Menstrual Headaches and Nausea: Causes and Treatment Methods

Headaches and nausea during menstruation, while not a severe issue, can significantly impact women’s health. In this article, we will introduce simple yet effective treatments for headaches and nausea that anyone can apply.

What is menstrual migraine and nausea?

Menstrual migraine and nausea refer to the condition where women experience headaches accompanied by feelings of nausea and vomiting before and during their menstrual period. As the monthly cycle approaches, the increased prostaglandin levels cause the uterus to contract, leading to nausea.

Additionally, hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle are also a contributing factor to headaches. Some women experience premenstrual or menstrual migraines during their cycle.

Menstrual headaches and nausea significantly impact women's health.

Menstrual headaches and nausea significantly impact women’s health.

The causes of headaches and nausea during menstruation

Headaches and nausea during menstruation can be caused by various factors. Among them, some common reasons include:

Menstrual headaches and nausea due to iron deficiency

Menstrual headaches and nausea are often associated with iron deficiency, which can lower the blood’s oxygen levels, affecting the brain and leaving women physically and mentally exhausted. Additionally, this is also a common cause of headaches in the latter part of the menstrual cycle.

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)

This syndrome is characterized by decreased estrogen and progesterone, leading to a lack of serotonin in the brain, causing blood vessels to constrict and resulting in headaches. Alongside premenstrual headache symptoms, women may experience cravings, forgetfulness, breast swelling, tension, or disrupted sleep.

Hormonal fluctuations

Fluctuations in estrogen and progesterone levels during the menstrual cycle can cause headaches in women. The increase in estrogen levels during the menstrual cycle is aimed at stimulating egg release, while the rise in progesterone is intended to facilitate the smooth movement of the egg into the uterus.

While this condition does not significantly affect patients like menstrual migraines, it can cause dull headaches or nausea, making life difficult for those affected.


The condition of nausea during menstruation is also related to endometriosis. Endometriosis is the phenomenon where endometrial tissues grow outside the uterus and spread to the fallopian tubes. These tissues hinder the process of expelling menstrual blood from the body and gradually become inflamed and swollen.

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Caused by stress and tension

If women experience frequent stress, it can lead to a decrease in hormone levels, causing the uterus to contract strongly, resulting in abdominal pain and nausea during menstruation.

Menstrual headaches and nausea due to illness

If one of the following conditions occurs, women are susceptible to experiencing headaches and nausea during menstruation:

Pelvic inflammatory disease

This is one of the diseases that can be sexually transmitted. In addition to the symptoms of nausea, patients may also experience other symptoms such as lower abdominal pain, chills, pain during urination, or sexual intercourse.


Typically, individuals with gastritis exhibit symptoms such as heartburn, nausea, and upper abdominal pain, especially after late-night meals or excessive eating. During menstruation, hormonal changes stimulate the stomach to produce more acid, leading to nausea.

Gynecological disorders

Women are prone to various gynecological disorders, which can result in the occurrence of menstrual headaches and nausea.

Is menstrual headache and nausea dangerous?

Experts affirm that menstrual headache and nausea are typically not dangerous, as they are simply the result of fluctuations in the levels of estrogen and progesterone hormones. However, these symptoms can still significantly affect the daily lives and activities of women. Additionally, if nausea during menstruation is accompanied by sudden intense pain, it could be a warning sign of some serious underlying conditions.

If you experience the following symptoms, it is advisable to visit reputable healthcare facilities nearby for early examination and treatment to avoid any dangerous complications:

  • Severe vomiting and abdominal pain.
  • Sudden increase or decrease in blood pressure.
  • Severe abdominal pain, accompanied by dark and foul-smelling blood.
  • High fever or chills accompanied by abdominal pain.
  • Abdominal pain accompanied by diarrhea.
  • Vaginal itching, abnormal vaginal discharge

Treatment for menstrual headache and nausea

Depending on the severity of the menstrual headache and nausea, patients require different treatment methods. If the condition is not too severe, the following methods can be applied.

Treatment with Western medicine

When the condition of menstrual headache and nausea occurs frequently, doctors will prescribe one of the following types of medications:

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

These are drugs specifically used to treat pain caused by menstruation. This drug group aims to reduce the concentration of prostaglandins, thereby alleviating headaches and nausea. Patients can purchase nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs at Western pharmacies without a doctor’s prescription.

