fasting and menstruation

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fasting and menstruation

This topic contains 40 replies, has 40 voices, and was last updated by  daniela34 5 years, 8 months ago.

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  • Hi there,
    I am wondering if it is ok to fast while menstruating?
    Also, any women out there that have had experiences fasting and menstruating that would be helpful, I would appreciate.
    THANKS in advance!

    Why wouldn’t it be? Considering it’s likely that we’ll be menstruating for 2 out of every 8 fast days it’s inevitable. Just done so this week. Normally I’m hungrier this time of the month, but have managed to fast just the same.


    I’ve got to say fasting has really benefited my menstruation cycle no end!!!! I have less pain and I have a lighter blood flow. I’m also finding that I’m not on edge the week before, something that used to occur quite a bit.

    My sleep has always been affected and before I fasted I usually experienced a horrible sweating at night a couple of days before being due on, but thanks to the 5:2 plan, I now wake up in a dry duvet not a horrible sweaty one!.

    I really think this can help women who have very painful periods like I used to. It didn’t take long for my body to adapt. I’ve only had two unpainful periods which happens to be the two months I’ve been fasting.

    oh great news! my first fast day ever, and guess what, I woke up with my period! feeling pretty weak right now…I hope it’s just because of my period, hence it’ll be better when i’m not menstruating. also feeling really cold, is it normal? but overall i’m feeling less ravenous than I thought I would. Coping with litres of herbal tea and water…

    Hi Virtage,
    I often feel cold too.hope you went well today!
    Good luck.
    Thanks for the other responses too.

    I believe it depends on the individual, how fasting during (or just before) menstruation works out. If one is prone to headaches while fasting, and has migraine/headache just before the periods start, then it could be wise to shift the fast day.

    I feel cold during the fast days, but we have quite low temperature in the office, so I just take a cardigan with me. At home I tend to be so active, that feeling cold is not a problem. Green tea helps a lot πŸ™‚

    This was one of the biggest benefits for me. Everything that could be put down to hormones has improved no end on the fasting lifestyle. I used to get really heavy painful periods and occasionally I’d just be wiped out by them – no more.

    I expect the benefits take a while to show up (can’t remember how quickly it all happened for me it’s been so long), so it’s unfortunate that you had to deal with it on your first fastday but it’s certainly not a reason NOT to do it.

    I had my period on my 2nd fast day of week one. I have to say I suffer from v heavy periods and am a monster the week before. I have to say my period was noticeably lighter. Not sure yet if this is a coincidence but I will monitor it and post again. Hopefully I’ve seen the last of painful, irregular periods and no more of moody, snappy and tearful days prior! fingers crossed.

    I suspect most women know that ravenous feeling the day before they are due to start their period. It’s incredibly challenging to fast on that day, so if I suspect that is the reason why I feel so hungry I put my fast day off til the next day. It keeps me on track with 2 fast days a week but stops me fighting myself. It’s the only day in the month when I feel truly ravenous rather than a bit hungry, so it seems sensible to deal with it and not fight against it (which could easily end in my failing the fast which is counter productive). Anyone else do this?

    i’ve had no problem fasting during my period and also my period has remained totally regular throughout (i’ve been fasting for 9 months and don’t take the pill or anything)…

    I would say that i do 5:2 mainly for the health benefits (i lost 2kg quite quickly and have been maintaining since then, which basically means i eat what i like!)…

    Does anyone else have anything to add to this thread?

    I fasted yesterday and my period is due any minute now but today I’m feeling very bloated even though I haven’t eaten much. I’m really hoping this new regime will help to control the hormones πŸ™‚

    I just have to remember that the uncomfortable feeling in my tummy is not because I need to eat something else!! I fell off the wagon a bit on the first day of my period (haven’t been doing this long so it’s my only example). I was SOOOO hungry! I don’t know if it was the period or being in a diet. Anyway, hopefully I will remember for next time and make wiser plans πŸ™‚
    I had planned to do my first weigh and measure update, but changed my mind when I realised as I didn’t want bloating to affect my results.

