Menstruation or periods comes as a phase in a woman’s life every month and has its very own symptoms that can range from mild to severe. These symptoms again, vary in every woman and often, many women don’t have the same symptoms every time. Of the various symptoms that can accompany a woman’s period, feeling nauseous is just one of them though as weird it may sound to many of you. From a mild headache, feverishness and lower abdominal ache to nausea and even throwing up, everyone goes through her menstrual period in a different way.
What Causes Nausea During the Periods?
The cause of nausea during your menstrual cycle may not just be one. Various factors can cause you to feel nauseated when your uterus is shedding the endometrium lining. Studies have revealed that there exists a link between the chemical processes that place during the menstrual cycle with those of the digestive system. For many women who experience nausea during their period, one of the possible causes could be the changing levels of hormones which produce extra digestive acids. These acids can cause a mild heartburn or lead to something more severe as nausea and vomiting.
Here are some more possible causes of nausea during menstruation –
High Levels of Prostaglandin
By the end of a woman’s cycle, the uterus is done building up the lining of the endometrium over the course of the month. It is now ready to shed the lining which is what the bleeding during periods is all about. To facilitate this process, the body synthesizes hormones called prostaglandins. The prostaglandin causes contractions in the uterus which causes the symptoms of lower abdominal cramps called menstrual cramps. However, the role of this hormone doesn’t just end at that.
The levels of prostaglandin are at their highest during the first few days of menstruation. High levels of this chemical trigger muscle contraction along the gastrointestinal tract which makes you feel nauseated and some women even throw up or begin experiencing digestive issues like diarrhea. For most healthy women, it is the elevated prostaglandin levels which possibly cause symptoms like nausea. Again, the levels of prostaglandin are not elevated in the same way in every woman, and so, while in some cases the symptoms are mild, it is worse in others.
Nausea during periods is sometimes linked with dysmenorrhea. It is a condition in which a woman experience painful periods which can range from being mild to severe cramping in the lower abdomen. In this condition, however, there are more bothering symptoms that interfere with daily life. The period pain is usually accompanied by a backache, headache, nausea, vomiting and in severe cases, even fainting.
Sometimes, painful periods with nausea like feelings can indicate underlying health issues. For example, sometimes a woman who have conditions like endometriosis often have nausea and vomiting during their period. During endometriosis, the endometrium lining forms outside the uterus instead of inside. These cells undergo an overgrowth lining both the uterine and abdominal cavities. During the cycle’s hormonal changes, these cells are influenced triggering symptoms like a debilitating abdominal cramping often accompanied by nausea, rectal pain, bloating and diarrhea.
Uterine fibroids are benign tumorous growths that grow from the muscle tissues around the uterus. They are also called myomas and have various shapes and sizes. They can be growing outside or within the wall of the uterus or in some cases, may be attached to a stem. One may have one or more fibroids at one time. These overgrowths usually remain small for a good time until when they suddenly start increasing in size or may gradually and very slowly grow over several years. These fibroids have often been linked to menstruation symptoms. Having fibroids can cause heavy or frequent periods as well as menstrual cramps. When the fibroids are attached to the uterus by a stem, they may become twisted. This can cause pain and much often, feelings of nausea accompanied by fever.
Sometimes, menstruation nausea can be caused by body’s more integral issues such as a deficiency in vitamin A or B or a sugar imbalance. It can cause nausea not only during a woman’s menstrual cycle but also before or after it.
In most healthy women, the simple cause of nausea during menstruation is triggered by the abdominal cramps. A painful period caused by high levels of prostaglandin and abdominal contractions affects the stomach. These make you feel nauseated. Sometimes, the pain is associated with PMS, and it can cause breast pain and headaches. These discomforts often make one feel nauseous and sick.
Nausea During Menstrual Stages
In a healthy woman, the feeling of nausea caused by the necessary hormonal changes usually varies in the different stages of the menstrual cycle. Read on to learn how.
The feeling of nausea is normally at its strongest a few weeks before the period begins, usually two to three weeks before one starts shedding the endometrium lining. The follicular stage has elevated levels of estrogen. This is followed by the luteal stage when you are ovulating. This stage also brings about a feeling of nausea in some women. In normal circumstances, any feelings of nausea usually fade away by the time your period starts, and you shed the endometrial lining with blood and water.
Signs of nausea are nearly gone or are petite after the menstrual period is over.
Sometimes women experience nausea when they are going through menopause. This is caused by the hormone fluctuations and a boost in the levels of estrogen in the body.
Nausea as a PMS
Nausea is one of the several symptoms of PMS or Premenstrual syndrome. As you feel nauseated, your appetite takes a leave as well interfering with your daily lifestyle. PMS related nausea can often be stressful at times raising doubts of a possible pregnancy. However, just as it begins with a period, with the bleeding the symptom usually fades away. PMS nausea is not something very unusual. Studies have revealed that about 75% of women experience the various symptoms of PMS and nausea is quite commonly one of them. It is triggered before a period as the level of estrogen drops. Sometimes, nutritional deficiencies, poor diets like excessive intake of caffeine and salty foods and brain chemical fluctuation can worsen PMS including nausea that can lead to vomiting.
Can You be Pregnant?
You can experience the feeling of nausea and also have vomited if you are pregnant. Most women start to menstruate four weeks from the beginning from their last menstruation. This is to say, if you have still not started to menstruate, there are fair chances of you being pregnant. This is the time when you will also experience the symptoms of pregnancy which are much like those of PMS with lower abdominal aches, fatigue, tender breasts, feverishness and the likes. At about three weeks of pregnancy, a woman can experience some spotting which is brownish or pinkish in color. This is when the fertilized egg is implanted in the uterus lining. If you are in doubt, the best way to determine is to go for a blood test or take a pregnancy test at home after about five days from your period due date.
How to Relieve Nausea During Menstruation?
There are various ways of treating nausea during menstruation. In most cases, over-the-counter drugs and prescription medications are helpful. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs help by blocking prostaglandin production which relieves one from feeling nauseated during periods. So, if you are experiencing nausea during your periods, you can resort to naproxen and ibuprofen to get relief. Some women find relief just with a simple antacid tablet. Besides, there are several effective home remedies to help you ease feelings of nausea and vomiting.
It is a good idea to make omega-3 fatty acids a regular part of your diet. You can either go for the supplements that are available easily in the herbal medical stores or eat cold water fishes which are enriched with the omega-3s. These fatty acids are known to reduce the production of the hormone prostaglandin which can help you from feeling nauseated. Chinese medicine theorizes that when the body becomes too cold, it can cause nausea during menstruation. This is especially true during the colder months. Drink warm beverages like ginger tea and mint tea which eases any discomfort in the GI tract and settles any issues of nausea or vomiting.
When to Call the Doctor During Menstruation Nausea?
If you have been experiencing a long-lasting or severe nausea before or during your period, it can be a cause for concern. Also, if you feel nauseous every month, it would be wise to consult a medical practitioner. This will help to determine what could be the possible cause of nausea in your case and what is the best way of treating it. It is particularly helpful if the feeling of nausea is quite recent and has been bothering since the last few cycles.