Your Bod

5 signs your period is coming (and how to deal)

So, you've been feeling a little different lately...

Maybe your mood is down, you're feeling crampy or your skin is suddenly breaking out? You might be getting your period.

While breaking out and getting cramps isn't anyone's idea of a good time, these are very normal signs that your body is changing, and it's all part of having a period. Since the beginning of time, women have menstruated (that's the medical term for "getting your period"), and despite this experience being universal, some still find it "gross" or "taboo" to talk about menstruation—which means that you might not know much about it. 

Here's the thing: Menstruation is simply biological. Your body will send you certain specific signals when it's time for, well, your time of the month. Here, we're breaking down those signs and giving you five great solutions you can use to keep slaying no matter what your uterus might be doing.

Sign #1: You have cramps
Cramps are easily the most common period symptom. They occur because the uterine wall is contracting and attempting to shed the inner lining of the uterus. According to docs, many young women get cramps in their lower bellies or their backs either before or during their cycles. The good news? They get less painful as you get older

Solution:  There are *so* many 
Since the majority of women have to deal with cramps, there are a bunch of solutions out there. Many women have go-to remedies, such as taking meds or applying heat to the lower back or stomach. Other great solutions? Take a hot bath, avoid caffeine and salt or just take a short nap.

Sign #2: You're feeling more emotional 
A strong influx of emotions is caused by pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS), so there's no need to worry if you've been more anxious or sad leading up to your period. Gynecologist Carol Livoti, MD says that these emotional ups and downs (also known as mood swings) can start affecting you as early as a week before your period and usually go away a day or two after your period starts. 

Solution: Exercise 
Okay, hear us out. Despite exercise likely being the *last* thing on your mind, it will make you feel a lot better than lying on the couch. Not only does the active movement aid in relieving cramps, but it also causes you to release endorphins, which are feel-good chemicals that balance out your changing hormones.  

Sign #3: You're breaking out 
Zits are never fun, especially when they're paired with other menstrual symptoms. According to Sandy Knauf, a nurse practitioner based in Ohio, we break out when our hormones fluctuate, causing our skin to be oilier and our pores to be clogged. 

Solution: A good cleanser
Raise your hand if you're guilty of only worrying about your skin when you have a zit. Many of us tend to ignore our skin when things seem fine, but Knauf says that continually taking care of your skin throughout the month is your best bet to avoid any kind of breakout.

Sign #4: You're tired 
So, you've been nodding off in geometry class a little more than usual. Or perhaps those two laps at practice seem like the most *impossible* task to tackle. Our cycles can make us lethargic sometimes, which is why sleep is more important than ever. 

Solution: Get that full 8 hours, girl
Even though it may be hard with schoolwork to balance, plan ahead so you can get the sleep you need (a great way to do this is to use a period-tracking app, like Flo!). Be kind to your body and allow it to recharge through a good night's rest. Because shedding a lining of your uterine wall is no easy task, obvi. 

Sign #5: You're craving sweet treats
Does that Hershey's bar suddenly look *irresistible?* What about that pint of Ben and Jerry's? You may feel tempted to constantly chow down on sweet treats come that time of the month.

Solution: Eat healthfully, but don't worry about treating yourself once or twice. Again, your body is going through a lot, and the most important thing to remember during your period is self-love.

We want to hear from you! Send us your weirdest body questions here (seriously, we'll answer anything!) and it just might get featured.

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by Carrie Ruppert and Erin Sargent | 10/10/2020