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Some people experience nausea just before they get their period. This is common and is not usually a cause for concern.
Nausea before a period could be caused by many factors, including cramps, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), and pregnancy. If symptoms are severe, this could indicate an underlying condition such as endometriosis.
PMS is the main cause of nausea before a period. Around 20 to 50 percent of women experience PMS in the 7 to 10 days before their period.
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Read on to learn about possible causes and treatments for nausea before a period.
Nausea before a period is common. What matters most, however, is what is normal for the individual.
Feeling nauseated before a period may be a regular symptom for some people. However, a sudden change in PMS symptoms can indicate an underlying medical problem.
A person should also see a doctor if they are:
experiencing this symptom for the first time
unable to keep down any food
losing weight due to frequent vomiting
experiencing vomiting that gets worse over several days
Nausea before a period is often caused by PMS. However, there are some other possible causes, so it is wise to speak to a doctor if the symptoms are unusual or interfering with everyday activities.
Causes for nausea before a period include:
PMS is a very common cause of nausea before a period. A person often experiences additional symptoms of PMS, including a headache, dizziness, fatigue, diarrhea, and muscle aches.
Researchers are still unsure about what causes PMS, and why some people experience it and others do not.
Possible explanations for PMS include:
Serotonin levels. Serotonin is a brain chemical linked to mood. There is some evidence that serotonin levels are lower before periods begin. Low serotonin can cause depression, anxiety, and other symptoms.
Nutritional deficiencies. Not eating enough calcium or magnesium may make PMS worse.
Endocrine disorders. The endocrine system regulates hormone levels. Problems with it due to diabetes, thyroid disease, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), or other diseases may make PMS worse.
Hormonal shifts. Estrogen and progesterone are highest after ovulation because these hormones play key roles in pregnancy. When a period begins, estrogen and progesterone levels fall. Women with PMS typically experience nausea either right before a period or right after it starts.
Genetics. While doctors have not identified specific genes linked to PMS, it seems to run in families.
Hormones are the body’s chemical messengers, so changes in hormone levels can affect how it responds to many experiences.
A 2018 study of women undergoing breast cancer surgery under general anesthesia, found a link between menstruation and vomiting. Women were much more likely to experience vomiting after surgery when they were getting their periods.Many women experience bloating before and at the start of their period. Can lifestyle changes offer some relief?
Period bloating: Seven tips for relief
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a severe form of PMS. People with PMDD typically also have serious mood swings and may have depression and anxiety.
Endometriosis is when tissue similar to the tissue that lines the uterus develops outside of it, sticking to other organs, such as the ovaries and fallopian tubes.
Some women with endometriosis do not have symptoms. For others, endometriosis can be debilitating, causing intense pain and heavy bleeding during a period and even throughout the month. Endometriosis is also a leading cause of infertility.
One study found higher rates of stomach and digestive problems in women with endometriosis. Around 85 percent of women with endometriosis reported gastrointestinal problems during the previous year.
In addition to nausea, they also reported gas, bloating, diarrhea, stomach pain, and constipation.
Nausea and vomiting are among the earliest signs of pregnancy. These symptoms may appear even before a woman misses her period.
Shortly after a fertilized egg implants itself in the uterus, a woman’s body begins producing human chorionic gonadotropin hormone (HCG).
HCG may play a role in morning sickness. It is also how most home pregnancy tests detect pregnancy.
Illness or infection
Not all symptoms that happen during a period are due to menstruation. Food poisoning, stomach viruses, food sensitivities, and a range of other health issues may cause nausea around the time of a period.
People experiencing nausea before their period for the first time, especially if it is severe or accompanied by vomiting or intense stomach pain, may have an unrelated illness or infection.
Anyone experiencing frequent nausea before their period should talk to a doctor about possible underlying causes. The treatment they recommend will depend on what is responsible for nausea.
Some strategies that may help reduce mild nausea include:
taking anti-nausea medication, such as Gravol or Pepto-Bismol
monitoring food intake with a food diary to check for anything that might trigger nausea near a period
If nausea before a period is caused by an underlying medical condition, a doctor may recommend:
birth control pills, which can help regulate hormones and are sometimes prescribed for endometriosis, PMDD, and PMS
surgery to remove endometrial tissue that is outside of the uterus
antidepressants, particularly selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which can help regulate serotonin levels and reduce symptoms of PMDD and PMS.
Nausea is a common premenstrual symptom. For most people with nausea before a period, the symptoms can be managed with over-the-counter medications and by avoiding any trigger foods.
However, if nausea does not improve with conservative methods or if it is interfering with daily life, a person should speak to a doctor who specializes in menstrual health and work with them to come up with a treatment plan.
