hungry?

Increased hunger before or during your period is completely normal. There are a number of reasons why, including changes in your hormone levels, mood, and metabolism.

Let’s break these key reasons down a little:

Hormone fluctuations

In the week before your period, you might feel more hungry due to changes in your hormones. You will have increased levels of progesterone and decreased levels of oestrogen. Oestrogen can have the effect of supressing your appetite, while progesterone is linked to an increase in appetite. When you’re ovulating, your oestrogen levels are at their highest and they begin to fall in the lead up to your period. Progesterone levels peak right before you start a period, which could explain why you’re so hungry before your period.

Emotional eating

When you’re feeling emotionally vulnerable, it’s common to find comfort in food – especially sweet foods and carbohydrates (we’ll take a big bowl of pasta followed by a hearty slice of cake please!). Leading up to and during your period, it’s normal to feel more emotional than usual. Intense feelings are one way to feel that PMS is ruling your life. If you’re an emotional eater, this may cause you to feel more hungry on your period.

Changes to your metabolism

Right before your period starts, your body’s metabolic rate increases – meaning your body can need up to 350 extra calories to see you through the week leading up to your period. Your body works hard in the luteal and menstrual phases of your cycle, and your increased appetite before your period is proof of it.

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How to deal with period hunger

Now you know why you get so hungry before and during your period, here are some ideas of how to deal with always feeling hungry:

Adjust your diet to your menstrual cycle

Throughout your entire menstrual cycle, the changes in your hormones, mood and metabolism mean what your body needs will change. By eating foods that fit your menstrual phases, you can give your body exactly the right stuff, regardless of whether you’re ovulating, PMSing or at the end of your period.

Honour your PMS hunger

If you’re feeling extra hungry the week before your period – eat more! When you feel hungry, that’s your body communicating that it needs fuel. Listen to what your body is telling you and eat when you’re hungry. So, eat exactly when and what you want without guilt.

Eat to ease your cramps

When cramps set in it’s easy to binge. You might want to eat anything edible in sight in the hopes of making you feel better – but sometimes what’s important isn’t how much you’re eating, but what you’re eating. These nine foods help to reduce period cramps and will leave you feeling full and satisfied.

Do you feel hungrier before and during your period? Tell us how you cope with period hunger in the comments!

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25 thoughts on “How to Deal with Hunger Before Your Period

  1. Analyn c said:

    Yes all the time I don’t really eat in a morning I just drink warm water…and after on I ate rice not quite Lot but makes me hungry more .I don’t really know how to deal with it

  2. Kerry said:

    I always feel hungry a week before my periods, and also thirsty, and have really bad headaches, i just eat extra that week, then eat normal once period starts

  3. Alina Hazraty said:

    A week before I keep eating I can control himself 😥😥

  4. Ibukun Babalola said:

    Eat more before the week of period ,can it as well be a sign of pregmancy?

    • Natracare said:

      Hello, great question! Increased appetite can also be a common sign of pregnancy so if you think you might be pregnant we recommend taking a test or seeing a healthcare professional.

  5. Respect said:

    A week before I can’t control the hunger, I eat without limiting myself and I don’t gain weight, but if I do not eat I would have lost weight after my period.

  6. Sonya said:

    Right before my period I am always raiding my fridge pantry and shelves lolmy cramps make it worse because I hurt bad on my period I crave apples stews raw onions pears even sour croutons and beef lol and Pepsi

  7. Caitlin said:

    The hunger pains I get the week before my period are, ravenous. This article really helped me understand the hormone changes. Thank you!

  8. Sher tinker said:

    I’m always so hungry 1 week before My moon time and can’t stop eating I hate it 😫 . When I’m on my moon time I go back to eating normal again

    • Natracare said:

      We hear you, and we’re the same! If you can, try to honour your hunger. It could be your body asking for more energy 💚

  9. Takalani said:

    I eat a lot when I’m on my period and I do have breakouts a week before and I’m also too thirsty.

  10. Amelia said:

    Thank you so much! I’ve not gotten my period yet, but I have ate alot this pass week. I got scared but now I know it’s normal.

  11. Jara said:

    The week before my period is full of endless amounts of HUNGER. No matter what I eat, my body feels like a bottomless pit. It’s true that I crave carbs during this time. Bread, pasta, pizza, hamburgers, cake. I crave them constantly.
    Fruits and salads and oatmeal (my breakfast routine) no longer make the cut when it comes to this week of never ending appetite.
    I try to control myself but constant raiding of my pantry and fridge is an actual thing. I cannot NOT eat. I fee like I gain weight but once my period has ended, I feel normal again.
    It’s insane! 😅
    My family and I don’t discuss periods as often as we should, and so knowing I’m not alone in this is comforting, if inconvenient when it comes to dealing with Starving Season. 🤣
    P.S: When I was younger, I didn’t have this maddening hunger. It was until I started being sexually active that I noticed the change. Has it happened to anyone?

    • Becca said:

      yes! i actually noticed after having my daughter 5 years ago. That’s when it started for me. I’m currently in this week right now and I feel absolutely miserable. CONSTANT eating. Its only noon here and I’m sure I am well over 1000 calories today. But once my period is over all of my bloating goes away and I am the same weight I was prior to all the binge eating! Our bodies are amazing lol.

      • Renee said:

        That’s exactly how it is for me. I’m extremely ravenous and always hungry. Everything salty and spicy and then I have to counter it with something sweet like pastry or my weakness candy. With all of this eating I get extremely constipated (sorry tmi) As soon as my period is done my body shrinks back to its normal size like it never happened. All the bloat and all over pudge gone. I only get about 2 good weeks out of the month of looking slim, cut and what i feel is my best and then the cycle happens all over again. Lol

  12. Rosie said:

    I eat so much before my period. I will eat dinner and still be hungry after. Only really salty bad foods seem to quench the hunger

  13. Eunice said:

    Roasted Peanuts do not help in my periods, but I hear you mention peanut butter. What’s the difference please?

    • Lori said:

      Nutritionally there is not much difference between roasted peanuts and peanut butter. The textures are completely different, though, and many people find peanut butter to be soothing, due to its creaminess and thick texture. Peanut butter also contains protein and healthy fats, and is surprisingly low in sugar. One of my favorite PMS snacks is vanilla greek yogurt with a few squares of melted dark chocolate, a few tablespoons of melted peanut butter, and crumbled pretzles. You get the sweet, salty, creamy and crunchy all at once. Totally worth it!!

  14. Lori said:

    I love this site and it is so reassuring to read about other women who are going through the same thing I am. Sometimes it feels like I’m the only one who just wants to eat and eat ( and NAP ) the week before my period.

  15. Tina said:

    I eat chocolate candy and crave any sweets like chips and candy and I drink lots of soda when I am on my period.