Know Your Body

Science-backed articles about women's health, fertility, sex, periods, and more.
A young woman laying in bed, with her arms wrapped around her abdomen and a pained expression on her face.
EndometriosisNausea Due to EndometriosisEndometriosis is well known amongst women as the evil monster from which they cannot escape. Instead of the annoying cramping many women experience during their periods, women with endometriosis often experience severe pain that can be difficult to manage and can prevent them from going about their normal day. Symptoms While pelvic pain is the most common symptom, other symptoms of endometriosis include heavy menstruation, endo belly, painful bowel movements and urination, lower back pain, and sometimes even infertility. Endometriosis can also cause gastrointestinal symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, bloating, abdominal pain, and changes in bowel habits. Nausea is the “sick” uneasy feeling experienced in the stomach that often leads to vomiting. Many women report nausea as a symptom of their endometriosis, especially during their period or after meals. Cause of Nausea With Existing Endometriosis Medical experts unsure how endometriosis may lead to nausea, however, several factors may contribute to its onset. Pain is at the forefront of bringing about nausea due to the immense strain it puts on the body. The location of endometriosis and lesions in the lower abdomen can also cause nausea, especially if they're found near or in the woman's bowels, then nausea and vomiting are almost inevitable. Hormone imbalances—such as high estrogen levels—also play a role, therefore nausea is usually worse during the menstrual period. Additionally, endometriosis lesions can swell and bleed during your period, resulting in a build-up of blood in an area that cannot be released with normal period blood. This causes pain, discomfort, and nausea. Increased levels of prostaglandins (compounds made of fats that have hormone-like effects in your body) during your period can play a role as well. They can cause your uterus to contract (tighten), causing intense and painful menstrual cramps which can directly contribute to feelings of nausea. Triggers for Nausea Your diet is one of the biggest triggers for nausea. Nausea after eating is incredibly common, therefore specific foods can be isolated as triggers due to their ability to influence inflammation and high estrogen levels which can cause nausea or make it worse. Due to endometriosis being associated with other digestive symptoms, the same symptoms and causes of endo belly can be applied here. Estrogen is a key hormone in women, and we need it for normal functioning. But too much estrogen can aggravate endometriosis symptoms like cramping, pain, and nausea. Food plays an important role in balancing estrogen levels and reducing inflammation. It's advisable to avoid foods such as alcohol, high levels of caffeine, processed foods, and sugary drinks. Stress is also a big trigger for nausea as it can increase inflammation in the body and make endometriosis symptoms worse. Proactive Prevention of Endometriosis-Induced Nausea Yes, you read right! Nausea associated with endometriosis can be prevented in the following ways: Changes in diet: Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, omega-3 fatty acid-rich foods, and whole grains. Change how you eat: Consume smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day, don't eat too quickly, and avoid foods that may bring about nausea such as greasy, spicy foods. Posture and clothing: If you often feel bloated or nauseous after a meal, consider avoiding things that may place strain on your abdomen such as eating bent over, lying down while eating, and wearing tight-fitting clothing. Stress less: Easier said than done, but focus on reducing stress by meditating, listening to calm music, taking a warm bath, or engaging in a hobby you enjoy. Remedies for Nausea Here are some easy remedies to relieve nausea: Eat bland foods: This includes white rice, bananas, and unseasoned skinless chicken. Continue with this until your nausea disappears.Anti-nausea medications: These can be bought over the counter and taken as instructed. Stay upright: This can aid in digestion and may help nausea to pass. Ginger tea: One of the best home remedies for treating nausea. Peppermint: Also well known for treating nausea. Consider trying peppermint aromatherapy or drinking peppermint tea.Get fresh air: Breathing in some fresh air may also help ease feelings of nausea. Try opening a window or going outside until you start to feel better.Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS): Use Ovira or Livia to relieve your endometriosis symptoms. Conclusion Endometriosis can be debilitating and while there’s no cure, available treatment and remedy options can help make symptoms more manageable. Also consider reaching out to other women with endometriosis to share experiences and remedies, and provide support to one another, as things in life always seem less unbearable when we're not alone.