Commonly used nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs include: Ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin,…

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors

Premenstrual syndrome and premenstrual dysphoric disorder can be treated with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. In addition, you can use antidepressants to increase serotonin levels in the brain.

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This drug group is mainly used to treat emotional symptoms, so sometimes it can cause side effects such as nausea. Doctors will prescribe the mildest SSRI depending on the patient’s condition.

Birth control pills

Birth control pills are tablets that can control hormonal changes in the menstrual cycle and reduce some emotional and physical symptoms, especially nausea during menstruation.

In addition, birth control pills are also used to treat: Menorrhagia, menstrual cramps, irregular menstruation, endometriosis, premenstrual syndrome, or premenstrual dysphoric disorder.


If you have pelvic inflammatory disease, the doctor will prescribe you antibiotics based on the specific infection. When using antibiotics, you should take the full dose, even if you no longer experience symptoms. Failure to adhere to the prescribed dosage by the doctor will prevent the complete eradication of the pathogenic bacteria, leading to a more severe and difficult-to-treat recurrent condition.

When using Western medication to treat menstrual headache and nausea, patients need to adhere to the doctor’s instructions to prevent any unwanted side effects. In case the condition does not improve, please inform your doctor immediately for a change of medication or timely remedies.

When using antibiotics, patients should adhere to the doctor's instructions.

When using antibiotics, patients should adhere to the doctor’s instructions.

Non-pharmacological treatments

In addition to the three methods mentioned above, when experiencing menstrual headaches and nausea, women can also consider the following methods:

  • Controlled breathing: Deep breathing exercises can help relax the muscles and reduce nausea and headaches caused by menstrual cycles.
  • Lower abdominal massage: To alleviate abdominal pain and nausea during menstruation. Patients should gently massage the lower abdomen. First, relax the body, place both hands on the abdomen, and gently rub around the abdomen in a circular motion. You can combine the massage with some essential oils for relaxation and to reduce abdominal pain.
  • Warm compress on the lower abdomen: In addition to massage, patients can also use warm water to compress the lower abdomen to alleviate cramping and reduce the feeling of nausea. However, please use specialized heating pads to avoid burns.
  • Acupressure: When experiencing menstrual headaches, you can press on the acupuncture point known as the P6 or Nei Guan. This point is located on the underside of the wrist. Pressing firmly on this point can help alleviate feelings of nausea, headaches, and abdominal pain during the ‘red light’ days.

Read more: Headaches and Nausea During Menstruation

Notes for patients

In addition to the aforementioned treatments for menstrual headaches and nausea, it is important to consider preventive measures to avoid impacting your health during these sensitive days.

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Adequate nutrition

Women should ensure they have a well-balanced diet, especially including foods that are rich in iron, such as: Red pumpkin, animal liver, chicken gizzard, beef, red beets, papaya, bananas, pineapple, etc.

Furthermore, it is advisable to stay away from stimulants, carbonated drinks, fast food, and oily foods before and during menstruation.

Gentle exercise

Exercising not only promotes a healthy body but also helps women prevent and minimize feelings of nausea and headaches during their menstrual cycle.

However, during menstruation, women should avoid intensive exercise and refrain from swimming.

Sufficient sleep

Develop a habit of going to bed early and getting enough sleep to allow the body to rest after a stressful day. Sufficient sleep prevents fatigue, ensures effective work, avoids tension, stress, and alleviates the occurrence of nausea during the menstrual cycle.

Additionally, it is advisable not to stay up late and to rest more, using warm water for daily activities during the ‘red light’ days.

Treating the underlying cause of the disease

Menstrual headaches are a common symptom in patients with vascular headaches. In this case, you may have Migraine syndrome if you experience the following symptoms:

  • Pulsating throbbing sensation, increased pain during movement or work.
  • During the pain, there is a feeling of nausea, sensitivity to light, and sound, and a preference for quiet places.
  • Especially experiencing visual disturbances such as seeing flickering bright spots in front of your eyes.

To treat the root cause of menstrual headaches and nausea, it is important to seek medical advice to identify the cause and ensure comprehensive treatment. For instance, Migraine, which is a chronic headache condition, can be treated effectively with Feverfew herbal remedies, putting an end to the painful condition during menstruation.

Menstrual headaches and nausea can be quickly treated if women know how to take care of themselves and apply some of the methods mentioned above. However, if headaches occur frequently, it is advisable to seek medical advice to prevent certain dangerous conditions.

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