Do you burn more calories on your period?

Menstruating can take a lot out of the body, so surely that must mean more calorie burning, right? 220 staff writer Kate Milsom investigates…

Cropped shot of a sporty young woman running outdoors

For some, periods feel like the body is going through the wringer. Monthly menstruation can take a lot out of the body, and come with a string of PMS (premenstrual syndrome) grievances like cramping, bloating, fatigue and more.


Surely all that burns more calories, right? There must be a reason why we’re reaching for the chocolate more during this time of month – we need energy!

Actually, that’s not strictly true. Science has found no link between the menstruation period and an increase in basal metabolic rate (how many calories you burn at rest per day).

In fact, the opposite could be closer to the truth – if you suffer with painful periods then you’re more likely to dial down on the exercise and reach for the comfort foods to get you through.

While it’s important to listen to your body, some studies have shown that the follicular phase (during a period up until ovulation) is when you’re most primed to do intense and high-impact exercise.

This is due to a rise in oestrogen causing the body to have a higher pain threshold and be more primed for hard efforts.

The long and short of it? Sadly, the body does not naturally burn more calories when you’re on your period.

But, doing light exercise when possible could be beneficial in relieving painful period symptoms, and some may even feel more able to do hard sessions.

Hormonal fluctuations can also do a number on mood when you’re on your period, so above all remember to be kind to yourself during this time.


Top image credit: Getty Images