Let’s get real for a minute: menopause can be hard to love.
The hot flashes, the weird nights of sleep, the hair you occasionally lose in the shower. It can all be a bit much. And to make things even harder, some women experience nausea during menopause, too. Seriously?
The fact that it’s totally normal doesn’t necessarily make it easier, but hopefully it offers a little bit of comfort to know it. Because it is completely normal. And with time, it should go away completely.
But what’s behind nausea in menopause?
Let’s answer a few questions straight away:
In this article: 📝
- Is nausea a sign of menopause?
- What causes nausea during menopause?
- How can you treat menopause nausea?
- Menopause and nausea: the takeaway
Is nausea a sign of menopause?
Yes, it definitely is, although it is one of the more uncommon symptoms. And it can be pretty tricky to pinpoint the cause – there’s just so much going on.
Hormonal changes that your body is going through are probably part of it, but the knock-on effects of other symptoms like hot flashes (more on that below) and hormone replacement therapy (HRT) might be contributing factors, too.
Why do I feel nauseous during menopause?
Some women get terribly affected by nausea during menopause, while others experience no nausea at all. Unfortunately, there’s no clear-cut answer as to why this is.
How long does menopause sickness last?
Like we mentioned, menopause is different for everyone, but most women experience its symptoms for around four years after they finish having their periods..
A very small minority — about one in 10 — have menopause symptoms for much longer than this, sometimes up to 12 years, but this isn’t the norm.
What causes nausea during menopause?
What does research say the most likely causes of nausea during menopause are?
Let’s take a look:
Hormone changes in menopause and nausea
A lot of the symptoms of menopause are caused by the hormonal changes your body is going through. With fewer eggs remaining in your ovaries, your body is making less estrogen and progesterone. The drop in estrogen is one of the most likely culprits for making you feel queasy.
Low progesterone can also cause tummy-related issues, including bloating, indigestion and heartburn. Nausea, unfortunately, is just another one to add to the list.
What about nausea in perimenopause?
Perimenopause is the transition period you go through before you’re in full menopause, which is when your estrogen and progesterone levels begin to change. You’ll likely notice changes in your cycle during this time, and might start to experience some menopausal symptoms like hot flashes and insomnia. And yes, nausea too.
The change in hormones isn’t steady, though. Which is why nausea can often come and go. Ever had a nauseous moment (or day!) before your period started? That was probably because your estrogen was dropping a bit.
Basically, if it feels like you’re on a bit of a roller coaster, that’s not far from the truth.
Can hot flashes cause nausea?
Hot flashes are one of the most common symptoms of menopause. Very few women are spared. They feel like waves of warmth, often in your chest and head, and can make your skin look red and blotchy.
Sometimes they bring another symptom (or symptoms) along for the ride, though. As your core temperature jumps, you might find yourself feeling clammy and weird and often (you guessed it) a bit sick.
Hot flashes are also often caused by changes in your circulation, which are prompted by the roller coaster your hormones are on. A sudden drop in your blood pressure can trigger a hot flash and make you nauseous at the same time. So even if you’re not on a roller coaster, you might still feel like you’re stuck in a game of dominoes.
HRT and nausea
HRT is used to treat some of the symptoms of menopause, but it can come with some pretty nasty side effects, especially if you take it for a long time and in high doses.
While some of the more serious ones include the risk of blood clots and strokes, non-life threatening (but still not-so-nice) side effects include nausea (along with headaches, bloating and bleeding, and making your breasts feel tender).
Can menopause make you dizzy and nauseous?
Yes, unfortunately. Menopause can make you dizzy, too. Again, experts aren’t quite sure why. Like nausea, it might be related to a lot of the other changes your body is experiencing.
How can you treat menopause nausea?
Now that you have a better idea of what might be behind any nausea you’re experiencing during menopause, there are different things you can try to make your stomach feel more settled.
How you ease your symptoms of nausea will depend on the most likely causes in your body. Here are some recommendations:
1. Make a few dietary changes
Try to avoid foods that are very spicy, fatty or greasy, as well as alcohol, hot drinks, and caffeinated drinks like coffee and tea.
We realize it’s totally unfair to expect you to give up wine and coffee in one fell swoop, but maybe give it a shot and see if you feel any better. The benefits might outweigh the sacrifices (and it’s not forever).
2. Try and alleviate your hot flashes
While there’s no cure-all for hot flashes (we all wish there was!), there are a few tips and tricks that can help – and these can help to ease your nausea, too. Drinking plenty of water, sleeping in a cool room, watching your stress levels, and exercising as often as you can are all worth trying.
3. Stay rested
Fatigue can make nausea worse. Try and get enough sleep if you can. (This can be hard if menopause is throwing out your sleeping patterns, too.)
4. Take it slowly in the mornings
Many women say that their nausea is worse in the mornings. Try getting out of bed slowly, and start your day with something that will help settle your stomach, if you can get it down. A plain piece of toast and some herbal tea (ginger is especially good) can help.
Your doctor can prescribe some drugs to help you if your nausea doesn’t improve after a few months of lifestyle changes.
Obviously if you’re on HRT and it might be the trigger, this wouldn’t be for you. But if you’re not on HRT, your doctor might recommend you start it, as it has been shown to help some women. But we would definitely suggest you chat through the benefits and risks of HRT first, as it isn’t the right choice for everyone.
7. Birth control pills
Low-dose birth control pills can keep your levels of hormones up. If it’s the hormone drops that are triggering your nausea, these can be an effective way to manage the changes that prompt nausea during menopause. Again though, this is an option in consultation with your doctor.
Menopause and nausea: the takeaway
The main thing to remember if you are struggling with nausea during menopause is not to suffer in silence. While it won’t be forever, there are definitely ways to ease it in the meantime.
So, if your bouts of nausea are really severe, or don’t subside naturally during the course of your day, chat to your doctor. Any one of these solutions could work for you. And who knows? They may even help to alleviate some other symptoms of menopause in the process.