Is Your Throat Sore Just Before Your Period?

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.

One of the most common questions asked in the comments below is, "What can I do to help with this problem?" I answer this in my new podcast.



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555 thoughts on “Is Your Throat Sore Just Before Your Period?

  1. Thank you so much for explaining this. Throat issues that effect my sleep is a sure sign that my period is going to start in the following 24 hours. At least it has been for the last few years. I am perimenopausal and have very low progesterone levels so this completely makes sense. Wish there was a remedy though as it drives me crazy. Although, thankfully, I do find that herbal lozenges help.

  2. Absolutely. I have that very often. I thought it was because my inmune system was affected by hormones.

  3. This is crazy. I never made the connection before but it just came into my head to Google of this was a thing. I’m very surprised that it is! This happens to me too. Thought it was just allergies.