Fasting and menstruation: is it possible not to eat?

Fasting is an ancient practice that is widely used and practiced in some religions. Fasting is simply the fact of depriving oneself of food for a given time.

Often during the period before menstruation (the famous PMS) or during menstruation, we tend to feel bloated, to have digestive problems, but also to feel tired. Well, fasting can be the solution to recover energy, put your digestive system at rest, and even relieve menstrual pain.

Is it possible to fast during your period?

Contrary to what you might think, you can start fasting during your period (even if in some religions the taboo around menstruation persists which prevents women from fasting). There is actually no ideal time to start fasting. You can start fasting at any time of the year, it is up to you.

On the contrary, starting to fast during your period can be an excellent way to treat digestive disorders, bloating and other problems that occur during the period.

Indeed, during the menstrual period, many women experience symptoms such as

Fasting is known for its numerous therapeutic virtues. Fasting can reduce menstrual pain and uterine contractions.

What is the reason for this?

When you fast, your liver will use the glucose reserves stored in your body. This is when the famous feelings of tiredness and hunger occur. These feelings will last particularly during the first 3 days of fasting. Indeed, as nature is well done, it produces ketones to counteract these effects, which give vitality and euphoric effect to the body. When you practice fasting, you also produce antioxidants, the body is thus purified and that is where you will feel the positive effects of fasting. Among the positive effects of fasting we can mention for example

  • an improvement in the quality of your skin
  • an improvement of your digestive system
  • a change in your state of mind (generally more peaceful, serene and stable), which is important during the period of your period when you are more likely to feel stressed or sad.

If your premenstrual syndrome (PMS) tends to be quite virulent, fasting may be a solution to try! Be careful not to force yourself to do anything, if you don't feel like fasting there is no problem. Instead, you can learn about the foods to choose during the menstrual period, as food plays a very important role in the various symptoms that can be experienced during the cycle.

You can also lose weight by fasting, but keep in mind that this is not the objective of fasting. The objective is to provide the body with a "detox", to eliminate accumulated waste.

What are the reasons for fasting during your period?

There are several reasons to fast during your period. The most common reason is torelieve menstrual symptoms.

Adopting a new diet

You can also fast to adopt a new diet.

There are different types of fasting:

  • intermittent fasting, which is a sixteen-hour-a-day fast
  • dry fasting, which requires medical supervision
  • Alternate fasting, which is a 24-hour fast

In all cases, whether you want to start a fast or change your diet, we recommend that you get information and talk to a health professional, whether it be a dietician, your general practitioner or a nutritionist.

Religious practices: Ramadan and Lent

In some religions, fasting is a common practice.

For example, Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam. During this period, people who practice it have forbidden to eat from sunrise to sunset.

Every year, millions of Muslims practice it.

This proves that fasting is a practice very well supported by the body. It takes about 10 days for the body to get used to this new rhythm of eating.

Fasting is also found in the Catholic religion. It begins 40 days before Easter. It does not mean not eating for 40 days, but only eating one meal a day. During this period, most people fast on Wednesday and Friday.

Prepare your body well before starting a fast with your period

The most important thing when you start fasting is to go slowly. You have to give your body time to get used to this new eating rhythm.

Stopping eating abruptly will not solve your problems of painful periods, on the contrary it can have negative consequences on your body.

For the period, intermittent fasting is the most suitable. Intermittent fasting is the most commonly practiced, it is a 16 hour fast. You can start it one or two days before the beginning of your period. Here is how to practice it:

  • Have a light meal in the evening
  • The next morning, do not eat breakfast
  • Then, eat a balanced meal at noon
  • Don't hesitate to have a snack!
  • Eat again in the evening, early enough to have 16 hours between the last meal of the day and the first meal of the following day.

When practicing intermittent fasting, the goal is not to eat less than in normal times, but simply to distribute your meals differently.

Reduce and adapt your diet gradually

The first step, in order not to shock your body, is to gradually reduce your food intake.

To begin with, you can remove certain foods such as stimulants (drinks like tea, coffee or alcohol), refined sugars and animal proteins.

Then, you must remove starchy foods such as bread, pasta, rice, etc., but also legumes and dairy products.

Finally, the day before the fasting begins, it is recommended to eat only vegetables.

Entering the fasting period

During the fast, you should not eat any solid food. You should drink plenty of water and herbal teas. Being sufficiently hydrated allows you to eliminate all the toxins.

You can do sports, it is even recommended to have a physical activity. When you fast, the body will draw on your resources, if you stay still without doing any sport, it will draw on your muscles. This is not the objective.

Preparing your body for the end of the fast

As with entering the fast, the exit from the fast deserves to be prepared. You can go the same way (in reverse) regarding the re-insertion of food as for the preparation at the beginning of the fast.

Often, at the end of a fast, one feels more like turning to healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables: listen to yourself!

What are the contraindications to fasting during your period?

Of course, there are contraindications to fasting during your period.

Even though fasting has many benefits, it does have its risks.

It is very important to drink enough water (2 to 2.5 liters per day) when you are fasting. If you don't drink enough water, you can have an acidosis attack that will cause migraines and nausea.

Another precaution is that long-term fasting is not recommended for very thin people. In the long term, when you fast, the body draws the energy it needs from the muscle proteins. This can lead to muscle wasting but also to a weakening of the immune system.

To prevent these effects, it is advisable to supplement your protein intake on the days following the start of the fast.

It is also not recommended to practice fasting when you are pregnant, if you suffer from anorexia, liver or kidney failure, diabetes, etc. Ask your doctor for more information!

Ramadan and menstruation: is it recommended to fast?

If you are doing Ramadan, you may be wondering if you should fast during your period? We explain you what are the points of attention to know!

Stop fasting during your period

It is possible to stop Ramadan when you are menstruating. This is a dispensation that allows you to break the fast. The same applies to pregnant women.

The justification for this exception varies according to the family model. In some families, women must break the fast for health reasons. In others, the breaking of the fast occurs because women when they menstruate are seen as impure.

Making up for missed days at the end of Ramadan

Nevertheless, Muslim women who menstruate during Ramadan must make up the days of fasting at the end of Ramadan.

Fasting during menstruation FAQ

Can I do Ramadan with my period?

Menstruation during Ramadan is an exception to the fast. A woman who fasts in Ramadan and menstruates must stop fasting during her period and then make up the missed days at the end of Ramadan.

Is it possible to fast during Lent while menstruating?

It is perfectly possible to fast during Lent while menstruating. Generally, the days of fasting are Wednesday and Friday. In order to avoid any problems during fasting, do not hesitate to discuss it with your doctor first.

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