Why do I sing better on my period?

Many women report that their singing voice improves during menstruation. The reasons for this are complex and not fully understood, but research suggests hormones play a key role. Estrogen levels peak just before menstruation, which may optimize vocal fold function and resonance. There are also psychological factors, as women may feel more emotionally expressive during their period. This article explores the evidence behind why menstrual cycles affect singing ability in women.

Key Points

  • Hormone fluctuations during the menstrual cycle can affect vocal fold function and resonance
  • High estrogen levels before menstruation may improve vocal fold lubrication and swelling
  • Progesterone increases before menstruation, which can stimulate breathing muscles and lung capacity
  • Menstrual cycles influence neurotransmitters like serotonin, impacting mood and emotional expression
  • Psychological effects of PMS may increase emotional connection and confidence during singing

Hormonal Effects on the Voice

The female singing voice is incredibly complex, affected by anatomical factors, vocal technique, psychology, and hormones. Research increasingly suggests hormones play a key role in vocal performance.

Estrogen Effects

Estrogen levels peak just before menstruation during the late luteal phase. Estrogen increases vocal fold lubrication, improving their viscoelasticity – their ability to oscillate and produce sound. Estrogen also causes vocal fold swelling and stiffness, increasing muscle mass. This leads to a richer, fuller voice.

Several studies have found singers’ vocal range and control significantly improves as estrogen rises just before menstruation. MRI scans show more hydrated, supple vocal folds during this phase.

Progesterone Effects

Alongside estrogen, progesterone also peaks before menstruation. Though progesterone is often overlooked, researchers believe it also enhances singing abilities.

Progesterone helps stimulate muscles like the diaphragm and intercostals, increasing breath support and lung capacity. This gives singers more power and air pressure when vocalizing. Progesterone also influences the laryngeal muscles, affecting vocal fold adduction and resonance.

This combination of estrogen and progesterone before menstruation creates optimal conditions for the vocal instrument. Vocal folds are hydrated and supple, while breathing muscles are stimulated – enhancing vocal control, power, and range.

Psychological Factors

Though hormones clearly influence physical vocal mechanisms, psychology also plays a key role in singing during menstruation. Some notable psychological effects include:

Increased Emotion

Many women report feeling more in touch with their emotions before their period. Menstruation causes declines in serotonin, a key neurotransmitter influencing mood. This may increase feelings of sensitivity, sadness, and irritability.

While this may negatively impact mood, it can positively impact singing. Emotional sensitivity can increase expressiveness and connection to lyrics and music. Channels of expression like singing may also help women process difficult emotions.

Reduced Inhibition

Some research shows women feel less inhibited and more impulsive during premenstrual days. They report feeling bolder socially and creatively.

In singing contexts, women may feel more uninhibited and free vocally. Menstruation may give singers courage to belt higher notes, experiment with dynamics, or try new improvisations.

Body Awareness

During menstruation, women experience acute awareness of physical and internal body changes. This mind-body connection may carry over into singing.

Singers may feel more attentive to physical alignment, breath support, and vocal resonance during their period. Increased body awareness could enhance technique and reduce strain.

Boosted Confidence

Despite negatives like cramps and mood swings, some women experience a boosted sense of confidence and empowerment during menstruation. The arrival of their period can create feelings of maturity, capability, and preparedness.

This self-assurance can have very positive impacts on singing. Confidence often leads to greater presence, comfort on stage, and willingness to take risks.

Scientific Theories

While more research is still needed, scientists have proposed several theories explaining the voice and menstruation link:

Laryngeal Muscle Effects

Hormones like estrogen and progesterone directly impact the laryngeal muscles surrounding the vocal folds. The cricothyroid muscle plays a key role in pitch and vocal tension. Fluctuating hormones during menstruation may optimize this muscle’s function.

Inflammation Effects

Some doctors believe menstrual cycles and hormones affect vocal fold inflammation. Optimal inflammation from estrogen may improve vocal fold closure, while progesterone may reduce inflammation and irritation. This combination could benefit phonation.

Respiratory Center Effects

Estrogen and progesterone receptors are located in the brain’s respiratory control center. Hormone fluctuations during menstruation may optimize this center’s function, influencing breath support and vocal stamina.

Hydration Effects

Dehydration from menstrual fluid losses may increase vocal fold viscosity and stiffness. Rehydrating around menstruation could therefore improve vocal fold suppleness. Maintaining hydration may be key for singers on their period.

