What Are The Signs of a Period Coming? Learn More Here
Your body has its unique ways of telling that your period is coming. It speaks to you through subtle signs that may go unnoticed if you're not paying attention.
It's easy to overlook the signs as occurrences that happen due to personal fault. For example, when you experience a breakout before you menstruate, you start to blame your diet, sleep schedule, or the skincare you use, rather than seeing it as a sign that your period is coming.
So, how do you understand when your body is trying to tell you that the time of the month is approaching? In this article, we’ll go over all of the possible signs that indicate your period is coming.
Let’s jump into the discussion!
Getting Started: Understanding Menstrual Cycles
The uncomfortable sensations you're experiencing when your period is coming are easy to understand by looking at your menstrual cycle. The menstrual cycle is the monthly changes your body goes through to prepare for pregnancy.
It consists of menstruation, the follicular phase, ovulation, and the luteal phase. Signs of an oncoming period will usually occur during the luteal phase, where your uterus lining thickens, preparing for pregnancy.
Your body will produce progesterone and estrogen during the luteal phase. If a pregnancy doesn’t happen, your progesterone levels fall, the uterine lining sheds, and your period occurs.
Since everyone has a different menstrual cycle, the luteal phase can occur on different days of the cycle. But for a 28-day cycle, it starts around day 15 and ends when your time of the month arrives.
What is PMS and How Does It Relate to Signs of Your Period Coming?
PMS or pre-menstruation syndrome is a word used to describe the signs that your period is coming. It occurs during the luteal phase, which is when your uterine lining thickens in preparation for pregnancy one or two weeks before your period.
It's a stereotype that when a woman has PMS, she becomes emotional, or worse, irrational. However, PMS is far more complex than that. Everyone experiences different PMS symptoms, which can’t be oversimplified based on stereotypes.
Moreover, PMS is different from PMDD. PMDD or premenstrual dysphoric disorder affects around 10% of women, a lot less often than PMS which affects 90% of women.
PMDD is distinguishable by its more severe symptoms than PMS. This includes extreme mood swings, severe irritability, panic attacks, and other negative psychological symptoms. But it requires a professional to diagnose whether or not you’re suffering from PMDD.
One can only have PMS or PMDD indicating that a period is coming. This is because, just like PMS, PMDD occurs during the luteal phase, or one to two weeks before menstruation.
Signs of Your Period Coming: How To Identify Them
Understanding PMS symptoms can help you identify signs that your period is on its way. Everyone experiences different PMS symptoms, which is why you must tune in and pay close attention to what your body is telling you.
The following are the most common PMS symptoms that many women experience. Check to see if any of them apply to what you're going through before your bloody times arrive:
14 PMS Symptoms You Should Know
Many women experience breakouts before they menstruate. This condition usually causes acne around the face. However, the breakout severity varies depending on the person. Someone with acne-prone skin may have a more severe PMS breakout than others.
The reason why PMS causes acne breakout is that it causes hormonal fluctuations. As mentioned before, progesterone and estrogen levels increase before menstruation, which triggers acne to develop.
If you’re experiencing breakouts as one of the signs that your period is coming, know that it’s a very common condition. Just take proper care of your skin and avoid picking your pimples. Your breakout will likely subside as soon as you menstruate.
Mood swings often occur as one of the signs that a period is coming. When this happens, your emotions may shift relatively quickly. Even small, insignificant events might suddenly cause you to feel sad or irritated, when you were feeling fine just moments before.
For example, you may be alone in your room when you recall something hurtful said to you several years ago and start to cry. If you're experiencing this PMS symptom, don't worry too much about it as it's normal and very common.
Menstruation usually occurs within a few days of experiencing mood swings. When this happens, you may find it silly as your mood swings aren't a big deal at all.
Changes in Appetite
Changes in appetite are another sign that your period is coming. Typically, these changes are associated with an increase in appetite. Due to a lack of sense of being full, you remain feeling hungry even after immense food consumption.
An increase in progesterone levels is what causes these changes in appetite. Progesterone is proven to stimulate appetite, which explains why you’re craving to eat more during your PMS.
It's nothing to be concerned about if your appetite increases before your period. In fact, during the luteal phase, your body requires extra calories, which is why your brain sends hunger signals.
Tender breasts are common just before your menstruation. Hormone level fluctuation that occurs during this time is what causes the tenderness.
So when your period is coming, there’s an increase in progesterone and estrogen. These hormones play roles in enlarging your breast, causing a sense of tenderness and soreness.
Many women enjoy this PMS sign as they think it makes them more appealing. But if you’re feeling uncomfortable with it, don’t worry. This symptom is only temporary and will subside when your period occurs or when it ends.
