Fasting on Period
Mia Wang - Ph.D.
Mia Wang is Ph.D. in Nutrition. Passionate about helping others achieve their health goals through evidence-based nutrition and lifestyle solutions.

Fasting on Period: How to Harness the Power During Menstruation

Table Of Contents

Intermittent Fasting on Period: How Can It Help in Losing Weight

Intermittent fasting is a dietary approach that involves alternating periods of eating and fasting. During a fast, the body uses stored fat as an energy source, which can lead to weight loss. However, some women may hesitate to try intermittent fasting during their period because of concerns about potential adverse effects on their menstrual cycle.

While there is limited research on the effects of intermittent fasting, specifically during menstruation, some studies suggest that it may be safe and beneficial for women. For example, one small study found that women who followed a 16:8 fasting protocol (fasting for 16 hours per day and eating during an 8-hour window) experienced improvements in weight, body fat, and insulin resistance, regardless of the timing of their menstrual cycle.

Another study found that fasting during Ramadan (a month-long period of daily fasting from sunrise to sunset) did not significantly impact menstrual cycle regularity or hormone levels in Muslim women.

That being said, every woman’s experience with intermittent fasting during their period may be different. For example, some women may find that it exacerbates symptoms like cramps or headaches, while others may not notice any adverse effects. 

It’s essential to listen to your body and consult a healthcare provider before trying intermittent fasting, especially if you have a history of menstrual irregularities or other health concerns.

Fasting on Period

Should I Continue Fasting if I Get My Period?

If you are observing a fast and your period starts, the decision to continue is ultimately up to you, depending on what type of fast you’re doing. Intermittent fasting can often be continued by eating later in the day. However, if you’re religiously fasting, breaking it according to your practice’s standards might be best. 

Everyone’s body tolerates fasting differently, so consider listening to the signals your body sends and take breaks accordingly. When deciding whether or not to continue a fast while on your period, make sure that whatever choice you make is healthy and safe for you.

Some women find fasting helps alleviate menstrual symptoms, while others find it worsens their symptoms. 

Here are some things to consider when deciding whether to continue fasting during your period:

  • Listen to your body. Pay attention to how you feel during your period while fasting. For example, if you feel weak, dizzy, or tired, it may be a sign that your body needs nourishment. In that case, it may be better to break your fast and eat something to support your body’s needs.
  • Adjust your fasting schedule. If you continue fasting during your period, consider adjusting your fasting schedule to make it more manageable. For example, you may shorten your fasting window or reduce the frequency of your fasting days.
  • Stay hydrated. Staying hydrated during your period is important, especially if you’re fasting. Be sure to drink plenty of water and other hydrating fluids to support your body’s needs.
  • Consider your nutritional needs. During your period, your body may have different dietary needs than it does at other times of the month. So be sure to eat a balanced diet that includes plenty of nutrient-dense foods to support your overall health and well-being.

Also, read – Do You Burn More Calories on Your Period

Understanding the Science Behind Fasting During Period

There is limited research on the specific effects of fasting during menstruation, but there are some general principles that may help explain how it could impact the body.

During a fast, the body switches from using glucose (sugar) as its primary energy source to storing fat instead. This can lead to weight loss and other metabolic benefits, including improved insulin sensitivity and reduced inflammation.

  • During the menstrual cycle, the body undergoes hormonal changes that can lead to physical and emotional symptoms, including bloating, cramps, fatigue, and mood swings. These symptoms are often caused by changes in hormone levels and inflammation in the body.

However, the body’s response to fasting may differ during menstruation, as the hormonal fluctuations that occur during this time can impact energy metabolism and nutrient utilization. 

For example, during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle (the phase that occurs after ovulation and before menstruation), the body’s metabolism shifts to favor fat burning. As a result, it may be more responsive to the effects of fasting. 

On the other hand, during the follicular phase (the phase that occurs after menstruation and before ovulation), the body’s metabolism is more focused on carbohydrate metabolism and may be less responsive to fasting.

In addition, some women may experience changes in appetite, energy levels, and mood during their period that could impact their ability to adhere to a fasting protocol.

Fasting, or abstaining from food or drink for some time, can help regulate underlying physiological processes contributing to menstrual symptoms.

​​Does Fasting Help Period Cramps?

Women experience menstrual cramps every month, leaving many desperate for relief. Recently, some researchers have begun to explore the possibility of fasting to relieve period cramps. 

Several anecdotal reports indicate that skipping meals around menstruation can help alleviate pain and other symptoms. However, far too little scientific evidence is available to draw concrete conclusions. 

Some studies suggest that fasting may reduce inflammation levels, which could explain why it might help with period cramps, but further exploration is required before we can confidently promote it as a treatment option. 

Making dietary changes is worth exploring if you seek ways to ease your period symptoms.

Also, read – Hormonal Weight Gain

10 Benefits of Fasting While on Period for Woman’s Health 

Fasting during menstruation can have benefits and drawbacks for a woman’s health. Here are some potential benefits of fasting while on a period:

  • Reduced inflammation

Fasting has been shown to reduce inflammation in the body, which can help to alleviate menstrual cramps and other symptoms associated with menstruation.

  • Improved insulin sensitivity

Fasting has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity, which can help regulate blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of developing conditions like diabetes.

  • Weight loss

Fasting can help to promote weight loss by reducing calorie intake, which may be particularly helpful for women who experience bloating and water retention during their menstrual cycle.

