Did You Know a Woman's Voice Changes During the Menstrual Cycle?
Yes, it’s true, a woman’s voice changes during the menstrual cycle. The changes are most noticeable during menstruation and ovulation.
Changes in a woman’s voice during the sexual cycle are due to the influence of sex hormones on the larynx and vocal cords. Like the cervix, the larynx has receptors for sex hormones and is prone to change according to physiological variations throughout the cycle.
It’s these same variations in the levels of the different sex hormones (estrogens, progesterone, and androgens) that also participate in emotional changes, irritability, and other changes.
Understanding the menstrual cycle
In women with regular menstrual cycles, there are usually about 28 to 30 days of repeated changes. The hormones present cyclical variations and are divided into two phases: follicular and luteal.
Menstruation marks the beginning of the new menstrual cycle and initiates the follicular phase, which ends when ovulation occurs. From this, the luteal phase begins, which persists until the time of bleeding.
In the first days of the follicular phase, estrogen and progesterone levels are low. This combination produces cellular desquamation of the uterus leading to bleeding or menstruation.
However, estrogen increases progressively until day 14, when estrogen peaks and ovulation occurs. During the follicular phase, the egg matures and ovulation occurs .
After ovulation, the luteal phase begins. It generates the possibility of pregnancy. If fertilization doesn’t occur, the egg is discarded at the end of the cycle.
At the time of ovulation, progesterone remains at more or less low levels, but then increases to above estradiol levels. It remains so until the end of the menstrual cycle.
Estrogen and progesterone concentration in the different phases
During the premenstrual period (days 23-28), menstrual (day 1-4) and in the postmenstrual phase (day 5-10), estrogen levels predominate but aren’t as high. In the middle of the follicular phase, until ovulation (days 13-15), they reach their maximum concentration peak.
On the other hand, progesterone levels increase after ovulation, and they’re maintained until before menstruation (days 15-28).
Learn about Which Hormones Influence the Menstrual Cycle?
How does the menstrual cycle affect a woman’s voice?
Changes in a woman’s voice during the menstrual cycle are due to the effect on the varying levels of estrogen (predominant in the first phase) and progesterone (main in the second phase). The action is exerted on receptors present in the larynx and vocal folds.
Thus, hormonal variations cause modifications in the mucosa, vascularization and mucus production of the vocal folds. On the other hand, hormones also hinder the arrival of nerve signals that are sent to the folds of the vocal folds.
Estrogens modify a woman’s voice because they increase mucous secretion by the glands above and below the edges of the vocal folds. This provides greater viscosity and facilitates mobility. In addition, they increase the permeability of the capillaries, favoring tissue oxygenation.
It occurs in the follicular phase, close to the ovulation period.
Then, in the phase in which progesterone predominates, there’s venous dilatation, swelling of the vocal folds, and consequent fluid retention. You may notice congestion, swelling of the vocal cords, presence of micro varicose veins and they may even bleed.
How do hormonal changes manifest themselves in a woman’s voice?
During the period in which progesterone predominates, a woman’s voice tends to be thicker, deeper, coarser, rougher, more broken, and even monotonous. This is due to water retention.
When the progressive increase of estrogens occurs, the excess liquid is eliminated, giving rise to a clearer, higher-pitched voice, with the ability to reach higher notes and maintain a greater vibration and frequency. We would say that the voice tends to sound more attractive.
Discover more: Estrogen: An Essential Hormone for Women
A woman’s voice evolves throughout life
From childhood to menopause, a woman’s voice is influenced by hormonal variations. At puberty, the impact of estrogen and progesterone causes a deepening of the voice.
At menopause, due to the decline of estrogen and progesterone, there’s a decrease in the range and frequency of the voice. It becomes hoarse and deep, with difficulty in reaching high notes and vocal fatigue appears.
There’s also the so-called premenstrual vocal syndrome. In this syndrome, associated with progesterone levels, there’s fatigue, decreased range, and a loss of power and some harmonies.
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- Kadakia S, et al. The Effect of Hormones on the Voice. Care of the Professional Voice 2013;69(5). Disponible en http://www.vocapedia.info/_Library/JOS_files_Vocapedia/JOS-069-5-2013-571.pdf.
- Shoup M, et al. Fertility-Dependent Acoustic Variation in Women. Sage Journals 2019. Disponible en https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1474704919843103.
- Zamponi V, et al. Effect of sex hormones on human voice physology: from childhood to senescence. Hormones (Athenas) 2021;20(4). Disponible en https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8594207/.