Have you ever had the feeling out of the blue that made you think “uh oh, it's almost that time of the month!”. We’re not sure if any gal looks forward to her period, much less the events leading up to that fateful event. But sometimes the signs we think are premenstrual syndrome (also known as PMS) may not even be indicative if that at all.
The weird thing about our bodies is that it can quite often send us mixed signals. What we think is one thing may just end up being another. What you think may be the flu might just be allergies. What you think may be food poisoning might just be a stomach virus. What you think could be life threatening could be super minor. Sometimes, when we experience a lot of different symptoms, we can assume quite a myriad of possibilities. This isn't uncommon when it comes to PMS symptoms either.
These usual 15 signs that make us assume Aunt Flo is on her way can sometimes turn out to just be common occurrences we can just experience as women from time to time. Read on to find out about what they are and what they could actually mean.
15 When you're feeling irritable.
Sometimes you notice that you're feeling just a tad bit (or a whole lot more) irritable on certain days. So much so that you’d have the urge to curse out your boss or bite someone's head off because they are getting on your nerves. It's easy to think a deep breath will fix the anger, but maybe you're not even in the mood to meditate because even the silence makes you angry. It may be easy to blame PMS for the heightened annoyance with absolutely everything in your life, but it really could be other things. Perhaps you aren’t getting enough sleep, you are stressed out, or you just need a nice hot bath and a nap! If you've been feeling super annoyed lately, but you know it's not that time of the month, just try your hardest to pull yourself together and demand the space and time you need.
14 When you get a killer headache.
Got a bad headache that seemed to have come out of the blue? You might find this weird because you don't normally get headaches. You’re quite certain that you only have headaches around your time of the month. If you know for sure it's not time for your period, chances are the headache is just a common occurrence. Again, you could just be stressed out, you could be missing out on sleep, or you could have been staring at your computer or phone screen for way too long. We know we're in the age of super technology, but it's still super important to give your eyes a break from the computer a few times a day. If it's the worst headache you've ever experienced, it could actually be a migraine, or something more serious. Make sure to seek medical care right away if you've got some concerns.
13 When you've got INSANE cravings.
Pizza. French fries, ice cream, chocolate, and just about anything else. For some strange reason, you've got the biggest craving for the most savory, cheesy, buttery, salty, and/or sweet, and chocolatey foods known to man. It almost feels like you could devour an entire pan of lasagna right now, and you have no idea why. It's natural to assume that your major hankerings for your favorite foods may be due to PMS, but that may not be the case. Hormonal changes that may not have anything to do with your menstrual cycle could be causing your cravings. Another possible explanation is that you could be experiencing vitamin deficiency and just lack some nutrients. Sometimes our bodies send us signals whenever we are in need of certain nutrients and vitamins by making us crave things that aren't exactly so healthy for us. Either that or maybe you're just hungry.
12 When you're feeling emotional.
Have you been feeling super reactive to any and everything lately? For example, you cried watching romance movies or you're unusually reactive to almost anything said about you. Lately, it seems as if your emotions have taken over your logic. This often happens to women during PMS, but PMS isn't always the reason behind your over emotional behavior. Hormones and hormonal imbalances can play a part, too. There's also the possibility that this could be one of the side effects of birth control (if you're on any). And you may or may not want to hear this, but being over emotional and more easily overwhelmed than usual is typically one of the first signs of pregnancy. Whatever the case may be, it's a good idea to try a pregnancy test to find out the truth, and talk to a doctor about what's going on.
11 When you're really tired.
Life can really be exhausting sometimes. So much so that we start feeling like we'll need much more than that recommended eight hours of sleep at night. On the other hand, if you've just been feeling totally wiped out or even fatigued, that's a concern not to ignore. Although some of us can get really tired when it's nearing the time for our period, there are other possible reasons behind your exhaustion. Fatigue has been linked to illnesses like the common cold or the flu, fever, depression, or something more serious like an autoimmune disease. It could also mean something less serious such as dehydration, not eating enough, side effect of a medication, or a vitamin deficiency. However if your energy has been so low that you can't seem to get the things done, consult a doctor right away just to check things out.
10 When you're feeling down.
Your mood hasn't been all that great lately. In fact, you've just been feeling downright crappy. Your mind has been cluttered with what ifs and worst case scenarios. You feel pretty sad and unmotivated and you haven't been able to shake the feeling for a couple of days. Some ladies’ moods can go down during PMS, but PMS may not be the case in some situations. You may just have some unresolved issues that are getting to you. Or you may just need some uplifting or encouragement. Or you may need to find ways to reduce stress and anxiety. If you've been having this feeling for some time, it would be best to consult with a doctor to be sure. After all, a constantly low mood and melancholy disposition is a sign of depression. So if that's been the case for a while, it's certainly best to seek professional help.
9 When you start spotting.
A lot of women with irregular periods or are on birth control usually have times in the month where they begin spotting. Some may assume it's because their period is about to start, but that's often not true. Spotting is a pretty common occurrence for women that may have just started birth control or are on the pill, and only lasts a few months. Spotting can also occur for women that are pregnant, and it happens during the first trimester (get tested!). This also can happen to women that are about to experience menopause. However, if it's become a regular thing for you, or you are spotting pretty heavily before you're due for your next cycle, it may be time to see a doctor. Frequent spotting could mean something more serious involving the reproductive system, like fibroids or growths, or even diseases like endometriosis.
