This Is Why You're Always Hungry Before You Get Your Period

Finding yourself craving chocolate or chips right before you get your period? When it comes to the hormonal shifts that happen in your body throughout your cycle, you may notice major shifts, or you may not even be aware when your period is about to start: All women respond to these hormonal fluctuations differently. But period-oriented cravings and feelings of hunger are extremely common, and there's a scientific reason behind them.

Premenstrual syndrome, or PMS, is a real issue. As your body enters the luteal phase of your menstrual cycle — the hormonal phase right before you get your period — research has shown that an increase in appetite, especially when it comes to carbohydrates, is common (via Human Reproduction). Additionally, in the luteal phase, serotonin levels dip, which can lead to mood swings and the urge to self-medicate those mood swings with chocolate and other treats. Your body also will experience a slightly higher caloric burn rate during this time, making you feel hungrier than ever (via Greatist). And lastly, you may be a bit more sensitive to insulin at this time of the month, which can make you crave simple sugars (via Huffington Post).

What can you do to prevent it?

Unfortunately, certain people are simply predisposed to these cravings, Kelly Klump, Ph.D., explained to Greatist. But if you start to notice patterns in what you're craving and when, you can start to make informed decisions for your body, which can include simply enjoying the foods you're craving. 

"Everything in moderation is fine. To calorie restrict on your premenstrual phase is a miserable thing to do," General practitioner Clare Ballingall told The Huffington Post Australia. "Just generally be kind to yourself more than anything." (She also advocates eating healthy foods and making sure to get enough exercise at this time.)

If you're trying to avoid over-indulging around your period, knowing your cycle and when your period is due may help you make better food choices. If you track your period for a few months, you can start to plan for the days you know you'll likely be feeling hungrier and craving tempting treats. On those days, you can make sure that you're filling up on healthy meals first, and you can stock healthier versions or single servings of your favorite indulgences.