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

  1. Oh my goodness! This has been happening to me every month like clockwork. Dry throat, face flushed, sometimes ear pain. I’ve been testing for COVID at least 4 times for the same symptoms and negative each time. It’s got to be cycle related. So weird! I’m sorry everyone is experiencing this but glad I’m not alone. I’d be interested in joining a group if someone sets it up.

  2. I have a sore throat and feel feverish and just sore all over the week before I start my period. Occasionally, it will be a little longer before I start. I have to remind myself that I’m not crazy and I’m not dying, I’m just about to start menstruating. Some months it’s bad enough to where I genuinely feel like I’m getting the flu. I also have endometriosis so how severe these symptoms are usually coincides with how bad of an endo month that I’ve had. For example the past couple months have been really painful and miserable as far as my endometriosis is concerned and I’m a week away from starting my period and I full-on feel like I have the flu right now.

  3. This started happening to my 2 years ago and I thought I was crazy till like 3 months ago when I asked my dr about it its really been scary since covid started bc you just never know but im so happy im not alone

  4. Yes, I’ve only really noticed it these last few months, sore throat, thickly throat and headaches. For the first three months I was convinced I had covid each time even had a test the first time, but then realised that it was linked to my cycle, now have to remind myself each time, great to know I’m not the only one and there’s a good reason for it.

  5. I’m so glad I found this info. I frequently suffer from a sore throat in week 3 of my cycle – it goes usually within about 24 hours, but I also feel fatigue and generally a bit weak. I always think I’m coming down with something and then it all disappears. However, for the few days that I experience these symptoms I feel pretty awful. Is there anything I can do?
    I have also experienced sore gums – in fact the first time this happened they were so sore I thought I had Gingivitus and I got an appointment with my dentist who couldn’t’ find anything wrong with me. I looked it up online and discovered this could be hormone related. Now I keep Peroxyl Mouthwash in my bathroom cabinet for when this happens as its so soothing.

  6. Really happy I found this post. I’m on day 2 of my period and my throat started feeling a little sore yesterday and is a little sore today as well. I obviously started worrying about Covid, but I have no other symptoms other than menstrual symptoms like cramps and irritability. Sounds like I don’t need to worry so much!

  7. Yes, I do experience this. I do feel like I am getting sick. My throat hurts, I am so tired. If this has to do with inflammation, what can be done to reduce inflammation? I eat a diet rich in protein and vegetables, I eat very little to no sugar and drink plenty of water. I try to exercise 4- 5 days a week. I could do a little better at getting sleep. It is hard because I feel like I have to get 8- 9 or more hours of sleep to even feel good. Anything less and I have a sore throat and that isn’t just around my period ( starting day 14) but almost any time of the month. Could there be something else going on?

  8. I get sore throats very frequently. The worst ones are usually allergy related (I have intense seasonal allergies in the Spring). Also generally my sore throats are the worst when I wake up in the morning. I get more mild ones along with a general ‘getting sick’ feeling regularly that never actually turns into anything. After noticing this happen a couple time in the week before my period, I finally realized that this may be PMS even though what I experience aren’t usually listed as common symptoms. I was going to start paying attention to the timings if the symptoms to see if it consistently lined up with that timing, but, for the past month, I have been experiencing my “PMS” systems all the time, including waking up with a sore throat almost every morning. I don’t know why this is. It could be allergy related, but it doesn’t feel like that, and I’m on a bunch or allergy meds and not experiencing any other allergy symptoms. Could this all be hormone related? I’m on a combination birth control and I started taking a new brand with the same active ingredients about a month ago. I felt the worst the first few days I took the new BC. Could this change have any effect on my hormonal balance even if it has the same active ingredients?

  9. Yep- HORRIBLE earache & mild to moderate sore throat day before to roughly day 3 of my period. Like clockwork for every cycle for over a decade.

  10. I do experience sore throats, every month. It’s like clockwork, every time my throat starts getting tight and sore, I know my period is just around the corner. This has been happening more as I’ve gotten older

  11. This article was interesting! I no longer get my periods, but I frequently had this happen in which it always felt like I was about to get sick because I had a sore throat during my period. Maybe not every month, but more than every other month. I thought it was just me, and I thought it was because my periods made me more run down and prone to getting sick! I really appreciate this perspective.

  12. I wish those of us that experience this should get a hormone level check. It would be interesting to see if it lines up for me too. I normally do not get this level of body aches and sore throat and wonder if it age related or if my progesterone is having a weird flux.

  13. Oh my gosh I am so glad I found this and read the comments! This started happening to me around June and every month I thought I was getting Covid! I’d get a sore throat, flu like symptoms such as shivers and general fatigue and each time it was the week before my period.

    I thought I was going crazy and went and got a blood test. The initial test came back fine and I took the results to another doctor for a second opinion and am now waiting for results on a second test (first doctor didn’t check all hormone related stuff) . I’m determined to find a reason as I have a well balanced diet, sleep 8-9hrs a night and exercise 4-5 times a week

  14. I don’t experience the sore throat before my period but for the first 5 days of my period. Equally a drop in blood sugar levels and fatigue. But I don’t always experience these symptoms. I thought it was linked to the peri menopause which I am currently experiencing ….deep joy….

