During your period, hormonal messengers are activated to rid the uterus of its lining if an egg hasn't been fertilized in the fallopian tubes. That's how your period begins, and for many women,that means days of menstrual pain. In a bid to regulate their menstrual flow, some women turn to an ancestral practice: fasting.
What is fasting?
Fasting refers to a period of deprivation of solid foods and sometimes even certain drinks. It is an age-old practice found in many religions, as well as in ancient medical treatments.
There are several methods of fasting:
- Dry fasting: a strict diet that requires medical assistance
- Intermittent fasting (or fasting for sixteen hours a day)
- Alternate fasting: fasting for 24 hours, every other day
Fasting is not a practice to be taken lightly! Food plays a vital role in our health and well-being. It is important to follow the recommendations of professionals in order to be well prepared and to be informed about any side effects. You can consul various medical professionals who will help you choose an appropriate fasting technique. This could be:
- A dietician
- A nutritionist
- Your general practitioner
Is fasting during your period a good idea?
For many women, their menstrual cycle can include uncomfortable and even painful symptoms. Some women suffer each month from disorders that you may recognize yourself :
- PMS (irritability, sickness, headaches, etc.)
- Water retention
- Blood clots
- Pelvic cramping or abdominal cramps
- Stomach ache
- Digestive problems
- Dysmenorrhea (painful periods)
- Menorrhagia (heavy periods)
More recently, more people have been turning to fasting for its therapeutic benefits and some women resort to it to relieve very heavy and painful periods. Fasting is said to have many health benefits, but is it really compatible with menstruation? To find out, Sisters Republic is going to dive into the effects of fasting on the body!
During fasting, the liver uses glucose stored in fat reserves. Reducing your caloric intake can result in a feeling of :
- a decrease in alertness and performance
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Fasting during menstruation may seem counter-intuitive since the benefits of this practice only manifest after two or three days of fasting, during the ketogenesis phase. During this period, the body regains vitality thanks to the euphoric effect of ketone production. Fasting also causes moderate oxidative stress against which the body defends itself by producing antioxidants. The body is then purified and the effects of fasting are can be seen:
- Better skin, ridding it of impurities (pimples, dark circles, excess sebum, etc.)
- Improved digestion
- Mental calmness
Fasting can thus considerably reduce the symptoms that can occur during menstruation. To ensure that your menstrual fasting is a success, we want to share all of our tips, in addition to providing you with the best sanitary protection with our period underwear.
2- How do you fast during your period?
For women who suffer from difficult periods or endometriosis, practicing intermittent fasting every month can bring relief. It decreases cycle disturbances, detoxifies overworked kidneys and soothes the endometrium with its anti-inflammatory effects. Start a 16-hour fast each day as your period approaches; this is one of the simplest and least risky methods.
This practice is actually very natural as many people use it without realizing it. You can start your fast 24 or 48 hours before the first day of your period. The concept is simple:
- Eat a light meal in the evening around 8pm
- Get a good night's sleep
- Do not eat solid food for breakfast
- Eat a balanced meal at noon
- Enjoy small healthy snack in the afternoon
- Eat early and light in the evening
By doing this, you are able to fast for 16 hours and eat normally for the next 8 hours, in the form of two to three meals. If you follow this method, you should not feel deprived. Of course, every woman is different and may react differently. If you feel too hungry at the beginning of your period, feel free to break your fast! Your body knows what it needs: follow your instincts and listen to your body.
To optimize the benefits of fasting during your period, you are also recommended to:
- Do sports (yoga, walking...)
- Avoid stimulants (coffee, cigarettes...)
- Avoid dairy products
3-Tips, tricks and things to watch out for
Once again, this practice is not without risks since it can lead to "an acidosis crisis" which manifests itself in the form of migraines and nausea. To prevent these side effects, it is recommended to drink 2 to 2.5L of water per day to eliminate nitrogenous waste from the body.
It is important to take precautions since the body draws its energy from proteins in your muscles when fasting lasts a long time. This can lead to muscle loss and a weakened immune system. For this reason, long term fasting is not recommended. It is also important to remember to consume enough protein before the periods of restriction.
Finally, fasting is not recommended for people suffering from certain illnesses or whose physical condition put them at risk. This could be things like:
- Pregnancy and breastfeeding
- Liver or kidney failure
- Decompensated hyperthyroidism
- Cerebral arteriosclerosis
- Coronary artery disease
- Type I diabetes
- Retinal detachment
- Stomach ulcer
As a general rule, if you are undergoing heavy treatment, fasting is not recommended. Importantly, therapeutic fasting is a medical cure, so we recommend that it be carried out under medical supervision by trained doctors or in specialized clinics.
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