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This is also known as the Pre-Menstrual Syndrome or PMS. It's not a common experience for all girls. Some girls may experience different forms of discomfort around a week or so before the periods begin. Others may experience it worse than others and some none at all.

Here are a few of the symptoms of PMS:

Soreness, swelling and tenderness of the breasts. Your girl may feel considerable discomfort due to this.
Anxiety, bad temper, depression are also common.
Marginal weight gain before the periods is normal and should not cause much worry.
She'll also notice acne on her skin and hair turning greasy.
Bouts of constipation could also add to her discomfort.

PMS is mainly due to hormonal imbalances in some girls and can also be due to vitamin deficiencies and nutritional problems. It is a natural condition though you must consult a doctor if any of the symptoms are severe or they persist.

Take some time and explain to your girl that PMS will and always will pass. There are times when mothers who have never experienced PMS fail to recognize the symptom as a reality at all. But to those mothers it must be pointed out that we were all made differently, though in the same form. So what may or may not happen to one person does not necessarily need to reflect in another.