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. That is what I feel not a sore throat, but it feels like a swallowed a pill & it got stuck. I can breath fine & drink fine, but it does feel like I’m choking & my throat is closing, but it’s not. Sometimes it’s mild, but sometimes it’s extremely uncomfortable. Sometimes it last 30 min or a few hours never more than about 12. It happens in late eve & it usually keeps me up. One doc thought it was anxiety & told me to try a xanax, didn’t work. Another said allergies, no go either. My ENT looked & said to come back next time it happens, but like I said it’a always late in eve. I think it’s hormonal, but who knows

  2. I have a sore throat a day after my menstruation started. so my flow iso nother as heavy as it used to be. should I be worried or it’s normal? and this is the first time I am experiencing this.

  3. Yes I do like you said doc it makes sense now that I feel like my stomach juices are coming into my throat almost like heartburn.. interesting we learn something new everyday huh..are there foods women should eat during thier period s to help decrease this symptom??

  4. I get a sore throat usually 1-2 days prior to the start of my cycle. I have had strep throat many times in the past and have worried that it is strep, but it goes away— usually the day my cycle officially begins. Also, I’m exhausted the day or two before my cycle begins. Makes sense that I may not be getting deep sleep on those days. Thank-you. I have been wondering why this happens every month.

  5. I always get a swollen tonsil depending on which side I’ve ovulated and pain in that eat, but only since coming off cerezet contraceptive. I was on it for 10 years never had any pain or throat problems before I was on it.

  6. I get a sore throat about 3 days before my period. I used to get is consistently when i was a teenager but didn’t start happening again until i was off birth control, and only on occasion. Sometimes it is accompanied by a running nose and mild headache so i would thinknit was a cold, not pms. My theory used to be that my pms was stressing my body out and lowering my defenses to germs. It is intertesting to find out the real reason. My time between periods tends to be fairly irregular, ranging from 3 weeks to 3 months.

  7. I have it about a week before my period that my throat starts to hurt and than I fell like something is stuck in my throat and a lot of slime is in my throat too during that time ! I thought uts something hormonal !?

  8. Hi I get this every month and my tongue swells up and it’s really painful, no point going to my doctor because she says it’s alk down to hormones so I’m left to suffer this

  9. I usually get that feeling during ovulation, this month I did and do have that feeling with my period. I’ve had my progesterone levels tested and they are good?

  10. I found this article because, oddly, I get a very sore throat during ovulation. I’ve been to urgent care before and they don’t see any irritation. It’s so hard for me to determine if I am actually sick or not. It is worse at night and in the mornings.

  11. I do. Not every month but occasionally & it’s a horrible feeling accompanied by body aches and a feverish feeling.

    Once i experienced severe chills one day before menstruation. Dr. Is there an explanation for that?

  12. OMG … I thought I was the only person on earth that experienced this!!! But here’s the kicker … I am now 50 and my menstrual cycles are relatively irregular so the throat doesn’t become sore with any consistency as it once did. However, this month I had a sudden sore throat in the late afternoon and by evening my menstrual cycle had started. The sore throat and my cycle both last only two days. Exactly one week later the same thing happened – instant sore throat followed by an evening visit of my cycle. The cycle again only lasted two days, but the sore throat hasn’t left me. Now my voice has gotten a little deeper (think Lauren Bacall husky) and there’s a tiny bit of a scratchiness to it. I have no other symptoms to convince me that I may be fighting a cold or bacterial infection. It’s simply just a huskiness that hasn’t left my throat since my last cycle.

  13. same with me, but it doesn’t happen every month. My ENT said to stop in when it happens, but it’s always at night often late just before bed. Sometime it keeps me up, but always gone by morning

  14. I had that also… sore throats at that time.. and also aches.. like the flu.. but only lasts till the period started…. then instantly gone! I though I was the only one!

  15. For as long as i can remember, I have gotten a scratchy sore throat 1-2 days before my period. Often I would think ‘darn! I’m getting sick’ but then I usually remember that it could be a sign that my cycle is starting. When my cycle starts the sore throat will magically disappear.

    I’ve often wondered if it was normal and thank you for your insights! Loved your book, by the way, and am now trying to get a non-invasive sinus procedure done here in San Diego by Dr. Brian Weeks. Praying my insurance company approves it!

  16. WOW – same thing here. I couldn’t have imagined that this was a ‘real thing’. Amazing to know other women experience this too. It took me years to make the connection, but yes, two to three days before period starts, I often get a sore throat. It feels like the start of strep, my chest feels hot, and my throat feels sore and hot. I also feel run down and crappy. Every time I expect it to turn into a full fledged sickness, but miraculously, it goes away just as fast. Now, even though I know it’s not a real sore throat – it’s easy for my body to suck my mind into thinking I’m getting sick. I’m almost 50 and have very regular, heavy periods (super large fibroids – another story!). I hope my feedback helps you in your research.

