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shortness of breath during menstrual cycle
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shortness of breath during menstrual cycle

what could cause shortness of breath during my menstrual cycle?  this began when i was 11 years old and i've now been dealing with it for 28 years.  some months are worse than others.  it usually just lasts a few days but is miserable.  it can begin a few days before my period starts or during my period.  it seems to be a hereditary thing.  my mother and grandmother had the same problem and my daughter also seems to have it.  i've asked doctors about it and nobody seems to have any clue.  i feel like i can't take a deep enough breath.  i have to make myself yawn or lean over (in a tripod position) to be able to take a deep enough breath.  
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Avatar_f_tn
hi, i think that during the menstrual cycle, you don't get enough oxygen because you loose a lot of blood, i don't know if you're a heavy bleeder or not, but loosing blood decreases your oxygen supply. i will suggest you increase your fluid intake during your mentrual period and also discuss with your doctor about tking iron supplement. Eating foods that contain iron will also help. l'd like to know the outcome. val.
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Avatar_f_tn
You have described me to a "T" with your description of shortness of breath during my menstrual cycle.  My will normally last about 2 wks.  I have ask my family MD and my OB/GYN doctor and the only answer I have been given is "must be your hormones."  My shortness of breath has been going on for several years, I'm now 46 yrs. old.  If a doctor ever explains it to me, or determines the cause I will certainly let you know, and please do the same for me.
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Avatar_n_tn
I have had similar experiences related to my menses cycle and breathing trouble, but mine is a few days before it starts.  My GP and OBY, just look at me, like I have lost it, when I bring it up.   The GP hands me asthma med's for a quick fix.   I don't have trouble breathing when I am not near my cycle.  

It is so frustrating to not be understood
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Avatar_n_tn
I have the EXACT same thing and thought I would google it to to if anyone had the same issues!!  It is nice to know that we all are not crazy.  My shortness of breath usually starts about a week before my period starts and lasts 4-5 days.  So uncomfortable, having to keep trying to get a deep breath is exausting.  I get the same answer from doctors...they have NO idea!!
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Avatar_f_tn
I also have experienced shortness of breath a few days before menstration. It gets so bad that I have had to sleep sitting up!! I have also noticed that my hands and ankles swell a bit. So I have been taking diuretics (water pills) during that time, and it has helped tremendously!! I just assumed that I retain water during PMS.
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Avatar_m_tn
I as well get shortness of breath about 2 days before my period and 1 or two days after.  As well my doc looks at me like I have lost my mind.  thank you for sharing at least I kinow I am not alone.  Samantha
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Avatar_n_tn
I'm so happy to read these posts and think that maybe I'm not nuts! I have had shortness of breath around the start of my cycle for the last few years. It lasts about a week. It seems worse since I had a hystrectomy last year (I still have ovaries so I still experience a cycle but no bleeding).
I am 46 and very active, so the shortness of breath has a significant negative impact on my running ability. I have run with the same friend for a few years and every few weeks I can't keep up. It' very frustrating. I have seen my Gyn and Primary Care doctor, but they both say "your lungs sound fine". Next stop is the pulmonary dr., but now maybe I will skip the shrink because I know I am not alone. Thanks. Liz
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Avatar_f_tn
I'm 16 years old and I'm experiencing the same problems that some of you are! About a month ago, I was having a terrible time breathing...like I couldn't get a deep breath. It feels like the air stops halfway in my chest or something. So, I went to the hospital twice and they told me it was my asthma, but the asthma medicine hasn't helped at all! And then I went to a pulmonary doctor and he said it was a vocal chord dysfunction, but then all of a sudden I could breathe better. Well now, a month later while I'm on my period, I am having so much trouble breathing again and it's scary! The doctor's don't believe me and they think I'm crazy! If you know anything or find out anything else please post a comment.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi there,
I've also been experiencing shortness of breath during/after my periods.  I believe I have narrowed down the causes to a few different possibilities:

1.) borderline anemia (from either menstrual bleeding or internal endo-related bleeded)
2.) so much swelling in the abdominal area that causes my internal organs to push up against the diaphragm and back against my spine
3.) endometrial tissue invading the diaphragm and lungs - this can really happen

I think for most of us, it could be a combination of the swelling and short-term anemia, since endo in the lungs is rare (OR more common than we think, but few have been diagnosed).

Have you had any luck determining the cause?
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1553222_tn?1294255075
Hi, Im 18 yrs old and recently, one or two days before my menstruation period I had this feeling of shortness of breathe. I'm not sure if Im having chest pain because  I dont know how it feels like. However, sometimes I think I have a chest pain (though not sure). This is the first time I've felt this and for me its so scary. Is it because of the menstruation period or is it something to do with a heart or lung diseases. I've finished my period today and seems like my shortness of breathe is still there. What should I do. Im scared to go to the hospital telling me that I have a heart or lung problem. Does anyone know the cause and treatment please.

I'll appreciate it so much.
thanks..
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Avatar_m_tn
I too experience shortness of breath I also get weak and dizzy.  I think it may be anemia or hypoglycemia as increasing my sugar intake seems to help with the dizziness, but not the shortness of breath.  I am an athlete (did a half ironman last year) and nearly pass out walking up one flight of stairs during my period, am actually finding typing this tiring.  Would really like help with this if anyone has an answer, get no joy from the Dr. who sent me for an iron test once when I wasn't on my period and told me I was fine.  
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Avatar_m_tn
This is a miracle I thought that this shortness of breath and inability to get a good breath in meant that at the age of 29 I was in for a dramatic and fatal diagnosis.However,it seems that no one has a clue how to diagnose it.I too have been issued anti histamines and have occasional swelling of the soft tissues around the lips and eye lids and it always coincides with my cycle.
Are there any other swelling issues that accompany anyones breathing troubles?
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Avatar_n_tn
I have the exact same thing!  I also get shoulder pain on the left side if I work out during this time.  I have had this happen every month just after ovulation for the past 10 years.  Very frustrating because, like all of you, my dr. thinks I am crazy.  It lasts for about 3-4 days and then I feel much better.  
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Avatar_n_tn
Please check:
http://www.catamenial-pneumothorax.com/

