As with many issues that happen on a cyclical basis, the answer may be related to your hormones! Each month a mix of hormones rise and fall, the relative balances of these trigger many changes throughout your body. The hormones that cause your uterus lining to shed, can also cause cramping in your gut, which in turn can lead to nausea. While nausea during your period isn’t a cause for alarm, it can also be a sign of a more serious underlying condition such as endometriosis (endo) or pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).
Thankfully, there are ways you can manage period-related nausea. It might be enough to just get some fresh air or take a cool shower, but eating ginger, staying hydrated, eating a bland diet or taking an antacid can all help.
Causes of nausea during your period
Prostaglandins are compounds in the body made of fats that have hormone-like effects. They are thought to cause cramping, which trigger your uterus lining to break off and shed (which is what your period is). High levels of prostaglandins are what causes cramps and can also cause diarrhea, nausea, and sometimes headaches.
Being in pain of any kind can cause nausea, and menstrual pain is no different.
Generally, nausea during or before your period is not a cause for deeper concern (besides the painful experience itself). But severe cramps can sometimes be an indication of an underlying medical condition.
For example endometriosis, a condition where the lining of the uterus grows outside of the uterus, can cause extreme pain to the point of vomiting and/or very extreme nausea. Additionally, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which is an infection of the uterus can cause similar symptoms. These are both conditions that can have long-term negative impacts if left untreated, so if you think you might have them, it’s best to be safe and check in with a doctor, or two, or three or four….! (sometimes these conditions are incredibly hard to diagnose).
Ways to manage nausea
A cool bath or shower or a gentle walk outside might be enough to help your nausea. Though it’s also important to stay hydrated, and if you’re finding that those aren't enough to help, ginger may help (ginger tea, ginger ale, or crystallised ginger), as well as sticking to a bland diet. An antacid may also help if none of these options do.
Nausea around your period is more common than you might expect, and hormones are likely to blame. The hormones that cause cramping can cause nausea by cramping up your gut too. While it’s usually not a cause for concern, severe nausea or vomiting during your period can be a sign of a more serious condition. Ginger, fresh air, hydration, and a bland diet can all be ways to manage nausea, but if it’s very severe, we recommend seeing a doctor.
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Post by Miranda Bromage