No one can deny the health perks of fasting. However, are there any benefits of fasting while on period? Intermittent fasting, or fasting from dawn to dusk for 30 days (Ramadan fasting), helps the body to get relief from constant digestive activity. But, fasting during the initial days of periods is not a very good idea.
Since the body is in greater activity on the initial days of the period, not eating for a considerable time leads to a great loss of energy. Also, not eating can cause blood to stagnate.
So, is fasting helpful for cramps and painful periods? Are there any benefits of fasting while on period? Let’s discover this and many more fasting and menstrual cycle relationships.
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Are There Any Benefits of Fasting While on Periods?
Fasting has a beneficial effect on our bodies. Indeed, it promotes weight loss, prevents you from chronic disease, or even kills cancerous cells. Moreover, it boosts cognitive performance and helps improve overall health.
But, can you fast on your periods? Does it have any benefit to refrain from eating and drinking for a considerable time during your bleeding days?
As we all know, menstruation is difficult and burdensome for a lady. Indeed, she has cramps, cravings, and mood swings. Loss of blood during menses results in fatigue due to a lack of iron in the body. Moreover, the body might be experiencing a hormonal crash during the first couple of days of menstruation.
So, it’s not recommended to abstain from eating and drinking for a long time on the first and second day of your period.
However, those very concerned women about their self-care can fast on the 3rd or 4th day of their periods. When their hormones level starts to rise, and they feel energetic. Thus, they can fast and can do high-intensity exercise as well.
Anyhow, taking low nutrition during your bleeding days may impact your menstrual cycle severely. Indeed, fasting on menstruation days can lead to unhealthy weight loss and hormonal imbalance. In addition, intermittent fasting may lead to malnutrition and fasting stress if you are already underweight.
Studies have shown that lean women who fast during their menstrual cycle show distinctive neuroendocrine functions, display a longer follicular phase, and exhibit anovulation than women with normal weight.
Intermittent Fasting and Menstruation
Intermittent fasting is an organized plan of eating and fasting at a regular interval. It helps control weight and reverse some diseases. Indeed, it focuses on when to eat rather than what to eat.
However, several studies have suggested that intermittent fasting is not very helpful to women compared to men. Therefore, women may need to take a more moderate approach.
Indeed, there is little research on the intermittent fasting effect on the female menstruation system. But you can compare it with metabolic and lifestyle changes—for instance, calorie restriction and weight, stress, etc.
So, why is intermittent fasting not beneficial for a woman’s menstrual cycle? Actually, a woman’s menstrual cycle is mainly controlled by hormones. Any change in the diet pattern or inadequate dietary intake may result in hormone imbalance.
Anyhow, with proper dietary care, it is okay to fast. It means you should normally eat during the 6-8 hour window daily and fast during the 16-18 hour period at night. Research has proven that this is the best approach for women.
Related to read: Intermittent Fasting Without Exercise: 5 Proven Ways For Success
Ramadan Fasting’s Effects on Menstrual Cycle
Ramadan is the holy month in which millions of Muslim women and men abstain from drinking and eating from dawn to sunset. In fact, this is a cycle of fasting and feeding that continues for 29 or 30 days in accordance with the Islamic calendar.
During Ramadan month, there is a significant change in the Muslim dietary habits, sleep patterns, and daily activities. All these factors influence the female menstrual cycle.
Research has been conducted to determine if fasting during Ramadan affects menstruation and women’s menstrual cycle. During Ramadan, menstrual abnormalities such as polymenorrhea, oligomenorrhea, and hypermenorrhea increased, especially among participants who fasted for more than 15 days.
Following is the summary of studies that indicate the results of Ramadan fasting on the women’s menstrual cycle during the holy month and 3 months after!
|3 months after Ramadan
|Oligomenorrhea (fewer and light periods than normal)
|Polymenorrhea (periods arrive earlier than expected date)
|Hypermenorrhea (abnormally low bleeding)
It is prohibited in Islam to fast while women are on their periods. It is because of mercy on them. Although the Ramadan fast is obligatory on every adult man and woman, menstruating women abstain from fasting.
