This One Is for the Ladies: Menstruation and MS
Last updated: March 2023
This one is for the ladies! Men, you’re welcome to read, but I’m not sure if this article will be your cup of tea, per say, ha-ha.
Menstruation and MS fatigue
It has been shown that MS affects primarily more women than men.3 As I’m sure most other women can relate, "that time of the month" is just a really yucky time in general. However, with MS, especially as I’ve gotten older, I’ve noticed that that time seems to affect me even more. I’ve begun to really notice lately that the week leading up to my period and often during it as well, that I am dramatically more fatigued than usual. It’s the kind of fatigue where my body and mind both feel like they are just dragging and struggle to catch up to my busy lifestyle.
Weakness and clumsiness also seem to peak during the week before as well. Occasionally I can be moodier before and during that time also, but I honestly attribute that to being so very fatigued and just being a woman on her period. The exhaustion during those 5-7 days can make that one week out of the month seem never-ending at times. During this time I do lack a lot of motivation to get my normal everyday things done, and often times dream of going to bed early throughout the day. Although my fatigue and occasional mood swings before and during my menstrual cycle do seem greater than usual, thankfully, it does improve once my period is over. After feeling this way for some time, I decided to do some research and see if there is any correlation between Multiple Sclerosis and menstruation.
Hormones and MS
Many women, indeed, share that their MS symptoms worsen just a couple days before the start of their period. While more research is needed in this area, you are not alone if you experience this.1
I also read on another website, mssociety.org/uk, that just before and during a period, the core body temperature rises a little. These temperature changes can sometimes make MS symptoms worsen. And, honestly, that makes sense to me.2
This finding reminded me of another factor that seems to affect MS in women: pregnancy. I know from personal experience that I did feel great during my pregnancy, and was able to stay off my MS medication throughout. Others with MS going through pregnancy may have different experiences than mine, though. There is the possibility that symptoms such as fatigue and the possibility of falls may increase. A doctor can help monitor the health of the fetus and MS symptoms throughout the pregnancy.4
What's your experience with menstruation and MS symptoms?
I was really amazed at everything I found out about periods and MS. I hope this can help other women who seem to struggle more during their menstrual cycle as well! According to what I’ve found, it does seem to impact quite a few women. If you seem to struggle a lot worse during your period with your MS symptoms, do not hesitate to talk to your doctor, and see what can be done to help!
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