    That’s how I feel Iwant2Bincontrol. I wanted to record today’s weight and measurement as my first week results but I think they will be different either tomorrow or Sunday once the bloating and fluid are gone…

    I’m really curious to hear what affects the diet has on different people’s cycles, symptoms, PCOS and menopause… being in my 40’s these are all relevant to me πŸ˜›

    I started yesterday with my first fast. I’m hoping to improve my oily, pimpled, acne prone adult skin. Also worried about being ridiculously hungry around my period so may change my fast days to suit. And the effect on my moods. I’m a irritable snappy moo during my period. Hope it will lessen!


    I have been fasting for 5 weeks and this is first period I have had since I started 5:2. Previously I would get bloating, swollen breasts and pains up to two weeks before hand. This time I only had pains and symptoms a couple days beforehand. I managed to fast on the day it arrived this week and it went well. Today is non fast day and I wasn’t hungry this morning plus had a bad headache so didn’t eat breakfast. Just had big brunch instead. I don’t normally get headaches at this time of month so putting it down to lack of sleep and water. I hope it wasn’t from back to back fast I did last two days?
    Does anyone record weight at this time of month? I think I put on over 1kg from bloating is that normal?

    Hi betalean and all, I’m on my 9th week of fasting and the 2 periods I’ve had have been quite a bit lighter than usual. Before starting 5:2 my periods were so heavy and I had to take lots of painkillers and just go to bed. Last my month I was still bloated but not as bad as usual and only had to take painkillers once. I would be delighted if this was how my periods were going to be from now on, as a bonus to losing weight πŸ™‚
    Yes, my weight also goes up at my period so I avoid weighing myself at that time!
    Let us know how you’re getting on, I’d love to hear other people’s experiences. Claire

    my menstruation is stop now my 28 days over

    My period came on a fasting day–my first since I started the FastDiet three weeks ago. I finished the fasting day ok, but awoke the next morning (yesterday) looking pale and feeling very weak, weepy, and generally not right. Honestly, it kind of scared me. I ate and rested, and felt much better by mid afternoon. I’m glad I didn’t have to work or anything that day. I typically feel depleted a day or two into my cycle and get a nagging mild headache that hangs on for one or two days, but for this cycle the fasting has made those symptoms tons worse. I will probably skip the second fasting day this week.

    I’ve done three fasts now and each day I’ve felt really cold and haven’t slept as well as normal. It seems to be quite common.

    Hi there,

    Reading these posts with interest as I’ve come to the end of my first month of doing 5:2 and have had the worst time doing it in the week just prior to my period starting.

    The first three weeks of the fasting cycles were fine, but the two fast days this week (just before my period kicked in) were horrible – I was more hungry, which I expected as I normally get ravenous at this point in my cycle. However, I also felt incredibly weak, wobbly and lightheaded, to the extent that I was a bit concerned by my hour long drive home for work. It also affected my work, in that I couldn’t concentrate as well.

    Any suggestions from other women who’ve experienced similar would be really helpful – I’m finding this diet is working well otherwise – I’ve lost weight and feel really good, but this last week has been very hard going indeed!


    I stumbled onto this log by accident, and dont know what 5:2 fast is, but i’ve been to the emergency room from my horrible menses; for many years had debilating pain in low back, stomach, sometimes vomitting, diarreah, the hammer-on-the-head migraine,and my legs would occassionally give out on me—its embarrassing, have been through alot, even a couple of jobs(before i understood—my mushy period brain and my inner monthly incredible hulk was so noticible). And 10 years ago when at a party had to leave in an ambulance at 3am… humiliating. tried holistic to pain meds, and medical tests, and im vegan for 10years, nothing worked. But for the past couple of months Ive fasted the day before my menses, the first day(spotting-flowy), second day(full-blown), and third day(the bombs keep dropping), my fast= no water,no liquids, no food….yeah im third-world hungry, but happy as a pig in slop, because im 99.9% pain free for the first time in my entire life! I can feel some occassional funny business of my uterus, but barely.
    πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚
    But still have the foggy brain and dangerous level of fatigue. At the moment I dont work, I help care for my grammy who has alzheimers , but will have to go back to work at some point. But i still would not be functionable in any job, as during fast i am not good for any physical activity like driving, walking around, calculating, remembering, or communicating effectively….my brain is mushy…just not sharp like normal…thank god grammy is extremely low maintenance and the house is an alzheimers-safe–fort (kind of like baby-proofing), and when sometimes I tell grammy its “that time of the month” she would see me laying on the floor in my room and say, thank god those days are over for her, ha ha…she’s a riot…but seriously…i apologize if this is not the right forum for my question, but do any of my fellow sufferers here know how to get some type of disability for this? How to deal with a doctor about this? would need disability to attend school (to acquire a stay-at home-career) to provide for myself simultaneously…and then I can really be free and in control.

