10 Signs Your Period Is About To Start
Some periods arrive like clockwork whilst others are always a few days off the mark, and while your tech and trackers can help you to understand when your period is due, your body will do just the same.
Most people who menstruate begin to see signs of their monthly arrival around five days before their period actually starts. These signs are known as premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and more than 90% of people with periods experience PMS to some degree.
Here’s 10 of the most common signs that your period’s coming:
Quite possibly everyone’s least favourite sign is cramps. We know that on the first day of your period your cramps are the most painful due to the level of prostaglandins within your uterus lining being higher than usual; but these natural hormones are always there. They just get busier when your period starts.
2. Breasts Being More Tender
Here’s the science part - as your estrogen increases during the first days of your cycle, the growth of milk ducts is stimulated within your breasts. This culminates around ovulation when your progesterone levels rise, causing the mammary glands within your breasts to enlarge and swell…. resulting in achy and tender breasts.
As if losing three to five tablespoons of blood during your period wasn’t enough to fatigue you; before your cycle begins your hormone levels plummet, as your body doesn’t need them to sustain a pregnancy, resulting in tiredness and fatigue.
4. Trouble Sleeping
Tying into fatigue, many people who menstruate struggle to get a good night’s sleep before their period is due. The change of hormones and temperature within your body teamed with headaches, cramps and mood swings all make it more uncomfortable to sleep.
5. Acne, Bacne and Breakouts
Over half of people who mensturate notice an increase in breakouts before their period starts. On the face they’re most common on your chin or jawline, however breakouts also tend to occur on your back and other areas of your body.
There’s no need to put down the chocolate, these breakouts aren’t food related, instead they’re down to your hormone changes. If you don’t become pregnant during your cycle your hormones change and the androgens in your system produce a higher rate of sebum (a natural oil) and a lower rate of estrogen and progesterone. When too much sebum is produced (and the estrogen and progesterone isn’t there to balance it out) it leads to acne breakouts. That’s why you tend to see your acne clear up towards the end of your period as your progesterone and estrogen levels return to normal.
6. Bowel Issues
Do you notice you get quite gassy before your period? You’re not alone, it’s a really common symptom. The prostaglandins that cause your cramps are also contracting your bowels (they’re real hard workers), so it’s common for people who menstruate to see different toilet habits before their period starts.
Before your period starts may not be the best time to get that fire selfie in your new dress, as bloating often happens.
Changes in your estrogen and progesterone levels mean that your body holds more salt and water during PMS, giving you that bloated feeling and appearance.You may even notice a slight change in weight during this time - it’s purely hormonal, so don’t panic about it.
Your hormones are responsible for generating pain responses in your body and as they’re changing and fluctuating before your cycle, this change may cause headaches and migraines.
Estrogen is known to potentially increase serotonin levels and receptors within the brain, and as your estrogen levels change during your cycle, the connection is pretty clear.
9. Lower Back Pain
Our old friends the prostaglandins really do work overtime; in addition to the bowel changes and cramps they can cause, these natural chemicals may also lead to lower back pain, thanks to the contractions they trigger.
10. Mood Swings
Your mental health can really take a tumble in the run up to your period, many feel like they're on an emotional rollercoaster, sadder than usual and more irritable. Those who suffer with depression and anxiety may see heightened bouts during this time too. It’s important to take some time to focus and care for you - here’s our tips on improving your mental health.
Estrogen is to blame for your changes in mood, as estrogen impacts the production of serotonin and endorphins, two feel-good hormones. With fewer feel-good hormones hitting your brain, you’re bound to feel down.
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