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

  1. Wonderful to read about information that describes my new PMDD symptom! Over the last 4-5 months I have been having four to seven nights a month (yes premenstrual) where I wake up literally choking and gasping for air several times a night. It was terrifying and was seeking out sleep studies . However, studies were done when not in PMDD! It all makes sense now. Thank you!

  2. Wow I feel less crazy! Thank you everyone for your comments. Now that I’m looking back I’m thinking this started last year for me. I’m 35 I was tested for mono possibly dxd with EBV last year after about 3 months of inexplicable swollen glands occasional sore throats and persistent fatigue. Started taking vitamins which seem to help but hightened awareness with Covid made me realize that every month I’ve had this mild sore throat sometimes with cough lasting just a few days.. allergies? Covid? No PMS of course! Also often increased anxiety, feeling like I can’t get a deep enough breath, fatigue and headaches. Add even a small amount of alcohol to the mix and the mild symptoms turn unbearable .. splitting headaches and feeling like I’ve been run over by a truck. I’ll be steering clear of the alcohol and make sure to take those vitamins regularly. Alternating iron and some magnesium combo with a multivitamin is what helps me. Take care everyone!

  3. OMG! This has helped me so much, thank you everyone for your comments. I don’t really go out to be in contact with anyone but I keep stressing over Covid as my throat starts tickling and I have to cough and have a sore throat… My period is starting soon and I always feel the same 5-10 days before it. Is there anyway to control this situation ?

  4. I really try to control my stress level and eat healthier a couple of weeks before. It helps knowing it is hormone related and not something worse!

  5. Yes, I do. More than it being a sore throat it is a swollen throat similar to what I experience during and after crying. And it has been worse since the past couple years, as have been all my other PMS symptoms: headaches, fatigue, palpitations, dizziness, and anxiety. I was told it gets worse as one reaches 40.

  6. 1 yr and 8 months dont have period since i get pregnant to my 7 baby and then breastfeed. Last month i have my period and have tonsilitis i thought its because my body is changing. But now that I have my Period again I have tonsilitis again I have fatigued. Then i looked in google maybe there are ways could help me or answer me on my situation. Thank you for your reply soon I do appreciate it.

  7. OMG, I’m thinking something is wrong with me because my throat became sore the same day my period came on (some hours before it started to really flow). I’m 28 and my period has been on a rampage. My body has been changing like crazy. Especially having swollen tonsil. Super nervous with COVID happening. This is a first for me, feels like a dull stabbing pain on one side of my throat along with some jaw pain when I swallow. Does anyone take anything to help prevent this from happening? Any help is needed. I definitely don’t want to experience this on my next cycle.

  8. It’s always interesting to read about other’s experiences and observations. It helps me have a little more calm.

    With concerns of Covid, PMS symptoms never fail to make me concerned more than average. I get to feeling like I should quarantine myself from my family and such.. While timing could play a role and it could be something worse, it often seems to resolve as a frustrating PMS symptom after my period is nearing its close. And I have to remind myself of this to ease the anxiety a bit.

    Often I will get a mild sore throat feeling a few days before my period. Anxiety and crying will also aggravate the situation. The pain and tightness increases until the day of and lingers generally for a few days into my period.

    I also get very fatigued, but sometimes it is uncomfortable to rest when my throat is feeling so tight.
    Some of the steps I take to try and ease discomfort are easy and slow neck stretches, at least some light activity during the day and some ginger lemongrass tea in the evening for relaxing. I will add some honey to my tea this evening, perhaps it will prove a little additionally soothing.

  9. Rachel I have the exact the same thing and I was feeling like I was going crazy!! Sore throat before and during my period. Feels hard to take a deep breath and horrible anxiety. It is just horrible.

  10. I can’t believe there are so many comments on this article that is 10 years old! We are all just now figuring this out most likely due to worrying that’s its Coronavirus! I have been having headaches, sore throat and fatigue before my period for the past few months. I just got my period back in June after being pregnant and nursing for a year. I’m hoping over the next year some of these horrible PMS symptoms will go away. I’ve literally never been this tired! And I’ve worked 12 hour shifts 6 days a week in Iraq. It is so weird though that so many people are commenting that it’s just started after the covid out break.

  11. I experience this exactly as described – a sore throat every month which often involves swollen glands, sinus problems, earache and a cough. I often wake up with a feeling like I’m choking- completely dry throat but lots of catarrh. It’s horrible !

