If bleeding and cramping aren’t enough burdens every month, many women also suffer from period flu, an unpleasant side effect of the menstrual cycle. The symptoms of menstrual flu are similar to the symptoms of the common influenza or flu, like your whole body aches during period. However, it’s like your body has been fighting off an infection at the time of menstruation.
Here’s everything you need to know about Period Flu and how you effectively deal with it.
Period Flu Symptoms
Period flu is not a medically recognized diagnosis; therefore, there isn’t a specific list of symptoms. What symptoms are associated with PMS differ between individuals. Feelings of malaise and pain can begin prior to or around the time when you begin your menstrual cycle every month.
The pain could vary from mild to intense. However, it will usually disappear within a few days.
Other signs may include:
- Constipation or diarrhea
- The pressure or pain you feel in your belly
If the symptoms are severe enough, they could impact your life.
Changes in hormone levels are common cause of your period flu symptoms. Since estrogen levels drop between ovulation and at the start of the menstrual cycle, the prostaglandins increase. Prostaglandins are chemical compounds that cause the uterine muscles to contract. The uterine tissue liner inside of the uterus is shed when the uterine muscles contract.
Prostaglandins may cause diarrhea and abdominal cramps. A few people might refer to their symptoms of the period flu as similar to stomach flu, which isn’t a true diagnosis but rather an informal term for gastroenteritis.
Prostaglandins can cause low-grade fever. A study found that prostaglandins could influence the hypothalamus’s neurons, which is the region of the brain that regulates the body’s temperature. Furthermore, your body’s temperature increases naturally during ovulation.
You might feel that the body’s fighting viruses, even though it’s not. Changes in hormones can affect the brain’s chemistry, causing the levels of serotonin to fluctuate.
How is it Diagnosed?
There’s no way for doctors to diagnose the period flu clinically; however, they can identify the condition with similar symptoms. The most common tools used to diagnose pelvic issues include blood tests, pelvic ultrasound tests, physical exams, or the magnetic resonance image (MRI). Laparoscopy is also required when your doctor suspects that the symptoms you are experiencing may be related to endometriosis. It is the use of a surgical procedure to ensure an exact diagnosis.
Although not clinically diagnosed, that doesn’t mean your experiences with cycle-related sickness are not valid. If your doctor is able to give you the all-clear and your symptoms are not associated with any medical issue, and you’re not sure, you may be actually suffering from the flu.
Period Flu Treatment
Treat with Medicines
Many medicines can treat period flu symptoms. Remember that not all medicines are specifically approved for this purpose. Off-label use is when doctors prescribe drugs to address symptoms in a way that is not their intended purpose.
A few of these medicines include:
- Hormone Therapy: Contraceptives that make use of estrogen and progestin to stop pregnancy can decrease symptoms of the flu during menstrual cycles. Although, you could experience negative reactions, such as nausea or spotting in between periods.
- Antidepressants: A doctor might suggest antidepressants if you suffer from PMDD or serious period flu symptoms that impact your mood.
- The pain relievers: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) like Advil and Motrin (ibuprofen) along with Aleve (naproxen) are able to assist.
- Water pills: Also known as diuretics. Water pills are able to reduce tenderness and swelling in your breasts. The use of water pills can cause headaches, nausea, and loss of water.
- Anti-diarrheal medicine: Some women complain of gastrointestinal (GI) problems, such as diarrhea that occurs before and during their period. Anti-diarrheal medications can ease severe diarrhea, including Imodium (loperamide) and Pepto-Bismol.
Home Remedies & Lifestyle Changes
You can make changes during your menstrual cycle to minimize the severity of your period flu symptoms, Like:
- Healthy eating: Add more whole grains, vegetables, and fruits than meat to your daily diet if you often experience symptoms of the flu during your period. Limiting your consumption of sugar and salt and limiting your intake of food will help you avoid the symptoms of the period flu.
- Staying hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids. However, staying clear of alcohol, soda, and caffeine can assist.
- Regularly exercising: Getting in shape can lessen symptoms of menstrual flu-like symptoms.
- Supplements: Certain supplements that treat period flu, such as vitamin B6 or calcium, can help reduce flare-ups. Consult a doctor prior to adding supplements to your routine.
- Stress and anxiety relief: Try deep breathing or yoga exercises to eliminate stress, especially if your period symptoms are accompanied by anxiety.
- Sleeping well: Try relaxing activities, such as listening to gentle music, prior to getting ready to sleep if you’re struggling to sleep. A good night’s sleep can reduce the symptoms of a period of flu.
When to Consult a Doctor?
If the symptoms get worse and negatively impact an individual’s well-being, I would suggest talking with your physician about the best prevention strategies. There may be other issues that are causing the symptoms. A doctor may rule out other illnesses that exhibit similar symptoms, for example, thyroid disorders, depression, IBS, or irritable bowel syndrome. (IBS).
If you suffer from period flu, keeping track of symptoms related to your period for between two and three months can aid your doctor in understanding your symptoms, such as the duration and the degree of discomfort.
The influenza virus that triggers the flu isn’t like the flu that causes menstrual cramps. However, some experience symptoms of the flu, like headache and fever, whole body aches during period, as well as digestive discomfort and fatigue prior to their period. The symptoms of the flu during menstrual cycles are like PMS, begin following ovulation, and are usually before your period.
Generally, the period flu is not something to be concerned about. There’s no cure to the period flu. The treatment options are at home using hormone therapy, pain relief medications, and lifestyle modifications, as well as others. Consult a doctor when the pain gets out of your control, or you’re still not sure about your symptoms.