Tips for Singing on Your Period

Here are some tips for harnessing your voice’s full potential during menstruation:

  • Track your cycles – Notice monthly patterns to sing at your peak hormone times.
  • Hydrate – Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration and vocal fatigue.
  • Reduce inflammation – Avoid irritants like caffeine, alcohol, and spicy foods.
  • Get rest – Don’t overschedule during PMS days to avoid vocal strain.
  • Express yourself – Connect with lyrics and emotions to maximize expressiveness.
  • Relax inhibitions – Feel bold to explore your voice’s limits and improvise.
  • Focus on technique – Hone breath support and resonance to avoid compensation.
  • Embrace confidence – Let menstrual empowerment boost poise and presence.

Harnessing physical and mental changes during menstruation can help women reach new vocal heights. Lean into your hormones and mindset while applying smart vocal care.

Measuring Hormone Effects on Singing

To truly determine menstrual cycles’ impact on singing, detailed measurements are needed. Researchers use various approaches:

Longitudinal Tracking

Following individual singers monthly over 6+ months lets researchers correlate singing with hormonal levels at each cycle phase. Lab tests confirm estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and other hormone levels.

Voice Assessments

Rigorous vocal exams assess range, pitch accuracy, dynamics, and other parameters. Comparing values at low and high hormone points elucidates patterns.


Endoscopic exams visualize how vocal fold tissues respond to hormonal fluctuations. Laryngoscopy recorded at different cycle phases reveals changes.


Collecting singers’ self-reports about perceived vocal changes provides valuable real-world data. Questionnaires complement clinical testing.

Acoustical Analysis

Advanced software analyzes recordings to quantify acoustic measures like harmonics-to-noise ratio, jitter, shimmer, and more. Differences point to hormonal effects.

Overall, combining lab testing, vocal analysis, and singer feedback provides the most complete picture of menstrual cycles’ impact. This helps develop tailored treatments for singers’ needs.

Other Hormonal Factors Affecting Voice

While menstruation involves some of the most extreme hormonal shifts, other influences also affect women’s singing:


As estrogen and testosterone surge during adolescence, vocal folds grow significantly. Girls gain over an octave of range. Supporting young singers through pubertal transition is crucial.


Pregnancy brings continuous high hormone levels over 9+ months. Vocal changes like breathlessness require adaptation. Maintaining technique during and after pregnancy is key.


Plunging estrogen during menopause atrophies vocal tissues and thins mucosa. Working to strengthen and rehabilitate the voice is important at this stage.

Birth Control

Exogenous hormones like birth control pills, patches, IUDs, etc. can directly impact singing. Finding an optimal method may require trial and error.

Understanding how hormones broadly shape the female voice empowers singers to tailor their care and technique.

Special Concerns for Voice Disorders

For women prone to certain voice disorders, menstrual cycles can pose challenges:

Vocal Cord Dysfunction

Fluctuating female hormones are linked to vocal cord dysfunction (VCD), causing breathing and vocal difficulties. Tracking cycles helps manage symptoms.

Vocal Fold Nodules

Nodules result from vocal overuse and inflammation. Some research links nodules to menstrual cycles. Optimizing hormones may aid healing.

Laryngopharyngeal Reflux (LPR)

LPR causes acid reflux damaging vocal tissues. Hormones potentially increase reflux risk around menstruation. Lifestyle changes help control symptoms.

Working with a laryngologist helps develop individualized treatment plans for hormone-influenced vocal disorders.

Holistic Voice Care

Instead of viewing menstrual cycles as vocal obstacles, singers can adopt a holistic mindset:

  • Respect the body’s natural rhythms and needs around menstruation.
  • Reframe PMS difficulties as opportunities to care for physical and mental health.
  • Prepare the voice via hydration, rest, relaxation, and vocal exercises.
  • Apply mindfulness to enhance bodily awareness and vocal focus.
  • Express creativity and emotions through the voice without judgement.
  • Let go of expectations, listen to the voice’s needs each day, and sing from there.

This holistic perspective allows singers to embrace their changing voices with wisdom, patience, and compassion.

The Takeaway

Research makes it increasingly clear hormones significantly influence the female singing voice. Menstruation involves some of the most intense vocal effects due to estrogen and progesterone changes. Exact mechanisms are still being uncovered, but preliminary evidence strongly suggests menstrual cycles enhance vocal fold function, resonance, air support, and expressiveness in myriad ways.

Tracking individual cycles, staying hydrated, managing inflammation, and embracing a holistic mindset allows singers to optimize these hormonal effects. While more research is still needed, women can tap into the power of their changing voices. Menstruation offers a window into the wondrous interplay between women’s bodies, minds, and vocal expression.

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