As if it weren't enough to bleed and suffer through cramps, getting your period often means a lot of other symptoms, including bloating or weight gain.
In a post to her Instagram page on Saturday, blogger Malin Olofsson got real about what severe PMS can really look like.
"Some of you have seen this before," she wrote in her caption. "Some of you haven't. Some of you experience and go through this yourself once a month. Some of you will be disgusted. Some of you will sigh with relief and think - Omg I'm not alone. Some of you will not read this caption and presume that I'm pregnant."
"This is the visual signs of PMS for me and many other women," she wrote on the photo of herself showing her belly. "For some it's less extreme, for some it's more. Water retention is a very normal and common symptom of PMS."
If you've ever had a period, you can likely relate to Olofsson's post — bloating is a common symptom of PMS, due to hormonal changes. For the most part, this is water weight that you gain when your progesterone levels boost during the week of your period. And Olofsson is right: The amount of water you retain varies from person to person.
"Some women will hardly notice it and some go through immense discomfort for a couple of days a month," she wrote. "It can start anytime between ovulation and your period."
But as she said, either way, this is completely normal.
"This is nothing to be ashamed of," she wrote. "Yes - it is very uncomfortable, and yes - it is really difficult to not feel like you must hide it and try to suck your stomach in."
"Yes - your body might experience discomfort due to hormonal changes - so instead of making it worse through shaming your body, try doing the opposite," she continued. "Realize that this is when you need extra self-care and self-love. Realize that you don't have to be ashamed and hide. You are perfect and your body is just doing it's [sic] job."
Olofsson makes a great point — periods, though natural, normal parts of life, can be rough enough without shaming yourself (not to mention shame from other people). Bloating or not, your period is a great time to make more effort to take care of yourself.