If only we had a magic ball that magically told us the exact day and hour our period would come. However, there isn’t a magic ball, but PMS symptoms and period tracking help you to determine when your period is coming. Between 5 to 7 days before your period, you may notice PMS (premenstrual Syndrome) symptoms. More than 90 percent of women who menstruate may experience symptoms associated with the onset of their period.
What happens to your body before your period starts?
Our hormones play a significant role in the signs and symptoms that our periods are coming. After ovulation, if the ovum (egg) does not result in a pregnancy, the hormones progesterone, and estrogen decrease. The decrease in progesterone and estrogen may cause a change in the chemical serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is responsible for regulating our mood. Thus, in the days leading up to our period, we start to feel more moody and anxious.
How do you feel about the days leading up to your period?
No two women are alike, and neither is the week or two leading up to their period. Some women experience more severe PMS symptoms than others. However, most women will start to notice changes in their bodies, such as physical and mood changes following ovulation.
Most Common Symptoms your period is coming
Abdominal cramping is one of the most common premenstrual symptoms. Cramping may range in severity from a minor dull ache to painful cramping that prevents you from doing daily tasks. Cramps are felt in the lower part of the abdomen, below the belly button, and above your pubic bone. Sometimes the cramping may be in your lower back and upper thighs. Many people notice the heavier the bleeding, the more intense the cramping.
Abdominal cramps are caused by your uterus contracting, which is the shedding of the uterus lining. Uterine shedding only occurs if an egg is not fertilized.
In the days leading up to your period, you may notice your clothing start to feel tighter. Bloating occurs when your body starts to retain water and salt, this gives you a heavy feeling in your abdomen. Usually, the worst bloating day is the day your period begins. Within 2 or 3 days of the beginning of your period, it is common to notice relief from bloating.
Tenderness in breasts
Two weeks before the start of your period, you may notice swelling and tenderness in your breasts. This is caused by the increase in progesterone around the time of ovulation. However, some women may continue to notice the tenderness and pain until the beginning of their period.
Emotional changes / mood swings
Emotional changes are a very common PMS symptom. The fluctuation in estrogen affects the production of serotonin. Similarly, progesterone levels drop and may produce a feeling of depression or anxiety. You may experience:
- Crying for no reason
- Anxiety Depression
- Mood swings
Acne breakouts before your period occur in about 50 percent of women. It is common to develop pre-period acne around your chin, jawline, back, and face.
When ovulation occurs and does not result in a pregnancy, estrogen and progesterone decline and testosterone increases. Testosterone and other androgens cause sebum production. Sebum is the gland that is responsible for producing oil in the glands. When oil gets into the gland, it causes clogged pores, which then cause acne. Acne usually resolves itself towards the end of your menstrual cycle.
Many changes in your body occur due to the rise and fall of hormones; your digestion and bowels are no exception. Your digestive tract is close to your reproductive organs. When the uterus contracts, it can also cause contractions in your digestive tract. These contractions may affect the frequency of how often you produce a bowel movement. Other digestive issues you may notice:
- increase in the passing of gas
- Upset stomach
Lack of energy
If pregnancy does not occur, your progesterone and estrogen levels begin to drop rapidly causing fatigue. Often fatigue is associated with lack of sleep and mood changes.
About 50% of women who have periods may experience migraine headaches. Migraines may occur before, during, or after your period. The fluctuations in progesterone and estrogen cause migraines and headaches.
How can I manage period related symptoms?
PMS symptoms vary in severity and type of symptoms from woman to woman. However, some women experience PMS symptoms so severe that it prevents them from doing daily activities. Fortunately, there are things you can do to help relieve period symptoms:
Tips to managing your period symptoms
Eat a healthy diet
It is essential to fuel our body with healthy ingredients and not processed and fatty foods during our period. Consider eating more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats such as fish. Stay away from saturated fats and sodium as it may increase bloating.
Exercise promotes blood circulation and reduces swelling and inflammation. Exercise acts as a mood booster because it releases endorphins.
Keep your period essentials close by
Consider keeping a small period essential bag in your purse or backpack a week leading up to your period. A pair of leak-proof period panties are perfect for packing in there. Proof. Leak-proof underwear is discrete and small enough to fit in a small bag. Period panties replace the need to dispose of wrappers or applicators in the trash. When your period comes, swap out your underwear for period panties, and you are set for continuous all-day wear.
Essentials to pack in your bag:
- Proof leak-proof period panties
- Hand sanitizer
- Proof mesh canvas travel bag for soiled underwear. It even has a separate compartment for clean underwear.
Having your period come when you don’t expect it may be frustrating. However, it is essential to be prepared and know what to expect leading up to our period. Remember, to listen to your body and track your period to gain better understanding into your menstrual cycle. Eating healthy, exercising, and staying hydrated are great things to do when trying to ease symptoms associated with your period.