8 When your anxiety is high.
Feeling really anxious, nervous, or jittery for quite some time? It’s as if literally every little thing has you over the edge and you're freaking out! Usually you're able to get a hold of yourself, but now you can't seem to handle it. “Am I going crazy?” “Is it time for my period?” The answer to both of those questions are likely, no. Stress could just be playing a huge factor on your current state of mind and it's getting to you. Consider committing much more time on relaxing and calming your mind and body. There's a long list of things you can do to relieve stress and anxiety, like practicing yoga or pilates, meditation, or spending a day at the spa. The point is maybe you should consider finding a hobby that makes you feel serene and gets you in the zone, so you don't focus on what's stressing you out and making you crazy.
7 When you can't stop snacking.
Besides the cravings, you have got the serious case of munchies. For some reason you haven't been able to put food down! Ever since breakfast, you've been taking non-stop trips to the vending machine at work. You've dipped your hand into the little candy bowl at the front desk more times than you're proud of. And let's not even get started with the lunch meeting at the office. Half a plate of h'ordeuvres, a giant bowl of pasta salad, chicken skewers, and let's not forget the not one, but TWO cupcakes were reasons enough to hit the gym for at least an hour after work. You assume it may be nearing that time of the month if your appetite is this ravenous. But honestly you could just be hungry that day. If you're known to count calories, maybe it's not a bad thing to make room for a few more some days, especially if you're active. Just make sure you still control portions, don't binge on junk food, and drink water because sometimes hunger can be mistaken for thirst.
6 When you don't feel like eating at all.
Have you been losing your appetite? Hopefully you haven't been skipping any meals! It’s natural for our appetites can fluctuate from time to time and we are less hungry on certain days than others. But if it has come to a point where you barely eat at all, that's not normal. Some women experience a drop in appetite before their period starts, but loss in appetite can mean other things, too. There's a chance that you could be coming down with something. Or maybe you got so preoccupied with stressful things so much so that you forget to eat. And heaven forbid you could even have a form of a serious illness. If you've lost your appetite, it's always better to get yourself checked out. If your lack of interest in eating goes on for a long period of time, it could be a possible symptom for something else.
5 When you just don't feel like being social.
Have you been avoiding spending time with friends or family simply because you don't want to? Although moodiness and not having the energy to go out and be social sometimes has to do with PMS, it's not always the reason. Sometimes we just may need a break to recharge our batteries and get back in tune with ourselves. This definitely applies to introverts. However, if you know for a fact that this is unlike you, and it's not that time of the month yet, perhaps it'd be beneficial to explore other reasons why you're feeling a bit standoffish from people. If you've also been feeling stressed out, anxious, or even depressed, look for some solutions that can fit your lifestyle. Talk to your loved ones and explain your feelings. If need be, invite a third party, like a therapist or other medical professional, to help you sort out the matter.
4 When you're breaking out.
You wake up in the morning, do your business, take a shower, wash your face, brush your teeth, take a look in the mirror, and bam! You've got a massive zit right on your face! Wait, not just one, but you count two, three, FOUR pimples! When did this happen and how? You just got your skincare routine down to a T, never skip taking your makeup off, and drown yourself in water! Or have you?
While some women can expect acne right before it's time for her period, a surprise breakout doesn’t mean that it’s already that time of the month. Maybe you should've skipped out on that bag of salty chips you had at lunch yesterday, or should've washed your makeup off your face instead of just using those towelettes and micellar water like you've been doing all week long. Yeah, girl, you've got to start using facial wash again at some point. A breakout could just indicate a few bad habits catching up to you.
3 When you're bloated.
So your tummy is poking out a little further than it was yesterday, huh? While bloating is definitely one sign of an oncoming menstrual cycle, being bloated can happen anytime and can be triggered for various other reasons. Actually you can experience bloating almost every day of your life! When you consider that things are constantly moving around in your digestive system, your stomach naturally would expand, giving you a little bit more of a bloated look (and unfortunately add a few inches to your waistline). Aside from PMS, there are other causes. Some people may have food sensitivities like dairy products, meat, or really fibrous food like beans and raw vegetables. So eating those foods can also cause excess gas and bloating. Maybe try switching up the food in your diet so your waistline doesn't expand too much throughout the day.
2 When you notice weight gain.
It seemed just like any other day. The morning didn't turn out any different until you hit that weighing scale. “How in the world did I gain 3 pounds in such a short time?!” You yell as you grip your hair. You freak out because you swore you’ve only been taking green smoothies and salads all week long. But maybe you haven't been so good and have been sort of bingeing on those nachos and extra helpings of pasta (thanks to those damn cravings!) Either way, weight gain doesn't always automatically mean it's that time of the month. You could have some excess water weight, which can easily be fixed by staying away from extra sodium and keeping hydrated. Or you just have to admit to those bad eating habits you've had lately. So get back on track to your fitness regimen so that extra three pounds doesn't turn into ten!
1 When your breasts become hypersensitive/painful to touch.
This symptom is probably the most alarming in women. While it is common for some women to experience increased breast sensitivity or soreness right before her period, it could also mean something else more serious. With the rise of breast cancer, it's very important for women to keep up with regular check-ups and to discuss any concerns. Constant soreness or pain in the breasts must get checked out immediately, as it may be something far more serious that needs to be treated right away. Speak with your doctor involving any concerns if you notice breast pain or soreness and it's not nearing the time your menstrual cycle. Another possible explanation is heartburn. Once you've reached a certain age, expect to experience more and more of this. All in all, whenever you experience any discomfort in your chest, don't simply just brush it off as a sign of PMS.