Respiratory Disorders Community
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Avatar universal

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.  
128 Responses
Avatar universal
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.
Avatar universal
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.
Avatar universal
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
hi there i have the excact same thing going on with me and i feel no one listens to me very frustarting.maybe together with other people advice we may get answers i fully understand how you feel
your condition sounds like you have Catamenial Pneumothorax it;s a very rare lung disease so not many know about it or how to treat it. my best advise to you is start calling pulmonologists and ask if they are familiar.
Avatar universal
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!!
WoW! I thought I was insane!  I am 43 and never in my life had issues w breathing (about a week before my period and continues on through it...) like I do this past year.  I thought it was the altitude finally catching up w my age.  I can't seem to get on the breathing thing because my head is in a cloud and I feel glossy eyed.  
Avatar universal
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.
Avatar universal
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
Avatar universal
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
Avatar universal
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.
Avatar universal
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?
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.
Avatar universal
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.  
Avatar universal
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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