Changes in hormones can lead to a variety of health and skin issues. Although most problems are relatively minor, a hormonal imbalance can cause cold sores to form on the lips and around the mouth if the virus is already in your system.

Emotions and moods can activate the herpes virus. How you are feeling physically also plays a part. Sadness, depression, fatigue, stress, anxiety, etc., are all triggers. The herpes simplex virus remains dormant in the trigeminal nerve until some trigger reactivates it. The first signs of an outbreak are tingling, itching, and redness.

While women usually face a more difficult time than men with hormonal fluctuations, no one is completely safe. Men, for example, may find that their testosterone levels fluctuate significantly.

Even intense happiness can lead to a sizeable shift in hormones. This is why attempting to fight the tides of body chemistry is virtually impossible to achieve in practice.

In this guide, you will learn more about hormonal imbalances and how to heal cold sores faster. You will also learn about natural imbalances in addition to other hormonal issues that can create skin issues.

Can Hormonal Changes Cause Cold Sores Each Month? 

Significant swings in hormones can lead to the activation of fever blisters. Impacting men and women, a hormonal imbalance can offset your mood. This can lead to a host of issues that can throw your body and mental wellness into a state of flux.

It is not the hormonal shifts but rather what they do to the body that is the main issue. Happiness, sadness, depression, stress, fatigue, etc., are extreme emotions. If you become overwhelmed and lack stability regarding your mood, your body’s immune system and health can become compromised.

Although both men and women can be affected by hormonal swings, women are more likely to be a victim. If you carry HSV-1, these swings will likely produce a cold sore flare-up more times than not. That’s why women tend to get cold sores during their period, for example.[1]

While there is no proven way to control your hormones, you can treat your fever blisters at the first sign of trouble. You will likely have much better success at managing your blisters as soon as you recognize the signs than trying to fight your rapid estrogen and testosterone shifts.

To summarize:

  • Hormonal swings and imbalances can lead to many cold sore triggers. Because many of these swings illicit distinct emotional responses, your body can become taxed. This mental wear and tear can manifest itself into a physical issue. This is a “danger zone” where cold sores can form.
  • It is much easier to treat fever blisters than it is to stop hormonal shifts. While suggesting that it “comes with the territory” may sound harsh, it is more than likely true. The key is medicating your cold sore at the first symptom. Timely treatment can result in timely healing.
  • It should be noted that hormonal changes can occur due to reactionary encounters and events. They are not just limited to known medical issues, fertility, drug side effects, etc. Basic day-to-day living can provoke intense imbalances. Something as joyous as receiving positive news could be a catalyst.
  • Hormonal imbalance can be the result of significant health issues. If you believe that these swings are the result of something unnatural, we advise you to consult your physician. It is possible that a specific hormonal condition is having an impact on your body.

Can Menstrual Cycle (Period) Trigger a Cold Sore Outbreak?

Your period can place a huge strain on your body. Although some women are affected more than others, monthly menstruation can cause cold sores and a variety of health issues.

From cramps to bloating in addition to mood swings and skin issues[2], a woman’s menstrual cycle is incredibly taxing. Cold sores only serve to make an uncomfortable situation that much worse.

In the same way that natural hormonal swings can promote fever blisters, the monthly cycle is quite similar. The only real difference is the degree of aggression concerning the shift itself. The general act of going through a whirlwind of emotions in a short period can leave the body overwhelmed and even physically ill. Too much stress can leave the body susceptible to a host of issues.

While it is impossible to shorten your period you can shorten the duration of your fever blisters. Regarding the monthly cycle acting as a catalyst, blisters often appear quite early. It is not uncommon for a woman to encounter cold sores symptoms not much longer after cramping begins.

Even birth control pills affect hormones. That’s why it’s so hard to keep this problem in check.

Why Are My Cold Sores Worse During Pregnancy?

Cold sores are worse during pregnancy[3] due to the natural transition that is taking place within the body. Not only is a human life in the midst of growing but your body is adjusting to protect and provide for that life. Compromises within your immune system can naturally occur.

Your mental status can also play a role. The more that is on your plate in that regard the more emotional turmoil you will potentially endure. Just this fact alone can lead to cold sores. Fatigue, stress, mood swings, and perhaps a fear of the unknown can take its toll.