This is when you may have a partial lung collapse during your period due to endometriosis.  I had a collapsed lung 2 and 1/2 years ago that baffled my dr.  No one could figure out why it happened as I am a healthy 40 year old that doesn't smoke.  One dr. did say it was probably due to endometriosis but my surgeon did not find anything when they did surgery on my lung.  For the past year I have tried Lupron shots plus 2 different birth controls to try and stop my periods. I have all the symptoms of a lung collapse when I do get my period including the shortness of breath.  I go back to my gyno in 5 weeks and am going to discuss a partial hysterectomy with her.  I hope this will be the answer I've been looking for.
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Avatar_f_tn
Another person to add to the list of those who experience these symptons.  I don't think I am affected as much as some of you as I can continue with my daily life - which is fairly sedentary. Bending over brings on a severe attack of lightheadedness however that goes when I straighten up again. I have suffered from depression for years and wonder if this could be part of the cause. Also overweight although I eat healthily enough - not trying to lose weight but 5 a day and low fat most items.  Any common factors there?
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Avatar_f_tn
I just recently started to have sporatic shortness of breath and didn't really notice until now that it may be due to pms. It doesn't usually last the whole day, but today it's occured longer than it ever has. I also get back pain and a feeling of bloating in the chest. I believe it does have to do with bloating and or gas pushing up on the diaphragm. I have had an EKG, ECHO cardiogram, chest xray and blood tests for my thyroid and their seems to be no issue. My doctor says it's anxiety, but I don't feel anxious while I'm having shortness of breath. I guess it's just one of those things that just doesn't have an explanation. Because of our menstruationa and menopause, we will probably experience a plethera of issues that may not be serious but can sure feel like it. That's why it's nice to know that there is always someone going through the same thing you are. It would be great to have a diagnosis though so at least I know I'm not dying slowly,
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Avatar_m_tn
OMG! i'm not alone! I have been suffering from breathing difficulties for over 4 years now that feel like I just cannot get enough air. I try to make myself yawn to feel 'satisfied'. Doctors say my lungs are fine, no asthma. When I finally started realizing that the breathing difficulties came with my period I told various doctors and they just look at me like I'm crazy. But now I know I'm not crazy! It can last up to a week and can be very intense usually during, but sometimes right before my cycle. Then it goes away..for about 20 days, until the next cycle. Last night was the worse, with pain in the right side of my lung. I found an awesome holistic doctor here..I'm gonna see what his office thinks...I'll post if i find out anything good.
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Avatar_n_tn
What a relief it is reading these posts as I too suffer from shortness of breath up to a week before and during my period and have never met anyone else who has suffered this and was getting quite worried about it.  I also get the tender eye just before which usually goes very bloodshot and sore.  I'm hoping to go and see my doctor next week so if I find anything more out I will post,
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Avatar_m_tn
Wow, I am amazed at the number of people who are experiencing this same issue.  I have struggled with it for many years...been through so many tests, etc. but no one seems to know what it is.  My GP thought there could have been a case for endometriosis..as I have a documented pulmonary nodule...and have had several ovarian cysts...1 or 2 have ruptured as well.  Anyway, my Gyn seems to think that is so rare and unlikely, and the only cure for it is Menopause.  This absolutely affects my quality of life for about a week every month.  Some are worse than others, but never asymptomatic.  I also get severe pain between my shoulder blades and just below.  And the bloating, gas and indigestions are intense (even with pepcid and protonix). It's awesome knowing that I am not alone, but I guess I think that in this age of modern medicine, accepting a statement that it's nothing, or just an anomaly of my body, is crazy...There has to be some cause for it and some way to aleviate it.  I am going crazy...it really stinks not being able to breathe!
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Avatar_n_tn
I have had this problem for years. Right now though, my period has been erratic and I've been holding on to this breathing problem for the last three weeks. It is just so tiring.

My doc's put me on steroids, etc., and them meds have not really done much. I think I just need my hormones to normalize. Has anyone heard or found out anything?
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Avatar_f_tn
Yes, I too have same problems. I am 50 years old and it seems to be getting worse each month.  I have had these symptoms since a young age as well.  We all thought they were allergies but wouldn't respond to allergy medicine or even asthma treatment.  I don't have asthma.  I walk around with my mouth open in half yawn, trying to get a deep breath or complete breath.  My eyes water and it tires me out very much.  I also thought it was due to stress.  Alcohol seems to make it better for me to breathe, which makes me think that it is stress induced.  But the fact that it happens the same time every month, around my period, leads me to believe it is something else.  I have an IUD so I don't have periods, and I eat red meat like crazy, so I don't think it is low iron either.
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Avatar_f_tn
Wow! I am so very relieved and bewildered that so many other's have this same problem as myself.  My shortness of breath begins a few days before my period, however I am also periomenopausal as well (I'm 49 yrs. old) and began to associate this shortness of breath with hormone's last year.  I've been taking Omega-3's & Vit D3 but when my breathing started to become a problem right before my period, I began taking Women's Wellness-Andrew Lessman's and this helped me a great deal.  It could be the Soy Isoflavones in this supplement that are helping I'm not sure but something is working and for me, it's definitely hormone related.  At least I can still perform light aerobics during this time but prior to taking the supplement, I couldn't.  While walking my breathing was so labored but it has definitely improved now.  
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Avatar_m_tn
Hi ladies,
I also experience the same symptoms of Shortness of breath right before my period, it scares me everytime.  found this article and thought it might help explain why:

http://cchealth.clevelandclinic.org/horizon/menstrual-cycle-gives-clues-asthma

good luck,
christine
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Avatar_f_tn
I too suffer from the same symptoms of breathlessness,light headedness ,low b p,fatigue,tiredness & difficultly taking in air a week or so before my periods.I am 40 yrs old & I found that doing breathing exercise helps a lot.Maybe it can help u too,pls do try it when your stomach is empty best time is early morning .
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Avatar_m_tn
Hi ladies,  

This recently started happening to me as well. My doctors did a bunch of scary tests and then told me it was stress! NOT! I know what stress is and this is not stress-related. I started to see a pattern that it happens just around my 14-day mark. I know what you are all experiencing. My asthma/allergist put me on Singulair daily. He said he has heard of this and while they don't know why this happens the medicine seems to work. I take it in the evening before going to bed since some people experience crankiness with it.

