Ever heard of the Period Flu?
Do you ever get flu-like symptoms just before or during your period? Muscle aches, that weak, sick feeling, headaches etc? This can be a tricky thing to navigate, especially in a moment in time where COVID is a still a lingering threat. Experiencing flu-like symptoms on top of all the other period symptoms is just one more challenge to add to your month.
So what's going on biologically that can make us feel so icky right before we bleed?
Some of the challenge is sheer hormonal shifts: just before we bleed, our hormones get to their lowest levels throughout the whole month. So it makes sense that our energy is lower than when are bodies are teaming with hormones. Luteinizing hormone surges before ovulation which contributes to feeling good during that time, and then sharply drops when the period starts. This can lead to fatigue, bloating, headaches and nausea.
But there's more...
To be clear, the "Period Flu" is NOT a real flu or virus. It's more like a sensation that happens as the body gets ready to bleed and bleeds. However, the symptoms experienced are brought on by the immune system. According to Felice Gersh, M.D., OB-GYN and medical director of Integrative Medical Group of Irvine, Ca., interviewed in an article from InStyle Magazine, "There are two basic mechanisms in the body that trigger the immune system — the presence of damaged or dead cells or the presence of infected cells with an invading pathogen," she says. "The immune response is identical in either case and the symptoms experienced can mirror each other."
In short, your body perceives the inflammation as if you are ill, even though you are not.
A period happens when the endometrium lining of the uterus sheds. This means that these cells die and are pushed out of the body (that's why cramping can happen- to push the lining out). A hormone messanger called prostaglandins are produced in this time to activate the "pushing". Prostaglandins have high levels of inflammation, which is what hastens the cramping.
How to Prevent or Treat "Period Flu" Symptoms
Dr. Gersh says you may want to try antioxidants and minerals that can help reduce inflammation, like zinc, selenium, magnesium, vitamin E, vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin C, and B vitamins (particularly B6, folate, and B12)- all found in Ova Moon's Hormone + Cycle Balancing Multivitamin.