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Got Pain? A Virtual Swim With Dolphins May Help Melt It Away
Source: npr- Virtual reality is not new. But, as people search for alternative ways to manage pain — and reduce reliance on pills — VR is attracting renewed attention.
Imagine, for a moment you’ve been transported to a sunlit lagoon. And, suddenly, it’s as if you’re immersed in the warm water and swimming. That’s what Tom Norris experiences when he straps on his VR headset.
“It’s fantastic, I really feel like I’m there,” says Norris, who is 70 years old, retired from the military, and lives in Los Angeles with his wife. As dolphins frolic and swim by in the virtual scene, “I get a strong feeling of pleasure, relaxation and peace,” he says.
It doesn’t take long to produce that effect — about 10 minutes or so, via the headset.
Norris is no stranger to pain. He’s got chronic pain through his spine, back and hips, from injuries that go back years.
Ever since he was introduced to virtual reality, he’s been hooked. In addition to swimming with dolphins, he’s tried other VR experiences, such as wilderness walks.
“I relax. My attention is diverted and it makes the pain more manageable,” he says. Norris was on his deck when we spoke, drinking a morning cup of coffee and watching the hummingbirds. “Pain is part of my life,” he told me.
He uses lots of tools to help him cope, he says, including peer support groups, which he helps lead. But he says he finds VR particularly helpful. For him, the feeling of relaxation and ease that comes from a virtual swim with dolphins tends to linger for several days.
Can You Reshape Your Brain’s
Norris isn’t alone in his positive experience. A study published this month in the journal PLOS ONE is just the latest to document that an immersive, virtual reality experience can be an effective strategy for reducing pain.
VR “changes the way we perceive the pain,” explains study author Brennan Spiegel, a physician and the director of Cedars-Sinai Health Services Research in Los Angeles.
The research was done in a hospital where participants were undergoing treatment for various conditions; some were experiencing pain linked to cancer and others had orthopedic pain. “We divided the patients into two groups,” Spiegel explains.
One group tried VR. They used Samsung Oculus headsets that were each fitted with a phone that had a VR app. Patients could select from a library of 21 VR experiences available on the app.
They were free to use the VR devices as much as they liked, but were advised to aim for three daily sessions, 10 minutes per session. The other group of patients got to watch a health and wellness channel on TV, as much as they wanted.
“We found that virtual reality reduced pain by about three times as much as watching TV did,” Spiegel says. Using a zero to 10 pain scale, the virtual reality experience led to a 2 point drop in pain, compared to a half-point drop for watching TV.
Spiegel’s study was partly funded by a grant from Applied VR, a company that sells VR software, but the company played no role in the conduct, data collection, data interpretation, or write-up of the study, he says.
It’s not exactly clear how VR works to help reduce pain perception, but pain specialists say there are likely multiple explanations. Distraction in just one element.
“When the mind is deeply engaged in an immersive experience, it becomes difficult to perceive stimuli outside of the field of attention,” Spiegel and his collaborators write in their journal paper. In other words, when something captures our attention and uses all our senses, we focus on it. It’s like a spotlight — and everything else falls into darkness — at last temporarily.
So, a virtual swim with the dolphins can overwhelm our visual, auditory and other senses. “VR is thought to create an immersive distraction that restricts the brain from processing pain,” the authors conclude.
The study adds to other evidence pointing toward potential benefits of VR to manage pain. Going back more than 15 years, studies have shown the technique to be useful in a range of settings — from helping people cope with anxiety to helping reduce acute pain during medical procedures, during physical therapy or during dental procedures. And, there’s some evidence VR can help with chronic pain, too.
Still, there are some unanswered questions, says Zachary Rosenthal, a clinical psychologist at Duke University who has been involved in research on VR’s effect on pain. “Distraction is helpful for pain,” he says. “That’s an understood phenomenon. … But why should VR be better than any other kind of distraction?” he wonders.
Spiegel’s research “starts to answer this question,” says Rosenthal. “I do think this study moves the needle forward.”
If you’re new to virtual reality, Spiegel has some advice: “It’s always a good idea to check with your doctor first, whenever self-treating symptoms. But in general, it is safe to use VR at home,” he says. About 5% to 10% of people who try it get cybersickness, which is basically a feeling of dizziness or vertigo, similar to motion sickness. So, it’s good to be aware of this risk.
“For people who own an Oculus Go or Oculus Quest [headset], I suggest Nature Trek, which is an outstanding set of content that is peaceful and meditative” for the treatment of pain, says Spiegel, who has no financial ties to the company. And there are other companies that make a variety of software specifically aimed at easing pain.
“For cheap and easy access to VR experiences, you can simply visit YouTube and search its massive library of free VR content,” Spiegel says. “If you want a virtual trip to the beach, type ‘VR beach’ into the YouTube search engine. Or ‘VR forest.’ It’s all there for the taking.”
