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Is ‘period flu’ a real thing?

Here at betty we’re all about celebrating your period, but sometimes your body can make that a liiiiittle bit challenging, especially when it decides to make you sick at the same time. Like, who hasn’t felt tired, achy and even nauseous when they’re on?

But is it a coincidence when you come down with a cold or flu at the same time as getting your period? Or is ‘period flu’ actually a real thing?

Dr. Nieca Goldberg, medical director of the Joan H. Tisch Center for Women’s Health at New York University, recently explained how your hormones can play havoc with the rest of your bodily health.

“Hormonal changes prior to your period can cause a range of symptoms, fatigue, abdominal cramping, bloating, back pains, and other body aches,” she told Brit + Co.

These symptoms are mostly down to the low levels of oestrogen in your body the week leading up to your period, which can also impact how well or poorly you sleep and add to your exhaustion. Sounds delightful, right? But it does explain a lot and there is some good news.

While normal flu can be hard to shift and have a real negative effect on your health, ‘period flu’ tends to be easier to treat.

“Unlike the flu, these symptoms do not cause fever, and they improve after your period,” says Dr. Goldberg. “For the body aches and cramping, over the counter medication such as ibuprofen may help.”

However, you should still be careful to rule out a full-blown flu unrelated to your period, especially if you develop a fever or your symptoms don’t appear to be improving.

“Treatment should be based on the severity of the symptoms and you should speak to your [doctor], particularly if the symptoms keep you from work or your activities,” says Dr. Goldberg.

So there you have it. Period flu is real, people. Pretty sure the same can’t be said for lazyitis, but hey, let’s not tell the ‘rents…

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

Image: Katie Edmunds

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