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7 Signs Your Period is Coming

From physical to emotional changes, there are so many period symptoms to watch. While we all experience symptoms differently, in this post we’re going to take a look at some signs your period may be on its way and what to look out for. We’ll also talk about how hormone-free birth control can help you get to know your body better.

This article is also available in Spanish.

1. Your breasts hurt

Tender boobs can be a sign your period is coming soon. You might even notice your breasts increase in size in the days before your period. This is due to increased levels of the hormone progesterone - as with other premenstrual symptoms, breast swelling and tenderness should disappear when your period arrives. 

It’s really important to keep an eye on any changes to your breasts, and we recommend you make it part of your routine to carry out regular self-breast checks in the days after your period when your breasts should be less tender.

2. Your mood keeps changing

While the main female sex hormone estrogen can make us feel pretty good roundabout ovulation, towards the end of your cycle, estrogen levels have dropped off and instead progesterone levels can give us bouts of feeling low or irritable. If you’ve noticed changes to your mood it might be because menstruation is right around the corner.

While it’s normal to experience some mood changes as a part of PMS (premenstrual syndrome), if it starts to interfere with your everyday life it may be a sign of PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder). This is a severe form of PMS and you should consult with a healthcare professional if you think you might be experiencing PMDD as there are ways you can reduce the condition and symptoms.

3. You’re craving certain foods

While it can be a source of comfort to reach for the chocolate box in the days before our periods, there’s a perfectly scientific reason for craving certain foods. Once again it all comes down to changes in hormone levels. These hormonal fluctuations can make us crave sweet or salty foods and can affect our appetite at different points in the cycle too.

Sometimes a treat is exactly what we need to pick us up on those difficult days, but keep in mind that maintaining a healthy diet and drinking lots of water can reduce bloating and other PMS symptoms in the lead up to your period.

4. You’re feeling sluggish

Lethargy is another of the signs your period is coming. Experiencing tiredness in the days before you’re due is fairly common. Even if you’re well-rested you might find your energy levels are lower than at other points in your cycle. While keeping a regular sleep routine can help, some may experience insomnia, despite tiredness. As with other PMS symptoms, this is caused by a change in hormones and should go away once your period starts. 

Did you know tiredness can also be a sign of early pregnancy? In fact, many PMS symptoms are very similar to early pregnancy signs because of the presence of progesterone which plays a big role both in the second part of the menstrual cycle and in the first trimester. If you think you might be pregnant, we recommend waiting until the day your period is due before taking a pregnancy test and seeking advice from a healthcare professional.

5. Your discharge has dried up

Another sign your period is coming is discharge, or rather a lack of it. Cervical mucus is a type of vaginal discharge that changes in amount and consistency throughout the menstrual cycle. When we’re most fertile, cervical mucus is sometimes visible in our underwear or when we wipe after using the toilet. Since we’re not fertile in the days directly before we get our period, there should be very little or no discharge to see. 

Even after your period has ended, it will likely be a few days before discharge is visible. You can look out for the changes in your cervical mucus throughout your cycle as it varies in amount and consistency as you approach your fertile window.

6. You’re getting a pimple or two

Have you noticed a link between your skin and hormones? If you regularly notice a change in your complexion, it may be one of the signs your period is coming. High progesterone is responsible for making our skin oilier in the days leading up to menstruation, and you might notice your hair is a little bit greasier too. 

Sticking to a healthy diet and drinking plenty of water can help reduce breakouts when your period is about to arrive. Everyone's skin is different and has different needs, so our best advice is to listen to your body and build a routine that works for you.

7. Your birth control warns you

If you’re using Natural Cycles as birth control, you’ll get regular updates about the changes happening in your cycle, including when your period is due. NC° Birth Control has two parts: an app and a thermometer. The app learns the pattern of your cycle based on the readings from the basal body thermometer. It’s possible to measure ovulation with temperature readings and that’s how Natural Cycles can identify where you are in your cycle. So as well as learning the signs your period is coming through noticing changes in your body, you’ll get in-app updates too!

Did you know that if you’re using hormonal birth control you don’t really get periods? Instead, methods like the birth control pill often cause a certain type of spotting called a withdrawal bleed. Since you don’t ovulate on hormonal birth control, this isn’t technically a period, but rather a symptom of changing hormone levels.

Thinking about going hormone-free?

We hope you learned to look out for some of the key signs your period is coming! Besides learning about period symptoms, there are so many advantages to getting to know your cycle better. Knowing when you're fertile is just the beginning! 

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Written By

Jennifer Gray

Jennifer Gray is an award-winning writer with more than five years’ experience covering reproductive topics ranging from birth control to planning pregnancy. She is passionate about providing women with accurate information grounded in science they can use to take charge of their own health - while also dispelling myths that exist within the field of women’s health. She holds a Master of Science from the University of Edinburgh and currently lives in Ireland.

Jack in a suit and tie holding a microphone and giving a presentation.

Scientifically Reviewed

Jack Pearson

Dr. Jack Pearson is a previously HCPC registered Embryologist with a PhD in reproductive medicine. Prior to joining Natural Cycles leading Medical Affairs, he worked for more than 10 years in a clinical setting working at some of the busiest fertility clinics in the UK. Today he spends most of his time working with experts at the world’s leading institutions to carry out important research with the vision to further the field of female health. He earned his PhD from the University of Sheffield specializing in Sperm Metabolism and currently lives in London.

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