The medicine has definitely helped a lot. Try speaking to your doctor. You may also consider taking B vitamins and the omegas to balance your hormones.

Good luck and good health!  
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Avatar_m_tn
Hello !

Even though I'm a man, I hope it's ok to post on this subject :)!

I'm writing a book on breathing right now and there is an interesting link between breathing and the hormone progesterone. After ovulation the  progesterone starts to increase up until menstruation. Then it starts to decrease (and at the same time estrogen takes over and starts to increase for the following two weeks). One of the effects of Progesterone is that it increases the persons breathing. So a lot of the problems with breathing could have to to with overbreathing because of increased progesterone-production.

The overbreathing is very subtle, so we may not notice it. But since we breathe 25 000 times a day, even this subtle overbreathing will have an impact. When we overbreathe, we breathe more than the body's requirements. This causes imbalances, which in the end actually deprive our body of oxygen.

When we overbreathe we can have all sorts of ineffective breathing-patterns. One common feature is that we tend to have too short exhalations, so a key is to prolong the exhalation. An exhale that is longer than the inhale will automatically lead to a better inhalation.

Another key is to close your mouth and only breathe through your nose. In the nose the air is prepared for the lungs since it's moist, humified and cleansed from bacteria. Nose-breathing also promotes deep breathing (not big, just deep meaning that the air travels to the lower parts of the lungs) which is much more efficient and reduces the risk of overbreathing..

A great exercise is to take a walk and "count steps". Take for example 3 steps on inhale and 5 on the exhale. Only breathe through the nose.

The same breathing-problems can also be experienced during pregnancy, since a lot of progesteron is produced here as well.

