Sometimes when you get your period, it is not uncommon to get certain symptoms – such as cravings and bloatedness. Don’t worry, these are not serious but do watch your intake of sugar! Do read on to find out why you get these symptoms and what you can do to counter it.
Why do I get sweet cravings when I am having my period and what can I do about it?
Your estrogen is plunging at this time, dear. To add to that, stress (high cortisol levels – the stress hormone) and your bad moods (low serotonin levels – the happy hormone) may intensify your cravings.
Giving in to your sugar cravings every time is a sure fire way of ruining your body. This is because your brain runs on glucose, which comes from the food you eat. Eating food with added sugar or refined carbohydrates causes your blood sugar to spike – that is, it rises to very high levels before plunging down, much like a roller coaster – and your brain interprets this as a sign to eat. It doesn’t matter that you have just drank a Starbucks Frappe an hour ago – you’re hungry, and you crave for more food.
One of the keys of managing your cravings is to achieve a stable blood glucose level through the day. This can be done by eating more complex carbohydrates (the slow release of glucose into your bloodstream helps regulate your sugar levels) and fibre. These foods are known as low GI foods (see more low GI food examples here).
Also remember that although your hormones do influence your body, the choice to swap your ice cream for guilt-free snacks is still yours. Try to figure out the reasons for your cravings before giving in – this also helps you become more mindful of yourself. And don’t let your bad mood cause you to give up on your workouts – even walking around after your meals is good for you.
“The researchers concluded, “Walking significantly impacts postprandial [after meal] glucose excursions in healthy populations and in those with type 1 diabetes.” (diatribe.org)
Why do I feel bloated during my period?
You are probably in week 3 of your cycle, when progesterone is rising.
“Progesterone relaxes the smooth muscle of the uterus as well as your gallbladder, sphincter and intestines, says Dr. Zilberstein.” (womansday.com)
Other than the loosening of your muscles in your lower abdomen, hormonal changes also cause your body to store more water than usual. Water retention leads to swelling – you may notice that your clothes are a little tighter and your rings fit more snugly. This is normal!
When you experience this, do:
1. Avoid salty food (increases water retention and hence bloatedness),
2. Avoid certain foods like cabbage and beans (my mum has a pretty easy rule: any vegetable that’s white in color produce more gas in your tummy!),
3. Avoid wearing that tight-fitting high-waisted pants (how about a dress instead? You’ll feel more comfortable.)
4. Avoid refined sugar and carbohydrates (see above). Research has shown another effect of consuming sugar is the increase in insulin production in your body, which causes your body to retain more salt,
5. You would want to drink more water, eat more fibre, and even drink herbal teas to help your body get rid of excess gas, and
6. Lastly, remember to exercise.