My period is making me sick.
October 16, 2010 10:49 AM   Subscribe

Does anyone else here get sick (flu, fever, etc.) when they have their period?

For 3 months in a row, I've been getting sick on the same day I get my period. I get my period early in the day, and by that evening I am sick. I don't mean the regular cramps and headache- I'm talking flu-like symptoms. The first 2 times I was like, "Yeah, my period is actually making me sick." But I didn't really believe it until the 3rd month- this was last week and it was much worse than the previous 2 periods. I had full-blown chills and fever, and felt like utter crap. Luckily it only lasted for a day, but I am now dreading next month's period.

I Googled this phenomenon and apparently a lot of women get sick during their periods- but I couldn't find any concrete suggestions of how to prevent this from happening. Yes, I should ask my gyno, but I thought I'd throw it out here and see if anyone has any ideas.
posted by shelayna to Health & Fitness (19 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Yes, you should ask your OBGYN and IANYD.

Now that the disclaimer is out of the way, try eating foods high in iron throughout the month but especially during the week before your period. Also limit your sugar and caffiene and see if that has an effect. I've heard that limiting your intake of refined sugar can help a lot with how you feel during your period.

If you take Ibuprofen for cramps, try starting it a day or two before your period is supposed to start. Getting it built up in your system can help you stay on top of the discomfort.
posted by dchrssyr at 11:03 AM on October 16, 2010

Yes. It basically went away (with a bunch of other, far ickier things) when I finally went to a gynecologist. With oral birth control it's down to a mild fever for three or four hours, which I can avoid if I'm well-hydrated and take the Advil before I notice anything's wrong. I suspect if this had even been in the top 10 reasons I saw the doctor, they would have had a more targeted treatment.

Also: women in my acquaintance often get sniffly and feverish during various stages of pregnancy and menopause. I think it's very common (nearly every pregnant person I know well at all has mentioned it.) Everyone says to drink water if another woman mentions the issue, so.
posted by SMPA at 11:21 AM on October 16, 2010

I had similar issues (especially fevers and chills that lasted only a day). It was related to uterine fibroids.
posted by kimdog at 11:36 AM on October 16, 2010

I always get diarrhea just before and during my period. God, I love being a woman.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 11:43 AM on October 16, 2010 [6 favorites]

Yup, I used to get that sort of feverish, chilled sickness on the first/second days of my period. I solved the issue by getting on Seasonale and never taking the placebo pills (I just start a new pack/a new three months without ever bleeding). Now, I don't suffer PMS, cramps, mense-related illnesses. I highly recommend it!
posted by LOLAttorney2009 at 11:50 AM on October 16, 2010

I always get diarrhea just before and during my period.

That's because the same prostaglandins that act on the smooth muscle in your uterus, causing contractions and cramps, also act on the smooth muscle of your bowel. Nice, eh?
posted by maudlin at 12:33 PM on October 16, 2010

Happens to me all the time. Just finished my monthly and am still dealing with some kind of cold thing. One more thing I have to talk to my OB/GYN about.
posted by TooFewShoes at 12:40 PM on October 16, 2010

IANAD, but some of this sounds like Toxic Shock Syndrome. I would definitely discuss with a doctor.
posted by MexicanYenta at 12:44 PM on October 16, 2010

Yeah, I know a girl who got Toxic Shock Syndrome and this really reminds me of how she described the months before she finally wound up in a coma. Before I talked to her, I had always thought TSS was something that a) never happened and b) just came down really hard upon you all at once - but apparently it can be really mild and intermittent for ages... and THEN come down really hard upon you all at once. Odds are this isn't serious - but check with a doctor for sure.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 1:18 PM on October 16, 2010

I used to experience this--fever, chills, nausea/vomiting, on top of the more typical cramps. Like a few other posters, it went away once I started birth control (Ortho-Tri-Cyclen Lo.)
posted by kagredon at 1:39 PM on October 16, 2010

I get lightheaded and nauseous and dizzy sometimes when i have my period, at the same time I get my terrible cramps. I've always sort of chalked it up to the horrible pain. Also, I do feel a bit feverish but I've never actually taken my temperature.

If you're getting headaches and fatigue during your period, it might be linked to anemia, which is really, really common in young women (and all women, as far as i know). I'm anemic and I have to double up on iron pills when I'm on my rag and losing all that blood and precious, precious nutrients. You can get this checked with a blood test.
posted by custard heart at 3:14 PM on October 16, 2010

I get diarrhoea and stomach and/or intestinal cramping during my period,
in addition to the separate issue of uterine cramping.

I also seem to have a very poor immune response during my period - if I'm going to get a cold, the first three days of my period are when it's going to happen.

I don't get sick every period, but I definitely get colds during my period more than I get colds before or after my period.
posted by Hot buttered sockpuppets at 4:02 PM on October 16, 2010

Three days before my period I get feverish, cold sweats at night, lightheaded/dizzy, extreme physical exhaustion, and migraines. I'm pretty sure I have PMDD, and am going to my gyn next week.

Timely question for me, as I am in the middle of a migraine and my uterus just exploded like the elevator scene in The Shining. stupid fucking uterus.
posted by elizardbits at 5:07 PM on October 16, 2010

Extreme physical exhaustion, aching bones and joints, diarrhea and sinus headaches. This month is going to be a whopper, so I'm going to skip my placebos and go straight on to my next pack of birth control.

If birth control is out of the question for you, drink lots of water, cut down on the caffeine, bump up your fiber intake and start taking Advil before your period starts. It won't make it all go away, but it should help.
posted by lootie777 at 5:54 PM on October 16, 2010

I very often get a cold (usually manifesting as feeling rundown and having a runny nose) about 24 hours before the start of my period. And my mother has this exact same problem too -- or did, before she finally went into menopause -- so I presume this is some kind of a genetic thing relating to hormone levels.
posted by Asparagirl at 7:50 PM on October 16, 2010

I used to get sick a lot, sore throats and swollen tonsils, seemed to occur around the same point in my cycle, docs had no explanation, but I started taking vitamins and that problem went away.

Try asking your doc though. Maybe they know something these days that they didn't know before...
posted by mbird at 8:53 PM on October 16, 2010

On the first day of my period I would always have profound chills and fever coupled with bathroom issues. It always subsided the next day. Very weird...never failed. I would spend that entire first day feeling ill. Next day fine. I got so I just "expected it".
posted by naplesyellow at 9:20 PM on October 16, 2010

Yes, one week each month I was ill. Very ill. Not just cramps, but aching all over, sick feeling, headachy, feverish, chills, gastrointestinal distress, ill. I'm really not all that happy about getting older, but menopause rocks. Something to look forward to.
posted by wv kay in ga at 10:57 PM on October 16, 2010

Yeah, I often get a sore throat/general snottiness. I also want to sleep a lot more.
posted by Trivia Newton John at 3:57 PM on October 17, 2010

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