  12. The best remedy that I have found for this problem is taking Evening Primrose Oil consistently throughout the month. I take 2 capsules in the morning and evening.

    Once I had to stop taking them for an upcoming surgery, and the PMS sore throat came back.

    It’s worth a try :-)

  13. I cannot believe what I am reading. Everyone having the same symptoms as me. I had strep and sore throats a lot when I was younger. Still have tonsils. I was on birth control since I was in my teens. I quit taking it a year a couple years ago. I am now 40. I went to a hormone clinic because I felt tired all the time etc. So they had me on hormone replacements. They were so expensive and I could not maintain them. So being off them for majority of this year, I have been getting chronic sore throats, chills, etc. feeling like I am getting sick. They sent me for covid testing last month. I told my sister today I have bad sore throat again. She said you have that every month. It did not even click with me until she said that. That is how I found this article as I know I should be starting today and had a thought it could be related. I have the ear pain too. I thought I was going crazy each time feeling so sick and also afraid I had covid. Seems us ladies all had the same fear which caused us to research this. I recently moved and hope to see a new doctor soon. I am going to tell my new doctor and hope they are open to this. My previous doctors just gave me antibiotics which never helped and also lead me to believe I had covid. I sure hope there is some relief. Getting this every month is horrible. The worst is the sore throat. Funny it starts scratchy before and seems to be the worst the day I am supposed to start.

  14. Lisa, that si interesting that you are 40. I’m 41 and never had these symptoms until the last few years, but particularly during times of stress. I wonder if it is part of the aging process?

  15. I get this and with Covid, I freak out every month! I have also had a cold in between so yay for that. But yes 4 days before my period and it hurts to swallow and I am pretty sure I was snoring last night, which I don’t usually do either. Glad to know I’m not alone, or going crazy. L

  16. Hi everybody!!
    I have exactly the same and I also stressed out every time about Covid!
    Till I’ve realised today and had a look!
    We should create a whatsapp group to support/exchange information!
    Anybody interested?

  17. Hello,
    Thank for the inf above. This is the second month, during periods i feel like something is stuck in my throat..also am belching alot. Is there an underlying problem?

  18. Wow, it’s great to read that others are getting the sore throat before the period too. I also get a cough and need to constantly clear my throat. It is awful.

  19. My daughter is 12 and has experiencing a sore throat and higher temperature around ovulation time and right before period. We have been going to the doctor since April and they can’t figure it out. I keep telling them I really believe it’s her menstrual cycle but no help yet. 😞 She was tested for Strep, Mono, Covid, blood work twice, urine test multiple times, and xray. Everything was negative and good.

  20. So here I am day 4 of my period and have a severe sore throat stiff neck, swollen glands. Hurts to swallow . Stuffy nose and horrendous viral headache. Thought oh no it’s Covid then realise its been like this for 4 months now . I’ve took 3 covid tests in that time. So surely it can be only my period. I’m 47 but had a peri baby two yrs ago and still breastfeeding. I feel beyond dreadful and petrified I’m sick. Probably gonna test again just in case…. haven’t left house at all so can’t possibly be . Watch this space in 28 days 😂

  21. This is so weird isnt it .I have this at the moment sore throat and around my collar bone . I had this last month also and the one before that .worrying about covid again so I searched and found this .I’m so glad I’m not the only one .I’m going to keep a diary of this on my phone so I remember next month .stay safe all

  22. Another one here! Sore throat (more of an ache, like tender muscles) right up into the ears, swollen glands, anxiety (worse because of COVID!), snoring, harder to get a deep breath, tickly cough. I have spent the past 6 months going crazy because I keep thinking I have “the plague”!! Three tests over 5 months, (all negative) and finally I’m thinking “hmmm maybe this is PMS related” and I google it. I can’t tell you how happy I was to find this thread! Thank you all for posting! Best of luck and please update if you find anything that helps.

  23. This has been happening to me the past few months. I get a tickle in my throat, it literally feels like the back of my tongue/throat are having slight muscles cramps, it’s super weird. Then when I start my period It feels like it’s releasing. Glad this is a thing, because like everyone else leaving comments I freak out every month thinking I have Covid, but it’s just my period.

  24. Yeah..I also suffer from the same problem from last 4 months n now I glad to know that I am not the only person suffering from this kind of probLem.