Good luck!!
/Anders (from Sweden)
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Avatar_f_tn
i too feel completely short of breath but am not actually out of breath for months now that I've started to keep a diary and it seems to happen a week or so before I'm due my period.  its horrible, i feel completely exhausted and have to keep stopping for a sit down though I'm not really doing anything strenuous.  i keep checking my heart rate but think i make it speed up as i am worrying about the breathlessness.  then all of a sudden it stops, period starts and I'm fine for a few wks and then it comes back again.  I've only kept a diary for two months so will wait a few more months and see if the pattern is consistent.  i have never ever suffered from even minor pms before and then i had two kids, age 4 and 2 and ended up with thyroid issues which have thankfully resolved itself but now left with pms (i think) and anxiety as the doctors label it!    
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Avatar_f_tn
I have the identical symptoms that most of you have listed...SOB beginning about 3 or 4 days before menstuation, and ending perhaps 7 days later.  The dizziness and generalized fatigue at this time is normal and experienced by many..  really just more of an irritation than a serious medical problem.  The shortness of breath, however, is hard to live with.  I am currently 48 and have found this getting worse in the last few years.  I have spoken to a couple physicians that I work with, and both agreed that it is probably due to homonal changes as cited in Anders post.  Supplements may help, but be careful when messing with hormones as you may upset your balance.  If I find a relatively benign supplement that helps, I'll be sure to update.  Borderline anemia/hypoglycemia/asthma, etc. could all contribute to the SOB, but I doubt are the root cause.
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Avatar_m_tn
I experience the same thing.  I started training for a 1/2 marathon and realized it may not be doable because I am basically out of commission for close to 2 weeks--I couldn't even run a mile last night!!  So infuriating!!  I'm at wits end with this.  Did you find anything to help?  my asthma meds don't do anything.  
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Avatar_f_tn
Try natural progesterone cream or the min pill which is only progesterone. It is the inbalance in hormones that causes the breathlessness.
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Avatar_f_tn
I also have this problem and a lot of others. My first symptom is that my fingernails get really sore, I actually have to cut my nails every month about a week before I start. Then I get the shortness on breath. It's so bad that I don't like to move around a lot during that time of the month. I thought I was crazy because none of my friends have these symptoms. It's nice to know i'm not alone.
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Avatar_f_tn
Yeah, what a trip.  I've never seen SOB as a symptom as even severe PMS, but it is definitely so in my case too.  I was glad to see these postings.  If I do find a sound cause or any way to alleviate it I will post that.  My SOB lasts from 3-4 days before my period, to about 1/2 way through it.  Also, incidentally, my oxygen saturation is at 100% (no kidding), so despite the feeling im not breathing enough, I clearly AM.  I will watch this board to keep up on info...TY!
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Avatar_f_tn
I have the same thing every month. It's very scary. I have also heard that its the body making more blood, hence depleting oxygen levels. Also feel nauseous and weak, feet swell a little bit too sometimes. Could also be a change in hormones. It's only been happening noticeably for the last 7 years or so, and I'm 38.
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Avatar_f_tn
I just read your post and it all makes complete sense with the progesterone and estrogen changes. When I feel like I cant breathe, I exhale as much as I can like blowing out candles. It actually helps, temporary. I cant breathe for days just before my period (when progesterone levels are increasing)(also thought it might be related to potassium), but then about two weeks after I start (when the estrogen levels are peaking) I get bursts of energy for a couple of days. I have noticed this pattern repeating itself.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi, Before you have a partial hysterectomy, ask the GYN about endometrial ablasion.  That will effectively stop all bleeding afterwards.  The inside of your uterus will be essentially burned.
I had that done, at about 53 related to very heavy bleeding, anemia (with anemia, you get short of breath)  There are simple lab tests to determine whether you are anemic, and it's easy to treat it with iron. Good Luck.
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Avatar_f_tn
Lightheadedness when bending over may be related to something called orthostatic hypotension (a drop in blood pressure when changing positions-like standing up).  It can be caused by hypovolemia (significant blood loss), medications, dehydration, heart issues.  You need a complete and thorough physical and an evaluation and possible treatment for depression.
Based on the fact that you are overweight and sedentary, and depressed--I would say those could be inter- related.  If you are not being treated for your depression, you definitely should consider talking to you primary dr. about that, and possibly seeing a psychiatrist.  The other thing is this--are you very tired in the a.m. and during the day?  You should see a sleep apnea specialist-usually this is a pulmonologist or neurologist.  My daughter who is over 300lbs. just diagnosed with sleep apnea.  It can lead to many other diseases: obesity, diabetes, hypertension,and fatigue,depression.  Hope this helps.
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Avatar_f_tn
Years ago my intermittant shortness of breath, which was thought to be "anxiety" at age 27, was asthma by age 42---by 62 it was then diagnosed as bronchiectasis (rare).
Asthma is not rare.  So, if you were having frequent shortness of breath or feeling "tight in the chest", like the air wouldn't go the whole way down, you should be tested for asthma, as that can be treated.  Too many doctors are still telling women "it's in your head".
Hope this helps.
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2212883_tn?1347408737
People like me yay :)  I have been going through this for a couple years now. I'm 50 and I guess going through menopause.  I've finally tracked my feeling bad with my period. I use to not even know I was on one before to now I know every minute I on one!! My worst part is the dizziness, that and the weakness. Why a doctor has no clue about why I have no clue but I'm glad you all are here to put us ones who don't understand at ease. Thank you
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2212883_tn?1347408737
People like me yay :)  I have been going through this for a couple years now. I'm 50 and I guess going through menopause.  I've finally tracked my feeling bad with my period. I use to not even know I was on one before to now I know every minute I on one!! My worst part is the dizziness, that and the weakness. Why a doctor has no clue about why I have no clue but I'm glad you all are here to put us ones who don't understand at ease. Thank you
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Avatar_m_tn
Anyone had this please? I'm 39 got 3 kids 21,19 and 11.
I've been having very heavy bleeding for 8 days with huge clots like raw liver no sign of stopping and bright red. I can't breathe properly (but I'm asthmatic normally usually under control though).Headache, dizziness and hot head. Had 4 periods since end of April.
Thought maybe I'd had a miscarriage and not known I was pregnant (also had 3 miscarraiges before but 20 years ago) but went to the hospital and was told not pregnant, blood clotting normal.White blood cells slightly high. Given tablets for bleeding but says don't take if asthmatic or allergic to asprin (which I am)so not taken them.Told to go to docs and be reffered to Gyny. Appointment this Weds.
The thing is I felt really well for two weeks running up to my last bleed better than I've felt in months full of energy etc even got a new job lined up. But feel terrible now.
Or could it be stress? Was on antidepressants a month ago but stopped as was sleeping too much and needed to get back into a job. My dog died last week after 16 yrs and also went to court to stop my house being repossessed. The judge tried to make me cry calling me a liar. Not sure if he was testing to see if a was stable or just a nasty A hole. But he's let us keep the house for 3 months. I just wish the bleeding would stop. Any ideas on what this is please?
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Avatar_f_tn
get a oxygen meter at walgreens, the ones they use at hospitals when they do triage intake. there about 40 bucks. check your oxygen when you feel short of breath if it is low then you know its something bab and go to the hospital, if the oxygen levels are normal then its probably anxiety.
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Avatar_f_tn
get a oxygen meter at walgreens, the ones they use at hospitals when they do triage intake. there about 40 bucks. check your oxygen when you feel short of breath if it is low then you know its something bab and go to the hospital, if the oxygen levels are normal then its probably anxiety.
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Avatar_f_tn
I am 31 years old. I have had the exact same problem... went through COUNTLESS tests over MANY years.. I have a hard time breathing during and after my period.. the same description as the rest of you... RECENTLY I had a breakthrough though... I went into the ER and they diagnosed me with severe hypothyroidism (had a few complications with this too).. my TSH levels were in the 100s.. and also women with Thyroid disorders classically have heavier cycles of bleeding which can cause anemia over time because you cannot replenish your blood supply(during period time) which causes shortness of breathe... this is what they concluded... I am not sure how accurate because it was only recently they concluded that about my breathing.. I will start to take iron sup. soon and I will let you all know if it helps. I hope that this helps some of you..and to you all I totally understand and you are not crazy... just seems that doctors only want to treat the symptoms and not help find the PROBLEM anymore.. good luck!!
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1808722_tn?1344500503
