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

  1. This is so helpful. I connected my cough with my menstrual cycle while for information about it. I’m so happy I found this article and see others are experiencing this. It starts with a tickle in my throat. My throat becomes irritated and I feel the need to clear my throat with a cough. This has been happening for over a year now. After the doctor couldn’t associate the cough with anything. I started to mark on the calendar when it starts and its a few days before my cycle begins. Thank you all so much for sharing.

  2. I’ve just started noticing this connection. I have one inflamed tonsil/gland in my throat which hurts more at night. I noticed the same thing last month but didn’t connect it with the run-up to my period until this month when it happened again. I also have the feeling that I need to clear my throat. My sleep is disturbed a bit more lately, anxiety may be to blame for this and also feeling too hot.

  3. Wow! It’s do good to read this and realise I’m not the only one. In the last year or so I’ve been experiencing dire throats and feeling awful a few days to a week before my period. On one occasion I thought I had covid and took time off work, site thought and feeling dreadful, then bam , next day my period and day after that I feel fine. Super interesting to understand the reason. Also I seem to have s lot of indigestible and reflux. I’m guessing this could be connected.

  4. Yes! Every cycle, 5-7 days before my period starts, I have a sore throat (starts off scratchy and progresses, sometimes including gland or ear pain) and feel feverish with aches and chills (without actually having a fever). I also have 1-2 nights of night sweats. Every time thought I was getting sick (especially now with the fear of Covid) until I started tracking the timing. All symptoms go away when my period starts. Glad to hear I’m not alone! I told my OBGYN and he said he’s never heard of these PMS symptoms. 🙄

  5. Noticed the connection for many years I have terrible periods I can barely get out of bed now I’m really bloated and my throat is so sore and nose is blocked to..

    I get a sore throat and fluid retention and exhaustion every month

    I also suffer sore feet and fluid retention

  6. I am so happy to find this article to help me ease a bit. I have been experiencing sore throat and all kids of joint aches in my body before my period begins each month. This didn’t happen before I had my daughter. My daughter will be two in February. I started getting sick after she was born but it wasn’t every month. However it’s been very consistent in the last (2020) year. I also end up with fever. My temperature is around 100 but it has gotten up to 102/103 F sometimes but i normally get chills and my temperature stays around 100. I have been seen my doctor, and also saw the OB couple months ago and they didn’t really connect it to my cycle. Nobody knows why I get sick on monthly basis. But reading this and the comments give me hope:).

  7. I’ve started realizing this as of lately. My throat doesn’t hurt, but it does feel swollen or congested right before I start my period. The last few months every time I get I nervous that I have COVID. It just clicked for me today that it’s been pattern for a little while now. I feel a lot better knowing that I’m not actually getting sick

  8. I’ve actually experienced this as well. Am experiencing it now. A very dry throat. I even went to the hospital because I thought maybe I had some sorta really bad heartburn or Covid or something…but nothing. This all started a few days before my period. I decided to keep a journal about what happens to me a week before my period because I’ve been going through a lot of changes. I’m 34

  9. I often get a slight sore throat before my period and wake up really tired. That I you for the article!

  10. Yes, few days before my period. 4-5 days, and it comes with all the usual fatigue, nausea and overall feeling run down like a cold is coming on.

  11. I have been having a sore throat and intermittent cough for months now, not sure whether reated to my monthy, but definitey must be hormone changes. Thin I have covid everyday – reassured since seeing these comments as this hasn’t aided my anxiety. :(

  12. Wow thank you for this, I woke up last night with a sore throat and it’s kind of a dull feeling there today and yet I know I don’t have a cold. I do experience bad ‘period flu’ symptoms before my period and I’m 4 days off it now so this has cleared up so many more questions, thank you!

  13. Hi wow so good to read this, I’m the same sore throat sleep interrupted pain in my face and it does stop when period arrives hangs around for duration of cycle. What can I do? Doc suggested pill but I’m 40 so not sure I’m up for that!

  14. I too get all kinds of similar but different symptoms when period is approaching. random symptoms including any combination of sudden dry mouth, mild itchy throat, mild sore throat, chills, feel hot and sweaty easily, fatigue, weak breathes, sudden anxiety in the middle of sleep. Most of these symptoms had only started after the age of 35 (maybe the age didnt mean anything but they all happened quite suddenly, together with a much shorter period). and most of them would only last a few hours or 2 days max, then move on to another symptoms….

  15. Totally agree MiMi. I have similar issues. They aren’t even the same every month, but some type of fatigue, achiness, dry throat, mildly sore throat, increased anxiety. This didn’t start for me until I got.older as well (sometime in my late 30’s) I recently cleaned up my diet…no processed food or cows milk dairy and I have to admit, my symptoms are lessened because of that.

  16. Yes, I’m 32 and get all these symptoms before and during my period (worse before my period). I get chills, flu like symptoms, shortness of breath, itchy skin, I feel tightness in my chest and throat, sore and itchy throat. This is so weird.

