What Your Period Cravings Are Telling You & How To Manage Them
Have you ever noticed that when it’s time for your period, there is a sudden urge to devour something sweet? Or maybe you find yourself craving salty snacks?
It is common to have cravings during or after your period. According to the Office on Women’s Health, more than 90% of women say they get some PMS symptoms including specific food cravings and hunger before period.
Is it normal to have period craving ?
Chinese Medicine experts believe that specific food cravings during PMS are an indication of imbalances in the body, may indicate a need to nourish and support the body’s energy and blood levels.
It is not considered a part of the normal menstrual cycle to experience monthly PMS symptoms such as cravings before period. It turns out that intense hunger before period with specific cravings may be trying to tell you something. So let’s explore what these period cravings may mean and how Chinese Medicine can help to restore balance.
When do the Period cravings happen?
Period related cravings usually start around 7 to 10 days before your period starts. Along with food cravings, this is also when other PMS symptoms tend to start
- Mood swings, irritability, anxiety and stress
- Difference in the appearance of skin e.g acne, textured skin
- Feeling more tired than usual
- Headaches, migraines, trouble sleeping
- Indigestion, bloating, gas, cramps, breast tenderness
- Changes in appetite and sex drive
Causes of Cravings Before Period According to Chinese Medicine
Are you wondering why do I get cravings before my period? Unsatisfied food cravings can be a sign of an imbalanced body. This imbalance is categorised into five elements – Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water- each one connected to particular organs in the body. If these imbalances exist without being addressed, they can affect related organs as well as the surrounding organs.
The nature of your cravings before period can help you understand and pinpoint the imbalances in the body.
Commonly, we encounter clients who suffer from the following:
- Kidney Yang Deficiency: Because of the absence of Kidney Yang energy, the body looks to heat-filled foods to increase vitality.
Therefore cravings for warming and salty dishes are common in this situation.
- Spleen Qi Deficiency: A lack of Spleen Qi can result in frequent hunger before period, where a person may have cravings for sugary or starchy foods as their body attempts to nourish the Spleen and replenish its energy.
In simple words, regular sweet cravings may suggest Spleen imbalance.
- Dampness and phlegm: When the body is inundated with too much Dampness, it can trigger cravings for fatty and heavy foods. This further aggravates Dampness levels in the body and leads to an increase in weight.
You may cravings for fatty and heavy foods !
Once we understand the period cravings, we can frequently eliminate them by introducing new foods into your diet along with other Chinese Medicine treatments and lifestyle changes. It’s crucial to recognise your body’s needs and find ways to satisfy them in a nutritious, well-rounded way. For example, eating healthy foods rich in nutrients, exercising frequently, and controlling stress can help reduce cravings while preserving your health.
Causes of Period Cravings According to Western Medicine
Women often experience intense hunger before period a symptom of PMS (premenstrual syndrome. Experts believe that hormones and serotonin levels during a woman’s cycle are responsible for this phenomenon.
Hormone changes can cause blood sugar to drop and thus lead to an increase in sugar cravings. Furthermore, studies have shown that hormonal shifts such as decreases in estrogen or progesterone may drive women towards high-carbohydrate or sweet foods shortly before menstruation begins.
Studies have shown that 14% of women who experience irregular periods, may be more likely to binge eat.
According to a study published in the journal PMC, it is imperative for every woman experiencing from an eating disorder to assess her menstrual status carefully. This applies not only to those with anorexia nervosa but also to other forms of disordered eating.
The study found that binge eating was associated with higher levels of depression and anxiety, which can lead to further disordered eating habits.
Acupuncture for PMS cravings
Acupuncture works to provide relief from overall PMS condition by stimulating nerves, muscles, lymphatic and blood vessels. At GinSen we often recommend Moxibustion in conjunction with Acupuncture. Acupuncture aims to promote the smooth flow of Qi and Blood which in turn will naturally reduce the symptoms of PMS including period craving.
Acupuncture may help reduce symptoms of PMS such as hunger before period by:
- Correcting imbalances
- Stimulating the nervous system – this encourages release of endorphins – our feel good hormones
- Reducing inflammation
- Promoting relaxation and releasing tension from the body
Acupuncture & moxibustion treatment is usually given 1 – 2 times a week. Once the condition improves, the frequency will be reduced to once a week. All acupuncture treatments are tailored to your specific needs and the acupuncture points used will be chosen by your acupuncturist based on your individual condition.
Supplements to help with PMS Cravings
PMS Remedy by GinSen is an all-natural food supplement which provides relief from Premenstrual syndrome (PMS). This herbal remedy works by getting to the root cause of the issue allowing you to manage hormone imbalance peacefully without interfering with your day-to-day life.
Diet & Lifestyle Changes to manage Cravings Before Period
Managing the most common period cravings before your period can be difficult, but it is possible with the right lifestyle changes. With Chinese Medicine, every craving has an underlying meaning and significance that can be addressed through diet and lifestyle changes.
According to Chinese Medicine. One of the most effective ways to manage bothersome period cravings is to address their root cause.
These cravings could be an indication of an underlying kidney or urinary bladder issue. In addition, traditional Chinese Medicine suggests the body is depleted in fluids and minerals, leading to dehydration and fatigue.
To address this deficiency, consume foods high in electrolytes, drink plenty of water, and take herbal supplements such as dandelion root or nettle leaf for improved health. Taking proactive measures to address salt cravings can help improve their overall well-being.
Traditional Chinese Medicine states that strong emotions such as anger, stress, and frustration can cause Liver Qi to become restricted and unable to flow freely. This can lead to cravings for sour foods due to the Liver Qi’s role in energy flow throughout the body.
When this energy is blocked, it can result in long-term frustration or stress related to one’s living conditions, work, or relationships.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, cravings for sugar and sweets may be an indication of a nutrient deficiency in the body. To help reduce cravings before period, nourish the spleen with root vegetables, cinnamon and ginger, beans, brown rice, oats, and fruit.
Eating these foods in moderation can help take care of your sweet tooth while providing essential nutrients to your body.
When Should You See a Doctor
Many women experience cravings before period, usually starting around 7 to 10 days before it starts. Cravings are often for sweet or salty foods and can be caused by the fluctuation of hormones during this time.
If your cravings last longer than usual or you feel like they are out of control, it may be a sign of an underlying issue, and you should speak to an expert.
Our clinic offers free online consultations so that you can get the help you need in a safe and convenient way.
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* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. We can’t guarantee the treatment result, as the symptoms of conditions are unpredictable and vary greatly from person to person. The treatment length and recovery time also varies for individual. Please visit our clinics website: GinSen where a specialists will discuss your care and provide a consultation, and the treatment will be designed to meet your individual needs.