Seventy-six women, with a mean age of 35–7 years, who reported premenstrual craving for sweet foods in a retrospective questionnaire, were assessed prospectively with a pre- and postmenstrual eating questionnaire and daily ratings of craving, mood, irritability and breast tenderness over two menstrual cycles.
In 72 % of these women a perimenstrual pattern of food craving was confirmed. In 13 % this craving was confined to the menstrual phase. There was no consistent association between food craving and mood change, either in timing or severity. Women with more severe mood change did not report more severe craving. There was also no association between food craving and cyclical breast tenderness. Perimenstrual food craving, therefore, appears to be a cyclical phenomenon in its own right, of uncertain aetiology and worthy of further study.