How many times have you felt like everything in your life/body was going spectacularly wrong, only to realise the next day that it was all down to your period? Cramps and mood swings we all know about, but there’s a whole list of little, strange and sometimes surprising symptoms that can signal menses is on its merry way…
Here are 14 of the most universal signs your period is coming. All aboard the PMS Express! Destination: Tampon Town.
1. Life becomes an all-you-can-eat buffet
Sorry, are they going to finish that? Because you only had three breakfasts this morning and there’s a long 45 minutes still to go until lunch… Calorie requirements in our body actually increase before our period, so that gnawing bottomless-pit feeling in your stomach is totally normal. Although dipping crisps in Nutella is all on you.
If the two or three days before your period were a series of really bad disaster movies, this one would be called Attack of the Cramps. But instead of Vin Diesel leaping through a window, on fire, it’s just two hours of you straddling a hot water bottle, rubbing your belly and whimpering.
Not only has a birthday party of tiny toddlers climbed into your uterus and started using it as a bouncy castle, but weird pains are cropping up in other parts of your body too. Your back. Your thighs. Your knees? What.
4. Everyone is the actual worst
Everyone. Your friends, your parents, your barista, the woman in front of you on the bus. The drawing of a man on your porridge box. Everyone.
5. Everything is the actual saddest
The song you listened to on the bus. Your biscuit breaking off in your tea. An uplifting advert for a bank. All perfectly legitimate reasons to be crying like a baby in the run up to rag week, we promise.
6. There’s a party in your pants
Discharge often increases in the days leading up to your period, and tends to get… creamier in consistency. Sorry to ruin that bagel.
7. You cba
Everything is suddenly effort. You’re so knackered it’s like you just climbed a mountain when all you did was walk to the fridge. You cba so little that you cba to even write ‘can’t be arsed’ out in full.
8. You’re suddenly incredibly aware of your boobs
Oh, hey guys. How’re you doing down there? Not so great, huh? Having a little tantrum in my bra, are we? Did somebody kick you when I wasn’t looking, or…? No sure, fine, just checking. Ok ok, there’s no need to be so SENSITIVE about it.
9. All your clothes look wrong
The dress you loved last week, the trousers that normally go with everything, your very best socks – suddenly wrong, ALL WRONG. Sure, flinging your entire wardrobe around the room while you stand in your pants going, ‘arrrrgggghh I hate them all, I am an undressable monster!’ isn’t the kind of symptom you can’t exactly take to your GP – but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a very real side effect of Aunt Flo’s journey down your uterine highway.
10. Your chin is zit city
Just like the arrival of Starbucks red cups or the town centre lights being switched on, a giant flashing pimple (or twelve) on your face is often a surefire sign that holidays are coming. Except in this case the ‘holidays’ mean 3-7 days of vaginal bleeding. Hoorah!
11. Every paving stone is a safety hazard
You’re usually pretty good at walking around, carrying objects, lifting a sandwich to your mouth without dropping the contents all down your top… but not today, sweet cheeks! Clumsiness is a far more common period symptom than you might realise – which might be handy to explain to the person you just threw a latte over.
12. Your brain is soft cheese
What’s Pythagoras’ theorem? Where did you leave your hockey kit? Which one is your house, again? All those simmering premenstrual hormones can create a kind of brain fog, which descends like one of those mists in an old horror movie and makes it harder to concentrate on even easy tasks. So give yourself a break – you’re not stupid, you’re just resting your faculties before battle commences in your pants. You warrior, you.
13. Your belly is a balloon
Less pleasant than a food baby but less terrifying than a baby-baby, having a swollen, gassy belly for a day or two is one of the most common signals that your crimson wave is about to crash. If ever there was an excuse not to eat a kale salad, this is it.
14. Miscellaneous other weird stuff
Puffy hands? Trouble sleeping? Low pain threshold? Weird poos? All could be down to the flight of the red unicorn, my friend. PMS affects every woman in a slightly different, unique way, so if you notice strange things happening in your body around the same time every month, chances are they’re part of your own personal pick ’n’ mix of periody symptoms.
And feeling absolutely nothing weird at all? That’s fine and normal too! You lucky duck.