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Shortness of breath with PMS

I'll make this short, but since the birth of my child...3 years ago, I have been getting shorth of breath about a week before I start my period. My GYN says he has never heard of this and he thinks it is all in my mind. Of course it isn't! Anyway, I am a healthy 34 year old. The only medical problem I have is hypothyroidism and I am taking medication for it. Thank you for your time.
98 Responses
Avatar universal
I've never had a child, but shortness of breath is not a good thing.  I would go to my family doctor and have him run some tests.  Everyone is different but they always say better safe than sorry.  Keep me posted on how it goes!!  It does seem odd that you would only get it around PMS time, so I recommend that you get checked.....Lynn :)
Check your iron panel, including ferritin.
Avatar universal
Joy.......I have experienced shortness of breath for years..... since I was a teenager.......always around my menses.  After my baby was born, it got worse for a while......as soon as my period resumed, it stopped.  This past year, I have monitored this carefully, and it's like clockwork.  For exactly 3 days, before my period starts, I have this thing where I can't "catch" my breath... I can breath 2 or 3 breaths, and on the 4th, I can finally breathe deep enough to get the breath.  It's like something is catching so I can't breathe deep..... like I'm hyperventilating.  As soon as my period starts, it usually stops.  I have seen docs for this, and they tell me they are panic attacks, which I think is rubish.  I think it's too much of a coincidence that it starts 3 days before, and stops as soon as I start my flow.  I will tell you... it's not in your head!  I think, in my humble frustrated opinion, that it has something to do with the rise and fall of hormones..... and I don't see why they haven't come up with that yet.  I do know it's uncomfortable, and tonight, it's driving me crazy.  
The only thing they did for me, was give me a mild tranquilizer, which did seem to help, but I hate taking anything like that, so I try to breathe in a paper bag..... it's just so frustrating, that the docs tell us it's in our head!  It's NOT.  They also said that about PMS, and some still do.  I wish someone knew what this was????  Could it be hormone related?  I've been tested and tested, it's not heart disease.. it's not asthma.... my lungs are clear.  It's just some fluke that happens like clockwork every month.  The docs just shake their head, and say it's a panic attack.  
You should get it checked tho, and make sure nothing else is going on.  
Good luck Joy............and if anyone else knows if this could be hormone related, and if there's something that can be done.. please speak up :)
Thanks :)

Trish :)
i have the same thing and it is related to my period as well. have been checked, lungs, heart etc...
Avatar universal
Hey, I don't know if you ever got your shortness of breath problem resolved but my doctor has done several thyroid checks and I had to adjust my medicine to take half in the morning and half in the evening.  If your TSH level (i think) is too high it can cause breathing problems.  I have also started getting massages at Massage Envy.  I know it may be too expensive for some but it's well worth it.  There is something about getting your circulation going and relaxing that helps you breathe better.  I hope you are better.  Oh, btw, when I started taking half my thyroid medicine in the am and half in the pm my tsh levels went to normal.  Weird I know but I was possibly forgetting to take my pills.
Avatar universal
I wonder how many other women are going through this. I too have shortness of breath several days before my period that stops on my period! My Ob/GYN says it is hormonal. Although they don't really have any treatment, I find excercise like pilates helps tremendously. These episodes as you say can be very scarry and frustrating. I'm actually having trouble right now! I better do some pilates breathing and roll overs. Godd luck!


P.S.-It's not in our heads!
Avatar universal
No, it certainly is not in our heads!
It's been driving me mad and always starts about a week before my period, so it must be related to PMS! In fact it's killing me right now as I'm due in a few days time. Just can't breath deep enough like fish out of water! Very frustrating. Thought it was asthma - my lungs are fine. Though was allergy - tried all anti allergy pills+steroid sprays - no use!
Avatar universal
It's definitely not in your heads.  I suffer with the same thing, as does my mom and daughter.  I found out my grandmother had the same problem also.  Sounds genetic.  Mine started the year before my periods began.  The next couple of years were the worst (I guess my hormones were a mess then).  It seemed to level out after that and has always hit me since then right before my period.  It's driving me nuts right now.  I've asked doctors also and they are always stumped.  Nobody has ever heard of it.  I have had my hormone levels tested and have actually been put on hormone replacement therapy because I also suffer from a rash every month (which started after the birth of my first child) on top of the breathing problem.  It seems to have helped the rash some (not totally) but not the breathing problem.  It seems there has to be a doctor out there somewhere who knows something about this.  Maybe there is one who would like to research all of us and figure out what can be done.  I know there are many other women who suffer with this same problem.  
Avatar universal
I was so glad to find these postings.  I have shortness of breath right before my period too.  This month it has been really bad and it really had me worried.  I even quit smoking!  (Of course that's a good thing).  I was convinced that I had COPD or worse.  It is really scary to not be able to take a deep breath and the more it happens the more I dwell on it.  There has to be some medical explanation for it.
Thanks to everyone for putting my mind to ease.
Avatar universal
I thought I was crazy! I had shortness of breath when I was pregnant with my first child and did not know it. I am now on Clomid trying to get pregnant and have really bad shortness of breath the week before my period. No matter what the doctors say, these two examples are when there is an increase of hormones so it has to be related.
Thanks for sharing and making me feel sane!
Avatar universal
Same here! I've been having that problem on and off before my period for years. I'm 42 now.....and it's NOT all in my head like my doc told me.
Avatar universal
This is very interesting and I feel pretty in awh right now discovering all this time it is probably  related to hormones.  My thing is that I had'nt had a menstrual cycle since 2003 but in Aug. went on a very strict low carb diet and by end of Sept had dropped 20 lbs and low and behold my cycle started up again, and as always since, every 28 days I have had a very light cycle for 5-7 days.  This time I had very shortness of breath 3 days before. And between my husbands massage and a trip to the chiropractor I found some relief and of course when I started  the difficulty was completely was gone.  
Avatar universal
I also have shortness of breath and it is getting worse as I approach menopause.  It's not anxiety apparently it is from too much estrogen.

