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Signs Your Period is Coming

Signs Your Period is Coming



Signs Your Period is Coming

Signs Your Period is Coming

For many people who menstruate, their hormonal cycles have an enormous impact on what happens in their daily lives. To cope they often keep a calendar. Sometimes women know the signs that their period is coming and sometimes they don’t. One of the reasons that some young girls who have just started their periods want to know when they’ll bleed, is because it may have an influence on whether they go to school that week or not. Why, because all too often, they experience period shaming. Sadly, it’s something that happens all over the world and impacts these young girl’s menstrual and mental health.1,2

Before we get into the scientific information, let’s go back to our chat with Mandi. As you know, she suffered from painful periods. As a young girl, she told us, they were so painful that on average, she’d spend at least a day – every month – curled up on her bed in agony. If it didn’t happen over a weekend, she’d miss school. When the pain subsided and she did go to school, she was terrified that she’d “leak” blood.

“My cycle was 31 days. I’d count 31 days in my diary and mark them off”, she told us. She went on to tell us that even the days leading up to her period were difficult. Her breasts would get sore, and she was miserable and didn’t want to be around people. “The only thing that didn’t happen to me was the pimples,” she laughed.


What are the signs that your period is coming?

What Mandi describes are typical symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, commonly known as PMS, and which virtually every woman experiences at some time in her life.3

What is PMS?

To be diagnosed with premenstrual syndrome, a woman must have both physical symptoms (which we discuss more below) as well as the emotional turmoil that interferes with your day-to-day activities for at least two to three months in a row. Usually, these symptoms happen in the five days before your period and end around four days after you start to bleed.4

Emotional signs that your period is coming

We have already mentioned that as their period approaches, women can experience two categories of symptoms. At times these are more noticeable than at others. This can be the result of age, stress or other conditions, for example, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), depression and anxiety.

The list below gives you an idea of some of the emotional challenges that women experience as their periods get closer. Often women – 5

  • Feel sad and depressed and may have crying spells
  • Are irritable, anxious and confused, and can even have anger issues
  • Withdraw – they don’t want to socialise or be with other people
  • Struggle to sleep (insomnia) and concentrate
  • Feel tired and constantly want to take a lie-down
  • Are not interested in sex


Physical signs that your period is coming

The more obvious symptoms that our periods are arriving are the physical ones. Mandi mentioned sore breasts, but there are others:6

  • Facial pimples or spots
  • Difficulty sleeping – you can’t seem to get to sleep
  • Either a runny tummy (diarrhoea) or blocked up (constipation)
  • Feeling bloated and full of wind or gas
  • Headache, backache and cramps can happen when the ovaries release the egg7


How can you manage those pre-menstrual symptoms?

Firstly, for those headaches and cramps, you can take an analgesic like Cipladon, which comes in 1000g and 500g effervescent paracetamol tablets. These are dissolved in water to make a fizzy drink so that the painkiller is absorbed quickly.8

Secondly, you could see your health practitioner because certain types of birth control can help with PMS, for example, an intrauterine device (IUD), the injection or the pill which is what helped Mandi.

Thirdly, there are some lifestyle changes that you could adopt, for example, yoga for stress management. Many women find that regular exercise – like aerobics – helps to reduce the symptoms of PMS. Some also find it helpful to manage both their diets and how often they eat: smaller meals, more often help to reduce the “I’m feeling fat” feeling that so often happens before your period. With this, choose foods with a lower fat and salt content so that you don’t retain too much water. Then, of course, it’s always good to go the healthy route: lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains, as well as those that are rich in calcium like spinach and yoghurt.9

Disclaimer: The information on this site should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care or advice. Contact a health care provider if you have questions about your health.


  1. Africa Health Organisation (2019). Girls and period shaming. [Online] Available from <> 22/112022
  2. Lusk-tover, O., Rop, R., Tinsley, E. &; Rabie, T. S. 2016. Globally, periods are causing girls to be absent from school. World Bank Blogs [Online] Available from <> 22/11/2022
  3. WebMD Editorial Contributors, Johnson, TC (Reviewer) 2022. Signs Your Period Is Coming WebMD [Online] Available from <> 22/11/2022
  4. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. 2022. Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) [Online] Available from <> 23/11/2022
  5. Gordon, K., Boyle, J. (Reviewer) 2022 Signs your period is coming (so you’re always prepared) Flo Health Inc., Flo Health UK Limited [Online] Available from <> 23/11/2022
  6. WebMD Contributors, Johnson, T C., 2022. Signs Your Period Is Coming WebMD [Online] Available from <> 24/11/2022
  7. Ovulation pain 2019. National Health Services, UK [Online] Available from <> 24/11/2022
  8. Rygnestad, T. et al. 2000. Absorption of effervescent paracetamol tablets relative to ordinary paracetamol tablets in healthy volunteer. European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. 56, 141–143. [Online] Available from <> 26/04/2022
  9. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. 2022. Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) [Online] Available from <> 23/11/2022

Please note the content on this website is not intended to be a substitute to a medical professional consultation.