Another sign of your period is coming is a bloated tummy. This is when your stomach enlarges as your body's water and salt content rises.
Changes in hormones like progesterone and estrogen cause your body to retain more water and salt than usual. As a result, your body cells get swollen with water, making you feel bloated.
For this reason, it may be apparent for you to gain weight during PMS. But that shouldn’t be a big problem. The weight gain is mostly water and will be back to normal once your period occurs.
Being emotional is another sign that your period is coming. This is due to the disrupted serotonin levels, in addition to the changes in your progesterone and estrogen levels.
Serotonin is a brain chemical that regulates mood. When you have PMS, your serotonin levels drop, causing you to be emotional.
This is why you may find yourself to be moody or cranky during this time. This situation is very common, as it affects many women. So the next time you experience uncontrollable emotions before your period, know that you’re in good company.
Changes in your hormone levels during PMS can impact you physically. Hormonal headache is very common, with more than half of women reporting a link between their headaches and their periods.
Headache, which occurs as a sign of an oncoming period, usually appears 2 days before your period. In some cases, the migraine might persist until the first 3 days of your menstruation.
Hormonal fluctuations during your PMS often cause muscle pain. When your hormone levels fluctuate, your nerves can become more sensitive and perceive regular muscle activity, like stretching, exercising, or even everyday movements, as pain.
Aside from your hormonal fluctuations, an increase in prostaglandins or hormone-like substances can trigger muscle pain. As a result of hormonal fluctuations and increased prostaglandins, you are more likely to experience muscle aches during PMS.
Typically, the pain begins two days before your period. It may become more severe when your period arrives, especially on the first to the second day of your bleeding.
When your time of the month is near, you may start to feel cramps as a sign that your period is coming. The reason for this is that your sex hormones, progesterone, and estrogen, fluctuate, causing aches in your pelvic or lower abdomen.
Aside from the hormonal changes, your prostaglandin levels will rise as your period approaches. Along with hormonal fluctuations, prostaglandins, or hormone-like substances, are frequently the cause of your PMS cramps.
Cramps before your period are common, as this condition affects many women. The pain will be at its peak on the first day of menstruation and will gradually fade after that.
Bowel issues are a common thing during PMS. The hormonal fluctuation can upset your digestive system and bowel movements in the days leading up to menstruation.
This particular sign that your period is coming can manifest in a variety of ways. Sometimes, you may experience constipation or difficult bowel movements. This leaves you feeling uncomfortable as your tummy becomes packed and tight.
Other times, you may experience way too frequent bowel movements. This causes you to have diarrhoea, which is as unpleasant as constipation. Worse, you could experience these two issues alternating between one another in a short time frame.
PMS makes many women crave sweets even more. This is, in fact, a common sign that your period is coming. And hormonal fluctuations as well as serotonin drops are to blame for this.
When you crave sweets during PMS, it is due to an increase in progesterone and estrogen, which causes your blood sugar levels to drop. As a result, your body will try to replenish blood sugar levels by increasing your desire for sweets.
Furthermore, your serotonin levels are likely to be lower during this time. Sugar is one of the ways your body produces more serotonin, which explains why you're more likely to crave sweets as a PMS symptom.
Lower Back Pain
If you’re experiencing lower back pain before your period, hormonal fluctuation and an increase in prostaglandins are the reasons for it. When your hormone levels fluctuate and your prostaglandins increase, your nerves become more sensitive.
As a result, you’re more likely to experience body aches, including lower back pain as a sign that your period is coming. Aside from that, pelvic cramps that commonly arise during PMS, can also trigger this lower back pain.
Fatigue is one of the flu-like PMS symptoms that many women experience before they menstruate. Hormonal fluctuations, namely progesterone and estrogen are the reason behind this.
When you experience fatigue before your period, you may get easily tired and have low energy. Doing regular activities, like walking, exercising, or doing daily errands becomes difficult as you’re feeling physically unwell.
With the PMS symptoms you're experiencing, such as fatigue, muscle pain, and cramps, sleeping may become difficult for you. Enough sleep is very important to recover from the discomfort.
Sleep issues are quite common for women with PMS. All of the unpleasant signs indicating that your period is coming make getting enough sleep challenging. As a result, you get less sleep and wake up feeling tired the next day.
How To Deal With Unpleasant PMS Symptoms
Having one or more of the previously mentioned PMS symptoms at the same time can be an unpleasant experience. But it doesn't always have to be torturous. You can still reduce the uncomfortable symptoms and go about your days more comfortably.