  25. reading all these replies are just insane, i had no idea so many other people went through this same thing. every single month about a week before my period i start feeling like i’m getting a cold. sore throat, hot in the face, horribly lethargic like i can barely walk. nothing helps me feel better either! and every month i freak out thinking it’s covid and then after my period it just goes away. what the hell!!! i’d love to know why this happens, like what the science is behind it. and how i can make it stop because it’s driving me crazy lol

  26. Wow! I can’t believe all the same symptoms we’re all having before our periods. I have the same sore throat and have glands before my periods. Did someone suggest that we open a WhatsApp group? I would like to be part of it there’s one. Thanks

  27. Same here. I first noticed a few months ago but with COVID it’s made me extra paranoid and I started to look into it more. I’ve been tracking it on my phone and each month 4/5 days after my period I get a sore throat, headache, achy body.. I feel like I’m getting the flu.
    I’ve always found articles but never any comments or other people explaining what happened to them. How strange now we are all speaking up and putting two and two together 😂
    One question, I’ve seen a lot about this happening to people before their period, but does anyone experience this after??

  28. Wow this is crazy! I get this sore throat for maybe ten days prior to my period! It’s not sore enough to bother me but It’s scratchy into my ears and I’m just aware of it

    This is a recent thing probably the last year

  29. I have experienced sore throats at the start of PMS for several years now. I am in my late 40’s, and in addition to this, I was diagnosed with adult onset asthma 2.5 years ago. I am a non-smoker, I have never lived with smokers, and I am pretty fit and a runner (I average 30-40km a week, more when training for big races). My asthma also gets worse at the start of my period. I also seem to be a bit peri-menopausal as my periods are getting lighter (they were never heavy, even at times when I wasn’t exercising, just prolonged, spotting for 12-16 days is not unusual for me) so wondering if all this is related.

  30. Hello Ladies, My doctor confer with me that this is a PMS problem after 3 months of complaining of a sore throat, 4 covid tests, and strep throat. I find that this is the worst syotoms ever and very debilating especially with covid out. It hurts so bad with the ears hurting and feeling like I can not even enjoy life. But hot lemon water with ginger help and a pain reliver. I rather have cramps instead.

  31. I feel sick before my period with headaches and sore throat. I was just googling it to see if others did too.

  32. OMG!! So happy o read this I’m 42 this year and I’ve had all the same symptoms for the last 6 months kept a diary and it’s 3/5 days before period sore throat head aches feeling hot!
    Obviously stress every month that it’s Covid but happy to hear your all the same and it’s PMs definitely think it’s age related in 40 plus women take care all x

  33. I googled ‘period sore throat’ which led me to this thread, and can’t believe what I’m reading! I have sore throat, ear, and what feels like swollen glands as I am very aware of my neck and it feels stiff and sore. Also dizzy and a bit breathless. It’s scary because of covid. Bit I realised that I often feel this way around my period… wondering if I am worse last 2/3 months due to having to switch from Noriday pill to Cerrazette because of a supply issue, then back to Noriday again?
    Anyway it’s reassuring to read the comments on here. I’d also be interested in a WhatsApp group. The things we women have to endure!

  34. Same! Woke up terrified in the night of Covid, could hardly swallow and was in so much pain especially in right tonsil. Although what Dr Park says here is clearly one more piece of the puzzle (very interesting, I tend to get weird painful cramps under my tongue right before period so might be explained by this too), it seems there is more at work as well (it seems to be common knowledge that a woman’s immune system is lowered while there is higher inflammation between ovulation and her period). I get bad post nasal drip and hay fever during this time as well, so allergies and sensitivities could also be playing a part for others. I read not long ago that the hormone that controls the softening of the cervix with giving birth/period (literally called relaxin) also affects the neck muscles, so that can contribute to a sore neck and the accompanying headaches. Women are naturally very sensitive and manifest their stressed emotions into physical ailments, so I would also not rule out our subconscious creating covid-like symptoms (so sort of psychosomatic, but that doesn’t make the physical effects any less real; we must treat our minds and bodies as one organism). Some people might poo-poo it and say “well you’re just noticing it more now because you’re stressing” but that’s not the case, I’ve gotten sore throats in the past during this time of the month it’s just happening more frequently and with more severity with my cycles in 2020. I hope anybody reading this takes care of themselves mind body and spirit, you don’t need this added stress!

  35. Kind of worried all these months, have been experiencing this discomfort cause of the pandemic symptoms kinda.
    Really had the sore thoat in this my last cycle so terrible than the past months, swollen gland, some kind of rush feelings from inside to the throat that i had to cough well so that i can get relieve/comfort. I had is from ovulation days to 2nd day period started.
    Please i need to know if this can’t affect getting pregnant.

