Nausea During Your Period: Possible Causes and Home Remedies

Medically Reviewed By Sanaz Ghazal, MD, FACOG
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Feeling nauseated during your period is typically due to hormonal changes. However, you may need medical care for additional symptoms, such as fever or diarrhea.   According to a 2020 study of 354 females ages 18-35, nausea is a common symptom in those who experience heavy period flow.

This article explores the common causes of nausea during your period and reviews some home remedies you can use to find relief. The article also discusses when to seek medical care and answers some commonly asked questions.

Sex and gender exist on a spectrum. This article uses “female” to refer to people assigned female at birth to reflect language in source materials.

Learn more about the difference between sex and gender.

Dysmenorrhea

A woman drinking water
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Dysmenorrhea refers to painful periods. A person may have primary or secondary dysmenorrhea. 

Primary dysmenorrhea is when pain develops before or during the menstrual cycle. An elevated level of prostaglandins in the body, chemicals that cause the uterus to contract, results in pain. 

Secondary dysmenorrhea may indicate an underlying condition, such as endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, or fibroids. 

The pain can sometimes be so severe that it interferes with a person’s routine. Other symptoms that may appear with dysmenorrhea include:

Learn more about menstrual cramps.

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)

PMS refers to symptoms females develop before their period. The symptoms affect more than 90% of females. 

Common PMS symptoms include:

Some people may also have painful cramps and nausea as part of PMS.

Learn more about PMS.

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), you may have a higher chance of contracting PID if you have more than one sexual partner, use an intrauterine device, or are younger than 25 years old. PID does not cause symptoms for everyone, but some people experience:

  • fever
  • lower abdominal pain
  • nausea 
  • bleeding between periods
  • pain while urinating
  • pain during sexual intercourse

Talk with a medical professional if you notice anything unusual or have PID symptoms. Early treatment can help prevent complications.

Learn more about PID.

Endometriosis

Endometriosis occurs when tissues similar to the uterus’s lining grow outside the uterus. 

Endometriosis can cause:

  • painful periods
  • pain during sexual intercourse
  • heavy periods
  • infertility 
  • constipation 

Pain can be severe if you have endometriosis. One study found that if the tissue grows near your bowel, you may be more likely to experience nausea and vomiting.

Learn more about endometriosis.

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)

PMDD is a severe form of PMS that happens 1 or 2 weeks before your period starts. 

PMDD causes the same physical symptoms as PMS, such as nausea and cramps. However, it may also lead to emotional symptoms, including:

PMDD is not as common as PMS. It may affect only up to 5% of females who menstruate. 

Learn more about PMDD.

Home remedies for nausea during your period

Several home remedies may help relieve nausea during your period, including:

  • Ginger: The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health notes ginger may help relieve mild nausea.
  • Water: The CDC states that sipping water can help keep you hydrated if you’re vomiting. 
  • Cold compress: Holding a cold washcloth at the back of your neck may ease nausea. 
  • Open a window: Open a window or sit in front of a fan. Fresh air can sometimes ease nausea.
  • Peppermint: One study on 100 hospitalized patients concluded that peppermint oil might reduce nausea.
  • Distraction: Keeping busy may distract your mind and help you focus on things other than your nausea.

When to see a doctor for nausea during your period

Call your healthcare professional if you have symptoms accompanying your nausea, such as:

Seek emergency care if you have nausea and dehydration symptoms, such as:

Other frequently asked questions

Sanaz Ghazal, M.D., FACOG, has reviewed answers to other questions about feeling nauseated during your period.

Why do I have nausea during my period for the first time?

Nausea is a premenstrual symptom that occurs as the body experiences an overproduction of prostaglandins during that time of the month. 

It may also indicate that you have an infection or endometriosis. Tell your healthcare professional if you notice anything unusual besides feeling nauseated. 

What should I do if I have extreme nausea during my period?

If you are experiencing extreme nausea, take measures to prevent dehydration from vomiting or being unable to eat or drink. Sip water or other clear liquids often. If you experience vomiting, a change in your bowel movements, or a fever, seek medical care.

Is acid reflux a symptom of PMS?

If your PMS symptoms appear more than 2 weeks before you get your period or last throughout the month, it may mean you have an underlying health problem. For example, if bloating persists, it could indicate indigestion or acid reflux. Acid reflux can feel like a burning sensation in your chest and an unpleasant taste in your mouth. 

Summary

Many females experience nausea while menstruating, and it’s typically not a medical concern. It can also accompany painful periods, endometriosis, or PID.

Several home remedies can reduce your nausea. Try engaging in light exercise, open a window for fresh air, and stay hydrated. 

Visit your medical professional if you have additional symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, or blurred vision. These symptoms may indicate an underlying health condition. 

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Medical Reviewer: Sanaz Ghazal, MD, FACOG
Last Review Date: 2022 Oct 25
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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.
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