i know its been the longset time with this this time im scared also imy period is over now and it didnt go away like it usualy does and im a smoker so im real worried ,,,i had 2 chest exrays done  ;llike 4 months ago but it came up with nothing but why then am i so hard to breath
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1808722_tn?1344500503
the doctors say my lungs are fine also  i do have ashma but i never had this hard of a time breathing before and it is usualy with my period as well i dont understand why...
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Avatar_m_tn
Despite what the useless medical community say this shortness of breath, feeling like you can't get enough oxygen, postural hypotension is definitely a hormonal imbalance. I have learned this through months of trial and error! The best thing you can do for yourself is take a good quality multi-vitamin and then listen to your body and trial and error with different supplements, progesterone cream until you have the right mix for your body. In general I have found Dr's to be worse than useless! All they tell me is I'm too young (rubbish) and I'm depressed (rubbish), because they have nothing else to offer.
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Avatar_m_tn
I had this same problem right after having my first child I would carry a paper bag everywhere I went because it seemed to help. It would happen a couple of days before my period and then stop once I started it. Once I had my second child it all stopped and I didn't feel it anymore. It was really strange but relieving. Now I know I wasn't the only one. Every one would look at me like I was crazy when I would try to explain to them why I couldn't breath.
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Avatar_m_tn
I GET SHORT OF BREATH LIKE I CANT GET DEEP BREATH EITHER IT SCARES ME AND I GET WEAK THEN COUPLE DAYS LATER I GET PERIOD DONT GET Y PMS CAUSES THIS BEFORE U EVEN BLEED?????????????CRAZY
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Avatar_f_tn
I have been dealing with these same symptoms of shortness of breath, had all those test and every doctor says you are so healthy! UMMMM I DONT FEEL THAT WAY! So i get as I call them episodes! Fell like shortness of breath, dizzy, numb and then i start to get anxiety after the fact of no air and feeling like passing out! I will say its not anxiety!!!! Its something no doctor can tell me! But I just paid to see a Hormonal doctor thinking maybe this is the answer, I do have low iron but I always have had that but breathing has just started 2 years ago?? I am hoping this doctor can help because I am 33 with two young children and this makes me feel like im going to have a short life! Its scary and I need an answer! I hope everyone find out why this is happeneing and get better :( I feel your pain!
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Avatar_m_tn
I think that endometrium in the lungs is not a rare malady from the looks of all these posts . It is common but undiagnosed. Most research is done on men. That leaves a vast amount of problems that are no where near clarity because  of this. Almost every time I was hospitalized for my asthma  after 11 years of age it was just prior to or during my period. I believe the endometrium in the lungs reacts to the hormones in your body , but they are in your lungs causing inflamation (inflammation) and havoc in a place they shouldn't be. There is no more explanation, My personal solution is to look to a natural treatment for hormonal imbalances . Since the edometrium is reacting to the imbalance . Maybe if you treat the endometrium where it's supposed to be you can mitigate it's effects where it shouldn't be.
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Avatar_f_tn
I've been having the same issues with breathing, to the point that I was about to collapse from just walking or standing. With shortness of breath, my heart becomes uneasy and starts to beat rapidly. Last year, after seeing a gynecologist, I have been prescribed Cyklokapron, and then to birth controls after the Cyklokapron did not help with my flow as much. They say my shortness of breath is due to the flow of my period, but the day that I was sent to the hospital crying from it, I had little flow. At the ER, I came out negative for anemia after taking a blood test, the x-rays of my lungs had no issues showing, and the ultra sound at the ER was too "crap" for anything to be seen on the screen -- apparently due to my thin build. The doctors told me that I'm healthy and that nothing is wrong with me. I'm 19 years old, and if I have to grow old with this shortness of breath episode, then I can only see it getting worse from here.
I seem to be on the same boat with many of the people here, receiving dead-end answers from doctors. & I definitely agree with ElleEm's comment.
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Avatar_m_tn
My history was always no PMS symptoms at all saving for an occasional mild bloat or cramp - but after becoming ill and losing so much weight (I was 20lbs under weight), my periods stopped and then began again sporadically as weight returned. First were the severe migraines requiring emergency care. Second were night time jerks and fits (kind of how drug withdrawal is described). Third was the extreme exhaustion and "out of breath" - I can barely walk three steps before having to sit down. The severity of symptoms decreased as my weight stabilized but they continue with some months worse than others. I've mapped the symptoms and they start about 3-4 days before my cycle: Increasing migraine, night fits, exhaustion, cycle(heavy) and then back to normal. Once an OBGYN gave me The Ring to try and regulate the hormones, which it did, but the symptoms remained. All this to say, I think my case points to at least one of the causes of the exhaustion to a larger than normal hormonal change/imbalance. But what can be done? I'm hoping to find a "cure" for this. Birth control meds, in my case, wasn't the answer. The whole thing is damn inconvenient. I do feel better knowing I am not the only one!
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This is such a relief! Like so many of the other posts I've read, I to have been dealing with this for a long time, my doctor's think I am crazy, or it's asthma, or other medications (which have been ruled out), I decided to Google this today to see if anything was out there on the subject and am amazed at everything you've all posted!
I am a severe anemic and a few years ago had an ablation due to hemorrhaging during my cycles. Although that did help the flow, I still have regular cycles but it seems every 3rd month I get a really bad one, one where everything is magnified times 10!
I don't know why, or what to do, but I am so sick of feeling like I can't breathe! It actually hurts under my arm from straining to take a breath. Any suggestions would be appreciated and good luck to everyone!
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I have low iron also, I wonder if this is a common connection?
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Thank you all SO much for posting! I'm 27 years old and I've had shortness of breath for years. I just started noticing it's always around my menstrual cycle. I saw a doctor a few years back and he diagnosed me with costochondritis...but I feel he didn't know what I was talking about so he just slapped a condition on me even though I don't necessarily feel chest pain, I just can't seem to get a deep enough breath. I have to try to make myself yawn (often failing to reach one deep enough) for what seems like an hour, and it is beyond frustrating. I haven't actually started bleeding yet, so I don't think it could be the loss of oxygen through the blood. However, my breasts tend to swell during this time so I thought maybe it was adding pressure to my chest preventing a large enough rib expansion? Either way, I'm glad I'm not alone.
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Right now im sitting up in my bed writting this and my jaw feels werid, so does my jaw, nose neck and lets just say my whole head and face. I havent went to the docoters yet but i have experience this before and i went to the hospital but noyhing was wrong. But it feels like ssomeone is sucking the life out of you. Once i felt it when i was on my laptop i jumped up started huming, walking around with a hand on my hipand starred praying. I now just got back to prasing god and reading my bible and nothings change but its worth it god alwaysvmakes me relize that what im going through is normal. So just workout, strecth, and drink alot of h2o and relax youll be fine it comes and goes but its life. God bless:-)
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Right now im sitting up in my bed writting this and my jaw feels werid, so does my jaw, nose neck and lets just say my whole head and face. I havent went to the docoters yet but i have experience this before and i went to the hospital but noyhing was wrong. But it feels like ssomeone is sucking the life out of you. Once i felt it when i was on my laptop i jumped up started huming, walking around with a hand on my hipand starred praying. I now just got back to prasing god and reading my bible and nothings change but its worth it god alwaysvmakes me relize that what im going through is normal. So just workout, strecth, and drink alot of h2o and relax youll be fine it comes and goes but its life. God bless:-)
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As a follow up to my previous comment, I truly think it could be a number Of the problems mentioned above, but I also wanted to offer the simplest explanation as an option... Most of us have pretty severe periods and bad bloating is part of it.  It could be a mechanical issue of your bloating being so bad that its harder to breathe.  
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Just now looking into this. I also have it a few days prior and then I am fine once I get it. I am 42 and have been experiencing this for as long as I can remember, but it seems to get worse as I get older. I also am so depleted of energy. How have you made out?
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God, what a relief to read this thread! I've had shortness of breath for years and had my lungs checked as well as an EKG, both fine. I have a very slight allergy to dust, but no asthma. Doctors can't give me a proper answer, they just mumble that since the tests are alright it's nothing to worry about ... probably. One doctor asked me "Are you sure you're not just hysterical". Welcome to the 19th century. I also have many other pms issues, including anxiety, mood swings and rapid heartbeats, but I couldn't find shortness of breath on any of the symtoms (symptoms) lists I've read. You guys make me feel like I'm not just crazy and hysterical, so a huuuuge hug to all you sisters out there! Let's hope our societies start taking pms seriously soon, considering there are so many sufferers. I guess it doesn't count because it's not a 'real' illness, just something hysterical women get ...