    Has anyone here had their periods stop completely? I was successful over a 10 week period at the 5 & 2 diet (I lost nearly 8 kilos) however a side effect of this was that my period stopped completely & havent since returned.

    I was never in the overweight category however I was unhappy with my weight and the 8 kilos lost still put me in the healthy range so it wasnt a “drastic loss” by any means – my doctor seems un-concerned & said it should return on it’s own eventually however I have stopped fasting now & thus have put on most of the weight again. My body is telling me I cant do both (get a period & fast) so I am at a loss of what to do here. Any help would be much appreciated?

    My periods have changed to. I am week 6 of 5 2.

    The first period I had no pain wow. No painkillers. Light for a couple of days then on and off spotting for about a week especially on fast days.

    I am due in a couple of days don’t feel bloated.

    See what happens if mine stopped I would be ecstatic. I would imagine that hormones would be have to readjust over time.

    I m 46 so am peri menapausal.

    I just realised I haven’t had any hot flushes since I started fasting.

    Just another note fasting is so much easier now today no problems about have dinner left over lamb and veg then off to a vigerous workout in an hours time. Cannot do it without food on fast day. Not hungry afterwards anyway just worn out.

    Your period should not stop for fasting two days a week. There may be an underlying issue, or perhaps you are experiencing peri-menopause, for which there are herbs that will help. But please be careful with them and consult your physician or naturopath to be safe about it.

    I tried the 5:2 diet for 3.5 months. During 3 of those months I started having 2 periods a month. Normally i’m very intermittent so at first i thought it was just my body re-regulating or something. By the 2nd month I knew something was off. Also both my blood pressure and my blood sugar went up. The latter so much that I got diagnosed as diabetic by my doctor after blood tests despite never having trouble with sugar before. This sucks because I was really enjoying how i felt while fasting and my clothes were fitting better. I wish i could start up again but I’m afraid that these side effects will return.

    Amorphousk, this is quite the opposite as one should expect from the fast diet. Normally bloodsugar regulates and so does bloodpressure!
    I am in my 2nd week and my period is due. I have been spotting several times this week, so I Think everytime my period is about to start, but apparently not yet. We’ll see when it comes, and when I am so lucky that it never starts again, I will be ever so happy πŸ™‚


    I have experienced the same problems as Brittona86.

    I followed the diet for about 3 months and lost about 13kilos. After that my period dissapeared. I got a bit scared so I put back on about 5 kilos and my period reapeared. Therefore, I have decided to lose those extra kilos and I am doing the diet again.

    However, what I’ve been left with is sweating during the night after a Non-fasting day. Has anyone experienced this? I am not sure if it is that my body is more efficient at burning calories or that I am facing some peri-menopausal symptoms! (I’m 44 years old). Please help!

    I have been on the Fast Diet for 4 months now and only once have I experienced PMS on a fast day. That day I did struggle but once I realised WHY I was moody I was able to work with it. (a nice cup of tea helped!) I have noticed my pre-period cravings for all things sweet (especially chocolate) are no more since becoming a FD’er. My problems are nothing, however, compared to some on this forum. I would like to add to what Tivne has said, and urge those of you who are experiencing changes out of the ordinary to listen to your bodies and go and see your GP. Good luck everyone

    Hi everybody.

    I’ve been 5:2ing since the beginning of January and, so far, I’m really enjoying it!

    After a slightly indulgent weekend (not massively over calories, just very sugar/ chocolate laden) I decided to make this week a 4:3 week (fasting Mon, Wed, Fri). But now I’m thinking that perhaps I chose the wrong week!?

    Monday was fine, felt the same as I normally do.