  15. Every month 3/4 days before my period is due I get a really dry sore throat and up in my nasal passage, my breathing also becomes quite wheezy and I get breathless very easily

  16. I get a sore dry throat and often feel sick prior to menstration, My sister is exactly the same.

  17. It’s a trend I’ve just noticed as I’m sleep deprived and my throat is sore, and I woke up to spotting.

  18. Yes I really feeling sore throat before my period sometimes not always! It different month by month!

  19. Holy crap, I’m so glad I found this discussion board. I’m now in my late 30s and have been off the pills for two years now. For the most part I experience terrible cramps and major fatigue during my period but lately I’ve been experiencing odd side effects like hot flashes, phantom body aches, and three new symptoms: terrible migraine, canker sores, and slightly sore throat. WTF! Really hating this side of womanhood. Glad I’m not alone and this is not covid related.

  20. Wow- just wow. Ive been laying around feeling fatigued,stinging sore throat,chills with barely 99 degree temp,sore muscles and joints and a period that has not committed to starting( spotting,light flow,with protracted hormone headache,sore boobs and bloating-all new features since hitting my 40s,then once it arrives its a horror show for 4 days) but my oldest son is in his 20’s ( lives on his own and I havent seen him in weeks) is sick at home awaiting a Covid test result( but also has a cough which I dont have),but being paranoid and sensitive to discomfort of COURSE ive got myself worked up into thinking the Covid finally caught me too- ( even though my husband,who is working from home,and younger children are e learning and they are not sick,so doesnt make much sense)-Then I starting thinking about the last few months or so pre menstrually,and its been similar-this month its just worse. I thought I was alone,my husband thinks I exaggerate feeling bad and gets irritated when Im lax on dinner and such multiple days per month- so at least now a feel slightly better ( mentally)- now to feel better physically…..

  21. Same here I get a dry throat, fever, chest and upper back pains. Plus my right ear hurts some times. I got worried but I always get chest pains and fever a week before and during my period. I just want to know I never had this before.. since I turned 21 it started but I’m 22 now.. it’s weird what your body does lol

  22. Just before I am due on, my ears start to feel blocked, I get a feeling of something being stuck in my throat but no sore throat, tired, little foggy and irritable. Hot flushes in my face and ears and headache!

  23. Yes but never in the morning, usually later in the day or at night, i have one now. I heard sore throats are a symptom of immune system activation, such as in autoimmune diseases. And wondered if it is related to hormones effects on the immune system.

  24. Omg! I’m on day 2 on my period and I feel miserable! Sore throat, headaches, and I feel achy. It’s been happening a lot before and during period. I too get scared of Covid and I gotten tested and always comes out negative. I’m glad I’m not alone. It’s scary

  25. I’m due on tomorrow and I have ear ache and sore throat and I feel tired. I don’t get this every month but some months I do …
    Also time of year I think isn’t great

  26. Hi I suffer with sore through and what feels lkke upper respiratory inflamation and pain. The other night I woke up choking this has happened a couple of times before. I feel viral and unwell, then my period starts and things improve. It just makes me feel so awful. I try not to eat late. I thought I was menopausal and Now take HRT but occassionally still have these episodes and just spot bleed rather than a full blown period.

  27. I commented on this a few years ago but it is reassuring to see that so many ladies are in the same position as me. Even more annoyingly for me is I am a singer and my voice just isn’t at its best the week before and during my period. This can be exceptionally frustrating as it means I have to try and work my period around engagements.
    I wonder also if any ladies are sensitive to hormonal contraceptives. I find they make me really ill so I can’t use them to stop my periods.

  28. Kait,

    Thanks for your comments. You may find it interesting that in the old days, lead female opera singers had a clause in their contracts to avoid performing the week before their periods, or some variation. Yes, oral contraceptives can affect some women negatively.

  29. This has happened to me as long as I can remember. I felt crazy, calling my Dr. sometimes or having to call off work w all the symptoms. It feels a lot like strep, then just – gone.

  30. I have LPR and low progesterone which I supplement. Lady test results in day 19 was 29. I wonder if I should increase?

  31. Wow! I’m so glad I found this article. I’m perimenopausal and rarely have periods so it took me a while to connect the timing but this has been happening to me at regular intervals. My asthma is also getting triggered along with fatigue and nasal congestion which all goes away in about two days. I finally noticed that it coincides with monthly insomnia so I thought to google it. Now I can stop panicking that I have COVID!. Thank you!

  32. Sometimes my throat feels constricted especially when I’m lying on my back along with ear pain. I just started noticing that this happens before menstruation. I’ve never experienced this until around April 2020.

  33. I have been suffering from sore throat since last four months during and before periods.what should I have to do?

  34. Yes even I’m suffering from this past 7-8 months.but this month the symptoms of sore throat along with pain in throat and runny nose.i though t I’m 100%covid+ve.but after finding this I’m relaxed now

  35. I’ve been experiencing the same thing. A week or two before my period is about to start. Usually I get a weird sore throat, mouth sores and a sore tongue. I freak out every month thinking it might be covid, even though I know I get the same thing every month before my period. I’ve gone to an ENT and was told that it was normal and usually only last a few months. I’ve been dealing with it since April. I’m assuming that stress from covid must have triggered something.

