Fatigue. Bloating. Irritability. Cravings. Cramps. Period underwear. That time of the month is bad enough.
But in the week or so before your period, you may also experience cold and flu symptoms – a runny nose, congestion, sore throat, body aches, nausea.
It’s called the “period cold” or the “period flu”. And there’s science to explain why it happens.
In the mid-portion of your cycle when you ovulate, your estrogen and progesterone levels start to surge, and they decline when you do not get pregnant and get your period. The decline, particularly in estrogen, is what causes a lot of the symptoms. For instance, nasal congestion is thought to coincide with this changing level of estrogen. It seems that as levels drop off, such as in the days before your period, nasal congestion is likely to build up.
Just before your period, hormones that trigger the cramping that helps your uterus expel its lining peak. But they also cause inflammation and are suggested to modulate a histamine release from cells – the same chemical that causes seasonal allergy symptoms – causing the cold and flu symptoms.
So, what can you do about it? Probably not too much, but using a non steroidal anti inflammatory drug, such as ibuprofen has been shown to reduce the production of prostaglandins.
And be mindful of what you’re eating (… because, cravings!). Many women change their lifestyle habits before their period starts – for instance, increasing sugar and salt intake which can cause swelling and inflammation, and lead to joint pain. The effects of these diet and lifestyle changes right before your period can mimic flu like symptoms too.
Feel Like You're Coming Down With Something? It Could Just Be Your Period (Seriously) (yahoo.com)
Period Flu - Why Hormones Make You Feel Sick Before Your Period (womenshealthmag.com)