  36. Recently this year since April I’ve gotten a dry throat/sore throat and extreme fatigue right before my period I freak out and stress out and think that it is Covid every single month just for it to go away after my period is gone like wth?

  37. I cannot believe that this is what so many women experience, makes me feel a little more normal. It’s so saddening though that everyone just assumes that I’m being a drama queen when in reality I’m GENUINELY extremely tired about two weeks before my period, up to my period (I cannot sleep enough honestly- I had 10 hours of sleep last night and still took a four hour nap because I could not keep my eyes open and my body ached so badly). I also get terrible headaches, my throat hurts, and I genuinely feel like I have the flu, just without the fever I suppose. So incredibly weird.

  38. Hi there it is reassuring to read your article. The week before my period, I get a sore throat (Not a scratchy throat, more like an obstruction) and swollen glands. It can make me feel quite unwell until my period starts.
    That, together with feeling heavy, spotting, acne etc etc it’s joyous!

  39. I had a mild sore throat for the past few days and it really got me worrying due to COVID. I just got my period today, so I’m glad this might be the case for me. Hello to all the people posting in 2020 ❤️

  40. OMG! Finding these comments is literally everything!!
    I’ve noticed exactly the same symptoms repeating over and over past few years – pain / difficulty when swallowing, feeling of swollen glands in throat, difficulty breathing, waking up in the middle of the night gasping and feeling like I’m choking.. It would get really intense and scary, but then the symptoms would just disappear without turning into a cold.
    I’m 35, these symptoms only started in past 3-4 years and have gradually been getting worse. I’ve consulted my doctor, had throat x-ray, got anti-anxiety meds prescribed.. And only today I realized it’s happening during pms right before my period starts. Feeling like I could cry with relief.. :D
    If there’s a WhatsApp group – I want in!!

  41. OMG! Finding these comments is literally everything!!
    I’ve noticed exactly the same symptoms repeating over and over past few years – pain / difficulty when swallowing, feeling of swollen glands in throat, difficulty breathing, waking up in the middle of the night gasping and feeling like I’m choking.. It would get really intense and scary, but then the symptoms would just disappear without turning into a cold.
    I’m 35, these symptoms only started in past 3-4 years and have gradually been getting worse. I’ve consulted my doctor, had throat x-ray, got anti-anxiety meds prescribed.. And only today I realized it’s happening during pms right before my period starts. Feeling like I could cry with relief.. :D

  42. I have exactly the same thing. I’m wondering if anyone experiences swollen lymph nodes or glands under arms and in breast that accompanied this? Not exactly swollen but painful and i sweat profusely with the sore underarms? Is this a pms symptom?

  43. I’ve noticed every time my 14yr old daughter due on she gets chest pain sore throat runny nose.
    Dose anyone no why or has this happened to any one or there daughter..

  44. Yes I experience sore throat before my period weight gain , sore breasts fatigue and mood swings. I feel like I’m only normal two weeks in a month!

  45. Yes! I have had dry, sore throat with no other symptoms a week before my period and during. Of course I google it to make sure its not covid. I started to realize the pattern when I was getting tested for covid once a month. My periods are heavy and I feel dizzy as well. I’m 51 and definitely in peri. It seems to surprise me every month even though I have been diagnosed with PMDD. It’s like I need an alert that says, “hey, you are about to experience crazy pms symptoms this week!” And then I wouldn’t worry so much!

  46. I have experienced major anxiety with palpitations , shortness of breath, sore throat with dry cough joint pains 19 days prior approximately from my periods It’s too bad…since nobody can diagnose it.

  47. Glad to know I’m not alone or abnormal. I think some of you ladies might feel better about your symptoms if you knew that I get ALL of the following pms symptoms: fever, chills, sore throat, stuffy nose, allergy symptoms, FATIGUE, entire body aches, back pain, and then some, right before or even two weeks before my period. And dizziness, nausea, headaches, and the fabulous mood swings, too, of course. I think I will keep all the physical symptoms just to be rid of the mood swings alone, tbh….I actually used to think I had a weak immune system and caught the flu every month or so – but it’s the period! Anyway, ladies, keep your chin up! I will certainly try to, as well…although pre-pms days’ walking feels like walking in water, am I right? Lastly, the covid-era stress worsens these symptoms for me, and I was scared it might be covid itself—-but I think it’s the stress of the covid-era, not covid, thankfully, causing the pms or pmdd symptoms to worsen for me these days….