Nausea and menopause are not typically associated with each other and many women will go through the menopause and nausea will not bother them at all. However, a significant number of women will have a problem with nausea and menopause is the trigger for a number of reasons which we will discuss later.
The menopause can be defined as an absence of menstruation. For the menopause to have been officially reached according to medical definitions there has to have been an absence of menstrual periods for one year. This can obviously occur over a span of ages and this differs between women; however, typical ages for the menopause are between forty-five and fifty-five years of age. Often there is a lead-up of years to this eventual menopause or cessation of menstruation and it is during this period that nausea can become problematic.
The symptoms of nausea and menopause are typically linked because of the lack of oestrogen that occurs in the menopause. Estrogen depletion in the menopause is also the reason for women’s decreased protection against osteoporosis and cardiovascular diseases after the menopause is reached, as well as the eternal signs of aging like wrinkled skin being as a result of lower levels of estrogen.
There are several reasons why nausea and menopause go hand in hand in some women. Symptoms can build and subside gradually or they can be sudden and intense. Every woman is individual in this. Sometimes the symptoms subside naturally; sometimes they require medical treatment.
The effect of the menopause on the gut
A women’s gastrointestinal tract can be affected by the menopause and nausea may recur as a result. Oestrogen is the female hormone which is primarily responsible for fat distribution in females. Prior to the menopause, this encourages fat to collect on the hips, bottom and lower stomach to protect a woman’s reproductive organs. After the menopause, this is no longer needed and with lower levels of oestrogen in the body, fat distribution becomes more even as in men. The bio-chemical changes in the gut which occur during the period leading up to the menopause can also cause nausea.
At the time of the menopause, the production of progesterone also decreases. Progesterone is one of the most significant hormones that are produced by the ovaries whilst women are still ovulating – the other one of course being estrogen. Before the menopause, estrogen is the main hormone at the beginning of the menstrual cycle. Stimulated by ovulation, progesterone is found in higher levels in the latter half of the month. When the brain tells the ovaries via the pituitary gland to stop producing progesterone, menstruation is the result – usually within two days.
Progesterone is made from the sterol pregnenolone, which is in turn comprised of cholesterol, produced by the breakdown of sugar and fat in the body. Progesterone is essential in the balancing of sugars and electrolytes within the body as well as blood pressure; fluctuations in all of these can be enough to create nausea and menopause is a time of great fluctuation in these hormones.
Other causes of nausea and menopause links
Many women experience extreme fatigue and this can result in nausea and menopause fatigue can also create a kind of motion sickness. This latter nausea and menopause link can result from the senses sending mixed signals to the brain; this can cause a menopausal woman’s eyes and ears to be over-stimulated which creates a kind of dizziness and nausea which can be quite difficult to tolerate. These kinds of nausea and menopause symptoms may only be greatly reduced by lying down still in a darkened room with your eyes covered for a while.
Nausea and menopause may also be linked because of fatigue. Many of us will be able to relate being so tired that we feel physically sick. Tiredness through night sweats and insomnia can worsen significantly during the menopause and nausea can be the unfortunate result.
There are several natural and synthetic treatments available for unpleasant symptoms of the menopause and nausea is often treated, if severe, with natural progesterone. This can be used as a treatment quite easily in a progesterone cream which is smoothed into such paces on the body as behind the knees and on the elbows where there is less fat to inhibit the absorption of progesterone into the body.
See Also: nausea and menopause
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