menstrual cycle

Can our menstrual cycle make us sick?

Have you ever noticed that you always catch a cold around your period?

Well, yep, our hormones may be in part to blame. Let’s get geeky for a minute and have a look at what our amazing hormones are up to each cycle.

During the follicular phase of our cycle (which is from Day 1 of your period to ovulation) you have higher levels of antibodies and also rising oestrogen levels which together cause an increased inflammatory response in the body. The theory is that during this time your body wants to fight off all foreign invaders so that you can stay healthy enough to ovulate and then become pregnant. (Yes, even if pregnancy is the last thing on your mind, every cycle your body is preparing for it).

Now after we ovulate our body produces progesterone which has anti-inflammatory properties and suppresses our immune system. The reason for this is to prevent immune cells from attacking a fertilised egg and stopping implantation.

Aren’t our bodies amazing?

Sooooo this could be one of the reasons you may catch that cold or cough in the week leading up to your period. Obviously boosting your immunity throughout your cycle can help avoid that and here are my 3 favourite tips:

  1. Prioritise your sleep – as studies show a big link between sleep and your immunity, at least on some nights try to go to bed even 20 mins earlier.
  2. Limit the sugar – I get it, it’s difficult with all that yummy festive food, right? As there’s a strong correlation between sugar and our immunity, try these tips to counter the sugar avalanche.
  3. Eat plenty of veggies – you know this already, but veggies are packed with the nutrients and vitamins we need to fight off the bugs, as well as fibre to feed our gut microbiome. Try to up the veggies during flu season.

I know making changes to your health like this can seem daunting but remember to be gentle with yourself and take things at your own pace. If you’d like company while navigating your hormonal health, you’ll love Embrace Your Cyclical Power where you are be part of an awesome group cheering each other on for 6-weeks.  

“PMS kind of switched me into a Mr Hyde every month and I was very upset about it - I felt I was fighting a losing battle of self-control. Now I have learned to be kinder to myself and I can handle PMS and perimenopause much better”.

Christel Ong, Massage Therapist, Singapore