- Oftentimes periods come with a lot of symptoms including fatigue, bloating, and cramps.
- Consuming certain foods and drinks can make period symptoms worse.
- Though salty snacks, chocolate, and plenty of caffeine might be all you’re craving, they could be causing you to feel more bloated and experience more cramps.
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Consuming certain foods and drinks just before or during your period could actually be making your symptoms, like cramps and bloating, more difficult to deal with.
Although reducing your consumption of certain foods and drinks might help your period to be more manageable, if your symptoms are extremely painful or difficult to handle, you may want to talk to your doctor.
From salty snacks to caffeinated drinks, here are some foods and beverages that could potentially be making your period worse.
Caffeinated beverages might make your cramps worse
“Cut back on [caffeine]. If you drink three cups of coffee a day, just have one,” Dr. Rocio Salas-Whalen, an endocrinologist and founder of NY Endocrinology in New York City, told INSIDER.
She said you want to try to avoid consuming a lot of caffeine just before and during your period because it can increase how many cramps you experience and cause vasoconstriction (the narrowing of blood vessels), which “can further worsen cramps during your period.”
Refined carbohydrates and refined sugars can impact your mood and cause bloating
“When insulin production and responses are not well regulated, it is harder for your body to produce and balance other hormones as well,” Cathy Posey, a registered dietitian, told INSIDER. “Refined sugars also cause your body to retain sodium and water, which increases bloating.”
In addition, loading up on refined carbohydrates and sugar can cause you to experience mood swings.
“It’s going to raise your sugar and then it’s going to drop immediately, so there’s going to be those spikes and drops [which can] worsen [your] mood during your period,” Dr. Salas-Whalen explained.
Dairy, sweetened yogurts, and premade smoothies may not be doing you any favors
- Caroline Praderio/INSIDER
Dr. Salas-Whalen noted that consuming a lot of dairy during your period isn’t the best idea because, according to Healthfully, dairy can cause cramping.
Additionally, Posey said that many premade, dairy-based yogurts and smoothies can be artificially sweetened, meaning you could also experience the side effects that come with consuming sugar during your period, such as mood swings and bloating.
Read More: 11 foods to eat when you have period cramps
Eating fatty foods may cause you to experience more cramps
“[Fatty foods] increase the amount of prostaglandins [in your body] and prostaglandins is what makes [your] uterus contract, so the higher levels you have, the more constriction of your uterus you’re going to have,” Dr. Salas-Whalen said.
Some types of chocolate can potentially make your symptoms worse
Though chocolate cravings are pretty common, the sweet snack not be the best thing when it comes to managing period symptoms.
“Chocolate, also, can elevate your prostaglandins,” Dr. Salas-Whalen said, explaining that it means you may experience more period-related cramping when you eat it.
She said dark varieties of chocolate have “less of that effect,” so it might be the better choice when it comes to satisfying your cravings for sweets.
Food additives might cause your cramps to be more intense
“Foods that cause inflammation in the body also increase cramping and abdominal pain during your period,” Posey told INSIDER. “Foods known to increase inflammation include refined sugars and grains, heat-refined oils, and food additives.”
Sticking closer to whole foods, lean proteins, fruits, and vegetables might help you to avoid potentially worsening some of your period-related symptoms.
Salty foods can make bloating worse
Dr. Salas-Whalen said salty foods should be avoided during your period because they can make the bloating and water retention in your body even worse. She said if you want to avoid worsening your symptoms, you may want to cut back on foods that are high in sodium about a week or two before your period is supposed to start.