Has your peri-menopausal experience been plagued with cyclic episodes of nausea?
The Oxford dictionary defines nausea as a feeling of sickness with an inclination to vomit.
Unfortunately, this unpleasant sensation can occur with changing hormone levels. Many women who have experienced pregnancy can confirm this, some unlucky women experience this each month around ovulation, or just prior to menstruation, or both, and for others, it's a surprisingly new experience with the hormonal roller coaster we know as peri-menopause. But the good news is this should ease in post-menopause when your wild hormonal fluctuations stop. But I don't recommend sitting around waiting until then.
Nausea can occur for so many reasons such as infection, digestive upsets, food intolerances, migraines, trauma, medications, lack of food, motion sickness and the list goes on. Today we are going to focus specifically on hormonal-induced nausea, although some of these treatment options can help ease nausea from other causes too.
Hormonal nausea has a general pattern to it and is somewhat predictable. If your nausea is constant without a pattern to it, it's worth ruling out some of the other possible causes first. Know that nausea is NOT a disease itself but rather a symptom of something else occurring, and to get the best results you need to get to the root cause or causes of the problem.
In regards to your hormones, some sources claim lower progesterone is to blame, while others claim elevated estrogen is the cause, I see it as a sudden change in the ratio between the 2 hormones that trigger the sensation of nausea.
This leads me to Vitamin B6. B6 is known for its hormone-balancing effect. It helps to reduce excess estrogen and promotes the production of progesterone. It is a key nutrient in many hormonal balancing products including many for hormonal nausea. Looking at the research B6 may be the supplement of choice if your nausea is accompanied by vomiting.
If your nausea is accompanied by other symptoms of estrogen dominance, symptoms like migraines, heavy bleeds, painful periods, and breast tenderness. You may benefit from trying a supplement that helps reduce your body’s total estrogen level. Speak to your practitioner about whether sulforaphane may be helpful, this broccoli extract helps to reduce beta-glucuronidase. Elevated beta-glucuronidase levels encourage the recycling instead of the excretion of excess estrogen. I also quite like Calcium d glurcarate. My caution with this product is that it has a stronger estrogen-lowering effect. Which may or may not be ideal for you, again chat with your practitioner or book a consultation with me to discuss this.
Ginger has got to be the most widely recognised nausea remedy available. Ginger may help ease nausea and motion sickness, reduce hot flushes and night sweats, reduce menstrual pain and cramps, reduce fatigue, and act as a systemic anti-inflammatory agent, and cardioprotective agent. Plus so much more.
You might not know that I spent the first half of my career working in the fertility field. Helping pregnant women survive morning sickness was a regular part of my job and I learned a lot of useful hints and tricks during this time.
The first is lemon and yes it pairs perfectly with ginger. You can try freshly squeezed lemon and freshly grated ginger drank together as tea. I like to add a dose of electrolytes or a large pinch of natural salt to this.
Electrolyte imbalances can also promote the sensation of nausea, vomiting, dizziness, irritability, and fatigue, so it is really important you have adequate amounts. I just love this drink, it's a great way to start each day. Have you tried it yet?
But lemon can also be used on its own and in unique ways. Try cutting a lemon in quarters. Some women find smelling the lemon is enough to reduce the sensation of nausea. Other women place the lemon in their mouths and let the bitter taste do the work for them.
If you find relief from this, you may prefer to buy a small bottle of lemon essential oils, this way you can inhale it without the need to carry a chopping board and knife around with you. Peppermint is another essential oil that many women find brings nausea relief. Personally, I prefer to brew a hot cup of peppermint tea and sniff and sip on this as I go.
While we are in the kitchen grab out your cinnamon. An Iranian study found that cinnamon not only reduced nausea and vomiting but also reduced menstrual pain and heavy menstrual flow. Why not put some of this in your morning ginger, lemon and salt drink too?
The final herb is for the women out there who love the aniseed flavour, yes it is fennel. Fennel not only helps to reduce nausea but may also help relieve digestive discomfort.
Have you tried acupuncture or acupressure? There is a specific point for nausea relief. You can stimulate this point by placing your thumb 2-3 fingers width down from your wrist crease, between the two major tendons. Hold this point for one minute and then release and do the same point on the other arm for a minute. See how you feel afterward, you may wish to repeat this exercise.
1. Susceptibility to nausea and motion sickness as a function of the menstrual cycle
2. B6 and ginger in nausea
3. Cinnamon and nausea