What Can You Expect Before Your Period?

By: Melody Lau

Personally, it’s not a great feeling when I get a notification on my phone from my period tracker app that I should be expecting my period in a few days. Sometimes it’s reassuring when I think to myself, “oh, so that’s why I’ve been feeling so moody lately” but at other times, I’m just anticipating the acne and cramps that come along with premenstrual syndrome.

If you haven’t gotten your period before, you may have never heard of premenstrual syndrome and you probably aren’t too excited to learn about what your future holds. According to Kids Health from Nemours, “premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is when a girl has mood and body changes before or during her period. It's usually at its worst during the 4 days before a period. PMS usually goes away 2 to 3 days after the period begins.” 

With this in mind, I don’t want you to start worrying or dreading the day your period first arrives! There’s a possibility you may not even experience any symptoms. The U.S Department of Health found that 10% of females do not experience premenstrual symptoms and women in their 30s are most likely to go through symptoms.

Even if you are the lucky majority that experiences period symptoms, they usually don’t last long and you may not even notice them because of how mild they are. 

Some of the physical and emotional symptoms you may experience before your period include: 

Emotional Symptoms

  • Tension or anxiety
  • Mood swings and irritability or anger
  • Trouble falling asleep
  • Social Withdrawal 
  • Appetite changes and food cravings

Physical Symptoms

  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Weight gain (potentially caused by hormonal fluctuation and water retention)
  • Acne
  • Breast tenderness 

However, there is the off-chance your symptoms may be so severe where you have to take a day off of school. If you’re experiencing intense cramping to the point where it’s difficult for you to get out of bed or any other extreme pain, make sure to tell your parents or a trusted adult and ask for help. 

There are also a small group of females who may be diagnosed with premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), which is when period symptoms are extreme to the point where it’s affecting simple daily routines. This health problem is rare and affects only up to 5% of females. Those who may also have anxiety or depression are more prone to experiencing PMDD. 

Just remember if you’re more irritated when your brother is hogging the washroom or you start tearing up in the middle of a class, you might be experiencing period symptoms. They’re perfectly natural and you’re far from alone when experiencing these common symptoms every month. We’re all in this together! 

If you have any “embarrassing” questions that are living rent-free in your mind, be sure to message us or just say hi on IG! Please remember that no questions are ever embarrassing or too awkward.

About the Author:

Melody is a Master’s student in Journalism and Communication at Western and hopes to pursue a career in entertainment or investigative journalism. She also loves Letterboxd, country music and is excited to be a part of the Apricotton Team! Connect with her here

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