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Menstrual Cycles May Affect Women's Shopping Patterns
Date:7/31/2012

TUESDAY, July 31 (HealthDay News) -- The hormonal fluctuations associated with women's menstrual cycles could color their shopping habits, research suggests.

"Our goal was to investigate how a woman's menstrual cycle impacts consumption desires, product usage, and dollars spent within the food and beautification domains," study first author Gad Saad, a professor of marketing at the John Molson School of Business, said in a news release from Concordia University in Montreal.

In conducting the study, the researchers selected 59 women and asked them to keep detailed diaries on their beauty routine, clothing choices, calorie consumption and everything they bought over the course of 35 days.

The researchers also analyzed daily surveys the women answered on these topics, which asked them about their clothing choices and how long they spent grooming. The participants were also asked about activities such as sunbathing and eating high-calorie foods. The study revealed a distinct pattern in the women's behavior.

During the fertile phase of the women's menstrual cycles (roughly day eight to 15 of a 28-day cycle), the researchers found a significant increase in their focus on appearance. During their fertile days, women are also more likely to buy clothes, the study showed.

The study authors suggested that the explanation for this pattern of behavior can be traced back to women's evolutionary roots.

"In ancestral times, women had to focus more time on mating-related activities during the fertile phase of the menstrual cycle, when the likelihood of conception was highest," Saad explained in the news release. "Those same psychological and physiological mechanisms now lead women to engage in greater consumption of products relevant to reproductive drives during the fertile phase of their cycle."

Although food consumption among the women fell during their fertile days, the study revealed their appetites pe
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