Being new to the period world can be pretty intimidating. Your body is going through a ton of changes and it can be challenging. As you get used to it, you’ll get to know your body and your flow and notice the signs and nuances of your own personal cycle.
Paying attention to your body and getting to know your period symptoms is incredibly beneficial. You might not experience each symptom and the severity will be different for everyone, but hopefully you will begin to understand your own menstrual cycle and have a better idea of when your period might start. You may also have some period symptoms that aren't listed and that’s totally okay. If it’s severe and uncomfortable, talk to your doctor!
Further reading: Learn more about PMS with our survival guide.
Here are 7 signs your period is coming (PMS symptoms):
Menstrual cramps is one of the signs your period is JUST around the corner. They usually start 1-2 days before and can last for 2-3 days. Cramps are the most common symptom of menstruation.
Abdominal cramps are different for everyone. Some don’t even experience them (SO LUCKY), but others could be so bad that it interferes with their daily life. Talk to an adult before taking any over-the-counter medication, but this should help! And if they are severe, talk to your doctor to figure out other options.
2) Food Cravings
One of the surefire signs your period is incoming is that you'll start to crave junk food. A few days before your period comes, you may notice an increased appetite and an acute desire for salty or sweet foods.
Your body requires extra energy during your menstrual cycle, so an increase in appetite is not only totally normal, but important to fuel you period. Just keep an eye out for eating too much sugar, as eating a lot of junk food can also increase the severity of period cramps.
Read more: What to eat on your period to help ease period pain.
3) Bloating and Gas
Do your jeans ever feel a little bit tighter right before your period? Bloating is caused by water retention and can make us feel gassier than usual. It's a tad uncomfortable, but eating healthy foods, and not too much salt, sugar, and caffeine can help for these period symptoms. Exercising can also help you too.
4) Mood Swings
This one can be HARD. Do you get extremely irritated by things that usually wouldn’t bother you days before your period? Welcome to premenstrual syndrome (PMS)! You might experience this a week before getting your period, or just a few days before. Allow yourself to feel and cry if you have to. And remember: This too shall pass.
If you're ever concerned about how down you're feeling when you're menstruating, talk to a medical professional. Severe PMS is also called Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) and can be regulated with the help of a doctor.
Pro tip: Exercising increases your endorphins. They make the body feel good and have a positive outcome for your overall mood. It can be hard when you’re feeling tired, but just simply walking can help you feel better. Read more about why you should exercise before or during your period.
5) Breaking Out
It's really normal to breakout in advance of getting your period. Our bodies go through a lot around when they're gearing up for a period, which means our hormones are all out of whack. Premenstrual symptoms like breakouts are par for the course, and nothing to be ashamed about. In any case, here are a few of our tips to prevent period acne.
Who else feels super sluggish right before their period? This is an extremely common symptom that we get. Your hormones are to blame...again!
It’s probably the last thing you want to do, but exercising will actually help you. Like we mentioned above, being active increases your endorphins, so your mood and energy will be boosted naturally.
7) Breast Tenderness and Swelling
Get your most supportive bra ready! This will only be brief, but it’s a major sign your period is on its way. Your breasts might feel bigger and heavier, and they will be tender. This will go away a day or two after the bleeding starts.
How to be Prepared for Your Period
So, once you notice these signs, you will want to be prepared for what’s about to happen. Here are a few tips and tricks to make sure you are ready for when your period comes to town:
Tracking your period
This is an easy way to help you know when your period is coming. It can also help you understand what is going on with your body, like when you’re ovulating. There are many apps you can download. Or you can do the old school way, and mark it in your calendar.
Read more about our period tracker app reviews on managing your cycle here. Or download our free period tracker template here.
Period proof underwear
These will be a MAJOR life saver! You can start to wear period-proof underwear or leakproof activewear when you see the signs your period is coming.Say goodbye to embarrassing leaks, and hello unstained jeans and bedsheets! Check out our Leakproof Underwear selections, and say goodbye to leak anxiety for good.
Period emergency kit
This is something every menstruator needs, especially if it's your very first period! You can easily just throw it in your bag or purse, so if you get your period while you’re at school or out, or recognize the signs your period is coming, you won’t have to scramble. Here's our guide to building a period emergency kit.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do I get a period every month?
Your period is a sign that you're ovulating, or releasing an egg from one of your ovaries each month. When you ovulate, you also release some blood and other fluids into your uterus. This blood and fluid create the lining of the uterus where an egg will implant if fertilized. If no egg is fertilized during this time, then the uterine wall breaks down and sheds through your vagina as menstrual blood flow. Download our free period guide (link) to learn more about how the menstrual cycle works and what to expect when your period starts.
When does menstruation start?
The average age to get a first period is 12.5. Menstruation starts when the uterine lining is shed. It occurs when an unfertilized egg is released from the ovary and travels down through the fallopian tubes. This happens every month and is the culmination of the four phases of the menstrual cycle; the follicular phase, the ovulation phase, the luteal phase and the menses phase. It takes about a month to go through the entire cycle - the average is 28 days, but when you get your first period, your cycle length is likely to be irregular and may not be as predictable for the first few years.
How much blood comes out?
The amount of blood that comes out when we menstruate varies from person to person and cycle to cycle. The average amount of blood that comes out during a period is around two to three tablespoons. A single pair of Kt by Knix medium absorbency teen period underwear can absorb up to 3 teaspoons, that's three pads or tampons worth, of blood. It's normal for your period to vary, but if you're worried about heavy bleeding or irregular periods, talk with your doctor. (If you need a refresher on how to use a tampon, we have one.)
Further reading: Does caffeine help period cramps?
How often should I get a period?
The average number of days in a menstrual cycle is 28 days — but that doesn't mean every person's cycle is exactly the same. Some folks have cycles as short as 21 days, while others have them as long as 35 days.
How do I make my first period come faster?
Some periods are regular and predictable, while others can be erratic. If you'd like your first period to hurry up and come faster, unfortunately there's not much you can do. But if you already have your period, read this blog post for a list on things you can do to stimulate the flow for your next period.
Disclaimer: The blog writers at Kt are not medical professionals, and give this advice based on their own research and experience. If you have further questions or concerns, speak to a trusted medical professional.