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Is Your Throat Sore Just Before Your Periods?

Posted Jan 28 2010 7:14pm 5 Comments

Here's an interesting observation by more than a handful of my female patients: Their throats are sore for a few days just before their monthly periods. It doesn't go on to a cold or other more severe symptoms. Just a transient sore throat. Then it goes away.

If you've been following my blogs, articles, and especially if you read my book, Sleep, Interrupted, there's a simple explanation. During your monthly cycles, progesterone levels increase with ovulation, but drops when there's no egg fertilization. One relatively unknown property of progesterone is that it's an upper airway muscle dilator. It literally tenses your tongue muscles. When in deep sleep, your muscles (as well as your tongue and other throat muscles) tend to relax to various degrees depending on your sleep stage. If you have less progesterone on board, then it's more likely to fall back, obstructing your breathing, leading to a temporary vacuum effect in the throat, suctioning up small amounts of normal stomach juices. All this causes a temporary deep sleep deficiency. If you eat a late meal, more of these juices will come up. But once progesterone levels begin to increase again, the tongue tenses, and sleep quality improves as well.


Sometimes, the inflammation in the throat increases to the point of significant deep sleep deprivation, leading to some of the more severe symptoms as pre-menstrual headaches, fatigue, irritability, and weight gain.


For you women out there, do you experience sore throats just before your periods? Please enter your responses in the comments box below.

Comments (5)
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This is the case for me monthly.  I have noticed that I awake much more at this point of the month.  My throat will be sore, I get extremely agitated and irritable and the headaches are common too.  Weight gain- about 1.5 lbs, mainly due to bloating/water retention, as it will go away after the menstruation starts.  Urgh, any suggestions for fixing this??

Yes, I'm a grandparent now, but I well recall my constant battle with the monthly sore throat. 

I now have a teenage granddaughter who is suffering from the same problem and would really like to find something that would truly help her.  I can't stand the thought of her suffering for years like I did.

Yes, I do suffer from a sore throat almost every cycle during PMS! And I thought I was the only one. It was great to read your article. I've always put it down to my chronic sinusitis. I feel like my sinus problems are always worse during PMS, causing bad headaches and a lot of post-nasal drip, which I thought was causing this sore throat. But your explanation makes a lot of sense, especially given the way it just disappears in a day or two. Just curious tho -- in your research, have you found a corelation between PMS and sinus congestion? Thanks!
oh yes...not only sore throat, but actual sinus problems.  sinus pain, stuffy nose, even voice change such as having a cold.  all goes away by 2nd full day of my period.  so many changes since my 30's, but i also have endometriosis and adenomyosis.

Yes, I get swollen glands, sore throat, headaches and congestion just before each period. It feels like Iam getting a monthly cold too :(

 I was starting to believe there was something wrong with me but its clearly a common symptom.  I really do suffer with sleep and over heating too but never thought to link them both. 

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