There’s nothing quite like that unsettling feeling of realizing you’ve just started your period… four days early. You’re unprepared, confused, and wondering what the heck is going on!
Take a deep breath. We’ve all been there, and the good news is, starting your period a few days early is usually no cause of alarm.
Knowing it’s probably just fine, you still have to wonder, why did you start your period early? There are numerous reasons why, and we’ll talk about them, give you some tips on how to calculate your cycle, and also help you build a period preparedness kit so you’re never caught off-guard by an early arrival.
Understanding How Your Cycle Works
Your body is on a constant cycle that repeats every month. Each month, as your body prepares to release an egg, your body undergoes hormonal changes that trigger certain events in your cycle.
A typical cycle lasts 28 days, but that’s not standard for everyone. It’s just a good average. Your cycle might be longer or shorter. During those 28 days (give or take), your body goes through four specific phases.
The first phase of your cycle begins on the first day you menstruate. This phase happens as a result of the egg leftover from your last cycle not being fertilized. When the egg isn’t fertilized, your body sheds the egg and the lining of the uterus.
The second phase of your cycle starts when you start your period but extends through ovulation. During this phase, your body will begin releasing a hormone that stimulates your ovaries to produce follicles. These follicles hold immature eggs.
Each ovary produces up to twenty follicles, and each follicle holds an egg. However, only the healthiest egg will mature and eventually be released.
You enter the ovulation phase when your body prepares to release a mature egg. Once mature, a healthy egg is released by an ovary and passes down the fallopian tube to your uterus, where it becomes available to be fertilized.
Ovulation occurs about a week after you finish your period or about fourteen days into your cycle. Ovulation may seem like the only time you can get pregnant, but because you may not know for certain when you are ovulating, there is always a risk of becoming pregnant when you have sex.
The final phase of your period is the luteal phase. During this phase, the lining of your uterus thickens to allow a fertilized egg the ability to implant. The luteal phase lasts for about two weeks, or up until the first day of your next period.
How To Calculate Your Cycle
Even if you feel like your cycle is pretty regular, there’s usually a variance from month to month, especially if you aren’t on birth control.
To calculate your own menstrual cycle, you’ll need to take an average over three months. The length of your cycle is the number of days between the first day of your period until the first day of your next period.
To determine your ovulation window, subtract fourteen days from the projected end of your current cycle, and that will give you an idea of when you will ovulate.
Why Is My Period Early?
Getting your period earlier than you expect can surprise you, but it is very common. Here are a few reasons why Aunt Flo might show up on your doorstep ahead of schedule.
You Calculated Wrong
Did your period end four days ago or three? Do you really have to count that last day-you didn’t really have that much flow?
Calculating your cycle seems easy on paper, but when you do it in real life it can be a little more complicated. Factor in variances from month to month that are also completely normal, and your period might not actually be early; it might be right on time.
Even if you’ve been calculating your cycle for several months and feel certain you shouldn’t start until the next day, it’s pretty common for there to be a difference of a day or even two from month to month.
Stress changes everything. Normally, your body adjusts to stress, but if you are under severe stress or recovering from a traumatic experience, your hormone levels can fluctuate, causing your period to come early or even be late.
If stress is sidelining you and causing your periods to surprise you, it's important to talk to someone about how you can manage your stress.
You may start early if you engage in heavy exercise. Periods can become irregular, and can even cease if you burn a larger amount of calories than you consume. This is a common problem for athletes.
If you’ve just begun a new workout routine and feel like your periods are coming earlier and earlier, consider increasing your calorie intake to make sure you’re getting the proper amount of nutrients to support your new lifestyle.
Hormonal Birth Control
Normally, taking hormonal birth control helps regulate your periods and make them more predictable. However, sometimes our cycles don’t respond that way to the hormones. If you’ve just started taking birth control, it can take a few months before your cycle is regulated.
If you’re using another form of birth control that doesn’t contain hormones, like a copper IUD, your cycle may be irregular for a few months, also.
If your cycle hasn't been regulated after a few months on birth control, speak to your doctor.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Some STD’s can cause your period to be irregular. STD’s are very common; more than 9 million women in the U.S. are diagnosed with an STD each year. Depending on what you contract, you can experience irregular periods, spotting between periods, and bloody discharge.
If you suspect you may have an STD, make an appointment to see your doctor. There are treatment options available, and it’s important to get checked.
How To Always Be Prepared for Your Period
Your period arriving early can be a big situation unless you plan for the unexpected. At Rael, we offer holistic period care solutions so you can be prepared for whatever your monthly cycle brings, whenever it brings it.
A great idea is to keep an emergency period kit at the ready. If you always have a stash of the supplies you need, getting your period early goes from an inconvenient issue to just another Tuesday.
Every savvy period professional stashes liners in their emergency period kit. Rael’s liners are micro-thin and perfect for wearing the week before your period. You get protection that gives you peace of mind and the ultimate in wearable comfort.
Periods that come early can create sticky situations. Be prepared with all-natural feminine wipes from Rael. Our feminine wipes are easy to stash in your cabinet, bag, or desk drawer. Wipes are an easy, convenient way to freshen up and feel better anytime.
Rael’s feminine wipes contain pure, gentle ingredients that don’t harm delicate skin, causing irritation.
Pads and Tampons
Whichever you prefer, you should always have a box on hand. A great rule of thumb is to take inventory on the last day of your period and go ahead and buy a box of whatever you need, so you have it by your next menstrual period.
Rael offers a tampon value pack that gives you 16 regular tampons as well as 16 super tampons, so that you're prepared no matter your flow.
Prefer pads? Our organic cotton cover pads are available in petite, regular, and large. We also offer an Overnight size for supreme coverage during every toss and turn. Day or night, we've got you covered.
The absolute ultimate in period care, period panties look and feel just like your everyday intimates but have superhero capabilities.
Rael’s period panties are able to absorb up to three tampons worth of flow, making them a great option for adding additional coverage on especially heavy days/nights or wearing the week before your period.
Getting your period early is no big deal when your underwear gives you the protection you need to guard against leaks.
Your period came early, but it’s not even an afterthought if you’re prepared. Getting your period early can be completely normal, but if you’re concerned it might be a chronic trend, check with your doctor.
Rael offers period care products that are all-natural, gentle, and effective. Our period care items never contain harsh chemicals that could interfere with your hormones or irritate your delicate skin. Let Rael help you build an emergency period kit, and we promise getting your period early will never feel like a true emergency.
Life-Style and Reproductive Factors Associated with Follicular Phase Length (ncbi.nim.nih.gov)
Sexually transmitted infections (womenshealth.gov)
Abnormal Menstruation (Periods): Types, Causes & Treatment (my.clevelandclinic.org)