Can Endometriosis Cause Nausea?

Do a quick Google search for ‘symptoms of endometriosis’ and you’ll find very similar results on every page:

  • Pain...ALL the pain - debilitating cramps, pelvic pain, painful sex, painful bowel movements
  • Very heavy and unpredictable periods 
  • Irregular spotting
  • Infertility

One lesser mentioned symptom is nausea. 

The many women who experience nausea during endometriosis flare-ups can attest that there is an association between the two. But, there is not a lot of science explaining why.

When nausea is listed as a symptom of endometriosis, the information typically stops there. 

Is nausea truly a symptom of endometriosis? Or, is it a secondary or even tertiary symptom triggered by your primary symptoms? 

Are you looking for answers? For remedies? I know I was. 

In this guide, we’ll explore the possible reasons women experience nausea, vomiting, and headaches with endometriosis and what might help.

What’s Endometriosis?

Endometriosis, often referred to as “endo,” is a disorder that affects nearly 11% of women in the United States. The disorder gets its name from the word “endometrium,” which is the tissue that lines the uterus.

In a healthy woman, free of endometriosis, the body sheds the endometrium lining the uterus and passes it during menstruation.

Endometriosis occurs when endometrium-like tissue grows outside of the uterus, most commonly in or around the:

  • Fallopian tubes
  • Ovaries
  • Tissues throughout the pelvis

Unlike the lining of the uterus, endometriosis tissue has nowhere to go during menstruation. The result is inflammation which causes the often debilitating pain associated with endo.

Endometriosis and Nausea

You’ve been diagnosed with endometriosis. On top of the excruciating pain and excessive bleeding that accompanies your monthly cycle, you’re now battling nausea.

Why?

Is there anything you can do?

Will you suffer from nausea every time your endometriosis flares up?

I can assure you, you are not alone. Though there may not be a quick explanation or remedy for your nausea, there is some comfort in knowing that many other women are experiencing the same thing. 

Is Nausea a Symptom of Endometriosis?

Not all women experience nausea as a symptom of endometriosis. 

One study found that younger women with endo report nausea at a higher frequency than older women with endo. Additionally, the stage of a woman’s endo does not increase the level or frequency of nausea reported. 

So, it is safe to say that your body reacts differently to the lesions and inflammation caused by endo than another woman’s body might.

Instead of simply saying nausea is a symptom of endometriosis, it is helpful to look at what endo is doing to your body. 

Nausea might be a secondary symptom. In which case, addressing a primary symptom might help you find relief. 

Some primary symptoms of endo that may trigger nausea include:

  • Severe pain
  • Secondary dysmenorrhea (extreme menstrual cramps)
  • Hormonal and chemical changes in the body during menstruation
  • Location of endometriosis lesions

Let’s review these primary symptoms in greater detail to learn why they can cause nausea.

Why is Nausea a Symptom of Endometriosis?

Since science can’t tell us that endometriosis causes nausea directly, let’s look at ways it can cause nausea indirectly:

  • Severe pain  
    • Pain is a hallmark symptom of endometriosis. And research shows that severe pain can lead to nausea.
  • Secondary Dysmenorrhea (extreme menstrual cramps)
    • Has been linked to a physical cause such as endometriosis
    • Abnormal uterine contractions can trigger nausea
  • Hormonal and chemical changes in the body during menstruation
  • Location of endometriosis lesions
    • In one study, endo lesions close to or within the bowel were associated with a higher rate of reported nausea
    • 85% of women with endo reported some form of gastrointestinal issues including nausea, gas, bloating, diarrhea, and constipation

        To determine if a primary symptom is triggering your nausea, you must learn to be in tune with your body. 

        Spend time tracking the following:

        • When do you feel nauseated?
        • Is your nausea stronger during menstruation?
        • Do certain foods or drinks make your nausea worse?
        • On days when your endo pain is less, do you also have relief from nausea?

        When you understand what might be triggering your nausea, you can work with a healthcare professional to develop a holistic approach to nausea management.

        Can Endometriosis Cause Headaches and Nausea?

        As we’ve reviewed, there is anecdotal evidence that endometriosis causes nausea. 

        What about headaches? Are they connected to your endo flare-ups as well?

