We hear a lot about PMS and the misery it can cause for some women. Less is heard about the hormonal misery that can occur during other parts of our menstrual cycles.
If you find that you feel sick around the time that you ovulate, you are not alone! We shall call this the, “fertile window flu”.
When our fertile windows are
The windows in time in which we may fall pregnant during our cycles, depends on the length of our cycles. This varies in every woman.
They say that our chances of getting pregnant are the highest about five days before and the day of ovulation. Many healthcare experts will throw out day 14 of our cycles as being when many women ovulate. This is based on a 28 day cycle which is considered average.
The shorter your cycle the earlier you ovulate. The longer your cycle, the later you ovulate. This puts us at the possibility of ovulation occurring on days 8-22.
Hormones during our fertile windows
Our hormones do different things at different times during our cycles. When we are in our fertile windows our estrogen and testosterone get higher.
Another hormone called the luteinizing hormone (LH), also gets higher at this time in our cycles. Its surge is what triggers ovulation to happen.
The fertile window flu
The same flu symptoms that can be caused by the hormones leading up to our periods, can happen during our fertile windows.
For women that also deal with PMS, experiencing the fertile window flu can make it feel like they only get a few days of feeling well each cycle. This can be really frustrating to them.
Another unfortunate thing about the fertile window flu is that it can be just as bad or even worse than the PMS symptoms one may experience. The following is a list of symptoms that can comprise the fertile window flu:
- Brain fog
- Joint pain
- Body aches
- GERD flare-ups
- Abdominal pain
- Sore throat
- Runny/stuffy nose
- Elevated temperature
Sound familiar? It can be just like a real flu. In addition to these flu-like symptoms during the fertile window, women may experience ovulation cramps on top of it. Not cool!
Why the fertile window flu happens
Some women are just incredibly sensitive to hormonal changes which may cause the flu symptoms. Other causes for this happening can include actually being sick, experiencing stress, starting a new diet, changing/starting medication and starting supplements.
What to do if you experience this flu
If a woman deals with the fertile window flu and/or the period flu (let’s use this term to mean PMS here), there are some things they can try to eliminate or reduce the symptoms. They are as follows:
- Birth control- Going on hormonal birth control may help balance out your hormones so that your body responds to them in a less harsh way.
- Change up your diet- It could be wise to look at the food you eat and change things up. Some women have reported that they have had easier cycles after cutting out extra sugar and dairy.
- Have better sleep hygiene- Getting a good amount of sleep (they say 8 hours a night) is important for our bodies. Crappy sleep can mess up our cycles.
- Stress relief- A lot of stress can affect us physically in negative ways. It is important to practice stress relief techniques if you find it to be a significant problem. These techniques can include meditation, Yoga, listening to nice music and engaging in favorite hobbies.
- Treat the pain- If you experience pain during these times in your cycle, there are some things you can do for it. These include taking pain relievers, CBD oil, hot packs, warm baths and slathering on Vicks VapoRub.
- Treating nausea and GERD- There are quite a few OTC products that you can take to ease these types of symptoms. They include ginger (comes in many forms), chamomile tea, red raspberry leaf tea, peppermint (tea, candy, essential oil), vitamin B6, Pepcid and antiemetics (such as Zofran and Meclizine).
- Treat bloating- Bloating can happen during both the fertile window and PMS. It can be treated by doing certain Yoga moves, drinking peppermint tea, drinking dandelion root tea, taking warm baths and possibly using Gas-X.
- Treat sore throats- It may seem crazy that our hormones can cause sore throats, but it does happen. To treat a sore throat, you can use the same things that work for when you have an actual flu or cold. This includes sucking on throat drops, drinking hot teas (red raspberry leaf, chamomile, turmeric etc.) and putting Vicks VapoRub on your throat area.
- Treating the chills- This sensation with or without a fever, is extremely uncomfortable. To deal with them you can rub yourself down with Vicks VapoRub, take Tylenol, drink hot teas, stay hydrated and get plenty of rest.
- Treating exhaustion- If you are feeling utterly exhausted, the best thing to do is try to rest as much as possible if you can. Pushing through it may make things worse for you.
- Treating nasal issues- To treat a stuffed up or a runny nose, there are a few things you can do. These include using a humidifier, saline nose sprays, breathing in peppermint essential oil and staying hydrated.
- Treating diarrhea- Yes, hormones can cause this yucky symptom. To treat it you have to make sure you stay hydrated and you can also use Imodium (an anti-diarrheal medication). If you are actually sick though, Imodium is not recommended.
These are just some ideas and there are probably even more ways to deal with the hormonal flu.
It is also a great idea to track down the hormonal symptoms you have each day in your cycle along with your moods, diet and exercise. This will help you notice patterns in how you feel and to really see what helps or makes things worse. You can get yourself a nice health journal or just us a notebook.
Other things one can experience during their fertile window
There are other uncomfortable symptoms that some women have to deal with when they are in their fertile windows. They are as follows:
- Acne and/or oily skin
- Worsening of mood
- Sensitivity to smells
- Bleeding and irritated gums
- Excess thirst
My experience with the fertile window flu
Ever since I gave birth, I have dealt with moderate to severe physical symptoms during my fertile window. It has been really tough.
The fertile window issues I deal with include horrible nausea, lightheadedness, gassiness, bloating and painful cramping. Sometimes these occur only two out of the six days and other times it lasts the full six days.
I have been through the gamut of testing which has never led to any answers. It was not until I began to track my cycles more that I realized my issues were hormonally related.
My doctors have prescribed me birth control pills and anti-depressants. The problem is that birth control makes me feel even worse (I have tried several) and I am not interested in taking anti-depressants.
Since there really is nothing else a doctor can do for me, I have taken my health into my own hands. This involves me taking antiemetics, staying hydrated, using hot packs and taking Tylenol (does not always work that great unfortunately).
From now on I will also be drinking red raspberry leaf tea everyday to see if it helps anything.
You are not alone
If you find yourself feeling physically miserable during the mid-point of your cycle, know that there are many other women who feel the same. It is really unfortunate that some of us have to go through this as it can really get in the way of life.
Hopefully, the ideas to help get through the fertile window flu will be of use to anyone that is reading this and has to deal with it.
Thanks for reading!
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