I just started a taking a product called Estrosense.
ANd for some reason it is helping.
I also take niacin and evening primrose oil.

The reason, apparently, we are all loading up on the bad estrogen that is found in Coffee and plastic waters etc.
Warning: Plastic drip coffee makers may release harmful estrogens that cause hormonally driven cancers. This is because water is heated in plastic.

Many diet products contain soy protein and other estrogen-promoting ingredients that leave our bodies bloated and sick.
Pesticides on our foods mimic estrogen in our bodies.

So, to summarize... We have too much estrogen in our food!!!
Lumpy breasts, 1/3 of us will be getting breast cancer, and fibroids...
Shortness of breath -- too much estrogen...

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Avatar universal
Hey yal glad I found this blog. I am having shortness of breath alot. The doc. said my lungs and heart and bloodpreasure are good.He just can't figure it out.I am 44 and my body is starting to change .He wants to do lung x-rays .But it sounds like this is not just me.Does it make anyone else tired.?
Avatar universal
I too have shortness of breath that starts several days before my period starts. When it first started the shortness of breath lasted for a few weeks . I didn't have the problem again for months. The next time it happened it didn't go away
(which was months although the severity varied ) until I became pregnant with my last child. I didn't have the problem during pregnancy.

My period stayed away for sometime due to nursing. I still didn't have the shortness of breath once my periods returned. My daughter is close to weaning ,nursing only once or twice a day. The shortness of breath has returned....I'm thinking it's due to her nursing less. ...so to me it definately seems hormonal. Have any
of you found any help?
I've been to doctors and have found no answers.
Avatar universal
I suffer from the same thing, where I can't seem to take a deep breath or get enough air.  I was having this problem today; I tried meditation, and it worked!  I meditated for about 45 minutes, repeating the mantra "so-hum" in my head (so on the inhale; hum on the exhale).  Just focus on your breath and the mantra, and if your mind wanders, gently bring it back to your breath.  Honestly, this works!!!!  And it also helps alleviate the other symptoms of pms as well.
Avatar universal
I have chest tightness and shortness of breath in addition to other proplems asociated with PMS and Endometriosis when I ovulate and right before my period. I have had doctors tell me that this problem is anxiety and try to push anti-anxiety meds on me.  First of all, only a Psychologist or Psychiatrist should diagnose mental disorders and I don't even have an anxitey disorder.  I'm convinced it's hormonal.  I have read that oral contraceptives can help.
Avatar universal
I'm so glad I found this post.  I was trying to find information on shortness of breath during PMS and I'm glad to hear that it's somewhat normal.  I can't get comfortable in bed right before my period due to chest tightness and shortness of breath.  I'm very active and a healthy weight.  I've also had EKGs and tests for asthma.  I even received an inhaler which I used once and never again.  Now I just lie still and try to relax knowing it will go away as soon as I start my period.  
Doctors also told me I was experiencing panic attacks.  It could be anxiety related to PMS.  I get spooked very easily and get the dropsies about a week before.  
Avatar universal
I experience shortness of breath a day or two before I ovulate and a week before my period. I know my sister has it and my mom had it, so I am pretty sure its genetic... My mom always used to say that when ur body fills up with extra fluids due to increase of hormones some may fill up in your lungs. Therefore I believe we feel like we are breathing in a tank of water. We should just bare in mind that it is a major discomfort but we still breath normal. And it does go away when we start our flow, Best way to deal with it is just to distract yourself do something that makes you laugh. Watch a stand up comedy or any other entertaining show that makes you forget all about it. As women we have to live with so many discomforts and that every month until I guess we reach meno pause. Thats the price for being blessed with the gift of pushing out babies LOL. Just know your body and say to yourself I know what my body is going through now. Society may be ignorant but you are aware and know that you are not alone!
Avatar universal
I am so happy I found this post - I have had this shortness of breath and tight feeling across for the last 4 months. I like alot of you have been told it was asthma, ultrasound and EKG of the heart, a CT scan to check my lungs and blood test and the last diagnosis I was told was that I had Gerd and the gerd and acid  was pushing up on my diaphram causing some pressure which gives me the feeling of "I can't breath", but sometimes you have to be your own Dr.  I started making a note and figured out that it was happening about a week before my period.  I am so glad I found this blog as I know now it's NOT IN MY HEAD.  I do find that keeping busy helps and I am going to try the exercise.


