Why Does Menopause Cause Nausea?

Nausea is an uncommon symptom of menopause. If you are experiencing nausea and are nearing the age at which menopause begins, you are likely going through menopause or perimenopause (the transitional stage into menopause). Nausea can occur because of changing hormone levels, hormone replacement therapy (HRT), or as a side effect of hot flashes.

Read on to learn more about menopause-induced nausea.

Senior woman having stomachache while running outdoors.

MixMedia / Getty Images

What Causes Nausea During Menopause?

Not all people going through menopause will develop nausea as a symptom, but some will. It can be caused by decreased hormone levels, hot flashes, or hormone replacement therapy.

Decreased Hormone Levels

Menopause is marked by a decrease in the hormones estrogen and progesterone. Both hormones play a role in a person’s reproductive health by regulating the menstrual cycle.

By the time a person reaches menopausal age, generally between ages 40 and 58, levels of those hormones begin to drop. This signals the beginning of menopause. During that time, the decrease in hormone levels can lead to nausea in some people.

Hot Flashes

One of the most common symptoms of menopause is hot flashes.

Hot flashes are sensations of excessive warmth that come and go throughout the day. The areas of the body typically affected are the head, neck, and chest. Hot flashes can be accompanied by red and blotchy skin, prickly skin, and sweating.

Not all people will develop hot flash–induced nausea, but research has found that as many as 5% will experience this particular side effect.

Are Hot Flashes Dangerous?

Hot flashes, as a symptom of menopause, are not dangerous. Nor is menopause itself. That being said, some research has found that people who experience more severe hot flashes may be at an increased risk of stroke, heart attack, or cardiovascular disease in the future.

Hormone Replacement Therapy

HRT is a type of therapy used to reintroduce synthetic forms of estrogen and progesterone into the body to help combat symptoms of menopause.

HRT comes with various side effects, including nausea. This is especially true when undergoing HRT with estrogen.

What Are the Other Symptoms of Menopause?

Nausea isn’t as common as other symptoms, but it is on a long list of symptoms that can occur when a person is going through menopause.

Other symptoms of menopause include:

  • Hot flashes
  • Night sweats
  • Vaginal dryness and sexual dysfunction
  • Painful intercourse
  • Thinning and inflammation of the vaginal walls
  • Weakened pelvic muscles
  • Lower sex drive
  • Difficulty sleeping (insomnia)
  • Fatigue
  • Joint pain
  • Depression and other mood changes
  • Anxiety
  • Changes in memory retention
  • Poor concentration

What Is Perimenopause?

"Perimenopause" is the term used to describe the transitional period prior to the onset of menopause. During perimenopause, your menstrual cycle begins changing, and physical and emotional symptoms arise. Perimenopause can last anywhere from two to 10 years.

How Is Menopausal Nausea Treated?

There are various treatments available for people with menopause. Treatment often depends on the symptoms being experienced.

Medications

The most effective form of treatment is HRT, which restores levels of decreased hormones using synthetic forms. Oral birth control pills may also be given in low doses to alleviate symptoms such as nausea.

In people experiencing depressive symptoms and hot flashes, antidepressants such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) may be used. These medications can also alleviate sleep disturbances as well as symptoms of anxiety.  

Nausea can also be treated with anti-nausea medications that can be purchased over the counter, without a prescription.

How Can You Increase Your Hormone Levels Naturally?

To increase estrogen naturally, you can introduce certain foods into your diet such as soybeans and soybean-based products, flaxseeds, and sesame seeds. Supplementing with certain nutrients may also be effective at increasing estrogen. Some supplements that could help include B vitamins, vitamin D, and boron. 

Lifestyle Changes

Certain foods and beverages may make nausea worse. Therefore, it's recommended that you avoid certain triggers such as:

  • Spicy or hot foods
  • Alcohol
  • Hot and caffeinated drinks such as tea or coffee 

To help alleviate nausea tied to hot flashes, you can manage your hot flashes by:

  • Wearing layers that can be removed when a hot flash starts
  • Carrying a portable fan, ice pack, or other cooling tool with you wherever you go
  • Quitting smoking
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Practicing mind-body techniques, such as meditation, to help manage the hot flashes 

When to See a Provider

While menopause-induced nausea isn’t dangerous, it can significantly affect certain people.

In some cases, treating nausea at home can work. But if it interferes with your ability to participate in your day-to-day life, you should see your healthcare provider. They will work with you to determine the best course of action to alleviate your nausea and other symptoms of menopause as well.

Summary

Nausea is an uncommon but possible symptom of menopause. It can be caused by hot flashes, hormone replacement therapy, or natural hormone reductions that occur with menopause. It can be treated with medications or lifestyle changes. See your healthcare provider if your nausea persists or interferes with your daily life.

A Word From Verywell

Menopause can be an uncomfortable and difficult process, especially if you have nausea as a symptom. While not everyone will experience nausea because of menopause, some will. Fortunately, it can be managed effectively with either over-the-counter or natural remedies. Contact your healthcare provider to find relief for your nausea and related menopausal symptoms.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How long does menopause last?

    The menopause timeline will vary depending on the person and other lifestyle factors. Roughly speaking, the transitional period typically lasts seven years. In some cases, it can go on for as long as 14 years.

  • How early does menopause start?

    Menopause can start at varied ages. This is because each person will experience it differently. People may be more likely to begin menopause between the ages of 45 and 55. However, it can start as early as age 40.

  • Can menopause cause dizziness?

    Dizziness is quite common in people experiencing menopause. Researchers have found that it could be linked to feelings of anxiety during menopause.

Was this page helpful?
12 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Shifren JL, Gass MLS. The North American menopause society recommendations for clinical care of midlife womenMenopause. 2014;21(10):1038-1062. doi:10.1097/gme.0000000000000319

  2. Dalal PK, Agarwal M. Postmenopausal syndrome. Indian J Psychiatry. 2015;57(6):222. doi:10.4103/0019-5545.161483

  3. Fisher WI, Thurston RC. Measuring hot flash phenomenonology using ambulatory prospective digital diaries. Menopause. 2016;23(11):1222-1227. doi:10.1097/GME.0000000000000685

  4. Zhu D, Chung HF, Dobson AJ, et al. Vasomotor menopausal symptoms and risk of cardiovascular disease: a pooled analysis of six prospective studies. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2020;223(6):898.e1-898.e16. doi:10.1016/j.ajog.2020.06.039

  5. Fait T. Menopause hormone therapy: latest developments and clinical practice. Drugs Context. 2019;8:1-9. doi:10.7573/dic.212551

  6. Santoro N, Epperson CN, Mathews SB. Menopausal symptoms and their management. Endocrinol Metab Clin North Am. 2015;44(3):497-515. doi:10.1016/j.ecl.2015.05.001

  7. Johns Hopkins Medicine. Perimenopause.

  8. Kaunitz AM, Manson JE. Management of menopausal symptoms. Obstet Gynecol. 2015;126(4):859-876. doi:10.1097/AOG.0000000000001058

  9. Desmawati D, Sulastri D. Phytoestrogens and their health effect. Open Access Maced J Med Sci. 2019;14;7(3):495-499. doi:10.3889/oamjms.2019.044

  10. National Institute on Aging. Hot flashes: what can I do?.

  11. National Institute on Aging. What is menopause?.

  12. Terauchi M, Odai T, Hirose A, et al. Dizziness in peri- and postmenopausal women is associated with anxiety: a cross-sectional study. Biopsychosoc Med. 2018;12:21. doi:10.1186/s13030-018-0140-1