How PMS symptoms could be mistaken for a winter cold

What could the underlying cause of your symptoms be?

Cold and Flu | PMS

Sonia Chartier

17 January 2019

1 - Sinus pain

Blocked sinuses and nasal congestion are classic symptoms of a winter infection. But some women experience these symptoms monthly during their periods, when they’re pregnant or during menopause.

Nasal congestion during the menstrual cycle is thought to coincide with changing levels of the female sex hormone estrogen. It seems that as levels drop off, such as in the days before your period or as you approach menopause, nasal stuffiness is more likely to crop up.

If you’re feeling stuffed up and downright fed up, you might want to give eucalyptus essential oil a try. Eucalyptus essential oil can promote clearer, easier breathing.

2 – Headaches

One reason PMS and menopause symptoms are so widespread is because we have estrogen receptors throughout our bodies. As estrogen levels decline, for example during perimenopause or in the week before your period starts, the changes can give rise to symptoms.

Blood vessels are no exception: they also have estrogen receptors, and the ones around your temples can be particularly sensitive to fluctuating hormone levels. While headaches are a common symptom we associate with cold and flu infections, if it’s more of a monthly occurrence for you, your hormones could be to blame instead.

3 - Achy muscles

Achy muscles and joints often go hand in hand with infections such as the flu, but surprisingly, this symptom could also be linked to your monthly cycle.

As estrogen levels drop off at the end of the month to give you your period, levels of essential nutrients including magnesium, zinc and chromium are also thought to taper off. Therefore, especially if your diet isn’t particularly rich in fresh foods or if you have dwindling stores of some of these key nutrients, some of your symptoms may become exacerbated.

A good dose of magnesium can be a good first step toward relieving achy muscles and restless legs around the time of your period.

4 – Upset stomach

While an upset stomach is often a sure sign of a bug, many of you will know all too well that it can also be related to hormones.

In the second half of your cycle, a higher progesterone-to-estrogen ratio can often give rise to a more sluggish gut—a similar pattern of hormones can also give rise to symptoms during menopause—where everything just seems to slow down once estrogen levels drop a little lower than usual. However, as your period becomes more imminent, more erratic fluctuations tend to crop up and can often wreak havoc with your gut and give you diarrhea-type symptoms.

Aim to drink plenty of water at all times—contrary to popular belief, this won’t exacerbate your diarrhea symptoms—and if you’re running to the toilet more often than you’d like, you can try a tincture of Tormentil to help ease the symptoms. This herb has been used traditionally to help promote calm for both the gut and the mind.

5 - Watery eyes

Dry eyes can be frustrating and symptoms can become heightened during the winter as a result of harsh outdoor conditions, artificially heated rooms or the greater likelihood of contracting a bug. However, did you know that dryness, in the eyes and elsewhere around the body (everything from your vagina to your skin) could also be influenced by hormones? Once again, estrogen is the likely culprit.

Estrogen kind of serves as a gentle lubricant—this is why we tend to feel more bright-eyed and bushy tailed around the time of ovulation, when estrogen levels peak—and therefore everything from your eyes to your urinary tract can suffer as levels drop with the onset of your period.

If your symptoms tend to be temporary, some moisturizing eye drops can be a nice addition to your makeup bag for emergency situations.

To treat the symptoms, start by treating the underlying cause!

One of the best ways to help determine if your symptoms are due to a winter cold or are cyclical in nature is to take note of exactly when they crop up. If you find yourself suffering at around the same time each month, you can bet your bottom dollar that hormones have something to do with it. If it’s more of a one-off kind of thing, you should treat the symptoms accordingly, such as with Echinaforce cold and flu remedy.

Now, back to hormones. Many of the symptoms described in this blog are the likely result of estrogen dominance. If estrogen levels are too high relative to its calming counterpart progesterone, then this scenario is in many cases more likely to give rise to troublesome symptoms.

Generally, though, if you tend to have to put up with more frequent, heavier periods alongside some of the symptoms mentioned above, then it’s quite likely that this is what’s going on.

Rather than attempting to treat the symptoms individually (although some extras can work as I’ve mentioned above), addressing the underlying hormonal imbalance will give you the best chance at addressing the barrage of symptoms you experience each month.

To help achieve this, Agnus castus may just be the herb for you. By gently supporting your natural progesterone levels, it can help to effectively dampen the effects of estrogen dominance and address symptoms commonly associated with traditional PMS.

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A.Vogel Echinaforce® Extra Echinacea Tablets

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