Nausea Before Periods: Causes and Treatment

Sick of PMS, or just feeling sick from PMS? Either way, you’re not alone. The hormonal changes of the menstrual cycle can play havoc on your tummy and nausea before a period is a common complaint. Let’s look at the reasons coming up to a period can make you feel so nauseated, and what you can do to get it under control.

Is nausea before periods a PMS symptom?

nausea vomiting
Nausea before periods can be a PMS symptom. Don’t let cheesy sitcoms fool you: there can be a lot more to PMS symptoms than feeling a bit emo and craving chocolate.

PMS describes the whole gamut of physical and psychological changes your body goes through in response to the ebb and flow of hormones in the latter half (or “luteal phase”) of your menstrual cycle. The symptoms of PMS can vary from person to person, and even from month to month. However, some common ones include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Headaches
  • Back pain
  • Nausea
  • Pain in your joints and muscles
  • Sore and tender breasts
  • Gaining weight
  • Insomnia
  • Sleepiness
  • Irritability or depressed moods

What causes nausea before periods?

If you’re feeling queasy right before a period, chemical messengers in your body called prostaglandins could well be to blame. Though they’re not exactly a household name hormone like estrogen, prostaglandins play a big role in your menstrual cycle, causing the muscle contractions in the uterus that get it ready to shed its lining as your menstrual flow.

However, the increased levels of prostaglandins before a period can cause other problems. When they kick-start your womb’s monthly cleaning, prostaglandins can also cause contractions in the surrounding organs – meaning they can stimulate your digestive organs such as stomach. When this happens, you may be left feeling nauseated.

Treatment for nausea before periods

vegetable healthy food
You may relieve nausea before periods by eating foods which contain the following:

Dietary fiber

Eating foods rich in fiber is good for more than just keeping you regular! Eating foods rich in dietary fiber like fruits, whole grains and vegetables can help mop up excess prostaglandins in your system.

Omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are well known for their anti-inflammatory effect, which could make them useful for battling premenstrual nausea. The omega-3 fatty acids such as EPA and DHA found in cold-water fish and walnuts can help reduce prostaglandin production.


Research suggests magnesium could help fight the fluid retention caused by PMS that leaves you feeling bloated and icky. Although too much magnesium can make you sick, you can meet your daily needs through dietary sources like whole grains, nuts and legumes.

Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 is known as a therapy for nausea and vomiting of morning sickness, but research now suggests it could be useful for PMS sufferers, too. Find the vitamin B6 you need in foods like bananas, lentils and oatmeal.

Calcium with vitamin D

Some study has shown that calcium with vitamin D may help relieve PMS symptoms. Calcium-rich foods are dairy foods, dark green vegetables, and canned salmon and sardines. You can take lots of vitamin D through salmon, eggs, mushrooms and pork.

Is nausea before periods a pregnancy symptom?

BBT chart

If you know your period is due but all you feel is lingering nausea, you might start wondering whether it’s the first signs of morning sickness. However, nausea in the premenstrual phase isn’t enough to read as a sign of pregnancy.

So it’s a good idea to check your basal body temperature (BBT) when your period still hasn’t come and you continue to feel nauseous. If your BBT has stayed elevated throughout your luteal phase and your period doesn’t arrive on time, you may be pregnant and you can take a pregnancy test to make sure of your pregnancy.

If you haven’t recorded your BBT and your nausea keeps bothering you, see a doctor to work out what’s going on.

Take control of nausea before periods

relax smile sea

PMS symptoms like nausea can really ruin your day. If you’re struggling with nausea every month before your period, it’s possible that you’re sensitive to the prostaglandin shifts that go along with your cycle.

However, you may be able to lessen the severity with some changes to your diet. If you still need help for controlling nausea before your period, don’t hesitate to see a doctor. You deserve to feel good no matter what time of the month you’re up to!