Period symptoms: what are the effects?

A woman's menstrual cycle is not a smooth ride, and hormonal variations will trigger a series of symptoms that will be visible throughout the menstrual cycle, but may also be a sign that the period is coming!

What are the common symptoms of menstruation?

It's important to remember that it's perfectly normal to experiencediscomfort in the days leading up to the onset of your period, and for a few days after bleeding begins. Here are some common symptoms that indicate that your period is coming... or has already arrived!

Sore breasts

The influence of hormones can have an impact on the size and sensitivity of your breasts. Sore breasts during your period can be one of the signs that your period is coming. Discomfort in the chest as periods approach can also be a symptom of pregnancy: so it's important to keep a close eye on these phenomena.


Another sign that menstruation is approaching is the onset of migraines or headaches. Indeed, at the start of the menstrual cycle, prostaglandins released into the bloodstream can generate a headache. Likewise, changes inestrogen levels can disrupt neurotransmitters, leading to sleep difficulties, migraines and mood swings. Recurrent menstrual headaches are called menstrual migraines, and can also cause vomiting and nausea.

Abdominal pain

Pelvic pain is one of the most common discomforts of the menstrual cycle for women. Bellyache during menstruation is described as cramps that are linked to contractions of the uterus as it evacuates blood from the endometrium. Stomach ache is one of the signs that menstruation is coming, but can also be felt at the time ofovulation and a few days after the onset of blood loss. Stomach pains during your menstrual cycles should not be a handicap and may vary from one cycle to the next. Another sign that menstruation is coming, linked to stomach pain, is constipation, as the digestive system is slowed down by the action of progesterone.

Chronic fatigue

Fatigue and menstruation, the classic combination! When menstruation arrives, the red blood cell and iron levels in the blood drop, reducing the supply of oxygen to the body. It's not unusual to feel tired or short of breath. Beware of anemia, which is characterized by increased, long-lasting fatigue. Don't hesitate to seek medical advice, as anemia is a serious menstrual symptom that needs to be treated.

Skin changes

One of the symptoms of the menstrual cycle is the appearance of pimples or"period skin"! With the arrival of menstruation, the drop in hormones, progesterone and estrogen, makes the skin thinner and more fragile. These hormonal variations can cause :

  • excess sebum
  • shinier, oilier skin
  • the appearance of acne pimples

Weight gain

Another symptom is weight gain during menstruation. Under the influence of hormones, some regulated women experience cravings for sugars and fats. Make sure you eat a balanced diet!

Stress and anxiety

Anxiety and menstruation are often linked.Anxiety can affect the arrival of periods, either by slowing them down or by accentuating the pain and symptoms of menstruation. Stress during men struation will have an impact on its duration, pain and the woman's general state of health. It's therefore important to understand the reasons for stress, and to set up routines to learn how to control it: sleep, sport, relaxation and meditation, for example.

Premenstrual syndrome: symptoms before the onset of menstruation

Premenstrual syndrome is a sign of theonset of menstruation. A number of phenomena occur a few days before the onset of menstrual flow, and generally disappear by the time blood starts to flow:

  • unusual fatigue and/or difficulty sleeping
  • stomach pains, diarrhea just before blood loss and/or bloating
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • heavy, painful breasts

PMS is a strong sign that the flow is coming!

What are the symptoms of a woman's first period?

There are several signs that menstruation is coming for the first time! The first periods occur within two years of breast growth. Generally speaking, the following physical and psychological changes can be observed:

  • growth spurts
  • weight gain
  • widening of the hips
  • elongation of the face
  • excess sebum on skin and hair
  • skin rashes
  • sweating
  • development of genitals and breast growth
  • white vaginal discharge
  • hair growth
  • mood swings

What to do when menstrual symptoms affect your quality of life?

While one woman in two suffers from painful menstruation, 60% of 15 to 19 year-olds are affected by menstrual symptoms. 20% even say they suffer from very painful periods that impact their daily lives. 71% feel more irritable, 80% feel much more tired and 59% feel uncomfortable with their bodies.

Adopt a healthy lifestyle and exclude all unhealthy eating habits. Exercise regularly and get enough rest. Try to limit stressful activities and consume less sugar, caffeine and salt.

If menstrual symptoms are having a major impact on your quality of life, don't hesitate to discuss them with a healthcare professional, such as your GP or gynecologist.

Period symptoms FAQ

What are the symptoms before my period?

There are several symptoms before your period. This period is called premenstrual syndrome or PMS. Symptoms often include bloating, water retention, diarrhea or constipation. The appearance of acne, depression or increased fatigue. If your symptoms are too severe, we recommend that you consult your gynaecologist, midwife or GP.

What are menstrual symptoms?

Symptoms of menstrual loss may include pain or discomfort. You'll find stomach pains, headaches, pain in the kidneys and lower back. Some people experience breast pain. Always refer to a health professional if menstrual symptoms are disabling on a daily basis.

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