I read that women can be more susceptible to cold sores during their period. Does this mean your immune system is weakened and if you have a cold sore because you have your period that you could get sick more easily during that period?
Sorry if this is wordy and difficult to follow.
Thanks for your Reply!
Dear dkangel: Many medical conditions are noted to appear or worsen during the premenstrual time (eg menstrual migraines, catamenial epilepsy, asthma, genital herpes outbreaks, etc). Studies have found that progesterone modulates the immune function of T lymphocytes. Estrogen has also been linked to changes in immune function. Here is the only citation I could find at the National Library of Medicine site which tries to answer your question:
Behav Med. 1993 Spring;19(1):13-9.
Relationships between self-reported symptoms of infection, menstrual-cycle-related distress, and cycle phase.
Groër M, Carr J, Younger MS.
College of Nursing, University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
This study examined the relationships between symptoms of common infectious illnesses, menstrual cycle phase, and cycle-related distress. Sixty-five women who had regular menstrual cycles and were not taking birth control pills were the convenience sample for this research. Subjects completed the Menstrual Distress Questionnaire (MDQ), the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS), and an investigator-developed symptom checklist (SCL) that inventoried symptoms of common respiratory, skin, gastrointestinal, and genitourinary infections. The subjects completed all questionnaires three times during the menstrual cycle (during menstruation, midcycle, and premenstruum). The results of the study indicated a highly significant clustering of infectious illness symptoms during the perimenstrual period compared with midcycle. There were significant relationships between scores on the MDQ and PSS and the frequency and intensity of infection symptoms throughout the cycle. Analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) of the effects of phase, PSS, MDQ, and SCL scores revealed that phasic influences were not significant when MDQ scores were controlled. PSS and MDQ scores significantly influenced symptom scores when phase was controlled, suggesting a general relationship between distress and infectious symptoms during the menstrual cycle.
As you can note dkangel, while there were more symptoms of being sick during the premenstrual time, but the relationship was dependent upon how stressed out the women were. And as you likely know, being stressed is strongly linked to worsened immune system function. Being stressed means that it is more difficult to "fight off" infections.
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