  17. I have a similar issue, but it happens right before I ovulate. I have a sore throat a day or two before, and then I suffer from the globus sensation for a few days until the ovulation period is over. I can cope with the sore throat, but the globus sensation drives me absolutely crazy. I can’t focus on anything other than the feeling, which is very anxiety invoking. If anyone has tips for coping with that constant lump in the throat feeling, I am more than interested!

  18. I think my 11 year old is experiencing this. Last month, 6 days before her period, she complained of feeling there was something stuck in her throat. She was so distressed she vomited and I called 111 who advised me to take her toA&E 😳 obviously there was nothing there but the feeling, which she then described as a hair in her throat, persisted. Anyway, a couple of days after starting her period, the feeling subsided and went altogether and she was her normal happy self. Then, this month, 6 days before her period started – she starts complaining the sensation of the hair in her throat has returned and her throat is sore. Again it made her very anxious. But now, a day into her period, she’s fine! How are the hormones doing this?!

  19. I have recently been experiencing this sometimes before and after does anybody else get it after as I noticed a lot say before?????

  20. Yes! To the point where I’m always conscious of if my tonsils feel sore and swollen. The other day I almost convinced myself I might have throat cancer (googling your symptoms can just make matter worse). Although I really feel like my body and particularly my jaw/throat/mouth just experience more than normal inflammation in the week leading up to my period. It’s frustrating.

  21. yes! definitely. Some months it is worse than others, particularly if I’m stressed. This month I spotted for a day or so before really starting my period and then by the 2nd day I had a bunch of sinus symptoms, scratchy throat, headache, very tired and then by day 4 I was pretty much fine again.

  22. I notice a sore throat right before my period sometimes. It’s so bad tonight, every time I swallow it’s so painful. Almost like I’m getting a bad cold or sinus infection. What can I do to help this?

  23. Wow I’m so glad I found this article. For the past few months, I been getting a sore throat which feels scratchy and swollen. Sometimes one of my glands is swollen or I experience chest pain but can still breathe fine. I’ve also been getting a lot of dry mouth, hot flashes, runny nose, anxiety, and occasionally one or two sleepless nights about 5 to 7 days for my period. Naturally I assume the worst and think I have covid. But every test has come back negative. It wasn’t until this month that I realized that these symptoms have been been lining up with my period. I really hate it but I’m glad to know that there’s a reason behind it now.

  24. Wow I’m so glad I found this article. For the past few months I’ve been experiencing sore throat or dry throat. Sometimes one gland is swollen, sometimes my throat just feels itchy. I feel the need to clear my throat but never cough. I’ve also been experiencing a lot of dry mouth, anxiety, chest pain, some runny nose, hot flashes, and sleepless nights. Naturally I assume the worst and I think it’s covid. But every time I get tested it comes back negative ( thankfully). It was until this month that I realized that it always comes about 7 to 10 days before my period. I’ve been taking vitamin e pills everyday for the past month and this month’s symptoms feel better than normal. I think I might invest in some b vitamins and magnesium which apparently help to balance the hormones.

  25. For those who have noticed these symptoms after their period, I have experienced this as well. I’m about to turn 39. Maybe a change in hormone levels? Just when I thought I understood my body!!

  26. @Anne Marie Landry, I don’t know how to respond to a comment on here, but I get white patches too! It’s always on day 25-28 of my cycle right before im about to start. Both my tonsils swell, and it feels like every time I swallow there’s something stuck back there, and I get white patches that stay for those few days and then disappear. I was tested for strep the first two times it happened, and then started to put it together as something premenstrual. My doctor has no clue why, she thought it was viral or bacterial and had me tested for all sorts of things, and no answers. Crazy! Nice to know it’s not just me.

  27. sore throats before my period are literally the worst in a covid-world lol. every month i wig myself out thinking i have it, and then two days later im like… ohhhhhh

  28. This is good to read I have always had tonsillitis monthly with my cycle and have had years and years of antibiotics in my mid 20’s had my tonsils out as I couldn’t keep taking time off work because I was sick, I still get tonsillitis with my cycle but not as bad as when I had full tonsils, I’m suffering badly at the moment and am wondering if there is anything I can take to regulate my hormones and stop this horrendous cycle.

  29. Oh my word! I feel like all you ladies in the comments! This started in December, thought it was anxiety related and also felt like i was getting covid but it started happening every month, i havent tracked it to my period but it seems as though it is. I never track my period, am always surprised by my mood swings, maybe i should start journelling. I am 36, i am sure many hormonal changes happening, also more moody during my period….i will start journelling, throat is scratcy but not sore, and feels like a lump in my throat. I was also concerned its my thyroid. Will ask my homeopath.

  30. Wow! So good to find this, I started to really worry what is wrong with my throat. In Covid times I work from home and I am almost always at home so I had no clue from where am I getting sore throats every month! It starts couple of days before period, sore throat, headache, stomachache and fatigue. It stays with me during period and will go away when my body finds balance again.