  36. Holy moly!!! Ladies I am sooooo happy I found this. This seems to happen to me like clockwork, too! Does anyone else feel almost a bit of heartburn???

  37. When I was on birth control around 1-2 days before I would get my period I would feel like I was running a fever but never actually was. When I went off birth control I noticed I was feeling this way for like 7-10 days before my period then a few months ago I started to notice my throat was sore on top of the feverish feeling. Got tested for covid a couple times because of it and it was always negative. I started paying attention to my PMS and logging all the symptoms to realize it’s my period. I still get anxiety when I get the symptoms because of covid but I am so glad to know I am not alone with these symptoms.

  38. I thought i was experiencing a sore throat, but then i realized it was more of the muscles in my throat that become sore. It’s hard to swallow and it last for a day or two before my period starts. I do have hypothyroidism so should i have them take a look at my thyroid or is this just because of my period. Last night i took some tylenol arthritis and the pain in my throat is nothing like it was yesterday.

  39. Happy that I am not alone. I have been experiencing this for the last 6 months or so. Sore throat, achy down to my collar bone, back of throat to nasal passage feel like I am getting a cold with extreme fatigue. Bubble head feeling like I am getting sick with no fever and clears up one to two days after my period starts.

  40. I experience sore throats every cycle and found if I eat a more plant-based diet then all my cycle symptoms dramatically decrease i.e. I get no sore throat, not as tired, not as heavy, not as many cravings, not as much PMS!!!

  41. Wow so happy I found this!! This is the first year that I’ve experienced these symptoms and of course my mind went straight to covid. And every time I’ve been negative. I feel like I’m about to get sick with a very mild sore throat, chest tightness and fatigue and then after my period it’s completely gone. I got a blood test and I have low levels of b12 which these are also symptoms of so after I’ve included a supplement, I have less symptoms. I’m curious if others who experience this have low b12 levels…

  42. Oh my god! I have been feeling this every time I’m going to get my period. I get a terrible sore throat, stuffy nose, fevers, chills, and my ears ring or they feel blocked. Almost like when I am going to get the flu, cold, or have allergies. This is on top of already heavy period symptoms such as bloating, extreme fatigue, breast tenderness, headaches, body aches, cramps, itchiness, backaches, and even pimples! My period has never been easy. I have always had pretty bad cramps and I also, get very itchy during my period. I have taken birth control pills since I was young off and on. Now, if I don’t take birth control or miss it my period symptoms are extremely severe. The sore throat and flu-like symptoms started within the last five years. I just want it to stop! I feel so much better after reading your comments because now I know I’m not crazy. Should I go to an endocrinologist to check my overall hormone levels?

  43. This thread is so comforting! I have a sore throat 3 out of 4 weeks every month it seems. I also get extreme bouts of fatigue, not as often. I thought it was to do with glandular fever which I had 2 years ago, but it seems to be getting worse the last 6 months. I have had the Kyleena IUD for 6 months now… and I have been wondering if this has changed my hormones in some way? I also am constantly worried I have COVID and have had multiple tests this year, all negative. The stress of feeling constantly unwell in 2020 and the possibility of having COVID snowballs the stress! My family and boyfriend think I’m a hypochondriac, it’s really frustrating and upsetting. I had a recent blood test, everything fine.

  44. This is a revelation! Reading through the comments has made me not feel alone. I started noticing that I was getting a sore throat about 1/2 days before my period started this year. Again, like others thought I was getting covid, but tests came back negative. I’m in my early 40s, and I have never had any issues before other than the usual cramps, sore breasts and bloating. I wonder whether the heighten stress of this year has triggered something. Thanks so much for this article – I shall be a bit more confident talking to my Dr about it , now I know I’m not going mad!!

  45. Omg! I am so so so happy I am not alone! I’m in my mid twenties and have been on a patch BC for about 1.5 years. And just this year I have been getting this way! I am noticing now they it happens 1-2 weeks before my period that I experience fatigue, irritated throat and nasal passage, rise in temperature, and chest discomfort but I can breath just fine. My mind immediately goes to covid and I worry because I’m considered high risk due to an underlying condition. But then it goes away 3-4 days after and I am relatively normal from there. Then I get my period. It’s so stressful and anxiety inducing! I wish I knew what could help curb these symptoms. It makes it hard to sleep and not feel so worried about it.

  46. This is really interesting! On ocoasions doesn’t happen every month. when I’m due on I seem to get a irratated nose and throat, like itching or a burning sensation along with a slight cough feeling as if I have to clear my throat I feel as if I’m getting a cold then just goes. I have noticed this happens around ovulation time all my pms symptoms feel as though they have got worse as I’m creeping closer to 30 so bizarre 😳

  47. What! This is interesting, I don’t get this every month but on occasions my nose and throat feel irratated like a itchy or burning sensation, and a slight cough, then it just goes in a couple of days. I have noticed this seems to happen around ovulation.