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When I experience shortness of breath, my heart rate is slow. Is it the same for you? This points to low thyroid.
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When I experience shortness of breath, my heart rate is slow. Is it the same for you? This points to low thyroid.
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Avatar_m_tn
When I experience shortness of breath, my heart rate is slow. Is it the same for you? This points to low thyroid.
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Avatar_m_tn
When I experience shortness of breath, my heart rate is slow. Is it the same for you? This points to low thyroid.
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Avatar_m_tn
When I experience shortness of breath, my heart rate is slow. Is it the same for you? This points to low thyroid.
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Avatar_m_tn
When I experience shortness of breath, my heart rate is slow. Is it the same for you? This points to low thyroid.
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Avatar_m_tn
When I experience shortness of breath, my heart rate is slow. Is it the same for you? This points to low thyroid.
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Avatar_m_tn
I am dealing with shortness of breath right now.  I am really tired of dealing with this, literally.  This happens for about one week before my period starts, like clockwork, every month.  I feel like a water balloon or bloated tick. Or a stuffed flounder. 10 Pounds of sugar in a 5 lb bag.  You get the idea.  Then, the 2nd day of my period, I deflate, become utterly exhausted, and my ability to breath a normal breath returns and I'm relaxed as can be.  This has been going on for at least the past 10 years now and worsens every several months.  I'm 37 now.  I think it's hormonal, but I also think it has something to do with our breast tissue retaining fluid and thereby putting pressure on our lungs.  I've asked my male pulmonologist this and he looked at me like I was nuts, but I really think I'm right.  I don't know about you ladies, but I swell up a whole extra sore cup size during the week before my period and my bra during that time period seems to constrict my breathing even worse.  It feels like heavy pressure on my chest and lungs.  I avoided salt extremely for about a year and it made zero difference.  I have to come home and nap after work for the 3 days prior to my period and the first two days after it starts.  
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I am dealing with shortness of breath right now.  I am really tired of dealing with this, literally.  This happens for about one week before my period starts, like clockwork, every month.  I feel like a water balloon or bloated tick. Or a stuffed flounder. 10 Pounds of sugar in a 5 lb bag.  You get the idea.  Then, the 2nd day of my period, I deflate, become utterly exhausted, and my ability to breath a normal breath returns and I'm relaxed as can be.  This has been going on for at least the past 10 years now and worsens every several months.  I'm 37 now.  I think it's hormonal, but I also think it has something to do with our breast tissue retaining fluid and thereby putting pressure on our lungs.  I've asked my male pulmonologist this and he looked at me like I was nuts, but I really think I'm right.  I don't know about you ladies, but I swell up a whole extra sore cup size during the week before my period and my bra during that time period seems to constrict my breathing even worse.  It feels like heavy pressure on my chest and lungs.  I avoided salt extremely for about a year and it made zero difference.  I have to come home and nap after work for the 3 days prior to my period and the first two days after it starts.  
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I have only just worked this out thanks to this thread. Every month a fews days aver ovulation, I get dizziness (bouncy vertigo type. not low blood pressure) and feel it's hard to take in a good breathe, and can feel anxious (before this though mentally I feel great).  It all feels better on the 3rd day of my period. I think the progesterone is the key. Also I think I have an inner ear thing going on (going to an ENT in a few weeks) and the fluid retention from pms makes inner ear worse. That's my theory anyway. It really gets me down, the fact that half of the month I feel rubbish. What it must be like to be a man and not be so affected by hormones both physically and mentally.
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I experience the same thing every month a week before my period and get anxiety attacks as a result of not being able to breath correctly but after my period I am fine.  Was wondering if anyone has has a hysterectomy and if that solved the problem? My doctor is willing to do it but I am taking a risk and not sure if it will help or not.
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I think that you hit the nail on the head.  I have had all of these symptoms as well and when I get my period my stomach bloats out to huge proportions lol  There is probably just as much bloating going on inside where I can't see.  I diaphram does get stingy pains as well.  Thanks for the insight!
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I agree, I have been dealing with the same issues as many of these women on this blog for 10+yrs. its reassuring to know that I am not alone .
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Sandsa I experience the vertigo as well and 2 weeks out of the month I am completely fine and two weeks I am not.
Ladies I am having robotic hysterectomy done this wednesday 11/27/13
I will let you all know if this helped, it was getting too dangerous driving around feeling like this every month.
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Well, I can't believe I found this thread.  I put some words into Google about what I was feeling and here you all are!  I can't tell you how rotten I feel.  Right now I am about 10 days from my period...I am 49 yo!!  This started when I was in my 30's.  Today, it is particularly bad.  I am short of breath, weak, and my stomach also gets upset.  I feel Weird!!  It is so hard to describe this feeling, but now I know that I am not alone.  I also have had EKG, lung tests (I have slight asthma), and I am always told the same thing..."you're fine."  I am wondering if it does have something to do with fluid retention, and I am going to see if I can get something for this...  I will check back often...any suggestions on what you learn is appreciated!
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hi iam suffering shortness of breath during deep sleep for about 3years and iam so tired of that so I went to a polmonologist and cardiologist but in vain they said I din have anything dangerous it is just anxiety but I am not anxous at all an I don know why I have this shortness of breath just when I am in deep sleep n mainly at night can u please tell me of anyone has a same. as my case
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I started feeling short of breath in the last trimester of my twin pregnancy (yes, I know, to be expected).  The feeling got worse and worse, until I had to stay home from work - was too out of breath to get around anymore.  After my C-section, I became wheelchair-bound several times, due to shortness of breath.  Was hospitalized several times with anemia, a systemic infection and then for general investigation of possible heart and lung problems.  The shortness of breath gradually subsided until six months postpartum, at which point it reached the current level.  I have periodic flare-ups and recently started noticing that the SOB is worst before and during periods.  Doctors have all told me it's anxiety - but like you all, I really don't feel anxious except in response to the trouble breathing.  Just found some articles on peripartum cardiomyopathy, and the similarity to my condition made me wonder if I might have some long-term damage to my heart from an autoimmune condition that occurs during pregnancy.  Wondering how many of you started having these symptoms postpartum.  Women with peripartum cardiomyopathy are treated with an array of medications, but most important seems to be bromocryptine (which blocks prolactin).  At the moment, I'm looking into how prolactin levels rise and fall during the menstrual cycle and whether that could be affecting my symptoms.  Does this ring a bell with any of you?
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Nothing makes you feel more normal than google! I've been experiencing this 20+ years and suffering now.  Shortness of breath, constantly attempts to yawn...usually unsuccessfully gasping for deep breath. Makes my head hurt.   Doctors have and aren't looking for any explanation.  Hate that you guys are going through this because I know how much it ***** but knowing im not alone proves it's not imagined.
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I also have anemia, as low as 9.5 at one time - I am on iron supplements - heavy cycles since the birth of my twins in 2010 - always know when my period is starting because about 4 days before I get so weak and short of breath - glad to see I am not alone.  How many others have low iron or have been diagnosed with anemia?
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Me too!  Have had cat scans, ekg, xrays, etc. etc. etc.  Dr.s always say lungs sound fine.  I am anemic, which I think is part of my issue - however, it doesn't happen during or after my cycle, just a few days before it begins.   So I always know it's coming - but I hate feeling like this and having to suffer and basically stop living life for about a week each month.  It *****!
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I've been dealing with this a couple years now. I'm 43 yrs old. I've started bleeding heavier these last couple years & was wondering if it was related to that. My breathing issues always start right when my period starts and lasts up to a couple days. Some months are worse than others. It hinders my sleep as well as I just get so tired during the day. Also had dizziness, light-headed, fast heart rate. I've thought of taking iron suppliments during my period. Anyway, good to know I'm not alone in this.
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Okay. This is what I've found out so far. Two years ago this exact breathing problem hit me. I had full respiratory investigation for asthma and other related conditions including bronchoscopy. I had full heart investigations (as I had arrhythmias also) - all clear. So nothing to do with the lungs or heart.

