Taking a pregnancy test is the best way to put an end to the endless questions in your head about your late period. However sometimes, body matters can be quite complicated. You may be pregnant but the test might still show a negative result due to lower level of the human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) hormone during early pregnancy. You may experience abdominal cramps around your due period date, but still not get a period. So how do you determine whether the changes in your body are triggered by an upcoming period or an early pregnancy? Here’s a lowdown on period vs pregnancy signs to help you seek clarity:
Symptoms Of Pregnancy Vs Symptoms Of Period: Similarities
Even though a late period is the biggest sign of pregnancy, symptoms of PMS and early pregnancy can be confusingly similar as they cause a host of hormonal changes in the body. Here are ten common symptoms they may share:
PMS can affect the serotonin (a brain chemical that plays an important role in regulating your mood) levels in the body and trigger mood swings. During pregnancy, this fluctuation can be aggravated by factors like physical stress, fatigue, and rapid changes in hormones. So your mood swings may be more severe if you’re expecting.
While abdominal cramps before or during your periods are caused by the contractions of the uterus, one may experience a milder form of such cramps during pregnancy as well. It usually happens due to the expansion of your ligaments as your bump grows. However, if the pain is severe and prolonged, one must consult a doctor immediately.
Back pain during pregnancy is usually because of the increased burden on the spine due to the weight of the growing baby. During PMS, it could just be a result of the inflammation caused by prostaglandins (hormone-like chemicals that trigger uterine contractions). Period-induced backache could also be abdominal pain radiating down your thighs and spine.
During pregnancy, your body produces extra blood and so, the kidneys tend to flush out the excess fluid more frequently. Additionally, the weight of the fetus can make the uterus push against the bladder and increase urination. During menstruation, the progesterone drop can alter the fluid levels in your body and cause increased urination.
During pregnancy, the surge in prolactin (lactation hormone) can increase the blood flow to the breasts and make them more sensitive and sore. Before periods, the estrogen increase can make your breast ducts enlarged and cause swelling.
Changes in Vaginal Discharge
In both cases, the surge in progesterone and estrogen before your period and during early pregnancy can cause cloudy white vaginal discharge. However, if the vaginal discharge is accompanied by symptoms like itching or burning sensation while peeing, it could be a sign of a bacterial or fungal infection in the vagina.
The increase in progesterone during early pregnancy as well as before PMS can slow down the digestive system and lead to constipation.
Closer to your due period date, there is a decline in the estrogen and progesterone levels to support the breakdown of the uterine lining. This drop in the female sex hormones can cause fatigue during PMS. On the other hand, during pregnancy, your body produces more blood to carry nutrients to the growing fetus. This, along with the increase in prolactin, can lower your blood pressure and sugar levels and make you feel tired and sleepy.
Both pregnancy and periods can lead to a host of hormonal changes and alter your appetite. You may feel hungrier or simply develop an aversion to certain foods.
Low blood sugar levels and a rapid increase in the hCG hormone, can cause morning sickness or make you feel nauseous throughout the day. During periods, it can be caused due to backache and hormonal changes.
Sirona Recommends Best Pregnancy Test Kit: Sirona Preg Rx Midstream Pregnancy Test Kit
This easy-to-use product makes taking a pregnancy test easy and mess-free. It can detect hCG hormone when directly placed under urine. So, you don’t have to collect your urine sample before taking the test. It’s hygienic and provides 99% accurate results in just five minutes.
Difference Between Period Cramps And Pregnancy Cramps
Abdominal cramps are common during pregnancy and periods both. But here are three key differences between them:
Pregnancy-induced cramps usually happen lower down in the stomach while period cramps happen in the abdomen, legs and spine.
Period-related cramps may start a week or two before your due period date and go on till the first two to three days of shark week. However, mild abdominal cramps can occur throughout your pregnancy as the fetus grows. P.S. If pain increases or is accompanied by spotting, you must see a doc immediately.
Cramps during pregnancy happen due to the expansion of your ligaments with the growing bump. It can also be due to the uterus’s expansion to accommodate the growing fetus. On the other hand, period-induced cramps are a side-effect of a surge in prostaglandins and the inflammation caused by it.
Sirona Recommends Best Products To Manage Abdominal Cramps
Sirona Feminine Pain Relief Patch
You can ditch your painkillers and count on Sirona’s Feminine Pain Relief Patch to reduce period and pre-period cramps. Sticking this sleek patch can provide instant relief from pain without causing any side effects. That’s because it is made with natural pain-relieving ingredients like menthol and eucalyptus oil. It is easy to carry and stays effective for 8-10 hours.
Sirona Pain-Relief Heat Patch
Made with 100% natural ingredients, the Pain Relief Heat Patch by Sirona is a great side-effect-free alternative to dealing with period cramps. Sticking this patch on your abdomen can work like a soothing balm. These portable wonders can provide heat relief for up to eight hours straight and can be disposed of easily after each use. No hot-water-bottle hassles involved!
Sirona Feminine Cramp Relief Roll-On
The Sirona Cramp Relief Roll On can be used on your lower back, abdomen, and legs. Packed with all-natural ingredients like lavender oil, clove oil, cinnamon, and eucalyptus, it helps relieve period pain–even on the go. Its calming aroma helps relax your muscles and the smooth roll-on application makes it convenient to use. No side effects, no pain!
Electric Hot Water Bag
Sirona’s Hot Water Bag is a blessing in disguise for those who deal with cramps before a period. It comes with automatic temperature control technology and a quick-charging feature. It eliminates the need for heating water and filling it up into a hot water bottle every few hours. All you’ve got to do is charge it once for seven-12 minutes and tada! It helps relax your muscles, lowers inflammation, and relieves pain.
Symptoms Unique To Pregnancy
While the strikingly similar signs of periods and early pregnancy can be confusing, here are two key symptoms unique to pregnancy to help you seek some clarity:
A missed period is the biggest indicator of pregnancy. While it’s common to experience spotting during early pregnancy, you must take a pregnancy test if you don’t get a proper period a week past your due date.
Nausea may be a shared symptom of pregnancy and periods, but during pregnancy, it can be extreme and usually happens in the morning (morning sickness). It may also be accompanied by strong food aversions and a stronger sense of smell.
When To See A Doctor
Now that you’re aware of the differences between symptoms of pregnancy and symptoms of period, let’s understand when to seek medical help if you notice these signs:
If your period is later than a week after your due period date, you must take a pregnancy test. Regardless of the result, it is important to consult with a doc to figure out the reason behind the delay.
Pain & Bleeding During Pregnancy
If you experience bleeding during pregnancy or persistent pain in your abdomen, you must not take it lightly and get in touch with your gynae.
Intense PMS Symptoms
While slight discomfort due to PMS is nothing to worry about, if you experience excessively heavy bleeding, excruciating pain, and extreme mood swings, it could be due to an underlying health condition like endometriosis, premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Again, a doc visit is highly recommended to identify the cause and follow the required line of treatment.
We hope that this detailed guide on period vs pregnancy symptoms gives you more clarity about the reason behind the changes in your body.
Featured Image: Pexels
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