  17. I always have sore throat 1 or 2 weeks sometimes prior to my period. I am glad to hear that is normal because I was concerned. Thank you doc for the info. Going to read your books.

  18. I sometimes get a sore throats but usually it feels more like a lump in my throat. It is the same feeling I get when I am very anxious so I am assuming it is due to hormones but never know.

  19. This is so interesting. Thank you for posting. I never had problems with my throat. But, after having trouble conceiving, I started fertility treatments. Since then, I have had this problem during ovulation for a few days and then again just the day of menstration. It’s like clockwork. I can calculate it to the day. It’s not a mild sore throat but a big one, buthe then it goes away. I tried talking to my doctors and dentist who all said it was unrelated and a coincidence that it was during that time and from a hormonal shift. I found this article facinating.

  20. that is what it’s like for me, not so much sore, but like something is stuck. One of the first times I noticed it was after my son was born & then again a week later. I tried to drink water & couldn’t swallow & though I was chocking

  21. I first noticed after the birth of my son & then a week later. Then when I was ovulating but not always every month. My doc & ENT both said it’s not hormonal, just coincidence, my gut tells me different

  22. I’ve been suffering with fibroids for almost 10 years now. I had a myomectomy and a laparoscopy done but the fibroids keep coming back. Fortunately for me I do not have heavy bleeding but unfortunately though I have very painful periods, back and leg pain and the fibroids also affected my fertility. I have been trying to conceive for 7 yrs but nothing happen. In addition to the fibroids, I also have endometriosis and cysts. I tried almost everything and nothing seem to work. I had almost given up hope of becoming parents. A friend of mine recommended me to Priest Iyare and he did a spiritual breakthrough for me to make me get pregnant, within 3 weeks I contacted him i got pregnant (naturally!!!) I am writing this message for those women who are at the stage I was at depressed with no light at the end of the tunnel give Priest Iyare a try to help you solve your problem and hopefully you’ll have the same success that I have had. Here is his website

  23. I constantly think I’m getting a cold before my period. I get a sore throat and headache. I don’t know if this has anything to do with it but my jaw muscles always feel really sore and tense too.
    Thanks for the info, I always wondered why I felt like that.

  24. Yes, with bumps on only one sude rt side. This happens 2weeks approx before period. 1week before this happens I also experiance my tongue pressing to the roof of my mouth.

  25. Yes! But mine is not like a scratchy sore throat with colds or strep. Maybe it’s not in my throat but in my neck? I even had an ultra sound of my carotid because it’s right in that area. Also ultrasound of my thyroid. It happens every single month and last about a week sometime between ovulation and my period. I’m 51. It hurts in the right side of my neck when I touch it, sometimes my tongue on that side is sore. It hurts when I laugh or swallow or use my neck muscles like raising my head when lying down. I had a ct while this was going on and they only found slightly enlarged nodes. No mass and the nodes didn’t have characteristics of cancer. They sent me to an ENT for a biopsy but the ENT did a scope and looked carefully at the catscan and found no need for a biopsy. He did say my nose was inflamed on the same side as my neck pain and the scope was really painful! I also have a lot of mucus and my eye feels goopy during that time. He offered no advice except to take Advil. This has been happening for 10-11 months straight. I’m trying to not worry. Any positive thoughts are appreciated as I have severe health anxiety as well.

  26. I have been having a problems of a sore throat before…during and after my period. It really used to bother me cos I was thinking its something serious like cancer or something. I would be nauseous, fatigued and have headache and painful legs. I even asked my mom and friends if there is a link between tonsillitis and periods….no one knew….they even rolled their eyes like I was crazy. Thanx for the explanation…it really helped.

  27. Awesome to know what causes it, but what’s the natural treatment here? I don’t like to take medicine and I can drink tea all day but it’s not a super effective treatment unless I stay home all day.

  28. I get a sore throat EVERYTIME I ovulate as well as a few days before menstrual. Worse when I have a high carb/sugar diet.

  29. Yes, sore throat starts about 1 week prior. Sometimes worse than others. OMG I never knew! Going crazy with this. I kept thinking it was yeast infection.

  30. So recently (from 2016 fall on) I have been having really unreliable periods, them coming all over the months or not at all. and with the most recent one (it started today) I got really, really sick (I can’t breath for long periods of time, lightheaded, passed out a few times, really nauseous) and I was wondering: Is this normal? I have a normal temperature but I am just a freshman and I don’t wanna miss school or time with my friends or significant other.

  31. I wanted to let everyone on this thread know that the one thing that has helped my PMS sore throat is taking Evening Primrose Oil daily (every morning and evening). At one stage I stopped taking it for a month and had the first sore throat in 2 years. I hope that you will get the same relief that I have got.