VR is certainly not a panacea, but it can be another tool in the pain management toolkit. Spiegel and his collaborators say there’s still a lot to learn as to which types of VR may be most effective.
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Get a 24-Hour Blood Pressure Reading to really know your heart health
- High blood pressure (hypertension) is a warning sign of multiple health issues.
- A new study finds that the best way to determine a person’s heart health is to look at their blood pressure over 24 hours.
- This method could offset “white coat hypertension,” where the stress of going to the doctor’s office can increase a person’s blood pressure.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for nearly 1 in every 4 deaths — or about 610,000 deathsTrusted Source — each year.
It’s also the most expensive disease, costing the country nearly $1 billion each day.
The vast majority of cardiovascular disease cases are preventable, had people received earlier diagnoses and treatments.
One way to detect signs of cardiovascular disease is a simple blood pressure reading.
High blood pressure (hypertension) has long been known to be the biggest — and most treatable — risk factor associated with diseases of the heart and vascular system. But many people don’t know they have it until it’s too late, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Trusted Source.
Now, researchers have discovered a new way to get more accurate measurements of blood pressure, which can hopefully get people on the right medications sooner and help prevent cardiovascular disease.
By recording people’s blood pressure over 24 hours rather than just once in a clinic or hospital setting, doctors can more accurately diagnose high blood pressure and effectively predict someone’s risk for heart and vascular disease, according to a new international study recently published in JAMATrusted Source.
To determine the most reliable way to measure blood pressure, researchers followed 11,135 people from Europe, East Asia, and Latin America for 14 years.
They compared the accuracy of blood pressure readings that were taken in a medical setting to blood pressure recordings that were taken during both night and day over 24-hour periods.
The researchers found that the 24-hour and nighttime blood pressure measurements provided a more accurate estimate of one’s risk for heart and vascular disease compared to the in-office readings.
“Although heart and vascular disease are strongly associated with blood pressure, irrespective of how it is measured, until now we did not know which type of blood pressure measurement captured risk in the most accurate way,” study co-author Dr. Gladys Maestre, a researcher from the University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine, said in a statement.
The findings suggest that blood pressure should be monitored repeatedly for 24 hours to help diagnose people’s heart issues and, ultimately, prevent cardiovascular disease, according to the researchers.
“Ever since devices to measure blood pressure were invented more than 100 years ago, it’s been known that elevation of such readings predicted the eventual development of blood vessel disease, heart attack, stroke, heart failure, and kidney dysfunction,” says Dr. Richard Wright, a cardiologist at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California.
In general, the further a person’s blood pressure readings deviate from the ideal, the more likely they are to eventually develop any of these health issues, Wright added.
However, a huge issue comes into play when blood pressure is measured in a healthcare setting.
Many people have elevated blood pressure readings due to anxiety of being in a medical environment — known as the white coat effect — and those high readings don’t accurately reflect a person’s overall blood pressure levels.
“Unfortunately, blood pressure isn’t a fixed number for any individual and varies widely over each day, being much higher during stress or physical exercise, and typically lowest at night during asleep,” he explained.
Even the stress of having a blood pressure cuff put on the arm or seeing a doctor walk into the room can cause some people’s blood pressure to spike, he added.
Twenty-four hour monitoring can look at a person’s blood pressure fluctuations throughout an entire day rather than at a given moment.
There’s also a huge advantage of measuring blood pressure during sleep because the results aren’t affected by daytime meals or activities.
“Ambulatory monitors give us a great sense of what the patient’s blood pressure is doing in real life as well as when they are sleeping, when it should decrease,” Dr. Nicole Harkin, a board-certified cardiologist and lipidologist with Manhattan Cardiovascular Associates in New York City, said.
“They also give us a large data set of blood pressures to look at, as opposed to a one-time snapshot in the doctor’s office, which is subject to many variables, including errors in measurement as well the patient’s recent activity level, medication timing, and inadequate rest prior to measurement,” she said.
According to Harkin, the current American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association blood pressure guidelines support the use of ambulatory blood pressure monitoring to better predict cardiovascular outcomes.
Coverage for ambulatory blood pressure monitoring varies across different insurance providers. Much of the time, it’s only covered for people who experience white coat hypertension, in which an individual’s blood pressure is higher in a doctor’s office than it would normally be, she explained.
Seeing as ambulatory blood pressure monitoring can better predict long-term heart disease outcomes, healthcare providers should place a greater emphasis on 24-hour readings than those taken in a doctor’s office.
If people know their blood pressure is higher than it should be, the better they can manage it to minimize the odds they’ll develop heart disease down the road.
High blood pressure can be the biggest predictor of heart disease, so the sooner people can start managing their blood pressure, the lower their risk of heart and vascular disease may be.
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