While menstrual nausea is considered a normal symptom during your cycle, it can lead to a myriad of emotional challenges. “Nausea being one of the early symptoms of pregnancy- a symptom most women keenly watch out for, especially when they are actively trying to conceive or trying to avoid getting pregnant altogether” notes, Dr. Heller.
Granted, period nausea is not common and hence can put an individual into a displeasing and distressing state. Additionally, it can lead to loss of appetite as well as a poor concentration in the daily activities. However, This is a common symptom for dysmenorrhea- painful periods.
Symptoms associated with periods differ between individuals, what may seem ‘normal’ for one person may not be the same for another.
Causes of period nausea
Severe cramps or period pain- a majority of women who have started menstruating, experience period/menstrual cramps which can range from mild-severe. Prostaglandins present in the blood system during a woman’s time of the month trigger muscle contractions in the uterus as well the digestive tract leading to nausea.
Primary dysmenorrhea refers to painful cramping resulting from no recognizable physical cause, most common in women within the age of 20-24, and lasts for about 1-2years after a hormonal balance is restored.
Secondary dysmenorrhea refers to painful cramps that results from a physical problem apart from menstruation. These physical problems include:
- Endometriosis which is a condition that causes the endometrium (lining of the uterus) cells to act as if they are located in other areas of the abdominal cavity or develop into the muscular tissue of the uterine wall(Adenomyosis). Pain resulting from these conditions usually occur 1-2days before bleeding and continues till the end of the period.
- Ovarian cysts, uterine or cervical polyps, fibroids among other benign growths.
- Problematic pregnancies
- Pelvic infections
- Excess production of stomach acid due to hormonal imbalances
- Vitamin deficiency: lack of sufficient vitamin B12, B6, C or D in the body causes period nausea.
How to treat it medically
In order to treat period nausea effectively, it is important to get a medical check-up in order to rule out other serious underlying health problems and also get the proper treatment method:
Hormonal birth control similar to contraceptive pills works by preventing ovulation and ensuring that the uterine lining doesn’t become too thick while, keeping prostaglandin levels low.
- over the counter medicine
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) inhibit the production of prostaglandins which are responsible for causing nausea during periods.
These include non-prescription, pain relief medicines such as naproxen and ibuprofen. However, NSAIDs are not suitable for some people and can cause this condition as a side effect. Therefore, it’s very important to talk to your doctor before using them.
Natural remedies for period nausea relief
As difficult as it may be to predict period symptoms, if you have experienced nausea during previous menstrual cycles, you can incorporate the following methods to well prepared for period nausea:
- Track your menstrual cycle
You can easily predict when aunt flow will be in town by simply marking on a calendar, charting the basal body temperature or even using mobile phone apps.
This allows you to prepare in advance, for instance, you can take NSAIDs 24 hours prior to your periods to prevent the production of prostaglandins and hence eliminate this feeling.
- Ensure you eat a balanced diet
According to studies, consuming foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids such as fish can help reduce nausea.
Nausea during menstrual periods is very common and is usually due to fluctuation in the levels of prostaglandins. However, if you are experiencing difficulties managing the symptoms kindly consult your doctor.