It seems like perimenopause is responsible for just about every unpleasant symptom a woman can experience...vaginal itching and dryness, constipation, hot flashes, moodiness…the list goes on to include 34 symptoms. Digestive problems tend to surprise women in perimenopause but many women suffer from a variety of gastrointestinal discomforts. This article will cover the mystery behind perimenopause nausea and offer tips to relieve this burdensome symptom.
Can perimenopause cause nausea?
Nausea in women is most commonly associated with pregnancy. Indeed, for many women nausea is one of the first physical clues that she may be pregnant. Despite nausea being one of the most common symptoms of early pregnancy, little is known about why women get nauseous. The most likely theory to date is that high levels of hormones, specifically human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), and possibly estrogen and progesterone, contribute to nausea.
So what’s the link between perimenopause and nausea? Shouldn’t perimenopausal women not have nausea related to high hormones because their hormone levels should be declining? Well, just like in pregnancy, the correlation between hormones and nausea is not well understood. However, it is plausible that erratic hormone fluctuations that go up or down, such as those that occur at the beginning of pregnancy and during perimenopause, irritate the stomach.
Research has found that the gastrointestinal tract has estrogen receptors that affect the secretion of cells in the tissues of your gastric lining. When estrogen levels fluctuate in perimenopause, it may cause changes in your gastric secretions that could cause nausea. Again, research on the subject is just speculative at this point. Nonetheless, we know that yes - perimenopause can cause nausea, and women are desperate for perimenopause nausea relief.
What are natural remedies for perimenopause nausea?
We know that perimenopause is a natural transition that most women go through. (Some women do not go through perimenopause if they have had their ovaries removed prior to menopause). Because this is a natural and normal part of womanhood it is not something that needs to be treated. However, finding symptom relief is important for women to feel their best. Many women turn to natural remedies to relieve their perimenopause nausea.
Ginger - Eating ginger root raw or drinking it in a tea can soothe an unsettled stomach. Ginger has certain properties that may relieve nausea in many individuals including pregnant or perimenopausal women, and people undergoing cancer treatment.
Peppermint - Drinking peppermint tea, breathing peppermint aromatherapy, and sometimes even chewing peppermint gum can help calm waves of nausea. One study found that peppermint aromatherapy was effective at relieving nausea in people after having surgery.
Citrus Aromatherapy - Eating citrus while nauseous can sometimes upset one’s stomach more, but inhaling a lemon or an orange can help relieve nausea.
Try menopause supplements - There are certain herbs and compounds used in menopause supplements that relieve menopause symptoms. Some of these herbs are thought to help balance out hormone fluctuations. If you are struggling with multiple perimenopause symptoms, menopause supplements may help offer relief in a variety of ways.
Acupuncture or acupressure - There are specific points on your body that transmit specific signals to your brain that may cause nausea. Some people find that doing either of these therapies can offer nausea relief.
There are many other practices and lifestyle modifications you can try including deep breathing, avoiding large meals, exercising regularly, hydrating, and eating a healthy diet.
If natural remedies do not offer perimenopause nausea relief…
Talk to your doctor about other ways to manage nausea. Some women may benefit from hormone replacement therapy to help stabilize their hormones and other perimenopause symptoms. Your doctor may also consider providing medication that relieves nausea such as ondansetron (Zofran). As with all medications, there are side effects that you will want to consider when adding a new medication.
Disclaimer: This is not medical advice, does not take the place of medical advice from your physician, and is not intended to treat or cure any disease. Patients should see a qualified medical provider for assessment and treatment.
Meet The Author
Perry Babe Julia ( RN, BSN, BA) is a registered nurse based in Colorado. Julia's nursing background in women’s health has ranged from neonatal and postpartum care to labor and delivery, to outpatient gynecological medicine for both adolescent and adult populations.
Much of her education and clinical experience are related to educating women on women’s health topics ranging from lifestyle improvements, disease management, and general health education.
Find Julia's Perry community profile right here.