What causes nausea after period? Is it normal? In most women, nausea after menses can occur even two weeks after their period ends. Other signs that you may experience with it include cramps and bloating. Here are the causes of nausea after your menstruation.
Nausea is that feeling sick such that you want to vomit (throwing up). Most women experience nausea during their period, in the early stages of pregnancy and generally when sick. Nausea before, during or after period is part of the menstrual syndrome symptoms some women deal with every month. Almost a third of all women experience nausea and other effects before, during and after their periods. So, what causes that nauseous feeling after period?
Can periods cause nausea?
Some foods may be the reason for nausea during and after your period, but there are other likely causes. It has everything to do with the link between the digestive system and your menstrual cycle. Hormonal changes during menstruation are the main cause of nausea. In fact, the major culprit for nausea after periods is prostaglandins.
- Prostaglandins are hormone-like chemicals released just before the onset of periods.
- The work of these chemicals is to trigger the muscle contractions responsible for sloughing off the endometrium lining of the womb. The endometrium wall is what is shed off as the period.
While the activities of the chemicals are to work on the endometrium, there are times when their effects are felt in the gut and stomach too. In such a case, the results to be expected will be nausea and in some cases, diarrhea.
The natural cycle of hormones is that the prostaglandins are to drop in amount immediately the period ends. However, issues such as hormonal imbalances may make them linger for longer leading to nausea and other such issues.
In the worst of cases, rather than the chemicals simply retaining their normal amount before slowly subsiding, they can continue to be produced by the body. Such a case means that the body will experience the effects of postmenstrual syndrome for far longer periods of time.
This may not be the only cause of nausea after periods since there are some cases that do involve other bodily chemicals beyond the prostaglandins. The basis of the nausea is but a small part of the post menstrual syndrome (PMS). The post menstrual syndrome is the existence of an irregularity caused by an imbalance in the hormones.
The PMS manifests itself in the two weeks after your period. It is often referred to as Post Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder. Any issues one can experience during the PMS can be experienced during the premenstrual and period stages. This includes nausea and other effects discussed later below.
What causes nausea after period ends?
Why am I nauseous after period ends? Even when there is a nauseous feeling before or during the periods, you should treat it as an anomaly. Besides the excessive presence of prostaglandins, there are some more reasons as to why the nauseous feeling will be present. A quick visit to the doctor will reveal why you are feeling nauseous even after your period ends. Here are some of the common causes you should know.
1. Gastrointestinal (GI) Illnesses
While the nausea may only be present after the period, the problem may have nothing to do with the hormones but everything to do with your gastrointestinal tract. An illness such as gastroenteritis is known to cause nausea and may lay low when the body has a strong immunity.
However, during times of susceptibility such as during the periods, the gastroenteritis will come out strong again. Similar diseases to gastroenteritis may behave that way depending on the level of immunity of the body. It may be hard to find out about such diseases since most women will think blame on the hormones.
2. Endometriosis and fibroids
Other causes of nausea after periods include gynecological conditions which afflict a sizeable number of women around the world. When diseases such as the uterine fibroids and endometriosis affect an individual, nausea is one of the expected symptoms.
In most cases, these diseases are accompanied by pain in the lower abdomen and bleeding on an irregular basis. Assuming that these are simply irregular periods or hormonal imbalances is a mistake many people make.
3. Birth control
Birth control pills and method such as Plan B are known to cause hormonal changes in women. As a result, you may experience such signs as nausea or morning sickness even when you are not pregnant. These signs may worsen before, during and after your period.
Plan B and many other birth control pills may cause some PMS and even pregnancy symptoms in some women. This happens especially during the first few months of starting their use.
4. Some medications
Most women take medication to relieve themselves from the pain experienced during periods. Besides that, one may be on routine treatments such as chemotherapy in treating cancer or anesthetic medications. These are sometimes known to cause severe nausea that may be experienced even after your period.
5. Infections outside of the gastrointestinal tract
Suffering from diseases such as infections of the kidney and balder, ear infections, meningitis and pneumonia all increase the likelihood of nausea before, during and after periods.
6. Food poisoning and allergic reactions
The urges you have during the periods towards particular foods may also be cause for nausea after period. You need to establish the response of your body to certain foods before eating them. It could be the reason you get extended morning sickness even after your period ends.
7. Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome
Cyclic vomiting syndrome “is an increasingly recognized disorder with sudden, repeated attacks—also called episodes—of severe nausea, vomiting, and physical exhaustion that occur with no apparent cause. The episodes can last from a few hours to several days.” [The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disorders, NIDDK]
Though this condition occurs without any apparent reason in some people, NIDDK lists menstrual periods as part of the triggers. With periods, the fact that the body’s immunity has dropped makes way for the prevalence of such conditions. The vomiting episodes may last from a few hours to some days. While the actual cause of the condition is yet to be established, research has pointed to;
- Gastrointestinal motility,
- Automatic responses of the nervous system,
- Normal functions of the central nervous system,
- Hormonal imbalances,
- and even inherited genes.
The condition may also be triggered by;
- Certain foods,
Ruling out pregnancy from the list of causes of nausea after periods is not a wise decision. However, the fact that you had your periods is a sign that you are not pregnant in the first place. More on this topic will be discussed below.
A point of note here is that before, during and after the periods, a woman’s immune system is not at its best. That is most opportunistic health conditions come about.
Nausea two weeks after period
Post Menstrual Syndrome (PMS) is the occurrence of bodily irregularities occasioned by hormonal imbalances in the two-week period after the menstruation is over.
From this definition, it can be seen that the two-week period following the completion of periods is rife with issues on the body of a woman. The reason for that is that, just before the onset of periods, the body undergoes various hormonal changes. These changes only come about due to the release of various hormones into the bloodstream.
Some women even experience high fever and other symptoms during the two weeks after menstruation. Most of the hormones and chemicals will be produced throughout the session of the period. As the period comes to an end, the body naturally stops producing the chemicals and hormones to revert it to normalcy. The chemicals already in the bloodstream slowly reduce in amount until they become nonexistent.
However, chances are that a few chemicals and hormones may still exist in the bloodstream for a fortnight after the period comes to an end. In such a case, post menstrual symptoms will set in. The main one is nausea and it has been exhibited in a majority of the women who experience the post menstrual syndrome. The rest of the symptoms are discussed below. If you are experiencing any of them, seek medical advice given that they may not entirely be caused by your menses.
Other post-menstrual syndrome symptoms
Since PMS symptoms can start at around day 14 of your cycle and last 7 days or even two weeks after the period ends, it is important to identify the signs. This will help you understand and be able to differentiate when you are actually sick with a serious illness or are just suffering from short-lived PMS symptoms.
The cramps can get quite severe in some cases. While most women complain of cramping before the onset of periods, those experiencing the post-menstrual syndrome have severe ones. They normally extend from the abdomen to the upper thighs and the pelvic area.
Bloating is normally associated with foods the likes of cabbage and beans. However, it can also be a sign that there is an underlying condition affecting your menstrual hormones such as progesterone and estrogen. At times, bloating may be accompanied by missed periods especially in young ladies who are yet to establish their menstrual cycles. Among other causes of bloating are;
- Stress and anxiety
- Eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa
- Medicines such as chemotherapy drugs, birth control pills and antidepressants
- Ectopic pregnancy
- Early pregnancy
- Ovarian cancer
- Ovarian cysts
- A blockage of the fallopian tubes (e.g. by a tumor)
- Polycystic ovary syndrome
- Pituitary gland or thyroid disorders
3. Pain in the back, neck and shoulders
This kind of pain is rarely severe. If it becomes too much, there could be a bigger problem than being part of the post menstrual syndrome. In such cases, medical advice should be sought as fast as possible.
4. Fluid retention and weight gain
Most women will attest to feeling or actually weighing heavier especially before and after their periods. There is actually no reason to worry since it is absolutely normal for anyone to add a few more pounds during their period.
What happens can all be traced to the pregnancy hormone progesterone. In preparation for a baby, the hormone readies the body by storing a few more pounds of body weight and retaining water in the cells before menstruation.
However, when one does not get pregnant, the water and pounds gained simply go away. In some women, the effects of progesterone may remain active for a while after the periods are over. The good news is that the weight gain goes away by itself eventually.
5. Constipation and diarrhea
Remember prostaglandins? They are the culprits here too. In preparation for a pregnancy, your body will produce large amounts of progesterone just before the onset of periods. Since progesterone is the hormone that prepares the body to be ready for a pregnancy, it helps the body gain some weight by, for example, slowing down the digestion process so that the body has enough time to absorb as many nutrients as possible.
This slowdown in the digestion process is what causes constipation. If you do not get pregnant, the prostaglandins produced the moment the periods come on will counter the effects of progesterone. You then have normal bowel movements.
