Early warning signs of a new period may be quite useful in terms of preparation, with symptoms varying from subtle emotional changes to obvious aches or swelling. Sometimes, though, these signs are unpleasant enough to interfere with day-to-day life, and then the term premenstrual syndrome may be used.
A variety of physical symptoms can occur up to 10 days before a period, says a September 2014 article in "Evolutionary Applications." As many as 80 percent of women experience bloating, tender breasts and weight gain. Pain in the joints or back can also occur before a period begins. The development of painful cramps tends to signal the imminent arrival of bleeding.
Mood and Behavioral Changes
Premenstrual symptoms can also include alteration in mood. You can become more irritable, depressed or anxious. In fact, irritability, feeling tense or being "on edge" are the most common symptoms women describe before their period. Food cravings may kick in, and you may notice an increase in appetite or a decrease in libido. Sleep may be disturbed, or you may feel more tired than usual. Some women notice only one sign, but a period may also be heralded by a cluster of symptoms.