    Wednesday – less enjoyable! I felt much hungrier than I usually do on a fast day. I was also absolutely freezing! My office is like a fridge anyway, so I’m well used to feeling cold at work. But I just couldn’t get warm no matter what I tried. Even when I got home to my centrally heated house, I just felt chilled to the bone.
    I had very little energy in the evening, and I was in bed and fast asleep by 9.30pm. I then woke up at 11pm feeling extremely hungry, with a growling stomach.

    This is in total contrast to every other fasting day so far, even though I didn’t do anything different eating/ drinking/ activity wise, so I can only assume this has something to do with the time of the month.

    The dreaded she-beast is due today! I’m eating normally and feeling quite comfortable at the moment. I just wonder what tomorrow will bring….

    Back to 5:2 next week, then it’s my second weigh-in on Friday 6th. Only weighing myself once a month, so quite excited to see if the scales have shifted! My jeans are certainly getting baggy around the bum!

    Hello Clickbeetle85,

    Yes, the time of the month will definitely make you hungry but do not overlook at the time of the year! It is so cold outside that your body is telling you that you need calories!

    Good luck next week!

    I think fasting during menstruation can have adverse effects on the health. As women during menstruation are more hungrier because they become more weak during these days and it is very important that they get all the proteins and nutrients during those days so that they have proper menstrual periods.

    I’m just about to have my first period since starting 5:2 and usually I eat like there’s no tomorrow during the days before I actually ‘come on’ but this time I had a fasting day during those days and it really wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be; if anything it has helped lessen the bloating I usually experience.

    Generally when we fast for religious reasons we are not allowed to fast during mensturation as it is considered a sickness .i will probably just eat less .

    I have been 5:2 ing for 3 and a half weeks. I have noticed for the last week that I have had breakthrough bleeding the day after my fast.
    I don’t have periods as I take the pill to stop them, but now I’m bleeding twice a week πŸ™ Anyone else found this?

    Hello. I’ve done the 5;2 and currently been doing the 16:8 version of the fast diet. I am 41, and don’t want to have more kids, but I’ve noticed my period acting a bit different and not having your period, or losing it, is not a good sign, its more than wanting to have babies, it show that hormones are out of wack and it can have different effects. I have been researching that a lot of women lose their period or even have an early menopause because of fasting. Apparently experiments with rats showed that fasting was not good for females, as their ovaries shrunk and many hormones were altered… I’m not sure what to think, I was very happy with intermittent fasting, but now I’m starting to wonder if its as good for women as it is for men… I’m looking into all of this, I know some women do fasting and it helps you with menopause but, what if you are not at menopause? A bit saddened to see that all is not what it seems, as I was sure I had found a way of eating that would work for me, maybe I have… but I need to look a lot more into it…

    Hello MrsGollum

    I have found out the effects of this diet in a very harsh way. I was 43 when I started the 5:2 diet. I was very successful and I lost about 15kgs. However, my periods stopped. I got really worried and started eating normally. However, the problem with the menopause could not be reverted. I am now spiralling with irregular periods and pre-menopause symptoms. In addition, I have put on more weight than I had started with, gaining 20kgs from my lowest point. I love the fact that this diet is really easy to follow but I would not recommend it to women. I am still struggling to gain some control over my body, despite having to take HRT.

    I started to research this since my period is about a week late.

    This article that you can read/listen to, might answer a few questions:

    Hi – fasting has helped me a lot with menstruation. I have diagnosed endometriosis and the symptoms have totally gone! I don’t have any PMT beforehand now, and only have a very mild ache before it starts and then no pain whatsoever, and a light flow. I used to have to take prescribed painkillers and weird tablets to stop the bleeding at one point it was so bad!

    I think it makes sense if you think about the theory that fasting does housekeeping and scavenges defunct cells, given that endometriosis is cells growing where they shouldn’t. I think this would be a great line of research to pick up, as well as investigating the effects on women due to the mixed responses above…Thank you from me though 5:2! πŸ™‚

    Hello all

    I think we must all agree that the effects of fasting on women warrants some serious research.

    spareclaire – that’s fantastic! I have adenomyosis which is a form of endo but confined to the uterus. I still have a very heavy flow (4 months of 5 2 ) but breast pain has gone and period pain slightly less I would say.

