Periods are already bad enough thanks to the inevitable cramping and overall irritability that seems to come along with them, but now there’s ‘period colds?’ It’s true, period colds really are a thing. In the week or so leading up to your period, you may feel particularly under the weather, with a runny nose, body aches, nausea, and flu like symptoms just before menstruation. While you might chalk this up to allergies or a funny coincidence, it could actually be linked to your monthly cycle. Let’s get into what a period cold is and why it happens.
What is a period cold?
In addition to the typical period symptoms, it’s not uncommon to experience a bad headache, body and muscles aches, a runny nose, or a sore throat during your period. People may also feel more fatigued than normal on their period, especially late in the afternoon when their blood sugar drops.
It’s also quite common for people to experience nausea and vomiting before or during their period. Additional symptoms of period sickness include dizziness, loss of appetite and sensitivity to light. These are all typical symptoms of an everyday cold, and it’s not uncommon to experience cold symptoms during your period too.
How can your period make you sick?
There’s isn’t exactly a ton of research surrounding period sickness, but the research that does exist suggests your immune system temporarily declines in the week or two leading up to your period, thanks to PMS. Your body is especially susceptible to immune system cell changes during menstruation, which makes it especially likely that you could start feeling under the weather close to your period. If you have a pre-existing cold or allergies, the symptoms will also become more prominent in and around your menstrual cycle as a result of your period sickness.
Those lovely prostaglandins also play a role in cold-like symptoms around your period. As a reminder, prostaglandins are a hormone released from your uterus to prep your body for the inevitable bleeding that comes with Aunt Flo. However, the release of prostaglandins has the ability to wreak total havoc on your body - if they find their way to your intestines, they can cause period cold symptoms like nausea, vomiting and body aches. Ugh.
Now, if you’re clocking a fever of 104 degrees Fahrenheit, I wouldn’t chalk that up to a ‘period cold’ symptom. In this case, you most likely need to make a visit to your doctor rather than assuming its a symptom of period sickness. Additionally, if you’re experiencing these symptoms in an extreme form, or find your period completely debilitates you, there might be a bigger problem - consult your family doctor or gynecologist if this is the case.
How can I prevent a period cold?
There isn’t necessarily a whole lot you can do to prevent a period cold (or cold in general). The best advice for warding off period sickness I can give is to try your best to live a healthy lifestyle. Try to eat protein and lots of fruits and veggies, and stay away from junk food. Make sure you’re also drinking lots of water and getting as much sleep as you can.
If you experience nausea on your period, you may also benefit from taking vitamin supplements like vitamin B-6, folic acid, magnesium and vitamin D, especially if you tend to feel extra tired around your menstrual cycle. These vitamins all help with the fatigue and overall blah-ness experienced during period sickness by boosting your immune system. You should also keep some ibuprofen on-hand during your cycle to keep those pesky period cramps at bay.
We hope you’re able to avoid the dreaded ‘period cold’ with the help of this blog post. For some extra support during your cycle, check out our ‘Oh-No’ Proof Underwear to protect you against unwanted period leaks.
What are the symptoms of a period cold?
The symptoms of a period cold include headaches, a runny nose and a sore throat. You might also experience aching muscles, as well as feeling fatigued as you come up to your period.
How long does period sickness last?
Period colds tend to last around 12-16 hours after your period starts, although in the worst cases it can last as long as six days. As a rule though, your period cold should disappear by the time your bleeding ends.
How can I fix period sickness?
If you’re suffering from a period cold, try taking vitamin supplements to top up your immune system. It’s also worth taking ibuprofen to help stave off period cold headaches.
How can I prevent period colds?
The best way to prevent period colds is through prevention. Do your best to eat well, exercise regularly and drink plenty of water.
When should I go to the doctor about my period sickness?
If your period sickness gives you a high fever, or the symptoms are so extreme that it’s significantly impacting your daily life, then you should visit a doctor to confirm it’s not something worse.