I think we can all agree that when Mother Nature decides to come and visit, it's uncomfortable and inconvenient. Yes, it's a totally natural thing that happens to every woman, but the few days where we experience cramping and blood flowing out of our bodies always have us always readjusting everything in our lives to make us feel more comfortable.
And then there are some of us who get really bad side effects from our periods. I used to get cramps so bad that I had to be picked up from school and lie in bed all day. Luckily for me, the pain that comes with the cramps never led to nausea, but according to Guvnor Ekman-Orderber, MD, PhD, a DeoDoc Intimate Skincare expert and OBGYN, pain from cramps can lead to that sick feeling. "There are several reasons to explain why a woman may experience nausea during menstruation. One of most common reasons is pain caused by menstrual cramps," says Eckman-Orderber. "Nausea can also occur from the hormonal changes in the body during the menstrual cycle."
She also explains that some women are more prone to nausea based on genetics and before they get pregnant. "We know that nausea during menstruation is more common before women get pregnant for
the first time. The reason to this is not yet known, but there are studies indicating that it is likely due to the uterus changes made after a pregnancy like the uterus being able to handle increased pressure," she says. "Additionally, there is a genetic factor involved: Studies show that women with pain-related diseases are more prone to nausea during menstruation."
There is bad news and good news when it comes to fighting off wanting to throw up. The bad news: There's no way to really prevent it. "There is no real way to prevent nausea as it is caused by internal bodily functions," she says. "If the tips do not help and the symptoms persist, I recommend seeing your OB/GYN as some diseases, such as endometriosis, can cause nausea during the period."
The good news, though, is that there are options to help ease it. The first thing she recommends is anti-inflammatory medication. "Before menstruation begins, the inner lining of the uterus starts to make prostaglandins, which are hormone-like substances/chemical compounds," she says. "When the inner lining breaks down during menstruation, prostaglandins are released, causing inflammation and uterus contractions thus creating painful cramps. Therefore, I recommend anti-inflammatory medication since it both reduces inflammation and pain."
If your nausea starts to impede your everyday life, she suggests contraceptive options. "If nausea is rampant and affects the everyday life, I would also recommend considering contraceptive medication or a hormonal IUD, as this will regulate hormonal changes," she says. "As with any medical need, always discuss options with your doctor."
And if for some reason you tried all these routes and you're still feeling nauseous, she says to go see your doctor to see what's really wrong.
Next up, learn more about what type of birth control you should take.