    A couple of weeks before my last period I had to shift the fast days closer together and my body did not seem to like that at all. I had severe insomnia, waking up hot and drenched in sweat during the night and broke out in large spots in places where I don’t normally have them like my cheeks. My hormones were all over the place, when my period started it all calmed down and I only did one fast day after that. I never usually have symptoms like these so it’s a bit concerning. I will continue with 5 2 but monitor closely and if there are any further signs of imbalance I’ll stop for a while or go on 6 1 or other protocol. After reading some of the experiences on this thread as well as articles about women & fasting on the internet, it appears some of us must tread very cautiously indeed. (I’m 44)

    Hey so i got my period on Thursday and yesterday (Sunday) i didn’t have blood or anything and I fasted but then today morning (Monday) I woke up and had blood. Does that mean I have to fast or not?

    Hey, I need to lose 10 kg in a month some suggestions?

    It’s my first week of fasting and I just got my periods yesterday for the second time in the same month.. I’ve spent two days feeling really tired, unable to do anything and today I feel like vomiting… What can I do to stop feeling like this? I’ve taken iron supplements in hope it would go away but no luck.

    Once I started fasting during menstruation. I could not take painkillers, and the desire for sweets was enormous. I think that there are no contraindications to fast during menstruation, but you should drink a lot of water. However, I would not decide to start a new fasting during the first days of the period

    Dear ladies,

    I have been doing the 5:2 diet for 5 months, and I could break down the pros and cons as below:

    pros: lost 4 kg in the first two months. The high you get from losing weight/feeling in control of smth, esp your body, which we are all conditioned by society to be dissatisfied with one way or another, was keeping me going, and I felt I found a new way of living. I was also enjoying playing sports in a fasted state, without the feeling of being either full/or digesting or etc…
    Sure, there were hunger pangs, but overcoming them was part of the fun. I also became ‘friends’ with the hunger, and now don’t feel worried if there are hours ahead of me without food (like plane journeys or etc). Another positive effect was that I became more aware of eating protein, as I’d say my diet was very veggie/fruit heavy.

    cons: after month 2, I plateau-ed, and also started noticing my mood altering more than usual. If you wish, I was in a constant PMS state, being sad, ravenous, tense, angry… I also stopped getting my period (3 months and counting), and started questioning this whole approach. I became addicted to coffee & sugar free chewing gum, which cannot be amazing for my stomach either.
    As with any diet, or life altering advice, we are caught in the duality of what is good and bad for us. And the truth is: noone really knows for sure.
    The fact that my body is absorbing the stress of calorie-reduced regime (because this is what 5:2 actually is) and sending my hormonal balance out of whack cannot be amazing, can it? Of course, some people would say: just keep pushing, exert more control, stop with the coffee, just drink water, u need to stay disciplined, etc… while others would just say: this is obviously a sign you need to stop and follow a more regular eating pattern. Caught again between the ‘accept yourself’ vs ‘pushing yourself’ and being left with the damages. If I need to take some HRT and gain back weight I exerted extreme control to lose, what was the point of this ‘exercise’?

    I think dieting is quite a dangerous mind game, and of course, as long as you are ‘winning’ you can find the resources to keep going (exerting control), but when you get the opposite, the story changes.

    I also find there isn’t enough information on how reduced calories can affect our hormonal system, which is affecting all aspects of our lives, and in which there is still soooooo much unknown. I see someone referenced a precision nutrition article in this thread, which recommends stopping IF if your period ‘goes missing’.

    This is not to say that this will be the case for everyone, not every woman is the same, but for me, it looks like the 5:2 has created more negative than positive effects, which I hope are not irreversible.

    Best of luck to all, and … let’s be less harsh on ourselves!

    I have been on the Fast Diet for 4 months now and only once have I experienced PMS on a fast day. That day I did struggle but once I realised WHY I was moody I was able to work with it. (a nice cup of tea helped!) I have noticed my pre-period cravings for all things sweet (especially chocolate) are no more since becoming a FD’er.