Let's look at how to deal with the unpleasant signs of an oncoming period down below:
As cliche as it may sound, drinking water can alleviate your painful PMS symptoms. It helps to fight the bloatedness that you experience in the days leading up to your period.
In addition, staying hydrated can help to reduce cramps. In many cases, PMS cramps may get worse due to dehydration. So, to relieve your painful cramps, remind yourself to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day.
It’s even better to drink warm water to help you cope with the painful PMS. Warm water can increase your blood flow and relax your muscles, reducing any painful PMS symptoms.
Use a Hot Water Bottle
Using a hot water bottle can help to relieve your PMS cramps. It increases blood flow, relaxes your abdominal muscles, and provides overall comfort when dealing with painful cramps.
To do this, fill your water bottle with hot water and wrap it in a towel. Later, place the wrapped hot water bottle on your abdomen until your cramps subside.
Reduce Salt Intake
Salt is a chemical that keeps the water in your body together. This is why when you experience bloatedness during your pre-menstruation, it’s partly due to an increased amount of salt in your body.
To avoid worsening bloatedness, you should cut down your salt intake. Start by replacing salty snacks with sweet options like yoghurt, dried food, or dark chocolate. This way, not only can you manage bloatedness, but you can also fulfil your sugar craving.
Take Pain Relievers
Another option for relieving your painful PMS symptoms is to take pain relievers. Pain relievers have been clinically proven to manage pain, so they can help you feel better faster.
Over-the-counter (OTC) medicines such as paracetamol and ibuprofen can be an excellent way to ease your painful PMS symptoms. It's also generally safe to consume, as long as you don’t exceed the maximum daily dose limit.
Sleep is the most effective way to revitalise your body. When you have painful PMS symptoms and have tried treatments like drinking water, using a hot water bottle compress, and taking pain relievers, resting will maximise the benefits of those solutions.
Make sure you get at least 8 hours of sleep every night. Taking a 1 - 2 hour nap during the day can also be helpful to help you cope with uncomfortable symptoms like cramps, fatigue, or muscle aches.
Remember that there is nothing wrong with needing more sleep during your pre-menstruation. Everyone's experience with PMS is different. Some people tolerate pain better than others, and some are suffering immensely from the pain.
Prepare Your Sanitary Products
Last but not least, it’s essential for you to prepare your sanitary products before your period arrives. Doing this will give you peace of mind as you won’t be looking for them at the last minute.
Period underwear can be a perfect choice to accompany you during the time of the month. It keeps you protected while giving you the utmost comfort as if you’re using your regular underwear.
Why is It Better To Use Period Underwear Than Disposable Pads or Tampons?
Using period underwear is better than disposable pads or tampons in a variety of ways. First thing first, period underwear is comfortable. It feels just like using your regular underwear, without the bulges coming from pads or tampons.
Second thing, period underwear makes a perfect choice for sensitive skin. Oftentimes, disposable pads or tampons cause skin rash around the private part. This is something that you can avoid by opting for soft period underwear.
Lastly, period underwear is reusable. By using period underwear, you can contribute to the betterment of the environment, as there are 12 billion menstrual products disposed of globally each year.
How To Choose The Right Period Underwear
Period underwear comes in varying shapes. If you’re just recently shifting from disposable pads or tampons, you may be unsure which one to choose.
There are two factors you should consider before purchasing pairs of period underwear. First is by looking at the absorbency level, which you can adjust based on how much you usually bleed during your period.
The second is by choosing pairs of period underwear based on the design. Just like regular underwear, period underwear also comes in chic and unique designs that you can choose according to your preferences.
Your body indeed has its way of telling you that your period is coming. There are a variety of signs indicating that your period is coming. It can be through hormonal breakouts, mood swings, changes in appetite, or many others.
Thankfully, these uncomfortable PMS symptoms are manageable through several methods. This includes staying hydrated, using a hot water bottle compress, taking pain relievers, and preparing sanitary products.
By taking the necessary measurements, you can alleviate the painful symptoms and prepare for the upcoming time of the month.
How do you know if your period is coming soon?
Listening up to the signs of your period is coming is the best way to know that your period is coming. Some symptoms that indicate your period is approaching include hormonal breakouts, mood swings, changes in appetite, and many others.
How should you feel 5 days before your period?
Your body will usually show PMS symptoms 5 days before your period. This can include cramps, fatigue, and headache, among other symptoms.
What discharge comes before the period?
Everyone experiences PMS symptoms differently. This can include them having discharge that occurs before they menstruate. The discharge is usually white or in the form of a small amount of blood, known as spotting.
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