Binge Eating and Premenstrual Syndrome

Wednesday, Oct 27  •  


Premenstrual Syndrome is a combination of symptoms that occur in women, typically between their ovulation and period. The cause isn’t fully understood but likely involves changes in hormones during the menstrual cycle and includes symptoms like mood swings, tender breasts, depression, fatigue, irritability, and food cravings. These food cravings can lead to binge eating, which can ultimately make PMS symptoms worse. 

What is Binge Eating Disorder? 

Binge eating disorder is an eating disorder characterized by reoccurring episodes of binge eating. For someone to be diagnosed with binge eating disorder, they must have the following symptoms: 

  • Patterns of binge eating that happen at least three times a week. A binge is when someone eats an unusually large amount of food in a short time. The amount of food is considered abnormal because most people wouldn’t eat the same amount of food within the same time frame. 
  • They feel out of control before or during a binge. 
  • Feelings of guilt, disgust, or depression after a binge. 

How are PMS and Binge Eating Connected? 

Recent research has found that PMS and binge eating disorder can be connected. A study done earlier this year found that females with binge eating disorder were more likely to experience moderate to severe PMS symptoms. This connection may be a reflection of people’s attempts to cope with PMS. For example, someone with PMS might use binging to cope with how angry or depressed they feel. With this information, eating disorder professions are able to better understand how to help during this period in a women’s menstrual cycle. 

Tips for Coping with PMS

Premenstrual Syndrome can make a woman feel out of control. If you notice that during this phase of your cycle, you start binging or you binge eat more than normal, there are a few things you can do to support yourself during this time. Here are three ideas: 

  • Self-care. If someone binges as a way to cope with upsetting feelings, then finding healthy ways to cope with your emotions could be helpful. Whether they are feelings of sadness, anger, or depression, trying things like going for a walk, writing in a journal, or dancing it out, may be helpful ways to deal with those feelings. 
  • Mindful eating. It’s easier to binge if you are mentally checked out. It can help to practice mindful eating. Pay attention to your body’s hunger cues and fullness cues. Eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full. Stay present and aware of what your body is telling you. 
  • Reach out for help. It’s normal to need help when dealing with an eating disorder. No one can recover alone. At Avalon Hills, we are ready to assist you through your recovery process. It may also be helpful to talk with a doctor about your PMS symptoms. 

Premenstrual Syndrome is common, as is binge eating disorder. You’re not alone in your struggle and you don’t have to be alone in your recovery.