    Hi, I’m so glad this forum is here! I started 5:2 fast a month ago. Immediately that week I started spotting and I assumed it was stress from life. But now i also decided to do 16-18 hour daily fast with my 5:2 fasting and I started spotting again. Which made me do research into women fasting, and yes we are wired differently then men, So no shoe fits all with dieting, plus I’m 47 so this could catapult me into early menopause…YIKES!!! I decided to just stop eating after dinner and skip breakfast with more of a 12 hour daily fast and the 5:2 and see if that makes a difference plus add healthy fats into my diet. I hope so! I have a friend 10 years older than me and I clearly remember when she was my age because her daughter was getting married. She was always starving herself and she went into early menopause, 10 years later she is still suffering. I want to lose weight but be healthy at the same time. Like said I’m 47 plus 150 lbs, I have 20 lbs to lose. Not sure if that is a factor as well?

    it all the time helps me

    What do you not eat during the period?

    There are several groups of products that should be avoided both directly before and during menstruation.

    Coffee and strong black tea
    The caffeine contained in them intensifies painful uterine contractions, so characteristic of the first days of bleeding. In addition, it promotes the loss of magnesium, which is a key element during menstruation. Its loss causes muscle cramps, including lower abdominal muscles.

    Another reason to avoid caffeine is that it dehydrates the body. This causes the water to retain in the body and, consequently, the impression of swelling.

    In addition to coffee and strong black tea, you will also find caffeine in energy drinks and cola. But you should not drink them at all, not only during menstruation.

    Due to the presence of severely digestible lactose, which can cause uncomfortable bloating and a feeling of heaviness.


    Fried and hard to digest dishes
    They burden the liver, whose task is to protect the female body from excess estrogen. In addition, they cause flatulence and heighten the feeling of heaviness and exacerbate inflammation. It is worth avoiding fatty and processed products such as fast-food, fried meat, ready-made meals, and powdered products.


    It dilates the blood vessels and thins the blood, which may increase bleeding. It also promotes the retention of water in the body. In addition, it raises pressure, which can cause unpleasant headaches during menstruation.

    Alcohol also increases breast sensitivity and promotes mood swings. What’s more, the metabolism of alcohol during menstruation is slowed down and leads to … a greater hangover and even worse well-being on the second day. It is definitely worth refusing it during menstruation and also directly in front of it.


    Salt and any salty snacks
    Set aside all the chips, bread sticks and crackers. Best forever, but certainly for the period of menstruation. Salt promotes the retention of water in the body and the appearance of swelling and swelling.

    Probably during PMS you observe an increased desire for sweets at home. The reason for this are fluctuations in the level of hormones in the body that cause a fall in serotonin (the so-called happiness hormone) in the brain. However, it is worth resisting the temptation to reach for products containing sugar, because it favors the severity of menstrual discomfort and reduces the overall immunity of the body. And it is during menstruation that we are more susceptible to all kinds of infections, including intimate ones.

    What to eat during menstruation?
    You already know what to avoid and what minerals should be supplemented during PMS and menstruation. So, what products should be used for?
    Fermented dairy products
    They are a great source of easily absorbed calcium, they do not acidify the body, they are easily digestible and do not cause bloating (as in the case of milk). What’s more, they help keep our bacterial flora in good condition and increase immunity.

    So go for kefirs, buttermilk, natural yoghurts and curds. Remember to choose natural products, no added sugar, milk powder, glucose syrup and other trash.

    Greasy fish
    They contain omega-3 and vitamin D, which also affect our mood during menstruation. They improve the mood, reduce muscle spasms. Fish, such as salmon or mackerel, also contain a lot of magnesium.

    It contains large amounts of zinc, responsible for the regulation of hormone levels. Just half a glass of this vegetable, added to a salad or dinner.

    This meat is a source of vitamin B6, helping to fight the negative symptoms of PMS, such as irritability and a bad mood. Instead of supplementing this vitamin, maybe it is worth reaching for its natural source?


    Green vegetables
    They are a great source of well-absorbed iron and magnesium. Do not hesitate to reach for spinach, kale, broccoli, cabbage and lettuce.

    They are a great source of iron, they prevent anemia and stimulate the production of red blood cells. They increase immunity and regulate blood coagulation processes.

    Herbal teas
    Drink them every day before menstruation and also during. Chamomile has a diastolic and soothing effect, melissa relaxes and the nettle provides iron. The infusion of marigold and yarrow is also perfect.

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