Nausea during Period

Menstrual cycles in women may be accompanied by many other secondary symptoms, including nausea. It may be noted that different women experience different signs and symptoms during a period. Some of the common causes of nausea during period are listed below:

Causes

Nausea during period may be caused due to:

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  • Endometriosis: This pathological condition is one of the most serious causes of nausea during period, but is usually not one of the main causes. Endometriosis can sometimes be so serious that affected women may need to undergo surgery or even a full hysterectomy as treatment.
    • The condition is marked by development of anomalous uterine growth known as endometrial implants. These growths are different from fibroids. They form when the cells of the uterine lining begin to grow outside the uterus in large numbers, often in the ovaries and the uterine and lower abdominal cavities.
    • The breakdown of uterine tissues in such affected areas as a regular aspect of periods can then trigger a case of severe nausea and pain as well as a host of other symptoms such as diarrhea, bloating, abdominal cramping, and rectal pain. Endometrial implants can also hamper normal menstruation and reproduction.
    • Dysmenorrhea: Nausea during period may also be caused due to occurrence of a painful period, the medical term for which is dysmenorrhea. Typically isolated to the lower abdomen, the pain is recurring and often so severe that it can interfere with the daily routine.
      • During menstruation, the inner uterine wall releases prostaglandins which may then trigger strong painful contractions within the uterus. Such excessive uterine contractions can cause compression of the blood vessels leading to deficient oxygen supply to the uterus. This can eventually result in pain in the hips, lower abdomen, inner thighs, and the back as well as other symptoms like loose stools, upset stomach, vomiting, and nausea during period.
      • Severe uterine contractions can also trigger increased production of hydrochloric acids containing gastric juices which may also then cause nausea during period.
      • Hormonal imbalances: Menstrual cycle is a time period during which the body of a woman experiences fluctuations and changes in the levels of estrogen and other hormones. Such hormonal changes can the trigger a case of nausea during period as well as bloating and/or mood changes.
        • Very low or very high levels of estrogen, or its rapid rise or fall over a few days, can cause havoc in the brain centers that regulate digestion and balance. This can then cause a feeling of sickness and nausea during period.
        • Some women may experience the secretion of additional amounts of gastric juices as a side effect of the changing levels of hormones in the body. These stomach juices contain hydrochloric acids which can then cause reactions and additional symptoms such as mild to severe nausea during period, heartburn, and vomiting.
        • Premenstrual syndrome/PMS: This widespread condition is another cause of nausea during period. PMS occurs due to imbalances in the levels of progesterone and estrogen hormones at the time of menstruation or just before it. Some of the additional symptoms commonly experienced by affected women include breakout of acne episodes, tender and painful breasts, headaches, sugar cravings, mood swings, morning sickness, anxiety and stress, stomach bloating, stomach cramping, pain in legs and back, tiredness, constipation, and/or diarrhea.
        • Pain related to muscular cramping: The uterus tends to expand and contract especially at the beginning of a period. This can cause painful cramps, vomiting, and mild nausea during period which disappears after a day or two. The condition is typically observed in women who begin menstruating again after delivery or in teenagers who have just started having their periods for the first time.
        • Anemia and multivitamins: Anemia is a condition marked by low levels of iron in the blood. The quantity of iron in the blood becomes depleted during periods due to loss of blood. Hence, anemic women who are already inherently low on iron, need to take iron-containing nutritional and multivitamin supplements to offset the excessive loss of blood iron during periods. However, the stomach may sometimes be unable to process the large dosage of iron being consumed by the patient. This can then result in nausea as a side effect. Most doctors suggest the intake of nutritional supplements during meals to minimize the cases of nausea during period.
        • Menstrual migraines: It is common for women to experience migraines during periods. It mainly occurs due to hormonal changes, especially when the levels of estrogen and progesterone become very low. Some women may also experience an attack of menstrual migraines after the intake of caffeinated drinks. In addition to causing nausea during period, the one-sided headaches associated with menstruation may also be accompanied by other symptoms like blurred vision, vomiting, etc.
        • Uterine fibroids: Also called ‘polyps,’ uterine fibroids are non-malignant tumors which form in the uterus, often due to chemical imbalances in blood or genetic factors. Even though the abnormal growths do not have cancerous cells, they can hinder and adversely affect the reproductive health of the patient. These growths may also become irritated or inflamed during periods, thereby causing severe pain and nausea.

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Treatment 

Nausea during period can be treated in the following ways:

  • Pain associated with dysmenorrhea can be eased with pain medications. Use of a hot water bag or hot compresses over the lower abdominal area can facilitate blood circulation in the uterus and thus help find relief from pain as well as nausea.
  • Antacids can help regulate the production of stomach acids, thereby reducing the cases of nausea during period.
  • In some women, intake of oral contraceptives can help balance the hormone levels and thus alleviate nausea during period.
  • Avoidance of fried and fatty foods, alcohol, caffeine, and smoking; sufficient sleep and rest, regular exercising, yoga and other breathing exercises, and abdominal massages, etc.; as well as intake of a healthy and balanced diet full of vegetables, fruits, low-fat dairy items, nuts, and whole grains can help find relief from nausea during period. Cramping can be reduced with a vegetables and fish diet; it contains liblenic and linoleic acids that have muscle relaxant qualities.
  • Home remedies for nausea during period include warm milk with powered cinnamon; cayenne, lime juice, curcumin, cloves, raspberry, marshmallow, and ginger, chamomile, and mint teas.
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