"Period Flu" Is the Reason You Always Feel Sick During Your Period
Around your period, it's pretty normal to feel a little, well, meh. There are the cramps and of course the stubborn bloating… These are both things that we'd rather do without, but as long as they're not severe and chronic symptoms, we're okay with taking a pain reliever or reaching for our trusty heating pad ($14) and carrying on with our daily business.
Sometimes, though, these symptoms feel a little worse than normal. We have a slight headache, we feel achy all over, and maybe even nauseated. Immediately we assume we're coming down a virus like the common cold or maybe even the flu. Again, that's rather unfortunate, but we've dealt with it before and can deal with it again. According to Brit + Co., though, it may not be due to a virus or immune deficiency at all. It could be courtesy of something dubbed "period flu," wherein your hormones become disrupted and bring about flu-like symptoms.
As Nieca Goldberg, medical director of the Joan H. Tisch Center for Women's Health at the NYU Langone Medical Center, told the publication, "Hormonal changes prior to your period can cause a range of symptoms, fatigue, abdominal cramping, bloating, back pains, and other body aches." She references estrogen in particular. The levels of this hormone drop off around your period, which can bring about symptoms you think are viral in nature. In fact, lower levels of estrogen might even affect levels of other hormones, like those that regulate sleep. Basically, the reason you feel like you're coming down with something could be because you're feeling the effects of hormonal changes.
Another expert, Molly O'Shea explained to Brit + Co. that another chemical found inside your body could be the culprit. "Prostaglandins can cause intestinal cramps, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, a feeling of being flushed, and general achiness," she says. If it is indeed the "period flu," she notes, the symptoms will go away shortly: "Unlike the flu, these symptoms do not cause fever, and they improve after your period. So if you have a fever or the symptoms do not improve, you need to see your doctor."