The problem comes about when too much or too little prostaglandins are produced. With too little of the chemicals, enough amounts of progesterone to cause constipation after the periods are over will be available. With too much of prostaglandins, the digestive system will be upset hence causing diarrhea.
6. Dizziness or fainting
The prostaglandins produced during period play many roles. Also, they are very powerful chemicals whose excess causes many of the symptoms most women with PMS experience. Among the symptoms of prostaglandins include various degrees of dizziness before, during and after the period ends.
It is clear that, while some women experience mild versions of dizziness, others experience fainting. It all depends on how severe the amount of prostaglandins is, and the way one is taking care of their bodies. Besides that, those prone to anemic attacks may experience dizziness after period owing to the loss of blood especially if the flow was heavy. Staying healthy will keep you free from these episodes of dizziness.
7. Headaches and migraines
Often referred to as menstrual migraines, headaches and migraines after period are caused by a combination of hormones including serotonin, estrogen and progesterone. While serotonin causes headaches even in men, its effects are more pronounced when the levels of estrogen and progesterone in the bloodstream change.
Those on birth control pills are thus likely to experience more menstrual migraines as the pills vary the levels of estrogen in the body.
8. Increased or decreased appetite
The two primary hormones of the menstrual cycle, estrogen and progesterone, affect the level of appetite in varying degrees. While estrogen reduces the appetite, progesterone increases it. Given that both hormones are produced during the menstrual cycle, it all depends on which one is in higher amounts compared to the other.
9. Sore breasts
Estrogen and progesterone may cause slight swelling and pain during and after periods. The levels of breast pain (mastalgia) may differ according to age and any hormonal imbalances one has. Given that breast pain affects between 50 and 70 percent of all women, it is not a serious issue.
If the pain becomes too much, however, you should seek the advice of their doctor as there could be another problem beyond the hormonal changes.
10. Mood swings
With mood swings, the levels of intensity differ by a great extent. The most common symptoms of mood swings include anger, irritability, depression, oversensitivity, crying, anxiety and nervousness, and alternating rage and sadness.
The cause for mood swings has been established to be the highs and lows in the amount of estrogen in the body during and after periods. The amounts spike up and drop quickly enough to frustrate the body hence the moods.
11. Pain during intercourse
Most women will feel the urge to engage in intercourse immediately after their period. However, while the urge is present, the level of natural lubrication is quite low after menstruation ends. The pain is thus due to the low levels of lubrication.
I have nausea after period, am I pregnant?
Being pregnant may be the first thing that comes to mind when you experience nausea after period. Often, it is wrong to come to this conclusion. While only a pregnancy test will assure you of not being pregnant, there are several explanations as to why nausea can come about even when the periods are gone.
The main causes for nausea after the periods include excessive amounts of prostaglandins in the blood, infections in the gut, medicines and others. However, it would be paradoxical to say you are pregnant yet you just had your periods. Having a period means that the egg for that particular cycle was not fertilized.
However, it is easy to mistake implantation bleeding or ovulatory spotting with periods. The implantation bleeding is a small amount of blood but it means you are pregnant and the fertilized egg is being implanted into the wall of the uterus. As stated earlier, the best way to know is to take a pregnancy test.
How to get rid of nausea after menstrual bleeding
The first step when you notice nausea after period is to see a doctor. If you are not pregnant, you can feed on a diet of whole grains and vegetables with other foods rich in fiber. These foods are known to mop up the excess prostaglandins leaving you with a healthy body.
You can also focus on the right combination of exercises and the foods to keep yourself healthy. It may not be a big issue for some, but ignoring it may land you into problems given that the issue could be with your medication or gut or other causes.
Having nausea after period is a common occurrence. While it should not be a reason for alarm, it is certainly enough to warrant a visit to the doctor. As stated here, it is never always about the hormones alone. Many other causes may underlie the nausea including other diseases and the medicine you are taking for another illness. With the proper diet and amount of exercise, however, you can get rid of nausea after period naturally.
The same remedy can be used for most of the symptoms of the post menstrual syndrome. It is all about how well you take care of yourself.
- NIDDK (2014): Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome
- Nausea After Periods: What Causes it? https://baby-pedia.com/nausea-periods-causes/
- Spotting, cramping and nausea after period? Pregnant? https://www.babycenter.com/400_spotting-cramping-and-nausea-after-period-pregnant_11797485_333.bc
- What causes breast pain? 9 possible conditions. http://www.healthline.com/symptom/breast-pain
appetite and your period (Nov 4, 2014) http://paleoforwomen.com/appetite-and-your-period/