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What is the most common way to keep a tab on your period? Well, you could either go by the date of your last period (plus or minus a day or two) or you could take the help of an app. But what if we tell you that you don’t need anything of this sort? Yes, your body has its ways of telling you when your period is round the corner.
Basically, these signs show up because of cyclic changes in your hormones. Your body starts to experience some hormonal fluctuations that may cause these signs to appear. Also, chemical changes in the brain, like fluctuation in serotonin (the chemical that causes mood swings), can also cause premenstrual signs (like fatigue, sleep issues and food cravings).
According to Dr Aruna Kalra, senior gynaecologist and obstetrician at CK Birla Hospital, Gurugram, these signs are very common. Almost 90 percent of females experience PMS signs a few days before the start of their menstrual cycle. However, the signs and symptoms may vary from woman to woman. Some experience mild signs, while others have severe PMS signs.
But what are these signs?
Abdominal cramps is the first sign that you will notice. It means your periods are going to ring the doorbell anytime soon. These cramps are caused due to uterine contractions. These contractions play a critical part in shedding the inner lining of the uterus, when there’s no pregnancy. These cramps usually show up one to two days before your period.
Another common PMS sign in women is the increase in acne, about a week before the period. They appear because of hormonal fluctuations. When there’s no pregnancy, the level of androgens rises slightly, causing an increase in production of sebum, an oil that causes pimples.
Cyclical breast pain is also a sign of PMS. Changes in the levels of hormones like estrogen, progesterone and prolactin make your breast tender or swollen, just a few days before your period starts.
PMS signs such as abdominal pain, headaches and mood swings can affect your sleep patterns, making it difficult for you to have sound sleep. Changes in the estrogen and progesterone levels can also increase the core body temperature that may affect your sleep.
Bowels are quite sensitive to hormonal fluctuations. The prostaglandins (that cause uterine contractions) can also cause contractions in the bowel, which may trigger issues like constipation, diarrhea, nausea and gassiness, before you start to bleed.
Bloating is a very common sign that says your periods are about to arrive. Changes in the hormones like estrogen and progesterone levels can make your body retain more salt and water than it usually does. This causes bloating. Bloating during PMS is not considered weight gain, as it gets back to normal after your period.
Mood swings could be termed as an emotional symptom of PMS. They can be more severe than the physical signs. Well, the fluctuating estrogen and progesterone levels in the body are to be blamed for this. Also, the production of serotonin in the brain can cause mood changes.
Anxiety and depression are also signs of PMS. They are caused by the fluctuation in the production of serotonin and feel-good endorphins in the brain. This typically decreases the feeling of wellness and increases the feeling of anxiety and depression.
Lower back pain is usually caused by uterine and abdominal contractions that are triggered by the release of prostaglandins. Some women may experience mild back pain, whereas others complain of having severe lower back pain during PMS days.
Fluctuating hormone levels are the biggest cause behind headaches and migraines during your PMS-ing days. Estrogen and serotonin together are responsible for this symptom.