        It turns out that research proves there is a correlation between the two:

        “Several studies have indicated a comorbidity between headache and endometriosis (ie, that they co-occur in the same individual more often than what would be expected from chance).”

        In fact, one study showed that headaches on 15 or more days per month occurred more often among women with endometriosis than women without.

        Again, you are not alone. Your headaches and migraines could very well be connected to your endometriosis and there are fellow endo sufferers out there experiencing headaches too.

        Why Does Endometriosis Cause Headaches and Nausea?

        So, great, headaches are another thing to add to your list of how endometriosis can adversely affect your daily life. Again, you may be asking, “why?”

        The same study referenced above provides a few possible reasons that endometriosis might cause headaches:

        • Early-onset menstruation (before age 12)
        • Higher estrogen levels 
        • Increased estrogen sensitivity
        • Increased prostaglandin production
        • Genetics

        Managing your endometriosis pain and other symptoms may help alleviate endo-induced headaches.

        Does Endometriosis Cause Nausea and Vomiting?

        In addition to bouts of nausea, are you also afflicted with episodes of vomiting? If so, you’re likely wondering if endometriosis can also cause vomiting.

        All of the relations between endo and nausea we reviewed earlier also apply to endo and vomiting. 

        We cannot reiterate enough that every woman is different.

        Your symptoms and tolerance for nausea may not align with another woman’s experience. Once nausea is triggered, a slight smell may send you running for the toilet, while your neighbor with endo may keep on with their day only feeling nauseated.

        Why Does Endometriosis Cause Nausea and Vomiting?

        Nausea by nature can often lead to vomiting. Tolerance levels and reactions to environmental stimulants can force you to progress from nausea to vomiting.

        Therefore, the same primary symptoms of endo that can lead to nausea can also lead to vomiting:

        • Severe pain
        • Secondary dysmenorrhea (extreme menstrual cramps)
        • Hormonal and chemical changes in the body during menstruation
        • Location of endometriosis lesions

        Endometriosis and Nausea All the Time

        It is very common for nausea to accompany endometriosis. Around 90% of women who have been diagnosed with endo often experience gastrointestinal symptoms first.

        Typically, nausea presents prior to and during menstruation.

        But, because endo-induced nausea can be the result of other symptoms, your nausea may present at any time.

        For example, if your nausea is triggered by the pain of endo inflammation and you experience pain outside of your menstruation window, you will likely also be nauseated outside of your menstruation window.

        Again, your symptoms may vary greatly when compared to other women diagnosed with endometriosis.

        Endometriosis Nausea after Period

        Endo-induced nausea most commonly presents prior to your monthly period.

        That being said, if your nausea is caused by a primary symptom of endometriosis, you may experience nausea at other times during the month.

        For instance, if you have lesions in or near your bowel, your nausea may present whenever your lesions are inflamed.

        Treatment for Endometriosis and Nausea

        You might find treating your endo-induced nausea to be difficult. There are so many factors that could be contributing to your nausea.

        We encourage you to track your nausea to closely understand when it occurs and what might be triggering it.

        • Is it pain? 
        • Severe cramps? 
        • Hormonal changes?

        Spending time understanding the cause(s) of nausea in your body will help you and your doctor develop a plan to manage it.

        At Chiavaye we do not claim to be doctors. Before you choose these treatment options, we highly recommend that you visit your doctor.

        Traditional Treatment for Endometriosis and Nausea

        Traditional treatments for endo-induced nausea will depend on the underlying cause of your nausea.

        They include:

        • NSAIDs (over the counter pain medication)
          • Relieve pain that may be causing nausea
          • Reduce prostaglandins in the bloodstream
        • Oral contraceptives
          • Control hormonal changes
        • Nausea medications such as Zofran

        Natural Remedies for Endometriosis and Nausea

        If you are looking for a more natural approach to treat your nausea you may look into: 

        • Beginning an endo-friendly diet to reduce inflammation
        • Reducing prostaglandins through the use of:
          • Ginger
          • Peppermint
          • Fennel
          • Cinnamon
        • Controlled breathing exercises
        • Acupressure
        • Cannabis

        Finally, do you experience pain and nausea during or after intercourse? There is a product available to reduce pain associated with intercourse. 

        At Chiavaye, we have developed an all-natural product to help relieve the endo pain you may feel during intercourse.

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