Menopause years can come with a whole host of symptoms you aren’t expecting as your hormone levels drop and your body starts to adjust. Some symptoms of hormonal changes are extremely common, like hot flashes, mood swings, and weight gain. However, there are other symptoms which are less known, like nausea and digestive issues.
In this article, we’ll look at the reasons why you might experiencing nausea in menopause at what you can do to take the edge off. Let’s begin.
When does menopause officially start?
Menopause officially starts when you’ve not had a menstrual cycle for a whole 12 months. It comes about when the level of a woman's hormone production reduces to a point where ovulation will stop. As ovulation stops, so do menstrual periods.
Oestrogen (estrogen), testosterone and progesterone levels continue to decline after periods have stopped and she enters her post menopause phase ( 12 months after her last period). Most women will experience menopause between the ages of 50 and 55.
Is nausea a common menopause symptom?
Hormone changes stimulate the emergence of symptoms of menopause. Some of the most common symptoms of menopause are brain fog, dry skin, poor memory, thinning hair, mood swings, loss of libido or increased libido. Headaches, heart palpitations, a changing body shape, weight gain, anxiety, night sweats, vaginal dryness, joint pain, disturbed sleep, mood changes and hot flashes.
So where does menopause related nausea come in? It’s a good question!
Menopause related nausea
Nausea is an uneasy feeling in the stomach that is sometimes accompanied by vomiting. It’s usually nothing to worry about but did you know it can be one of the menopausal symptoms experienced by women? Let’s take a closer look at why this might be the case.
Lower hormone levels affect the gut
In menopause levels of oestrogen, progesterone, and testosterone in the body steadily decline.
The decreased hormone levels menopause brings with it affect how the body functions from tip to toe. This includes the stomach, digestive system and the gut microbiome.
Low progesterone levels in particular have been linked to stomach issues like bloating, heartburn, and indigestion, which all can be associated with nausea during menopause. An increase in appetite and a change in how a woman's body processes food can cause nausea if satiety signals are muted.
During menopause around 50% of women will experience problems with sleep. Studies have shown sleep disruption can deplete leptin, the hormone which makes you feel full and satisfied.
Hot flashes can be accompanied by nausea
Hot flashes are one of the most common menopause symptoms. A hot flash is when you suddenly feel warm and sweaty, particularly in the upper body. Some women experience other symptoms when they have hot flashes, like headaches, dizziness, or heart palpitations. And when they come on strong, it’s common for them to be accompanied by nausea, too.
Changes to the nervous system and cardiovascular system
The nervous system and the cardiovascular system depend on hormones to help them function well. A decline in hormones can lead to symptoms like dizziness and light-headedness, which can make you feel nauseous.
Heightened anxiety can cause nausea
Other menopausal symptoms include anxiety. Anxiety is when a woman's mental and physical stress levels can increase when the same support oestrogen once gave changes. Stress hormone cortisol and insulin increase, and, as our mental health is closely linked to our gut, bouts of anxiety are often accompanied by feeling sick.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is a form of treatment used to help alleviate menopause symptoms day increasing oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone hormone levels. However, it does come with a long list of possible side effects, one of which is nausea. Check with your health practitioner if you find nausea symptoms have emerged since starting HRT.
How to alleviate symptoms of nausea in menopause
When it comes to treating nausea, you don't have to turn to prescription medications as your first port of call. Often, the most effective way to prevent and relieve nausea is to make a combination of dietary and lifestyle changes.
Certain foods and drinks are known to make nausea worse in some people. These include spicy foods, alcohol, hot drinks, and anything high in caffeine. By avoiding these things, you might notice that you feel less nauseous. If you're experiencing nausea it's also worth looking at a few well known tricks
- Drinking ginger or peppermint tea
- Eat foods containing ginger - NHS recommends a ginger biscuit
- Eat lighter meals earlier so you don't go to bed on a full stomach
- Avoid spicy foods which can trigger a more intense hot flash and nausea
Support your gut health
Prebiotics are the food that fuels that bacteria – think plant-based fibre such as beans, whole grains, and nuts. Find out more about Prebiotic Fibre
The fibre used in Eve Biology Meal Replacements is a naturally occurring fibre that has prebiotic qualities. This means it nourishes the good bacteria in the intestine and has been clinically proven to increase it from just 2.5 g/day. Eve Biology meal replacements contain 5.1g in each serving to improve your gut health and support hormone regulation.
Lifestyle changes to alleviate nausea
There are also some lifestyle changes you can make that may help reduce hot flashes, leading to fewer bouts of nausea. These include quitting vaping and smoking, drinking plenty of water, staying in an air-conditioned space on hot days, wearing layers so that you can cool yourself down easily, and using portable fans or cold compresses so you don't overheat.
Regular exercise can help on several fronts
The NHS recommends adults do a minimum of do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity a week. This is especially important for menopausal women who can be experiencing fatigue and mood changes which can affect their motivation to exercise. Being overweight increases their risk of chronic diseases.
It’s recommended that adults engage in some form of exercise on a daily basis, whether it be going for a brisk walk, doing a home workout, or weight bearing exercises. Staying active can also help reduce stress levels, improve mood disorders, help your digestion and keep you regular - which is good for hormone regulation.
When to see your healthcare provider
In most cases, nausea in menopause is nothing to worry about. However, if your nausea is interfering with your day-to-day life, or if you’re experiencing particularly severe bouts of it, it may be worth talking to your doctor. They’ll be able to investigate and rule out other possible causes, and there are also treatments available to help improve your symptoms.
The bottom line
Some women experience nausea during menopause. It can happen due to reduced hormone levels and changes to how your gut works, can accompany hot flashes or be a symptom of HRT
Dietary and lifestyle changes like regular walking to help with digestion and cutting out caffeine decrease the severity of hot flashes have been known to help. And if your nausea is interfering with your daily life, it’s a good idea to speak to your doctor to see what can be done to give you some relief.
Is nausea common with menopause?
Nausea is common in menopause, but it’s not always caused by menopause itself. It could actually be a side effect of hot flashes or HRT.
What helps with menopausal nausea?
Nausea can be linked to a poor diet or certain lifestyle factors, so, eating healthily, getting regular exercise, and cutting back on smoking can all help. Some people find that HRT reduces their nausea, too, especially if it’s caused by decreasing hormone levels.
Why do I feel sick during menopause?
Feeling sick during menopause can be a result of falling estrogen and progesterone levels. However, it can also just be a symptom that comes with hot flashes, a side effect of HRT or other medication, or a result of stress or anxiety.