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

  1. Yes. Most of the time I have dehydration with a very dry throat and restless leg. So all these things cause sleeping difficulty.

  2. I have had recurring tonsillitis with fever for two months just before my period is due. This is a strange coincidence which led me to look it up and find your page

  3. Every time I have my period (a week before) or during my period I am having soar throat sometimes with fever. I have an irregular menstruation.sometimes period comes every other 2 months once I have bleeding will last for 8-10days (with soar throat),months of not having period no soar throat occur. but when period comes monthly it comes with soar throat.

  4. Me too very dry sorethroat begins same day of my period which i used to think a begining of tonsilitis but it clears up alone.

  5. Omg! Finally, I have found somebody talking about what I’m experiencing. Just turned 46, last 2yrs, my periods arrive with what feels like onset of an awful flu, sore throat, feverish, dizziness, run-down, cough + extreme exhaustion. All my bloods + regular tests perfectly OK. It’s very baffling, but at minute, 4 days into period + no sign of throat easing. Need to know more.

  6. Yes!!! Omg! I thought I was imagining it. Also my knee and other joints swell! Thank you for helping me understand I’m not crazy. Is there anything to prevent it?

  7. Yes! I’ve notice the last 12 months or so at the same time each month (approx 4-5 days) before my period i get a sore throat, I always think it’s the start of a cold but it goes away after a day or two.

  8. This makes perfect sense now reading this as just before my period I get the sore throat and flu like and tired and also incidentally have trouble sleeping wakeful in the night. More recently Its started to develop tonsillitis sometimes and I’m in trouble at work bring off sick too much. It’s happening now and it’s about to ruin my sons birthday. Please please please telle whst I can do to help this it’s ruinine my life (im 43)

  9. I am wondering if the shooting pain I feel in my throat is from my period? I noticed it two months ago. Put last month I finally put two and two together and realize this is happen right before I start. However I do have the same shooting pain in the left ear at the same time. What could this be?

  10. Interesting article. I’m 35, for the last 3 months, every time I’ve got my period I’ve also got tonsillitis. On the exact same day. However the sore throat doesn’t last a few days, it lasts 1-2weeks. To the point where I stop eating it hurts so much. I noticed one other lady left a comment saying she was getting tonsillitis too…I wonder if anyone else has had this same link? I also wonder why it tips over from just sore throat to tonsillitis?

  11. Yes! My throat actually starts hurting the morning I start my period. Today is the second day and it still hurts. This is the third time it has happened to me.

  12. I am going through peri menopause period and sore throat has been so significant that i feel pain/ blockage towards my ear passage. Does this has to do with estrogen drop. If so what can be done.

  13. Hi,
    My period is set to start today, and last night I woke up drenched in sweat(bad enough that I had to change my shirt), and I had a sore throat. This is the second time in my life that I’ve woken up in a sweat without being sick, but this is the first time it’s been accompanied by a sore throat. I have no fever and no other signs of illness, so could this be related to my period??
    Thanks in advance!

  14. Dr.,
    I am about 50 yrs. I tend to have sore throat before menses. I had tonsildetonomy at 6 yrs, and I’ve had pretty light period for about two days since my 30s. I couldn’t get pregnant without finding any abnormality in all my blood tests, ultrasound, or any other tests (I did a lot, thorough tests fro infertility). My sleep quality is ok, maybe a little bit shallow, but I have no breathing problem, I don’t snore. What could be the reason for my sore throat before menses?

  15. I had sore throat before a period which went away but now in the menopause and had two lots of tonsilitus in 9 months.I assume this is lack of progesterone. Don’t want to go down the hrt route but I am beginning to think it’s worth a try

  16. I experience sore throat just few days before periods and gets better.
    Initially I mistook for throat infection and took throat medicine.
    It’s getting worse as time go by.

  17. today is my first day of menses and i woke up with sore throat and its for full day….i got scared if it was infection and was thinking of taking leave not to spread infection at my workplace but thanks a lot for reducing my fear to a large extent… is my first time experiencing this…..earlier only sometimes i got but it was really minute for just two three hours… really thankful to you doctor

  18. YEP…..I get a sore throat guaranteed every month! Got one right now…. ovulation day. Then it goes away and usually comes back before my period!

  19. After period I have throat pain one side headache with ear pain and my noise is watery every month this happen why plz reply..

  20. Ive noticed mine is accompanied by a swollen gland in my throat and ovarian pain and nausea

  21. Wow. Thanks for posting! I thought this was in my head because I mentioned it to a doctor before and he said there was no correlation. Along with migraines, nausea, and exhaustion – I get a really bad sore throat a few days before my period. I feel it the moment I wake up. It’s causing me to wonder if progesterone levels cause a sore throat feeling that I often have even when not PMSing. As many of the women on this thread have shared, it’s emotionally frustrating to so often feel one, sick – and two, helpless. I have never been on the pill, but am considering trying a progesterone only pill since my symptoms have been so bad lately. Tonight I picked up evening primrose capsules as someone has mentioned here. I hope they provide some relief. If anyone has any other remedies or insight please share.

