Signs Your Period Is Coming

What Are the Signs You Are Getting Your Period?

Women usually start noticing physical and mood changes about 1-2 weeks before period bleeding starts. Ninety percent of women have premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms at some point in their reproductive life. Some women have more severe PMS signs and symptoms than others. 

Changing hormones are to blame for many uncomfortable or unpleasant period signs and symptoms like cramps and tender breasts. Brain chemicals are also involved, but it’s unclear to what extent.

Period signs and symptoms usually end about 3-4 days after bleeding begins. 

Common signs that your period is approaching are: 

  1. You’re breaking out. Acne is a common problem at this time of the month. Adult women get acne much more than men do, and it’s all because of hormones. Period-related breakouts are called cyclical acne. Rising hormone levels kickstart oil (called sebum) production, which clogs pores and causes pimples as your period is about to start. Before or during your period, you may notice breakouts on your chin and jawline area. 
  2. Your breasts are sore or heavy.Breast pain linked to periods is called cyclical breast pain. Your breasts may feel tender or swollen right after ovulation until a few days after period bleeding starts. Changes in the hormones estrogen, progesterone, and prolactin, the breastfeeding hormone, may play a role.
  3. You’re tired but you can’t sleep . Fatigue is a vicious cycle for many women at this point in their cycle. Shifting hormones disturb your sleep patterns and make you feel tired. Changes in estrogen and progesterone may also increase core body temperature, especially when sleeping. You’re more likely to get good sleep when your core body temperature decreases. 
  4. You have cramps. Cramps in your lower belly are the most frequent menstrual complaint. Cramps that occur before or during your period are called primary dysmenorrhea. Unlike many other symptoms, which begin 1-2 weeks before your period and end when bleeding starts, cramps usually show up right before your period and last for 2-3 days.
  5. You’re constipated or have diarrhea . When your period is coming, digestive symptoms tend to fall to the extremes. Some women get constipated. Others have diarrhea.
  6. You’re bloated and gassy. Water retention is another major complaint. It’s also hormonal, but you can curb premenstrual bloat by cutting out salt, eating more fruits and vegetables, and exercising regularly.
  7. You have a headache . Changes in estrogen levels are to blame if you get headaches before your period. If you’re prone to migraines, you’ll probably find that you get them before your period.
  8. You’re having mood swings. The shift in hormones that cause physical period signs can also affect your emotions. You may have crying spells or feel angry and irritable. 
  9. You’re anxious and depressed. Depression and anxiety are commonly linked to PMS. About half the women who seek help for period signs have some type of depression or anxiety disorder. A history of either condition could make your premenstrual symptoms worse. 
  10. Your lower back hurts. Period cramps don’t just affect the belly. Changes in natural chemicals called prostaglandins that line the uterus cause contractions that you could also feel in your back or thighs. 
WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD on July 27, 2020

Sources

SOURCES:

Medscape: “Premenstrual Syndrome.”

Office on Women’s Health: “Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) fact sheet,” “Menstruation, Menopause, and Mental Health,” “Menstrual Cycle.”

American Academy of Dermatology: “Hormonal factors key to understanding acne in women.”

National Women’s Health Resource Center: “Ask the Expert.”

Medscape: “Dysmenorrhea.”

Mayo Clinic: “Water retention: relieve this premenstrual symptom,” “Chronic daily headaches.”

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