I am going through the peri-menopause (age 49) and now realise that the breathing problem is related to the hormone swings as everyone else has mentioned. Hormones and breathing are definitely related. You have an urge to want to breathe more deeply as Anders suggested. You can't help it, it's your biochemistry.

However, you can mitigate it. First learn breathing exercises. I saw a respiratory physio who taught me how to breathe. She didn't find that I had particularly dysfunctional breathing (people who have panic attacks often hyperventilate because of anxiety) though I was found to have exceptionally low Co2. I wasn't getting panicky just couldn't 'get a breath in' and had the urge to deep breathe.

She advised the following.

1. Always breathe through the nose
2. If you want to yawn - don't! Swallow any yawns as this is your brain trying to get you to over-breathe.
3. Lie on the bed and relax your body. Start to breathe in quietly and gently to the count of your natural relaxed in breath, say 3 counts. Then exale gently DOUBLE the counts, so that would be 6 counts. Or in for 2, out for 4. Do this several times a day for 5 minutes. The more you practise the more your brain will learn to do it on its own.
4. Once you can do this, practise standing against a wall doing it for 3 seconds, several times a day. Once you can do that, practise walking up some stairs, one step in for 3 seconds, up the next step out for 6 seconds.

This hasn't cured me by any means but it has meant that I can now handle the very worst episodes of breathlessness and know that I can get through it without ending up in A and E!

The other thing that is important is that you check your FERRITIN levels. Getting your iron level checked is fine, but likely it is normal. However if your ferritin level is low my doctor told me it can cause dizziness and  breathlessness. Mine was 14 which is way too low and I take 200mg 3 times a day during my extremely heavy periods and then 200mg x 1 a day the rest of the month. (That is after raising my level to 37 by taking 3 x 200mg for the first few months).

Hope this helps others. This hyperventilation is very difficult to deal with but it probably has NOTHING to do with stress or anything else if you notice it before or during your period and you are not suffering from depression, anxiety or stress at other times.

