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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715 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?