  22. yes I do experience such sometimes painful with swollen tonsils and trouble sleeping is giving me a lot of worries pls help

  23. And here i thought I was the only one who had this problem! I’ve seen my gyno about it and he said he’s never heard of ppl getting sick before their period. I’m supposed to start my period tomorrow, but woke up with a sore throat today :( and it happens almost everytime i have my period and it drives me crazy! I just suck on halls or drink warm honey water… n hope that it goes away… i know one time it escalated really bad to a cold/flu like symptom and it scares me…. i also suffer from anxiety too…

  24. Thank you so much for writing about this! I am 37 with all the symptoms of perimenopause. I call my sore throat “period flu” because I sometimes get flu like symptoms during PMS time. This past month I missed my period for the first time in my life. Took a pregnancy test and its negative. But today the sore throat started and I’m hoping it’s a sign of it coming. If not, it’s time for the dreaded Dr visit…

  25. Sakila did you get any responses to your comment I’m feeling exactly the same as you.
    Peri- menopause dry irritated throat ear pain/blocked .
    Don’t know what to do to relieve the symptoms.
    Any one else have any suggestions?

  26. I experience a sore throat each month before my monthly menses. That’s how I found this blog. I was searching what hormones might cause a sore throat.

  27. Yes, I do. Initially I thought that it’s just chronic tonsillitis but then I started observing and I realized that I always get sick few days before my periods. And it’s very consistent. It happens every month without fail. And not only sore throat but it comes with high fever. And I’m struggling a lot with this. If any one else has been suffering from the same problem, do tell me. And suggest me which doctor should I consider ? Endocrinologist ?

  28. Thanks for this article, i’ve been getting a sore throat (which at one point led to laryngitis) and cold like symptoms just before I start my period over the last 5 months was starting to think that there was something worse going on. But to see others get it to has made me feel abit more normal. I’m in my mid 30s so was wondering if age had anything to do with it as never had these symptoms till recently.

  29. I’m so happy to find out it’s not just me. I also get back aches and headaches that are not explainable. Ugh!

  30. Hi i get severe one side headache never vanishes by vasograin i have to get an injection off late i get sore throat.

  31. Hi I also suffer from a sore throat when my period is due. I’ve mentionedthis to a few friends and all say it’s a coincidence so I was relieved to read your article as i was starting to think i just had a very weak immune system

  32. Jessica, who posted on May 27th… I hear you on the anxiety issue! I get a sore throat, lethargy, and then the normal slew of PMS symptoms for five days leading up to my period. I have a panic disorder, so when all of this happens, I freak out and shut down. It’s miserable! I know exactly what it is (my period), but my irrational brain tells me it’s something worse, EVERY month! Ugh!!

  33. Oh yes. I’ve had this sore throat and join pain issue before my period also. Thought it was normal after child birth. Then found out my vitamin d levels were crazy low and also acid reflux. It was misdiagnsoed as tonsillitis , sinusitis and I had like a lifetime supply of antibiotics which I just stopped taking because it didn’t help. Prescription vitamin d (along with magnesium and k2 on my own volition) helped a lot with the joint pain. It’s only been 3 months with the supplements but the difference is amazing. . I also got a script for an antiacid. Take it twice a day or just sometimes after dinner and my sore throat lasts maybe a day or two before my period starts and is super mild. Goes away completely when period starts. I take more vitamin d than the doc prescribed though. Add a drop of vit d emilsion daily in addition to the weekly 50000 pill. Camt wait intil Hopey next blood test to see the levels. Hope this helps some of you ladies :) go get checked out. Blood tests with your pcp and maybe an endoscopy with a gastroenterologist.

  34. I have strep throat currently. I am on the pill and nowhere close to my period due date, but I started bleeding last night. Frustrating.

  35. Yes! I have always told my doctors it’s hormonal along with a myriad of other quirky symptoms. But now I have entered peri-menopause and the hormonal storm has been devastating! I am being treated with HRT and being treated for adrenal fatigue with infusions for almost a year now. It is all helping slowly, but I do wish doctors would stop dismissing everything as PMS or psychological. My wonky hormones have cost me my health and left me with a kidney disease, which I am convinced if I had been treated in puberty, I wouldn’t be in this mess! In fact doctors need to look a lot more closely at the role of hormones and in particular unbalanced sex hormones and the occurrence of auto immune diseases in women.

  36. For as long as I can remember sore throats meant it’s time to stock up on tampons. Now I’m in perimenopause and progesterone is helping lessen the days I go to work under the weather. But ovulation is bringing on all sorts of crazy symptoms .. stuff that looks like IBS or acid reflux. What is up with the hormone change days hell. Before progesterone the pms n cycle week would last long and I’d have no break- recovering from that as I moved into ovulation hell