What to Expect During Your Period
Once you have started menstruating, every month your body might start to experience different symptoms. When this happens, you may not understand why you are feeling several emotions at once. Then a few days later, you get your period and you suddenly realize why you were crying when you couldn’t find any chocolate chip cookies in the pantry, (who am I kidding girl, we always cry when there are no cookies in the pantry!). When you experience these various physical and emotional symptoms, whether that is cramps, cravings, or mood swings, your body is telling you that your period will begin soon.
What is PMS?
Some girls might experience intense symptoms during their period, while others might experience mild symptoms. When these symptoms interfere with your daily life or occur every month, it is called premenstrual syndrome (PMS). PMS is the emotional and physical symptoms you feel before the start of your period. PMS can also occur around 5 - 11 days before your period and ends about 2 - 3 days after your period starts.  When you begin to experience PMS also varies by age, some girls might start in their teens, some might start in their 20’s and others might not PMS until they’re in their 30’s.  During this time, there are certain physical and emotional symptoms you might start to notice every month before the arrival of your period.
Due to the changes in your hormones when you’re on your period, you’re going to feel many different emotions before your period and at the start of your period. But don’t worry, this is normal! When you realize your sibling is the one who ate all of the chocolate chip cookies, you’re going to have some intense feelings about this “betrayal”. Some of the common emotional symptoms you may or may not have during your period include feeling:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Mood swings
You might also realize that the reason you’re so upset is likely because you were really craving those chocolate chip cookies. This is because one of the symptoms you experience during your period is food cravings. Thanks to PMS, even though you’re experiencing these emotional symptoms, you’ll also notice the physical symptoms that occur before you start your period. Some of the physical symptoms you’ll feel before your period include: tender breasts, headaches, backaches, bloating, fatigue or a lack of energy, and constipation. Food cravings, cramps, and acne are a few of the most common physical symptoms that you might recognize when you’re on your period.
You know that feeling when you just want to eat three large pizzas by yourself?! But you also want to devour chocolate, pasta, cookies, chips, and cake all at the same time? (or is that just me?! haha) That is known as food cravings and it is usually caused by your hormone levels rising and falling during your period. It is totally acceptable to give in to these cravings, but it is recommended that you consume these foods in moderation to manage your symptoms. If you consume too much sugar, salt, or carbs, you might find yourself feeling bloated and tired. 
If you’ve ever felt a sharp pain in your lower belly on the first day of your period and no matter what position you curl your body into the pain just won’t go away. You were likely experiencing menstrual cramps. Menstrual cramps are a pain in your lower belly and can last about one to three days. They are caused by prostaglandin, which is a chemical in the body that makes the muscle in your uterus contract.  Most girls experience cramps after six months to one year after getting their first period. For some girls, cramps can be so painful that they’re unbearable, while some girls might hardly notice their cramps. If you have a heavy blood flow, started your period at a young age, or experience irregular periods, you’re more likely to experience painful cramps.  When you have cramps, exercise, pain medication, and heating pads are effective ways to ease the pain.
Thanks to great Aunt Flo, pimples are one of the symptoms you can encounter before your period. Developing acne before your period is also caused by changes in your hormone levels. During this time, your levels of estrogen and progesterone rise, and testosterone remain the same.  The rise in these hormone levels can cause an increase or buildup of sebum (your skin’s natural oil) or cause your pores to become clogged with dirt and dead skin cells.  As a result, you can experience both blackheads and whiteheads. Establishing a skincare routine is essential to manage the acne breakouts that are caused by your period. Blume’s Daydreamer Face Wash and Melt Down Acne Oil are our favourite products for achieving healthy and glowing skin.
While some girls might experience backaches, other girls might experience cramps, the symptoms you can feel during your period are different for every girl. You could have a combination of these symptoms or you might only experience one or two of these symptoms. Developing a routine and practicing self-care during your period are effective ways to manage both the physical and emotional symptoms that arrive with your period. So, the next time you find yourself crying because you can't find any cookies, it is most likely a sign you will be starting your period soon.
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- Montijo, Saundra. "Period Cravings: Why They Happen and How to Manage." Greatist. 10 Sept. 2020.
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- "Period Cramps (for Kids) - Nemours KidsHealth." KidsHealth. Ed. Mary L. Gavin. The Nemours Foundation, June 2014.