Even though Ramadan fasting can interfere with your menstrual cycle, studies show it has more benefits than side effects. It helps prevent diseases and enhances your health.
Religions have become integral components of our lives for most of us. Our health is also vital to our well-being. It is recommended that you consult your doctor if you feel unwell at any point and consume healthy foods.
Does Fasting Help With Period Cramps?
Lower abdominal or back pain during periods or periods cramps happen for a number of reasons. One of the reasons for cramps is bloating. Intermittent fasting or fasting can help reduce bloating and therefore help with periods pain.
But in case your cramps are due to any other reason, then fasting is less likely to cure your pains unless you treat them. As a whole, fasting is not guaranteed to help your periods cramps.
Related to read: Fasting Lower Back Pain: Is it a Myth or Uncomfortable Truth?
If You Start Your Period While Fasting, Can You Eat?
If you are on periods, and suddenly you realize that your bloody flow comes out of your vagina, you must be worried whether I broke my fast or continued it.
Indeed, you can eat or drink as a normal routine when your periods arrive, whether you are a Muslim woman or a Christian. However, there are no rules or limitations on fasting for menstruating women in Christianity.
But as your body is in great suffering during blood flow, therefore, you should not abstain from taking nutrition. You should take some healthy sources of fats, carbs, protein, and some anti-inflammatory food to avoid bloating and promote menstruation health.
If there is no religious restriction, you can eat and drink what is good for you during menstruation.
No doubt, there are chances of malnutrition and irregularities in menstruation during or after fasting. But there are some benefits of fasting while on period. For instance, fasting on periods helps reduce bloating and may reduce your heavy blood flow.
But, as a whole, periods on menstruation days are not recommended, as you need a constant flow of nutrition on these special days. Therefore, if you are planning to fast on your periods, you should avoid it. However, once your menstrual cycle ends, you can begin fasting.
Moreover, encourage yourself to stay healthy as a girl because you are an amazing woman and your periods are as essential as your lean body.
When to start fasting after a period?
You can fast at the end of your menstruation when your hormones become normal, and you feel energetic. No doubt, most women wish to fast on the 3rd or 4th day of their period. However, it is best to wait until your period is over.
Can we keep fast during periods in Hinduism?
Yes, you can keep your fast during periods in Hinduism. Even if you abide by tradition and do not go to worship or pray in the room of God, you can still keep the fast while praying in your mind. Once you start a fast, it is usually not recommended to stop it. It means that you can do so any time you want to fast.
Should I continue fasting if I get my period, Islam?
If you are a Muslim lady, you are allowed to eat and drink as soon as your periods arrive. Besides fasting, Muslim girls may relax in their prayers and other religious acts. However, they are not considered spiritually impure; they can still pray in their hearts and mouths. But they are not allowed to touch the holy Quran and perform Namaz.
Can I fast while on my period, Christian?
The Bible describes menstruation as unclean in regard to spirituality. Due to periods being unclean in the Bible, the Israelites were given many rules involving staying away from women during their monthly cycles. However, Christians believe that God looks at a person’s innermost parts, thereby making church attendance, fasting, and prayer acceptable during menstruation. They claim that women were not allowed to pray during their periods in the Old Testament, but that has changed with Jesus.
Should I continue intermittent fasting if I get my period?
It is up to you; you can fast till your feeding period if you have good immunity. However, if you get any effect, such as hunger, headache, craving, pain, then you can take something to feel better. However, it might be possible you get the benefits of fasting while on period.
How many hours should a woman do intermittent fasting?
An individual can consume approximately 500 calories (about 20–25%) of their regular daily calorie intake on a fasting day. You can follow the 16/8 Method (the Langains Method). That’s fasting for 16 hours per day and eating all calories within eight hours. It is recommended that women start with a 14-hour fast and work their way up to 16 hours.