Looni Q&A blog post of community medical questions with photo of Dr Stephanie Colantonio

Ask The Experts: 3rd Edition

Dr. Stephanie Colantonio is back to answer more of your questions. As a reminder, Dr. Colantonio is one of Looni's medical advisors and a board-certified physician who specializes in integrative reproductive health. This includes menstrual health, hormone balance, and mental health. She combines her training in both conventional medicine and herbalism with mindfulness when caring for patients at her private practice in Los Angeles.

If you have any questions you want answered by one of Looni’s experts, just email us or ask away in our Burning Questions room here in Geneva. 

 Is it dangerous to take the morning after pill more than once?

👩‍⚕️ Plan B is a medication containing levonorgestrel, a synthetic progestogen. It works by blocking progesterone and testosterone receptors, which delays the release of gonadotropin-releasing hormone in the hypothalamus of the brain. This delay ultimately leads to a delay in ovulation, preventing pregnancy. To be effective, it must be taken before ovulation.

While it is safe in the long term to take multiple times, there are medical side effects to keep in mind. It may cause irregular menstruation, painful periods, upset stomach, nausea, vomiting, or testosterone-related symptoms like acne. So we really want to bear in mind that it is intended to be used as a plan B and I’d encourage you to think about what your best plan A is for pregnancy prevention.

 Why do you crave junk food on your period and does it help?

👩‍⚕️ It's completely normal to experience cravings leading up to our period, and there are a few reasons for this. First off, during our luteal phase, which is the time leading up to our menstrual bleed, our insulin sensitivity is lower, which means it's more difficult for the tissues in our body to take in glucose or sugar from the bloodstream to use for energy. As a result, we may be more likely to crave carbohydrate-based foods. It's important to be mindful about when we consume sugary foods and to eat them in combination with healthy fats and proteins to help regulate our glycemic index or the rate at which our blood sugar rises.

For instance, if we're going to eat a big bowl of fruit, which contains a lot of carbohydrates and sugars, we should include something like tahini or hemp seeds to offset that sugar and help with our lower insulin sensitivity.

Another reason we might experience cravings during the luteal phase is because our progesterone is higher, which causes an increased metabolic rate. We actually burn an extra 200 to 300 calories per day without doing anything extra, so we may need to eat more to make up for that energy deficit. Once again, it's important to consume nutrient-dense foods instead of junk food. I believe that our cravings give us insight into what our body needs. For example, if we're craving chocolate, cacao contains a lot of magnesium, so our body may be wanting more (healthy) foods with this mineral.

Lastly, I want to mention that many junk foods are designed to increase our dopamine and serotonin levels—so I always recommend finding other ways to increase these feel-good neurotransmitters, such as moving our bodies.

 Should you be feeling tired during your period?

👩‍⚕️ Feeling extra tired during your period is completely normal. This is because all of our reproductive hormones are at their lowest, especially estrogen, which can affect our energy levels. Additionally, discomfort or pain during this time can also contribute to fatigue. If you are experiencing a lot of pain, it's important to talk to your medical provider since periods shouldn't be that painful.

From a Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective, this is also a time when our chi, or vital life force energy, is lower. Therefore, it's important to honor your body's needs and allow time for rest—think of it as your inner winter.


📌 If you have any questions you want answered by one of Looni’s experts, just email us or ask away in our Burning Questions room here in Geneva.