Closeup of woman holding her bloated stomach
EndometriosisEndo Belly: Causes, Symptoms, Treatments, and MoreEndometriosis is a condition where endometrial tissue starts to grow outside the uterus, usually around the ovaries, fallopian tubes, or inside the abdominal cavity. Endometriosis is quite common, affecting around 1 in 10 women. It often goes undetected for years because there may be no symptoms, or the symptoms are mistaken for another condition. What Is Endo Belly? Endo belly is a term for abdominal distension (bloating) caused by endometriosis. Regular bloating is a feeling of tightness and slight cramping around your abdomen. Endo belly differs from regular bloat by often being very painful and firm to the touch, sometimes excruciatingly enough to interfere with your day-to-day activities. As for how long endo belly lasts, the severe bloating may lessen after a few hours, but can also persist in a less severe form for days or weeks after your period. Symptoms of Endo Belly Bloating Diarrhea Nausea ConstipationGas Pain Endo Belly Causes The endometrial-like tissue located outside the uterus in endometriosis sufferers behaves like the normal endometrial lining by building up, breaking down, and bleeding each month. However, because this tissue doesn’t have a way to leave the body, it gets trapped. This leads to several possible reasons for causing endo belly, such as: Inflammation build-up The build-up of endometrial tissue outside the uterus causes inflammation in the abdomen, resulting in bloating, swelling, and water retention. Cyst and fibroid progression The endometrial-like tissue may cover or grow into the ovaries, resulting in trapped blood and increasing the risk of cysts, fibroids, and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, which could all lead to bloating Gastrointestinal upset Endometriosis often causes issues with the digestive system, like constipation and gas. Factors That Aggravate Symptoms of Endo Belly Food intolerancesStressAntidepressant useHormonal changesRed meatDiets high in trans-fatsFODMAP foods (fruits, honey, dairy, wheat, onions, garlic, beans, lentils, soybeans, sugar alcohols, and fruits that have pits or seeds) When Does Endo Belly Occur? Endometriosis can either begin in early adolescence or show up later in adulthood. The symptoms of endo belly can occur all the time or can be cyclical, where the symptoms come and go around the same time as your menstrual cycle. How Endo Belly Is Treated If you're wondering what to do for endo belly, it is usually treated by managing endometriosis, the underlying condition. Currently, there is no cure for endometriosis, which means that endo belly is not likely to go away on its own. However, in most cases, the symptoms may improve with some endo belly remedies and other treatments for reducing menstrual pain. Pain Management Treatments Depending on the severity of pain you experience, your doctor may suggest an over-the-counter (OTC) anti-inflammatory pain medication. How to Help Endo Belly With Hormonal Treatments Hormonal medications can help slow down the growth of the endometrial-like tissue and could stop adhesions and new scar tissue from forming. Some options include: Birth control pills Progesterone hormones that come in the form of an injection, pill, or IUD may prevent the endometrial-like tissue from growing or stop periods altogether. Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) antagonist medication can help stop the production of hormones, tissue growth, and menstruation. Androgens include medication that can stop the hormone production related to menstrual cycles and may lessen the frequency of your period. How to Reduce Endo Belly With Surgical Treatments Certain surgeries like laparoscopy and hysterectomy may alleviate or prevent endometriosis and endo belly pain. Laparoscopy, or keyhole surgery, is a minimally invasive procedure that allows your surgeon to remove endometriosis patches. A hysterectomy is a procedure where your surgeon will remove the uterus and possibly the ovaries to get rid of endometriosis. However, there’s a very slight chance that symptoms of endometriosis and endo belly might persist after these operations, and so there isn't really a definitive answer as to whether endo belly does or does not go away after surgery. Home Remedies to Reduce Endo Belly You may experience an inflamed endo belly after eating, so consider foods that are suitable for an endo belly, like an anti-inflammatory and high-fiber diet. Additionally, you can try certain spices and herbs like ginger and mint for nausea and cinnamon, turmeric, and cloves for cramps and bloating. An endo belly may also cause weight gain that could be alleviated by light exercise. Should You See a Doctor for Endo Belly? If you have painful, frequent abdominal bloating that lasts longer than a few days, be sure to see your doctor. They can diagnose if the underlying cause is endometriosis and prescribe the right treatment plan.