Fever and Menstrual Cycle

fever in pregnancy

Is A Fever During Your Period Normal?

Every month, we are faced with a number of symptoms and side effects that result from our menstrual cycles.

During this time, our bodies are preparing for pregnancy, and when our body is not pregnant, it results in a period and its accompanying side effects.

Some common signs and symptoms associated with our period cycles include fatigue, bloating, mood swings, menstrual cramps, headaches, dizziness, chills, and muscle aches.[1]

Sounds like the flu doesn’t it? The reason however that we feel like this is most likely due to the changes in estrogen levels in the body[2] which can make women feel all sorts of out of whack.

Because of the tendency for our bodies to feel more stressed than usual during this time, it can be easy to take fever symptoms as a normal side effect.

Even though women sometimes experience cold and flu-like symptoms, fever is usually not a common side effect to have, and most likely indicates a more serious issue. They can indicate another medical condition or an infection.

What constitutes a fever?

Body temperature above the normal measurement of 98.6 Fahrenheit is considered as fever, however, it’s not considered significant until it reaches above 100.4 F.[3]

One thing that we have to remember is that a fever is really the body’s way of killing off the germs that are making you feel terrible. Once though it starts to reach 104 F, then you’ll want to consider immediate treatment.[4]

Symptoms of your fever will typically depend on the underlying cause, but most common symptoms that occur alongside fever include excessive sweating, chills, headaches, body aches, muscle aches, weakness, fatigue, cough, sore throat, rash, and sinus congestion.

Can your period cause a fever?

In general, one shouldn’t be experiencing a fever as a symptom of having your period. One thing though is that some of what you are feeling could mimic that of an actual fever such as cramping, diarrhea, changes in the feeling of being hot and cold, and body aches, however, a fever is not usually to blame.[5]

Some women even have nausea and vomiting as part of their PMS symptoms and they also tend to complain of dizziness, appetite issues, light sensitivity and/or irritability.[6]

Prostaglandins are a fatty acid compound[7] in the body that fluctuates at the time of your period that results in the feelings of having a fever.

Another culprit, the decline in estrogen[8] can be the reasons for feeling miserable before and during your period.

Generally, the cause of fever during your menstrual cycle will be the result of an underlying condition.

These conditions can have an effect on or result from menstruation, but it is not common that fevers are a direct side effect of menstrual symptoms.

In fact, fevers can serve as a good indicator that there is something else going on. Here are a few medical conditions that women may have if they experience a fever during their menstrual cycle:

Toxic Shock Syndrome: While not common, Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) can be a life-threatening infection caused by the use of high absorbent tampons.

A lot of the symptoms of TSS mimic fever-like side effects and is often accompanied by sudden elevated body temperature. This would be a persistent fever over 102 degrees Fahrenheit.[9]

Other symptoms include confusion, headaches, low blood pressure, muscle aches, rashes, redness, seizures, and vomiting or diarrhea.

If you experience these symptoms after use of tampons, it is important to seek immediate medical attention. While TSS is rare, it is a serious health condition and requires medical attention.

When considering how this can affect the body, a 29-year-old had both legs amputated due to the infection and deals with daily pain[10], which is a really scary side effect.

So if you are a woman who uses tampons on a regular basis, a fever should potentially concern you.

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID): Another bacterial infection of the reproductive organs, PID can be caused by sexually transmitted bacteria or the insertion of intrauterine devices.

Although symptoms are not always noticeable, fever is usually one of the symptoms that do occur, if any. For severe cases of PID infections, fevers may elevate to higher than 101 degree F.

Other symptoms that you can experience with this could be (however, not everyone will experience all of these symptoms) an abnormal odor, period irregularity, pain, nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea.[11]

Endometriosis: Endometriosis is another reproductive condition that occurs when the uterus lining grows on the outside of the uterus.[12] A low-grade fever can sometimes be present during a part of the menstrual cycle if you have endometriosis.

If you experience a simple low-grade fever without any other persistent symptoms that align with these conditions, you may just be feeling the effects of the flu or a cold.

If the fever persists, elevates or is consistent with your menstrual cycle, you should consult with a doctor.

Can a fever affect the menstrual cycle?

While a fever can be present during the menstrual cycle in addition to other symptoms, the actual fever itself will normally have no effect on the cycle.

Fevers may be the result of an underlying condition caused by the reproductive cycle or can be caused by an overt condition affecting your body in conjunction with your cycle.

This could include things like an actual cold or flu, so a fever shouldn’t be discounted as another symptom of having your period.

If the fever is due to an illness on top of your menstrual cycle, the added physical stress on your body can certainly cause a delay or irregularity in your period.[13]

So if you have been sick, yes your period could do funny things for that cycle.

If your fever is accompanied by menstruation that stops for three months or longer, or you have longer or shorter menstrual cycles, severe abdominal pain, excessive menstrual bleeding, bleeding between periods, or vomiting and weakness, or you have a fever of 101 or higher, then it is pertinent to seek medical care immediately.

This is something that you shouldn’t have to deal with in addition to other symptoms of your period, so if you are experiencing this then make sure you don’t have anything else going on.

References

  1. Emma Sarran Webster via Allure. “Period Flu” Could Be Why You Feel So Sick During Menstruation.  [Link]
  2. See Above #1
  3. MedicineNet. Medical Definition of Fever.  [Link]
  4. See Above #3
  5. Lindsay Burgess via Business Insider. Here’s Why You Always Feel Sick During Your Period.  [Link]
  6. Gina M. Florio via Bustle. Are “Period Colds” A Real Thing?  [Link]
  7. See Above #6
  8. See Above #1
  9. See Above #6
  10. Eun Kyung Kim. Model Loses Second Leg to Toxic Shock Syndrome: “I Have So Much Life to Live.”  [Link]
  11. Cleveland Clinic. Abnormal Menstruation (Periods).  [Link]
  12. See Above #11
  13. See Above #11
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70 Comments

  1. Elyn August 16, 2018
    • Daniella Hall August 22, 2018

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