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The Worst Period Symptoms—Ranked

Cramps are not number one.
PHOTO: Katie Buckleitner

Cramps get the most publicity of all the period symptoms, but anyone who's ever had a period knows they're not the only added element of torment that comes with your ~monthly gift~. Ranking the period symptoms is pointless because ha ha they're all terrible! But it's fun to think about where period farts fall on the spectrum of menstrual atrocities. Here's the definitive ranking of the worst period symptoms. Feel free to argue about it.

  1. Insatiable Hunger

    This symptom is almost enjoyable, except when you get to the bottom of your lunch and realize you could eat 12 more lunches, and then slip into an anxiety spiral about your suddenly ravenous appetite, and wonder if maybe you're going through another growth spurt somehow at age 27, and how are you still hungry, and OH MY GOD.

  2. Headaches

    Any other time of the month, a headache would be a huge annoyance that disrupts your day. But in the context of a period and the swarm of other symptoms you know to expect, a headache is extremely no big deal. Pop an ibuprofen and move on with your day. 

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  3. Breast swelling and tenderness

    Nothing sexier and more comforting than strapping on your favorite bra and seeing your boobs spill over the top of it like muffins in a baking tin. If there is a way to cure sore boobs before/on your period (aside from wearing a million sports bras to keep them perfectly still), I haven't heard it yet.

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  4. Farts

    Period farts are the stinkiest farts. Do not play coy and pretend you have not noticed this. The only reason these little biohazards aren't farther down on the list is because it feels good to toot, especially when you have cramps and feel so bloated you very well might pop. Don't hold em in buddies, let 'em rip.

  5. Bloating

    Raise your hand if you have two sets of jeans in your closet: Those you can wear after your period, and those you have to wear those 10-or-so days of the month before and during your period when your entire body is swollen with water weight. 

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  6. Fatigue

    Yet another reason why periods merit paid sick time off. Just like the common cold and the FLU make you sleepy, periods make you sleepy. Trying to compensate with caffeine? Haha, nice try. Caffeine is known to make other things, like cramps and breast tenderness, worse. Pick your poison!

  7. Constipation

    Is there anything worse than not being able to poop? Yes, which is why this is number four on the list and not number one. Periods are hell.

  8. Mood swings

    Never mind how going from happy to fuming in a matter of minutes affects your friends and loved ones. The real fucked up thing about mood swings is that they're essentially your hormones gaslighting all the other (logical) parts of you. Not to perpetuate the sexist myth that periods make people crazy. But mood swings occasionally do make you feel like you're losing your GD mind.

  9. Cramps

    The worst thing about cramps is that they come without warning. One moment you're sitting upright, song in your heart, thinking about all the good and lovely things in the world, and the next you're doubled over, stifling a stream of curse words, thinking about how there's no way getting kicked in the balls could possibly compare to this sensation. There are methods of relief, sure. But cramps are a curse and should be illegal.

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  10. Period poop.

    If you know, you know.

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This article originally appeared on Minor edits have been made by the editors.