Remember it's not our fault, it's our hormones doing it to us!
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Thank you all for this wonderful insight!  I have been experiencing the inability to take deep breathes for over 2 years now with no pulmonary evidence to support my problem.  I have been researching hormonal fluctuations and their symptoms and have found that changes in Progesterone can cause shortness of breathe.  About two weeks before your menses Progesterone increases and can cause shortness of breathe..... I'm not a fan of birth control but I wonder if being on it would help?
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So happy to have found this thread. Going to gyno on Monday. (Finally have insurance. Yay!). Been dealing w this for 2 years. Hopefully doc can help me out.
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THANK YOU!, and to the plethora of respiratory, pulmonary and cardiac specialists with which I have spent countless hours and on which I have spent ridiculous amounts of money both in your offices and even more still at my local pharmacy filling monthly $300+ RXs to absolutely no avail, I have this to say to you...., "SHAME ON YOU! I'm not upset that you couldn't cure this, but I'm mad as hell that you dismissed my symptoms, blended them into my childhood asthma, anxiety, exhaustion,...even had one of you tell me I was breathing perfectly so I must just be imagining it all!  REALLY?! You couldn't take five minutes to check if other people had ever had these same symptoms?!SHAME ON YOU! I just connected the dots a month ago, googled "shortness of breath before my period" and five minutes later the weight of the world was lifted. Just knowing all of you guys exist is such a blessing! I've spent the last 6 years of my life wondering if my next "asthma" attack would be the one that finally killed me! I do have seasonal asthma, but a few years back I started having these weird attacks. When I exhaled, my diaphragm would not completely relax. I would have to use my abdominal muscles to expel the rest of the air out of my lungs. But as soon as I relaxed my rib cage would pop right back up again. My lungs were very clear with no congestion and no wheezing whatsoever. I went to the emergency room several times and my pulse ox was perfect. Normal asthma medications only raced my heart rate and made me nervous and sick. When I tried to sleep I would have sleep apnea. These episodes would start four days before my period and would continue for sometimes up to a week. After the third night with no sleep I would be exhausted and emotionally a nutcase. That's when the panic attacks started. Of course shortly after that I was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. I was prescribed lorazepam which did actually work. But let's face it who can afford to go to work doped up on lorazepam for a week out of every month. At the same time that was happening another doctor prescribed Advair which is a bronchial dilator as well as a steroid and retails for $230 for one month supply. I was also prescribed Singulair which did stop my seasonal allergies. But what I was experiencing had nothing to do with allergies or asthma. Two months ago I had the worst attack ever. It lasted eight days and unlike most of these episodes I was actually having seasonal asthma problems at the same time so I was doubly miserable! It was as if the part of my brain which controlled the involuntary reflex to breath was paralyzed and I was having to make a conscious effort to breath every single breath in the face of a pulse of over 100 from all the medications and an upset stomach because I couldn't eat. I'll be quite honest with you, I was considering suicide. I felt backed into a corner and as though I was being forced to make a choice between suffocating or dying,  and dying seemed more possible than living like I was living. In fact it seemed like it might be a welcomed relief.  It was along that time that I googled my symptoms. Bam! They're all of you guys were! I've never been so happy to meet a group of miserable folks as I was when I read the first post. And after about the fifth post I was in tears! I called my sister who had recently had a hysterectomy and was on hormone replacement therapy. She brought me five progesterone tablets. She also showed me a few tricks that she had learned when she was taking care of a patient who had cystic fibrosis. Here's what we did: 1. I took one progesterone tablet and two magnesium pills and one B 12 vitamin. 2. I took two cloth belts like those you wear around your waist I sat up on the sofa and I forced the air out of my lungs to the point that my rib cage would be if I were in a relaxed fully exhaled breath , then I put the first belt around the lower portion of my rib cage just tight enough that I could feel it, then I put the second belt around the upper portion of my rib cage right above my breast a little bit tighter than the lower one. This kept my rib cage from floating back up like it had been doing. 3. Now this third part doesn't sound important but I cannot stress enough how much relief I got from this. We took four freeze packs like the kind you put in your lunchbox to keep your lunch from spoiling. We put one freeze pack under the top belt right on top of my spine and did the same under the lower belt. Then we put the other two in the center of my chest under the top and lower belts. Be sure to rent the packs in a cloth so that you don't get frostbite. After you've got your ice packs in place put a longsleeve sweatshirt on and lie flat on your back. You want the belts to be tight but not so tight that it prevents you from taking a fairly deep breath of air. Remember the point is not to keep you from breathing, it's just to keep your rib cage from flying back up so that you can fully relax at the end of every exhaled breath. It was a miracle! Within one hour I felt 60% better at least. I slept for nine hours. When I woke up I took the belts off and stood up and breathed perfectly normal,..100% perfectly normal.
I made a note on my calendar of when to expect my next period. That day was today. Four days ago I started taking the progesterone tablets. On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being as bad as last month's episode this month's episode was a 2. I think I could have been completely episode free if I had taken one more tablet, instead I settled for the 2 and used the ice packs. I didn't have to use the belts,  I just put one pack under my sport bra in the front and one in the back then the sweatshirt and slept like a baby.
I've also incorporated nebulized magnesium breathing treatments as well as glutathione nebulized treatments, also used in cystic fibrosis therapy. Strangely enough the magnesium breathing treatment works just as well as albuterol breathing treatments with zero of the nervousness and raised heart rate. Side note: I find it inexcusable that a respiratory therapist has never suggested to me that I use an $8.95 bottle of liquid magnesium to treat my asthma.  I've also opted to stop taking the Advair, instead I'm taking a high dose of Tumeric which is definitely working because I have not experienced the steroid rebound as I did in  the past when I'd tried to wean myself from that drug.
From the bottom of my heart I would like to thank the hosts of this website and all on the posters who took the initiative to put their situation out there so that hopefully others could gain some knowledge. You have definitely saved my life. I'm going to print each and every one of these posts and I am going to send a copy of them to every pulmonary specialist and every respiratory specialist and every cardiac specialist I know. At least they won't be able to claim ignorance. Can't wait to go see my gynecologist. I'm going to have all of my hormones checked every day for a week previous to my period so that I'll know exactly what those little buggers are up to. I would suggest that everyone who has this issue do the same thing.
God Bless.
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Avatar_f_tn
I forgot to mention this in my previous post and I know every tad of information helps: a couple of the posters had mentioned that they had experienced dizziness. Back when my symptoms first started around six years ago I remember driving down the highway and suddenly feeling like the world was floating around. It got so bad during these episodes each month that I was actually diagnosed with vertigo. And asthma. And anxiety disorder. And sleep apnea. And depression. And being premenopausal. And a Partridge in a pear tree FaLalaLala Lala! Lala Lol!
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