Kim S
Avatar universal
Hi all!

So glad to have found this, as I suffer from this as well! It seems to be more common than I thought :D

I'll be taking this to forum to my gp visit and show him what he thinks, as I'm currently on valium and aropax because I got so out of breath at times that I would get the most intense anxiety/panic attacks. Whilst the panic has stopped, the shortness of breath is a pain. It's so bad right now and it's so relieving to know I won't be kneeling over and dying any time soon!
Avatar universal
I have it too!  I was told "anxiety" by one doctor and "GERD" by another.  The shortness of breath has come a day or two before my period for about 6 months now, and it can last for a week.  I also sometimes get a feeling like my throat is closing and find it hard to swallow food.  Anyone else get that too?  I am 45 years old, so I honestly believe it is premenopausal and an imbalance of hormones.  I found this website which was very interesting:
I also have the problem swallowing as well! Mostly with food but sometimes just swallowing normal - it feels like all of the sudden I forget to swallow or something. Drives me nuts. I really think it somehow is hormonal just not sure exactly what, as I also get the symptoms before and during my period.
I also have inflammation in my jaw/ear area which I thought until reading this was allergies of some sort.
Avatar universal
I started natural hormone therapy for PMS (and other reasons)  two years ago The doctor I went to had a more aggressive treatment than I felt necessary.  I switched docs and my new doctor said I was prescribed way to much progesterone. Pill form, cream and sometimes sub-lingual. Way too much (for my age 42) so I began to weaned myself off last year. Now I use only cream. Only the last three months have been a nightmare with shortness of breath in the last week or two of my cycle. I'm a soccer player and I play tennis and Volleyball and am in top shape.
Last time I had this it set my heart into arythmea. im experiencing it right now and im scared May not be able to play in my game tomorrow. can't live like this no answers with regular docs. Does anyone know could it be low in hormones or lacking???  
1193806 tn?1264873473
I have had the same thing since dec. I have been to the doctor freaking out hinking I am dying I have done a lung scan and been treated for broncitis WOW makes me feel a little less concerned that I am not alone. But what is it I live in a tiny town and they are clueless
Avatar universal
I am a healthy 25 yr old female.  I am glad to have found this forum. I have always had really bad PMS symptoms and everyone around me knows when my period is coming except for me because it never comes at the same time. Sometimes it comes after 28 days other times 47 days...Last Feb I began to get shortness of breath, chest tightness, and became lightheaded. Since my period is irregular I never kept track of my cycle and the first time this happened I thought I was having a heart attack at 24! haha :) so I ended up in the ER with a panic attack and a 115 hear rate. Once they checked my heart and lungs and told me my oxygen saturation is fine, I calmed down but the shortness of breath remained. Then low and behold my period came the next day, heavy with thumb sized clots. I have gone the doc several times to see if the breathing issue had something to do with my cycle, they ran tests and said no, it's because im depressed and anxious (this a common diagnosis for military wifes at the Navy hospital). Went to many many docs, lots of test, xrays, scans, the conclusion was GERD. I tried the pills, the diet, still have this problem from time to time.  Recently I began to record the days i feel this way and have discovered that it comes during ovulation and a week or two before my period which is 2 to 3 weeks out of the month! I wish I had tracked it earlier but my cycle is so out of control, I didn't think it would work.  I feel bad for all of you because I know how annoying this condition is but I feel better knowing that I am not alone. Thank you.
Hi :) I know this comment is 10 years old now, but wondering (if you see this) if you have found anything that helps?
Do you have this issue Kelly2727?  If so, start your own question and we'll try to answer it for you!!  Give details of what is going on with you!
Avatar universal
Wow, I too am a fellow suffer! Seems to have started after my daughter was born and am no longer on birth control and my periods are heavier and more painful and add to it the shortness of breath. Cheers all!
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