Is it normal to have flu on your period? WUKA experts discuss the connection between flu and why you can experience flu symptoms before or during your period.
What is Period Flu?
Period flu. A collection of flu-like symptoms that some women experience in the days leading up to their period. It might be a headache and nausea, it might be an upset tummy or a stuffy nose. It might be all of the above!
While Period Flu isn’t a medically recognised diagnosis, it’s a common term that we use when we experience these symptoms, feeling like we’re coming down with the flu thanks to surging hormones and the effects of PMS.
What causes Period Flu?
Many women experience Period Flu symptoms just after ovulation, when levels of oestrogen drop sharply, at the same time as progesterone levels rise. This fluctuation is a normal part of your menstrual cycle, although doctors are yet to officially link this as the cause of PMS symptoms becoming more severe.
How to Treat Period Flu
There are some simple self care practises that you can do at home to ease the symptoms of Period Flu. Staying hydrated will help, and knowing when to rest is important too. It’s also a good idea to eat a healthy, balanced diet with a limit on processed foods, alcohol and sugar.
Gentle exercise such as yoga or walking can also be a great natural remedy for Period Flu. Getting outside in the fresh air to move your body can also help to boost endorphins and get the blood pumping to improve symptoms.
Some women may find that medication is helpful to treat Period Flu. Speak to your doctor to discuss the different treatment options available to you.
Flu Symptoms on Period
While Period Flu isn’t the same as Influenza (this is a highly contagious viral illness, sometimes requiring medication to treat) the symptoms are very similar.
The main symptoms of Period Flu include:
- Muscle aches
- Joint pain
- Back ache
- Abdomen pain or tenderness
- Feeling tired or fatigued
- Joint pain
- Having trouble concentrating
Sound familiar? You’re not alone. The National Association for Premenstrual Syndromes (NAPS) says that up to 30% of women in the UK suffer form symptoms such as bloating, headaches and breast tenderness every month, along with tiredness, fatigue and a whole host of other symptoms.
While Period Flu doesn’t happen to everyone- and not all symptoms need to be present at once either- it is widely recognised as part of the menstrual cycle for some.
Stages of Menstrual Cycle
The menstrual cycle happens in stages and during each stage, hormonal changes are taking place that can affect how you’re feeling physically and emotionally.
Menstruation begins on day one of your period, and this happens due to the body releasing an unfertilised egg as part of your flow. Period blood is made up of vaginal fluid and tissues from your uterus lining too. Bleeding can last for around 2-7 days.
During this time the follicular phase of your cycle is also in motion. This is where follicles are formed on the ovaries. These follicles begin to develop and grow eggs, one of which will eventually become big enough to be released.
At the end of this phase, the mature egg is released and starts it’s journey down the fallopian tube- aka ovulation. This vital stage of the menstrual cycle only lasts one day, and it’s the time of the month where you’re at your most fertile.
After ovulation, progesterone rises and this can cause breast swelling and tenderness, bloating, anxiety, fatigue, depression and low mood, weight gain and low sex drive. This is the luteal phase and it’s the longest phase of your cycle, lasting around 12-14 days.
As the mature egg is reabsorbed into the body (as long as no pregnancy occurs), the cycle begins again, as at the end of this phase the egg is released as part of your period flow. Both oestrogen and progesterone levels have dropped, so many women start to feel a lot better by the time menstruation starts.
Tracking your period is a really great way to get to know your cycle and what’s normal for you. It can also help you to become more aware of the changes that happen in your body and how the fluctuating hormones affect you each month. Knowing what to expect can help you to better manage your Period Flu symptoms. Knowledge is power, so make it your mission to know as much as you can about your cycle.
Be Period Prepared
Once you know your cycle and what to expect, you’ll have a really good idea of your flow and what’s normal for you too. Lots of women usually experience the most heavy bleeding on the first one or two days of menstruation, and it’s at this time that PMS symptoms can be at their worst too.
Take steps during this part of your cycle to really take care of yourself (women’s self care is vital all month long, but especially during this part of your cycle!) and be period prepared. Wearing a good, comfy pair of period pants can eliminate the stress of having to change fiddly pads or tampons in cramped cubicles and can gently support you while you bleed straight into them.
Super Heavy or Heavy flow period pants are great for the start of your cycle, and our high waist with super absorbent gusset means that not only are you protected against leaks (even while you sleep) but you also have a nice pair of pants that won’t dig into your tummy and make nausea or cramps even worse.
WUKA period pants can last up to two years if cared for properly, taking away the cost and stress of needing to buy disposable products month after month- let’s face it, by the time you realise that tampon box is empty, it’s usually too late!
When you’re feeling ill and miserable thanks to Period Flu, WUKA period pants really are your new best friend. Safe to use (no nasty PFAS), comfortable to wear and 100% leak-proof- so you can focus on getting through to the other side.
Is it normal to have flu during period?
Period Flu is not an official medical diagnosis. It refers to a set of symptoms that some women experience in the days leading up to their period.
Influenza is an illness with similar symptoms. It’s highly contagious and sometimes requires medication. It is possible to have flu during your period, and if this happens the best advice is to rest and stay hydrated as much as you can until the symptoms pass.
How long does the period flu last?
Period Flu symptoms tend to ease within a few days. Most women feel better once their period starts as fluctuating hormone levels start to ease.
What does a period flu feel like?
Period Flu can feel much like influenza, with symptoms such as headache, nausea, dizziness and bloating. These symptoms can usually be eased with over the counter pain mediation, lots of water and plenty of rest