Just as cold sores have a natural stage cycle, so does pregnancy. This is why focusing on what you can control is so important. You can continue to treat your sores in the face of this turbulence.

To summarize:

  • Pregnancy is demanding on the body, and this should never be understated. When the body is taxed so significantly, cold sores will likely form. It should also be noted that pregnancy can cause canker sores and ulcers to form within the mouth.[4]

Other Skin Conditions Caused by Hormones

Conditions such as acne and menopause can lead to dramatic changes in the skin. These include not only visual alterations of the skin but also texture and general skin health issues.

Stress, fear, worry, etc., especially as a teen, can potentially trigger acne. While acne can also be caused by food and drink, hormones play a major role.[5] In the same way that fatigue can give you a worn down appearance, hormonal shifts can also result in visual symptoms.

Regarding menopause, the decreasing of hormone production can leave women with dry and damaged skin. When the body no longer can naturally protect and moisturize skin, the skin itself can lose life and elasticity. This can result in cracking, burning, and even rashes.

Hypothyroidism, a condition marked by the thyroid gland failing to function properly, can also produce a host of issues.[6] Dry, flaky, pale, and even waxy skin can all be a byproduct of this serious disease.

Can changing hormones cause fever blisters?

Living with Hormonal Fluctuations and the Herpes Virus (HSV-1)

Attempting to tackle every issue can lead to more issues. Since hormone fluctuations are at the heart of both issues, allowing the problems themselves to cause stress can only make matters worse.

While natural changes to estrogen levels within your body are virtually unavoidable, especially if you are a female, it is best to just focus on your fever blisters. Learning how to treat them at the first sign of trouble will save you plenty of grief.

If you are in the midst of your monthly cycle or you are pregnant, you already have enough to manage. Healing your cold sores quickly will give you one less thing to worry about.

If, by chance, the issues involving your hormones are something more serious then you must seek professional help. It is essential to know your body. If you are experiencing issues that are foreign to you and do not seem normal it is important to consult your physician.

While many hormonal issues are indeed natural, some are not. Controlling what you can control also means knowing when to help yourself in the face of the unknown.

To summarize:

  • Cold sore treatment should be your main objective. Learning to control what you can naturally help you to manage the rest.
  • Respect the unknown. If you are concerned that your imbalances are due to a more concerning issue, do not be afraid to seek help.


While some cold sore triggers can be avoided, changes in hormones are far more challenging to keep in check. Not only do hormonal imbalances lead to fever blisters, but they can also cause a series of other skin and general health concerns.

Thanks to effective OTC remedies, cold sores can be healed in a matter of days. This will allow you to tackle your day-to-day life with confidence and without the presence of open cold sore blisters.

And, if you are concerned about the way they look, you can cover them up with a Compeed invisible cold sore patch. These medicated patches will put a stop to staring glances from strangers at a time when you’re likely to be feeling more sensitive and self-conscious.


  1. Balan U, Gonsalves N, Jose M, Girish KL. Symptomatic changes of oral mucosa during normal hormonal turnover in healthy young menstruating women. The journal of contemporary dental practice. 2012; 13(2):178–81.
  2. Raghunath R., Venables Z., Millington G. The menstrual cycle and the skin. Clin. Exp. Dermatol. 2015;40:111–115. doi: 10.1111/ced.12588.
  3. Sood S, Mahendra A, Gupta S, Chandna S, Kaur S. Recrudescent herpes labialis mimicking primary herpes labialis in pregnancy. North American Journal of Medical Sciences. 2010;2(10):499-501. doi:10.4297/najms.2010.2499.
  4. Jain K, Kaur H. Prevalence of oral lesions and measurement of salivary pH in the different trimesters of pregnancy. Singapore Medical Journal. 2015;56(1):53-57. doi:10.11622/smedj.2015010.
  5. Ramos-e-Silva M., Ramos-e-Silva S., Carneiro S. Acne in women. Br J Dermatol. 2015;172:20–26.
  6. Safer JD. Thyroid hormone action on skin. Curr Opin Endocrinol Diabetes Obes. 2012;19:388–393. doi: 10.1097/MED.0b013e328357b45e.