Does your period take you out of commission each month? It may feel just like the flu. And in a way, it is – it is a period flu. A period flu can cause nausea, headaches, and weakness; some women even faint or pass out!
I want you to know that you’re not alone. Sadly, for many women, this is a very common problem. It is especially true for women during their most fertile years – between the ages of 14-40.
A recent study showed that 50% of postpubescent females suffer from period pain (known as dysmenorrhoea). What’s worse, 10% of those women are incapacitated for several days each month! Dysmenorrhoea can affect you before or during your menstrual cycle.
No! You are not catching an actual virus every month -but that is how it feels. A period flu can be just as bad as the real flu. Many women with these symptoms feel like their body is trying to “flush” it all out. And you may have been forced to take sick days from work.
No! You are not a wimp! Your uterus is calling all the shots. And no one deserves to have a week of their lives hijacked every month.
The good news is with the right foods and professional guidance, we can get to the core of the problem. One of the primary causes of period pain is inflammation. Dealing with inflammation means making dietary changes.
What are the Signs of a Period Flu?
Have you ever had any of these symptoms? Download my free Period Pain Guide.
Symptoms of A Period Flu:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Feverish: feeling hot and clammy
- Headaches and migraines
- Pain medication is required throughout the day just to function.
How Can You Tell If It’s Period Flu or Is It a Virus?
With period flu, there are several overlapping symptoms with the real flu, and that’s why it feels the same.
How to rule out if its a virus or Covid
- Take your temperature: An adult with a temperature above 100.4°F/38°C has a fever. If it’s your period, it is very unlikely that your temperature will be elevated.
- Sore throat or cough: It is very unlikely that a sore throat or cough is part of the period flu. So if you have either of these symptoms, they are likely unrelated to your menstrual cycle, and you may have a virus.
How Long Can Period Flu Symptoms Last?
It is important to know your own pain signals. And remember that your pain and symptoms are not necessarily going to match up with someone else’s. Cases of period flu come in varying lengths and may occur a few days before you actually start menstruating. Others experience more symptoms with the arrival of their menstrual flow.
I have clients who describe their levels of pain as “extreme” for up to 2 days. In contrast, others feel the symptoms for 1-6 hours at a stretch. One of my clients called them her “period exorcisms” because she would get shakes and be in such extreme pain.
As I said, the symptoms will vary from person to person. For more clarity, download my Period Pain Relief Guide.
What Causes Period Flu?
Answer: Hormone Imbalance & Increased Production of Prostaglandins
Prostaglandins are normal and necessary hormones that appear in all animals. They work to heal damaged tissue and are produced by a chemical reaction in the blood. In women, this hormone is present during menstruation.
However, this group of hormones, which works to heal, is also responsible for creating the physical reactions that cause pain, such as fever and inflammation. Again, these hormones are entirely normal and necessary. The chemical reaction enables the body’s natural healing process.
The same is true for your endometrium lining; prostaglandins are present in all females during menstruation. Unfortunately, high levels of prostaglandins can lead to severe pain and discomfort -enter the Period Flu.
As a matter of fact, many studies of menstrual cycles demonstrate that those who have higher levels of prostaglandins during menstruation for those with intense period pain. There is a strong correlation between the presence of prostaglandins and pain. Our bodies produce the same hormone during other kinds of illnesses and injuries. Because of this hormone, your monthly menstrual cycle can become debilitating.
Unfortunately, some menstruating women have higher prostaglandin levels than others. Those with higher levels have stronger period symptoms.
Moreover, during ovulation, there is an increased presence of estrogen. Although estrogen is necessary, a high concentration of the hormone may increase the number of endometrial cells.
It is essential to work to balance your hormones before your period starts. To get that head start on balanced hormones, we often need to look at what kind of foods we are eating.
We can lower prostaglandins by taking on the causes of the inflammation with natural remedies. And this can be done by adding herbal remedies and making dietary alterations.
How Can You Treat Hormone Imbalance?
Thankfully, there are ways to manage and even eliminate period flu and reduce pain!
Of course, many women treat their pain with over-the-counter pain killers. There are multiple non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) that can alleviate the experience of dysmenorrhea. These are common drugs such as, indomethacin, ibuprofen, and naproxen, and the fenamate. Common names for these are Advil, Motrin, and Aleve.
NSAIDs offer many the relief that they need to get through the day. They are most effective when taken several hours before severe pain starts. This is because taking the drug before pain begins helps lower the inflammatory prostaglandins responsible for the increased pain.
So, if you can anticipate your period, then take your NSAID before it begins.
Unfortunately, as many of your reading know, pain killers only offer temporary relief from the pain. And, the more frequently we rely on drugs to manage pain, the higher the dosage we inevitably need.
Ultimately, pain killers do not offer a long-term solution because the drug does not address the underlying causes of prostaglandin overproduction.
If you would like to read more about the role of prostaglandin in dysmenorrhea, please read the following medical journal, Inflammatory Markers in Dysmenorrhea and Therapeutic Options, by Zofia Barcikowska.
Eliminate Period Flu Naturally, with Diet
We need to balance the levels of prostaglandin and estrogen that your body is producing during menstruation and ovulation to decrease inflammation. Inflammation is the real culprit of your pain!
Choosing the right foods will help lower inflammation in the body. I recommend eating anti-infirmary food such as colour-rich fruits and vegetables, especially leafy greens. Many have also found success by eliminating dairy, as dairy is proinflammatory. Making simple changes, such as coconut or nut milk, as a substitute for dairy-based milk, can make a real difference.
Read more about what foods can help lower inflammation in my article on The Ultimate Pain-Free Period Diet.
Also, download my FREE Period Pain Guide now!
Thousands of women have used this protocol, and it has worked wonders. The recommendations are simple and effective. To get to the cause of your period flu and to treat it naturally, I recommend focusing on the food on your plate.
I can create a personal protocol that lowers inflammation and prostaglandins levels. We use specific herbs, supplements, and dietary principles to best deal with this hormone imbalance.
Start by trying my free guide, and see if the protocol alleviates your symptoms.
Many women may need more support managing the causes of period flu. If it is endometriosis, you may want to reach out to me so we can build a custom anti-inflammatory diet.
Ask for Help
For many women, the proper diet helps lower inflammation. To reduce prostaglandins with food, you need to consume nutrients that minimize inflammation over the entire month.
Be sure you read my ultimate post on Period Pain Relief Diet.
I hope you found this article on period flu helpful!
My name is Madeline. I am a nutritionist and herbalist specializing in women’s health and natural period relief. Reach out to me if you want help or support with healing period flu and balancing your hormones through an individualized protocol.
And make sure you grab my free period pain relief guide.