Almost all women experience menstruation between adolescence and menopause. But, some women commonly have menstruation accompanied by secondary symptoms during menstruation, such as migraine symptoms, nausea, tiredness, and severe lower abdominal pain.
The symptoms greatly differ among every ovulating woman and their physiology, diet, and lifestyle also play a role in these symptoms. Here, we look at the various causes for experiencing nausea during menstruation.
Common Causes Of Menstrual Nausea
1. Intense Menstrual Cramps
Some women experience pain, especially in the lower abdomen, during menstruation. In some cases, the pain might be quite extreme and may cause nausea. This extreme period pain is known as dysmenorrhea, which can prevent the woman from performing her regular tasks.
The prostaglandins that are released from the inner walls of the uterus during the menstrual period can cause painful contractions in the uterus.1 Because of these uterine contractions, the stomach can be further aggravated and secrete more gastric juice, which contains hydrochloric acids. This often results in the woman experiencing a feeling of nausea during her periods.
Besides irritability, headaches and blurred vision, menstrual migraines can also cause nausea. According to research, many women often reported that migraines associated with their periods are more severe and more debilitating than migraines occurring at other times in the menstrual cycle.2
One of the most common causes of menstrual headaches is because of an imbalance or alteration in the hormone levels. Often, menstrual migraines are a result of low levels of progesterone and estrogen. In some women, it has been observed that consumption of caffeinated beverages during menstruation can result in menstrual migraines followed by nausea.
3. Hormonal Imbalance
Although there are various reasons that can cause nausea in a woman having her periods, one of the common causes is the alterations in the hormone levels in the body. Though many women describe experiencing gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms during their periods, not enough research has been conducted to quantify the prevalence or nature of these symptoms, or to consider associated factors.3
The variation in the hormone levels can cause the stomach to release more gastric juice. The hydrochloric acid present in the gastric juice can result in many symptoms from a mild heartburn and nausea, to full-blown vomiting.
Research has shown that women who have an underlying pathological condition known as endometriosis may experience feelings of nausea during their menstrual period. Women who are diagnosed with endometriosis may also experience painful bladder syndrome, digestive or gastrointestinal symptoms similar to a bowel disorder, as well as fatigue, tiredness, or lack of energy. Hormone therapy such as estrogen or birth control pills that are prescribed to reduce menopausal symptoms may cause these endometriosis symptoms to continue.4
Is Menstrual Nausea A Matter Of Concern?
Nausea during menstruation is a serious issue only if it is severe or long-lasting. If a woman experiences nausea every month during her menstruation, or if she has begun to experience nausea only in the last few menstrual cycles and if it has never been an issue before, then in such instances, she must consult her physician.
Treatment For Menstrual Nausea
Many studies have observed that oral contraceptive pills are effective in treating nausea in some women during their periods. These pills help regulate the hormonal balance during the monthly cycle. Even an antacid tablet or gel is quite effective in providing relief from nausea in some women. Natural relief methods include ginger and mint teas that are known to provide relief in some women.
One particular study noted that women not using oral contraceptives reported more symptoms of nausea and motion sickness during exposure to a rotating optokinetic drum in the peri-menses phase of the menstrual cycle. Women on oral contraceptives, under most circumstances, do not ovulate, and hence, may not benefit from any protective effect of ovulation against the development of nausea and motion sickness.5
Methods To Prevent And Treat Nausea Caused By Menstrual Migraines
- Consumption of about two supplements of Feverfew 300 milligram per day can help treat nausea. Parthenolide, a chemical present in feverfew, has anti-inflammatory properties that help in preventing menstrual migraines.
- Alternatively, you can also take two tablets of vitamin C, two tablets of magnesium and immediately follow it up with a cup of chamomile tea. Vitamin C helps in reducing inflammation, magnesium aids in muscle relaxation, and chamomile tea prevents the sensation of nausea.
- Another simple method to prevent nausea caused by menstrual migraines is to keep your body well-hydrated by drinking lots of water and prevent dehydration.
- Consuming a balanced diet throughout the day and avoiding foods that trigger a migraine headache are also effective in preventing nausea occurring due to a menstrual migraine.
|↑1||Period pain: Overview. U.S. National Library of Medicine. 2016.|
|↑2||Sullivan, Elizabeth, and Cheryl Bushnell. “Management of menstrual migraine: a review of current abortive and prophylactic therapies.” Current pain and headache reports 14, no. 5 (2010): 376-384.|
|↑3||Bernstein, Matthew T., Lesley A. Graff, Lisa Avery, Carrie Palatnick, Katie Parnerowski, and Laura E. Targownik. “Gastrointestinal symptoms before and during menses in healthy women.” BMC women’s health 14, no. 1 (2014): 14.|
|↑4||What are the symptoms of endometriosis? Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.|
|↑5||Matchock, Robert L., Max E. Levine, Peter J. Gianaros, and Robert M. Stern. “Susceptibility to nausea and motion sickness as a function of the menstrual cycle.” Women’s Health Issues 18, no. 4 (2008): 328-335.|