Menopause Nausea – What Causes It?

November 01, 2022.

I’m Not Pregnant. So, Is Nausea Yet Another Pesky Symptom of Menopause?

If you’re like most women going through perimenopause, you’re probably experiencing a whole host of new and fascinating symptoms. Nausea might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of menopause, but it is a common symptom – and one that can be particularly disruptive. So, if you’re feeling nauseous, don’t despair – you’re definitely not alone. However, before you reach for the nearest baggie, there are a few things you should know about nausea and menopause. Here’s what you need to know about this surprising symptom.

What Causes Nausea During Menopause?

Menopause and nausea may be linked to a change in hormone levels, although the exact cause is unknown. In a similar way to morning sickness caused by pregnancy, menopause involves a dramatic fluctuation in hormone levels, particularly estrogen and progesterone. Relatively low levels of progesterone have been associated with gastrointestinal problems such as bloating, heartburn, and indigestion, all of which can contribute to nausea.

A range of physical symptoms can occur months or years before the actual moment of menopause (12 consecutive months without a period) – during perimenopause – as a result of hormonal level changes.

Menopause nausea is more likely to occur as you enter perimenopause when your hormone levels begin to fluctuate. Furthermore, nausea may also be caused or intensified by a variety of menopause symptoms, such as:

  • Fatigue
  • Having hot flashes
  • Headaches caused by hormonal fluctuations
  • Dizziness
  • Heart palpitations

In addition, stress and fatigue can worsen nausea. There is a strong association between each of these conditions and menopause. In cases where you feel stressed, taking steps to resolve this can help alleviate your nausea.

What Menopause Medications Cause Nausea?

Nausea is a common side effect of hormone replacement therapy (HRT), also known as menopause hormone therapy (MHT). HRT/MHT helps alleviate menopausal symptoms by replacing natural estrogen and progesterone with synthetic or bio-identical forms of the hormones. Estrogen therapy (ET) is the hormone that provides the most menopausal symptom relief. ET is prescribed for women who have undergone hysterectomy and no longer have a uterus. Adding progesterone to ET is intended to provide protection against uterine (endometrial) cancer for women who have not had a hysterectomy.

Many women find relief from symptoms using HRT/MHT, but nausea is often reported as a side effect. Estrogen-only therapy may be especially problematic in this regard.

Furthermore, mood changes caused by menopause can be treated with antidepressants. There is, however, a possibility that antidepressants can cause nausea.

Feeling nauseous? Here’s what to do

It’s important to note that nausea is not experienced by every woman going through menopause. The following tips may help you calm queasiness if it persists:

Spice it up!

There is a lot of evidence that ginger is helpful when it comes to nausea in general, so it might be beneficial during menopause as well. Some other spices that may be useful include cinnamon and fennel. Research has shown they are effective at reducing nausea in pregnancy and during menstruation.

Make dietary adjustments

Perimenopausal women should limit sugary, spicy, and greasy foods to avoid causing stomach upset or prolonging it. Focus on eating smaller meals more often, as well as taking your time when eating. Consume plenty of water during meals, as it aids digestion.

Take a look at the triggers

Do you see a pattern in your nausea? Does it strike at a particular time? By discovering the triggers of your nausea, it may be possible to prevent or manage them more effectively.

Take a pregnancy test

Perimenopause is less likely to produce pregnancy due to irregular periods, but it is still possible.

Here’s the bottom line

If you’re experiencing nausea and other digestive issues during menopause, know that you’re not alone. If you’re looking for support or just want to connect with a community of other women going through similar challenges, download Perry in the App Store or Google Play Store. Visit us on Facebook as well. We can help make sense of what you’re going through and give you the motivation to power through to the other side – hot flashes and all!

Referenced Sources

Peacock K, Ketvertis KM. Menopause. [Updated 2022 Aug 11]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK507826/

Athanasiadis, L., & Goulis, D. G. (2019). Starting and stopping menopausal hormone therapy and antidepressants for hot flushes: A case-based approach. Case Reports In Women’s Health, 24, e00152. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.crwh.2019.e00152

Rahbek MT, Gram EAB, Hallas J, Christensen MMH, Lund LC. Analysis of Antiemetic Use After Initiation of Hormone Therapy. JAMA Netw Open. 2022;5(5):e2211883. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.11883

Kohn, G. E., Rodriguez, K. M., Hotaling, J., & Pastuszak, A. W. (2019). The History of Estrogen Therapy. Sexual Medicine Reviews, 7(3), 416–421. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sxmr.2019.03.006

Dalal, Pronob K.; Agarwal, Manu. Postmenopausal syndrome. Indian Journal of Psychiatry: July 2015 – Volume 57 – Issue Suppl 2 – p S222-S232

doi: 10.4103/0019-5545.161483

Lete, I., & Allué, J. (2016). The Effectiveness of Ginger in the Prevention of Nausea and Vomiting during Pregnancy and Chemotherapy. Integrative Medicine Insights, 11, 11–17. https://doi.org/10.4137/IMI.S36273

Jaafarpour, M., Hatefi, M., Najafi, F., Khajavikhan, J., & Khani, A. (2015). The effect of cinnamon on menstrual bleeding and systemic symptoms with primary dysmenorrhea. Iranian Red Crescent Medical Journal, 17(4), e27032. https://doi.org/10.5812/ircmj.17(4)2015.27032

Ghodsi, Z., & Asltoghiri, M. (2014). The effect of fennel on pain quality, symptoms, and menstrual duration in primary dysmenorrhea. Journal Of Pediatric And Adolescent Gynecology, 27(5), 283–286. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpag.2013.12.003

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