  • Improved gut health

Fasting can give the digestive system a break, allowing the gut to rest and heal. This can improve overall gut health and reduce the risk of conditions like leaky gut syndrome.

  • Reduced risk of cancer

Fasting has been shown to reduce cancer risk by promoting cellular repair and regeneration.

  • Improved mental clarity

Fasting can promote mental clarity and focus, which can help women to manage better the stress and fatigue associated with their menstrual cycle.

  • Reduced oxidative stress

Fasting can reduce oxidative stress in the body, which can help to protect cells from damage and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.

  • Improved immune function

Fasting can enhance immune function by promoting white blood cell production, which helps fight infection and disease.

  • Reduced menstrual symptoms

Fasting can help to reduce the severity of menstrual symptoms like cramps, bloating, and mood swings.

  • Increased self-awareness

Fasting can promote greater self-awareness by allowing women to tune in to their bodies and better understand their menstrual cycle and its effects on their physical and emotional health.

Keto and Menstruation: What are Some Benefits of Following

Following a ketogenic diet has many potential health benefits, and its effects on menstruation can be one of the more interesting ones to observe. 

Going keto could improve symptoms like fatigue and bloating while also helping to maintain regular and predictable cycles. In addition, by decreasing inflammation, blood sugar balance and hormones are regulated, creating a healthier overall environment for menstruation. 

The ketogenic diet, or keto for short, is a high-fat, low-carb diet that has gained popularity recently for its potential health benefits. Here are some potential benefits of following a keto diet during menstruation:

  • Improved hormone balance: The keto diet can help to regulate hormone levels, which may be particularly helpful for women who experience irregular or heavy periods.
  • Reduced bloating and water retention: The keto diet can help reduce bloating and water retention, common symptoms of menstruation.
  • Increased energy levels: The keto diet can help to stabilize blood sugar levels and provide a steady source of energy, which may be particularly helpful for women who experience fatigue during their menstrual cycle.
  • Improved mood and cognitive function: The keto diet can improve mood and cognitive function by promoting the production of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine.
  • Weight loss: The keto diet can promote weight loss during period by reducing calorie intake and promoting the use of stored fat for energy, which may be particularly helpful for women who experience weight gain during their menstrual cycle.
  • Reduced cravings: The keto diet can help to reduce cravings for sugar and other high-carb foods, which can be particularly challenging during menstruation.

In addition to these benefits, research suggests that following a keto diet may also reduce an individual’s risk for polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), which can make it difficult for some women to have a regular cycle. All of these advantages can help ensure optimal fertility and reproductive health.

It’s important to note that the keto diet may not be suitable for everyone and may have potential side effects or risks, especially for pregnant women or with certain medical conditions. Therefore, women considering the keto diet should consult a healthcare professional to determine if it is correct.

Also, read – Does Intermittent Fasting Affect Your Period?

What to Consider When Starting a Periodic Fast

When starting a periodic fast, there are several factors to consider. First, assess your health and well-being before beginning a fasting journey – consulting with a medical professional is always recommended. 

Additionally, make sure you plan for the best success by setting a goal and understanding how long it takes for the body to adjust to intermittent fasting. 

Lastly, recognize that enjoying meals on regular days is vital for your metabolic process to remain healthy and energized. 

Is It Bad to Fast on Your Period

Is It Bad to Fast on Your Period: 3 General Side Effects

The decision to fast while experiencing menstruation is personal, but it is essential to be aware of the potential impacts. 

Generally, women who fast during their periods can experience diminished physical ability, poorer concentration and focus, and mood changes. All three side effects can interfere with daily routines and activities such as exercise or work performance. 

Here are some general side effects that may occur:

Increased fatigue

Fasting can lead to decreased energy levels, which may be particularly pronounced during menstruation. In addition, women who fast during their period may experience increased fatigue and weakness, making it challenging to carry out everyday activities.

Hormonal imbalances

Fasting can affect hormone levels, impacting the menstrual cycle. Women who fast regularly or for extended periods may experience changes in their menstrual cycle, including irregular periods or missed periods.

Nutritional deficiencies

Fasting can lead to a reduction in calorie intake and potentially a reduction in the information of essential nutrients. During menstruation, the body needs certain nutrients, including iron, magnesium, and zinc. Fasting may make it more difficult to meet these nutritional needs, leading to deficiencies and potentially worsening menstrual symptoms.

Ultimately, it’s essential for anyone considering periodic fasting to understand that if something doesn’t feel right, it might be wise to make adjustments to protect physical and mental well-being. 

Also, read – Menopause Diet: Foods that Help with Hot Flashes


Intermittent fasting and menstruation are great ways to tap into the power of the menstrual cycle by allowing your body and mind to reset and recharge. Likewise, taking a break from eating can be restorative, not only for our physical health but also for our mental health. 

To see if intermittent fasting on your period is proper for you, start slowly with resources like podcast episodes or journal prompts that provide support while fasting or observing a period of recovery-focused nutrition. 

Answer your questions about how you want to approach fasting just as much as you listen to outside experts. Periods allow us to learn more about ourselves and connect more deeply with our instinctual knowledge, both in terms of food choice and decision-making overall.

Mia Wang is Ph.D. in Nutrition. Passionate about helping others achieve their health goals through evidence-based nutrition and lifestyle solutions.