Featured Q&A: "My period comes at the worst times!"

by Nancy Redd
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Q: My period comes like a pimple…when I least expect it! When I make plans to go to the beach with my BFF or am supposed to go to a pool party, my period comes the day before. Is your period supposed to come when you’re stressed or am I just jinxed? –Sara

A: I like your sense of humor, Sara, and am happy to squeeze out some ideas as to why it seems like your party plans are constantly being put on hold by your period.

First things first: you’re not jinxed or cursed with an evil menstrual cycle that comes at the worst possible times. Your period is not “supposed” to come when you’re stressed, but it’s no coincidence that you might be stressed when your period arrives, thanks to pre-menstrual syndrome, which is also known as PMS.

PMS is a common physical and emotional response to hormonal changes during your menstrual cycle and can make you feel frustrated, sad, short-tempered, and even stressed. While every female’s body is different, our individual menstrual cycles tend to be about the same every month. The good thing about this is that if we pay attention to our emotions, feelings, and the days we’re actually menstruating, after a couple of months of keeping track, it becomes super easy to look ahead on the calendar to see when we can expect PMS and our periods. Knowing when to expect your period will help you to feel in control of your body. And it will hopefully eliminate the frustration from feeling jinxed at your next pool party when Aunt Flo shows up just as you’ve changed into your white bikini.

There are multiple ways to keep track of your menstrual cycle. If you have a paper calendar or a phone or device that allows you to enter information onto an electronic calendar, starting now, every morning try jotting down how you feel, whether you’re bloated or not, and if you’re on your period.  If you have a mobile device, check out what applications are available for your system. Some of the most popular apps include Period Tracker, Period Plus, and My Days, but take time to browse through the dozens that are available to find the one that works for your needs. Many even have daily reminders for you to enter your information.

After a few months you’ll be able to see a pattern, which will shed some light on how your body works. Some ladies might only notice a little bit of bloating and stress the week before their period comes, while others are find it’s possible to predict pimples because they are able to document their appearance in specific places on about the same day of each month’s cycle!

If after five or six months you’re unable to see a pattern, you may be suffering from irregular periods, which is common in the first few years of menstruation. Just to be on the safe side, schedule an appointment with your gynecologist to discuss. He or she will be able to check to make sure everything is OK and may even be able to regulate your period with a prescription.

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