Menstrual Cycle – 10 Signs That Show Your Period Is About To Start
What Are Some Of The Signs And Symptoms Of a Normal Menstrual Cycle?
Symptoms before, during, or after your period are common and expected.
1. Abdominal Cramps
Abdominal cramps, or primary dysmenorrhea, are common premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms. They may occur a few days before your period and continue several days after it starts.
The intensity of the cramps may vary from dull aches to severe pain that can hinder your daily activities. These cramps are usually felt in the lower abdomen and may extend to the lower back and upper thighs.
The contractions of the uterus cause these cramps, which help to shed the inner lining of the uterus when there is no pregnancy. Prostaglandins, which are fatty-acid hormones, trigger these contractions.
Though prostaglandins cause inflammation, they also play a role in regulating ovulation and menstruation. Some individuals experience severe cramping when their menstrual flow is heavy.
Health conditions can make cramps more severe, also called secondary dysmenorrhea. Those include:
- cervical stenosis
- pelvic inflammatory disease
It’s common to experience breakouts during menstruation. These breakouts typically appear on the chin and jawline but can appear anywhere on the body. Hormonal changes cause them during the menstrual cycle.
If ovulation does not result in pregnancy, estrogen and progesterone levels decrease while androgen levels increase, increasing sebum production. This excess sebum production often leads to acne breakouts.
The acne usually disappears towards the end of menstruation or shortly after, when estrogen and progesterone levels rise again.
3. Tender Breasts
Around the time of ovulation, which occurs in the middle of your menstrual cycle, the progesterone hormone levels begin to increase.
This increase in progesterone hormone causes the mammary glands in your breasts to enlarge and swell, leading to a feeling of achiness and swelling in your breasts.
This feeling usually happens just before or during your period when the progesterone levels start to decrease again. Some individuals may experience mild symptoms, while others may feel that their breasts become very heavy or lumpy, causing severe discomfort.
As the menstrual cycle progresses, the body transitions from preparing for a potential pregnancy to preparing for menstruation. This shift is marked by a decrease in hormone levels, which can lead to fatigue.
Mood changes may also contribute to feelings of tiredness. Additionally, some individuals may experience difficulty sleeping due to discomfort from other menstrual symptoms, which can further exacerbate daytime fatigue.
If you feel a sense of heaviness in your abdomen or notice that your pants are tighter than usual a few days before your period, you may be experiencing bloating due to premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
This condition occurs due to changes in hormone levels, particularly estrogen and progesterone, which can lead to increased body retention of water and salt, resulting in a bloated sensation. Although you may gain a pound or two, it is not permanent weight gain.
Typically, this symptom subsides 2-3 days after the start of your period, and the most severe bloating is usually experienced on the first day of bleeding.
6. Bowel Issues
Due to your bowels’ sensitivity to hormonal changes during your menstrual cycle, you may notice changes in your regular bathroom routine before and during your period.
The prostaglandins responsible for uterine contractions can also cause bowel contractions, as the two organs are located in close proximity. This may result in more frequent bowel movements during menstruation, in addition to other possible symptoms such aS:
Fluctuating hormonal levels can lead to headaches and migraines due to the role of hormones in generating the pain response. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that can trigger migraines and headaches when its levels fluctuate.
During certain points of the menstrual cycle, estrogen may increase serotonin levels and the number of serotonin receptors in the brain, triggering migraine attacks in individuals prone to them.
Over 50% of women who experience migraines report a connection between their menstrual cycle and the occurrence of migraines. Migraine attacks can happen before, during, or immediately after menstruation, and some individuals may also experience migraines during ovulation.
A study on migraines found they were 1.7 times more likely to occur 1 to 2 days before menstruation and 2.5 times more likely during the first 3 days.
8. Mood Swings
Fluctuating levels of estrogen and progesterone can cause mood swings, increased sadness, and irritability. Estrogen can affect the production of serotonin and endorphins in the brain, decreasing feelings of happiness and increasing depression and irritability.
On the other hand, progesterone may have a calming effect, but when its levels are low, this effect may be reduced. Low progesterone levels can cause emotional outbursts, and women may cry for no apparent reason during their menstrual period.
The emotional symptoms of PMS sometimes are severe. You may experience the following:
- mood swings
9. Lower Back Pain
The release of prostaglandins that causes uterine and abdominal contractions can also lead to muscle contractions in the lower back, resulting in an ache or pulling sensation. Menstruating individuals may experience varying degrees of lower back pain during their period, ranging from significant discomfort to mild nagging feelings.
10. Trouble Sleeping
Sleep can be disrupted by PMS symptoms such as headaches, mood swings, and cramps. Additionally, the slight elevation in the core body temperature during menstruation can cause difficulty falling or staying asleep.
The body’s temperature typically increases by approximately 0.5 degrees after ovulation, which persists until menstruation begins or shortly thereafter.
Although a half-degree rise in body temperature may not seem significant, lower body temperatures are typically associated with better sleep quality. As a result, this slight increase in temperature can negatively impact one’s ability to sleep soundly.
Other Abnormal Signs And Symptoms
If PMS symptoms interfere with your daily activities, such as work, school, or social plans, it may be necessary to consult a doctor. Symptoms such as severe cramps, aches, and fatigue should not be ignored.
Additionally, if you experience severe mood swings that include panic attacks or suicidal thoughts, it is important to seek medical attention. These could be signs of premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), a more severe form of PMS requiring medical care.
If you suffer from severe migraines or have underlying health issues like irritable bowel syndrome or endometriosis, seeking medical help to manage PMS symptoms may also be necessary. As the menstrual cycle progresses, the body transitions from preparing for a potential pregnancy to preparing for menstruation.
This shift is marked by a decrease in hormone levels, which can lead to fatigue. Mood changes may also contribute to feelings of tiredness. Additionally, some individuals may experience difficulty sleeping due to discomfort from other menstrual symptoms, which can further exacerbate daytime fatigue.