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

  1. I don’t always get a sore throat but usually 2 days before I’m due to start, the left side of my neck around my thyroid/adenoid area swells and throbs. Usually I get a low grade fever and sometimes the pain gets pretty intense. Most of the time it goes away toward the end of my period but sometimes lasts a day or two longer

  2. It seems like just recently (last two months) I’ve been having “cold” like symptoms right before my period begins (lasts a day or two). I get a sore throat, fatigue, and body ache. Last month I thought I was sick but it just ended up going away around the time I got my period. This month, same thing.

  3. I have this issue – just started recently. I’m 32 years old, and frustrated that it keeps happening! I noticed this summer that I’m having trouble breathing out of my right nostril… this makes so much sense. Thank you for the info! I usually have very bad PMS, but the sore throat is new.

  4. do you experience sore throats just before your periods?Yes I do what’s could be the problem and how do I prevent it or treat it in this matter?

  5. I would do anything to get rid of my monthly ovulation sore throats. Nothing helps! I thought Nuvaring would, but it does not. Do we think an anti acid would help? Prilosec does not. Please send help!

  6. I suffer with gerd but just before my period i suffer terribly with my throat, throat clearing and tightness in my chest.

  7. I get flu like symptoms and a sore throat and ear ache 2-3 days before my period and 2-3 days into my period.

  8. When I get a late period I get a really sore throat when I wake up and it gets less irritated throughout the day but then does the same thing for about 5 days. I also get achy muscles, fatigue and feel unable to get up and do much

  9. Great article thank you
    Recently started taking progesterone for hormones, helped with balance. I do have throat issues, blocked nose etc and use CPAP for apnoea. Slept without machine for part of the night without recently and didn’t get a headache. Makes me wonder if this has been part of the issue.

  10. I’m still getting cold like symptoms (sore throat, headache, tired) about 3-4 times annually and I’ve been post menopausal for 20 years. During these times, hot flashes also occur. When I was menstruating, I used to get same symptoms almost every month. Very frustrating