  31. I also have less sleep, chills, flu like symptoms, shortness of breath, itchy skin, I feel tightness in my chest and throat, anxiety, sore and itchy throat…

    But I believe it could be a histamine problem. Estrogen during Menstruation stimulates mast cells to release histamine and down-regulates the DAO enzyme that clears histamine. At the same time, histamine stimulates the ovaries to make more estrogen. The net result can be a vicious cycle of estrogen → histamine → estrogen → histamine.
    Progesterone stabilises mast cells, up-regulates DAO, and can therefore reduce histamine…
    High histamine has lots symptoms like itchy skin, itchy throat, runny nose, sore throat….. histamine neurons in the brain help to promote and stabilize wakefulness, so high histamine can disrupt sleep as well.

    Just a thought… If this rings true, look at low histamine diets.

  32. I’m happy to have found this thread , as I’ve started to notice this in the last couple months as well. Last month, I was so convinced I has covid, I was completely shocked by a negative test result. Last month and this month, I got a sore and scratchy throat, with pain on the right side when swallowing, just how it feels before a cold. The dry scratchy feeling extended almost down into my chest too? Hard to explain. The first night each time I am sleepless, maybe feverish, and wake up with bouts of panic/anxiety and heart racing – maybe because of covid fears?
    Since I thought I had covid last time, I took it really easy and barely did anything- I’m generally pretty active, so I’m wondering if any ladies have experinented with continuing to work out vs halting entirely – I don’t want to make things worse, or make myself actually sick, but it’s frustrating to lose up to a week of training every month.

  33. Thank you for the article! I noticed it’s a pattern 2/3 days before I got my period I have sore throat. It started few months before I turn 36 years old. I’m so glad that I’m not the only one who is having this pattern.

  34. I get this but it definitely doesn’t feel like a type of reflux. Largely because the pain is partially in the nasal passage, but also because other areas get inflamed (old injuries, MASSIVE shoulder spasms and more..), and I feel a bit flu-like.

    I heard that your inmune system is supressed when your body prepares for a growing embryo to stop your body rejecting it. Is the trigger for this HCGF? If it’s a hormonal change then perhaps that’s what’s causing it.

    Reading these comments (and being 36) I worry that it’s fertility related, but maybe just your body not being as strong anymore 😕

    Curious for any answers!

  35. Yes almost every single month like clock work 2-4 days prior my throat is tender or hurting which it doesn’t help when pollen counts are crazy high either #DoubleWammy

  36. Yes, for the past year I have been experiencing this but have only just realised the pattern! For me my throat only seems to be painful on the right side. Throat is scratchy and hurts when I swallow.

  37. I had this and was diagnosed with silent reflux. It’s acid reflux that causes a sore throat but not heartburn. It was mostly on one side because that’s the side I sleep on so the acid would sit on that side while I slept. I now take omeprazole and hardly notice the problem.

  38. Yes , I experience all of these symptoms and given the stress of this past year, it’s important to focus on this being a normal experience and not a covid symptom. When we were all home last spring , not working, this is when I started to notice a pattern. I share this information with all my female friends. Another issue I experience (I’m 54)’is that I am pre -menopausal, so I don’t know if I’m getting my period… or when:( it’s been a year and about 3months since anything regular has happened in this area of my life. Before that, I was clockwork every 4 weeks.
    Thanks for sharing everyone!

  39. Can’t wait to tell my husband about all these testimonials. He probably thinks I’m crazy at this point. Like many of you, I often thought, “I must have Covid”. Ever month I get various symptoms (headache, fatigue, body aches), but the worst one is a sore throat and mouth caused by cancer sores (ulcers). Imagine what that feels like to swallow food with ulcers in your throat. After months of the symptoms happening, I finally connected it to my period and stopped freaking out thinking I’m sick. I mentioned the connection to my doctor, dentist and dermatologist and none of them had ever heard of this. I know it is connected because it’s like clockwork. To make matters even worse, my cycle is now at 21 days and it usually takes a week for my throat to clear up. I have noticed that certain things bring on more severe symptoms like ice cream, chocolate, and unsweetened tea. I try to stay clear of those things around that time of the month. Thank you all for sharing!!

  40. Back in November I got strep throat and every month since then, I get sick before my period. It starts out with a sore throat, then I get pain when swallowing, and sometimes inner ear pain. Could this be something more?

  41. Yes! I experience the same thing! Every month recently I get tender neck glands, a mild sore throat, and one or both of my tonsils seem to hurt a few days before my period starts. It feels just like I am about to get a cold, but then I get my period a few days later and the symptoms are gone and never did turn into a full blown cold! I don’t think I’ve had this my whole life, but I can’t remember when it started. I am 47. I also typically have 2 nights of insomnia… a bit after I believe.

  42. Vanessa,

    Although I write about this condition happening just before menses, there are many different variations, since everyone has different hormonal patterns. It can also change with time.