You know what sucks? Bleeding almost every month and the freaking cramps that come along with it. But wanna know what sucks even more? All those weird symptoms that hit you right before the blood-shedding days.
Bloating, moodiness, acne, chocolate cravings, and crying over sad movies on repeat – you’re probably all too familiar with all these PMS symptoms. The closer your monthly meeting with Aunt Flo approaches, the worse you’re feeling. Until you bleed, at which point you feel better. Premenstrual syndrome is common (there’s no escaping this!) and it’s a combo of physical plus emotional symptoms caused by a drop in progesterone and estrogen right after ovulation.
What’s not usual are some symptoms that do not even sound like PMS. But that’s okay, because aside from cramps, there are other symptoms (that you’re not aware of) that you can experience during your period. You’re not alone if you’ve ever felt exceedingly horny, or craved anything like a steak right before your period.
1. Obsessed with your weight
It’s more accurate to call this weight fluctuation, because, unless you’re doing something else to gain weight, this is only a brief side effect of your body’s hormonal shift before your period. Although feeling bloated and obese isn’t an unexpected symptom of PMS, for many women, it extends beyond a “fat day.” According to research, PMS hormones trigger weight obsessions and low self-esteem in some women. It is alright to gain a little weight right before your period comes, but being obsessed with your weight? I don’t think that’s a good sign. While understanding that it is possible for you to put things in perspective when you’re down in the dumps, if bad body image is a major issue for you, speak with your doctor or a psychologist.
2. Tender breasts
For some women, having their boobs feel like they’re sacks of stones is the first clue that their period is approaching. It doesn’t apply to all, but certain women can feel slight pain on their breasts. Breast swelling might last for a week or more, and it’s not uncommon to go up a bra size as a result. But don’t get too worked up just yet. The cause of breast enlargement and pain is (once again) increased progesterone levels. So, once your period is done, the boobies should be fine.
To deal with this symptoms and to lessen the pain of tender breasts, you can try using ice packs or heat pads on your breasts. If wearing a bra adds to the pain, opt for a sports bra or go braless!
3. Tingling nipples
As mentioned earlier, PMS can cause increased breast soreness and sensitivity, such as the kind that makes you stand in the shower backwards and sleep in a bra to avoid nip chafing. But it’s not just the breast part that’s gonna hurt – it eventually gets to the nipples! During PMS, some women do feel a tingling sensation right on the nipple. Sometimes, its just tingly and sometimes, you can feel a sharp pain. It almost feels like your nipples got slapped between doors. It might be annoying, especially when you touch them, but you can reduce this tingling sensation by using ice packs or head pads. Sleeping braless is fine, but it you want to reduce the impact, use a sports bra with comfortable sponges.
This is definitely weird. Have you ever experienced being all normal when you’re off your period, but suddenly horny during your PMS? Yep, at times, you do feel horny before expecting your period and that’s totally fine. It doesn’t happen to everyone, but feeling hot and irritated around that time of the month is a regular occurrence. Depending on the stage of your menstrual cycle, your hormone levels change. That means your desire for sex normally spikes around the time of ovulation, which is only a few days before your period. And if you do feel horny, don’t be afraid to be sexually active!
5. Craving junk food
Besides all that sex drive, your PMS can alter the chemicals that regulate your mood. I don’t know about you, but when I’m mad and stressed (common mood during PMS), eating healthy is definitely not something I opt for. I mean, you should be eating healthy to improve the blood flow during your period, but sometimes, you just crave rubbish – junk food hits the No.1 spot! During the PMS phase, most women tend to crave chips, ice cream, chocolates and soft drinks, and this can go on for days. Only a small portion of women actually practice eating healthy. Apart from junk food, some crave meat. Which is kinda odd, but it’s a good thing to crave.
6. Exercise seems harder
Even if you’re an athlete, exercising during your PMS is gonna be harder than you thought. Even right before your period hits, you already feel a little sore and most parts of your body just ache. So, if you’re someone who exercises on a daily basis, the PMS phase might just hold you off. And if you’re gonna do it anyways, you’re crazy! You can try simple exercises, but still, you’re gonna feel more exhausted than usual and you’ll run out of breath faster. Best advice? Just take it easy during the PMS phase and on your period days as well.
As if regular headaches weren’t enough! Migraines have been linked to the hormones oestrogen and progesterone, which govern the menstrual cycle. There’s also a condition known as ‘menstrual migraines,’ which occur two days before and three days after a period begins. That’s a lot of time to be suffering from PMS-related migraines. Those who do not encounter this sensation are fortunate, but if you do, a warm bath, paracetamol, and a nice head massage will help.
And you thought it’s a pregnancy thing! Feeling nauseous during PMS is not that common, but it happens. Hormonal and chemical changes that occur during your menstrual cycle are usually to be blamed for this, but there’s nothing to worry about (and you’re not pregnant!). The good news is that you can keep this nauseous feeling at bay. You sniff and apply some ointment to feel better, drink hot ginger tea and eat bland food like bananas, rice and toast, and tea.
9. Crazy poop
This is kinda gross, but it happens! Unpredictable symptom! Prostaglandins – which rush to the uterus at the start of a period and force the smooth muscle there to contract, cause the uterine lining to peel off – are one of the many chemicals involved in regulating your period. However, these chemicals are a little naive, and they can’t only focus on the smooth muscle in your uterus – they also trigger your GI tract. For some people, this surge in prostaglandins can result in increased bowel movement or severe pooping (diarrhoea). Guess your new bestie is the toilet!
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