  32. I thought this was just me! I call it rotten throat as that is how it feels. Only in past 5 years, worse when I had more a coil. Thought it was my age-I’m 45. Still have regular periods just feel v v tired with sore throat 2/3 days before my period. I’ve been one year without Mirena and it’s a bit better.

  33. Every period lately is preceded with “allergies, headaches that would split logs, and sore throat. Sick of it!! Once my period starts, a week or so it’s gone, it’s exhausting.

  34. My throat hurts every month right before my period starts, but it’s not an sore throat that feels like an cold …it more so feels like it’s my thyroid or something.
    1. Tight feeling
    2. Achy
    3. Sore to touch
    4. Feels restricted from breathing
    5. Feels like something is there
    I seriously believe I have hormone problems

  35. I don’t get a sore throat, its more like someone is choking me, pressure. I also had my thyroid out 3 years ago and this is when it started. I kept thinking it was do to that as well. But it is always right before I would start my period. I have had a hysterectomy, but I can tell from breast tenderness when I ovulated and the day of the throat tightening, normally the next day my breast stop hurting… Everything goes together!! Someone needs to figure out how to make the squeezing stop, its the most uncomfortable feeling

  36. About three to
    Four days before my period I bet a sore throat and am so fatigued I think I am getting sick. I start my period and I’m all better. The symptoms have been going on for about three years but the pst 8 or so months it’s horrible. I wish I knew how to correct this. Any help or advice is welcome.

  37. Yes. This is consistantly happening for the past few years. But it’s not only a sore throat. It’s the whole gamut of a cold and feeling as really sick. This goes away by itself after my period arrives.

  38. I would like to do what should be done to increase progesterone?
    Is is the same practice for age 47 but periods are still regular ?

  39. Thank you for this information. The sore throats accompanying my cycle have been a mystery to me for several years! I can avoid snacking at night, and perhaps use progesterone cream.

  40. My throat hasn’t been hurting but I have had a bad cough. I am actually 12 but it has been hurting for a couple dates now it started on the 17. That’s when I started my period.

  41. I am having sore throat,cough,cold and headache before and during my period.
    Please what can i do it’s really disturbing and i am always sleepy.

  42. WHY are doctors so ill-informed on PMS and Menstral issues? and when doctors don’t have answers, they always claim the patient is “making it up”. I have been searching the internet for answers (or similar issues) like mine for years – I get worse than a sore throat. My throat swells so much that I have trouble swallowing and eating. My gums swell and bleed. My chest tightens and spasms. Headaches, no sleep, painful joints, and the list goes on…but “I’m making all this up”? Pleaz.

  43. Dear Dr. Park – I made my first comment without reading any of the comments. As I did, I couldn’t stop thinking “WOW, WOW, WOW!” hers the thing, I have had very few systmtoms with my period (except painful cramps) for most of my life. The at age 45 I made the bad decision to get the Mirena IUD for the cramps. I gained so much weight in one month from it, that I went back and had it taken out immediately, but ever since (and for 5 years now) I’ve had these horrible PMS symptoms. I’m 49 (turn 50 In 3 days). I’m seeing so many similarities in the comments, I can’t help but wonder if this is another birth control hormone issue. I can’t swallow or eat because of these PMS symptoms and have serious perio-dental issues ALL only since I had the Mirena installed and removed. Worst mistake of my life.

  44. I have always had the headaches the night before I would start my period, sadness and/or irritability alternating, cramps, bloating and fatigue. I am somewhat used to those symptoms even though I hate them! But…within about the past year or two…I started developing a fever, achiness and a scratchy throat about one week before I would start. I only noticed the correlation when I started keeping a food diary, thinking that something I was eating was making me feel crappy. Before this, I kept thinking I was getting sick and would start downing EmergenC and Airborne every month. Then I started noticing the sore throat kept coming once per month, at approximately the same time. Finally it clicked! Thank you for all your comments…and for making me feel less crazy! Being a woman sure isn’t easy!

  45. Hi,

    I’m having tonsilitis with fever every month and just today I tracked and realized that it was during the week before my period.

  46. Karen,

    Sorry to hear. In general, birth control pills can aggravate these type of symptoms, especially if they cause weight gain. Once you gain weight, it’s a vicious cycle, with weight loss being more challenging. Women in their early menopausal years (late 30 to 40s) will also be more susceptible, due to lower progesterone levels. Acid reflux from obstructed breathing can aggravate dental problems, as well as to cause more nasal congestion. Having a stuffy nose can create more breathing problems downstream, etc.

  47. I actually keep having pain more in the left side of my neck/throat when I start and the whole time I’m on then it goes away. What could be causing this?