Ask the Nurse

For the past few months, I’ve been experiencing what feels like random morning sickness. For no apparent reason, the thought or smell of certain foods will nauseate me and trigger an anxiety attack. It’s worse soon after I wake up, but it can happen at any time of the day. I’m 45, not pregnant and having irregular periods. Could these "food aversions" be caused by perimenopause? How can I make it stop?

Stomach and intestinal issues are not classic menopausal symptoms, so please be sure to see your Primary Care Provider (PCP) for evaluation. That said, some women complain of increased bloating and worsening heart burn symptoms with age. This could be your body’s way of letting you know that you’ve eaten indiscriminately or developed lactose intolerance and/or have gained weight.

However, going through abrupt hormonal fluctuations in perimenopause (decrease in estrogen levels) could stimulate your adrenal glands to produce stress hormones such as cortisol in response to this change of low estrogen levels. It’s always good to make sure to avoid foods that could trigger heart burn or acid reflux and also avoid refined carbohydrates to decrease bloating and nausea.

Heart racing and panic attacks also can occur during this transition due to hormonal fluctuations. Palpitations MAY be a manifestation of hot flashes and are easily treated with menopausal therapies, however cardiac and GI issues have to be evaluated FIRST. It’s important to see your physician to talk about this in more detail and to get evaluated appropriately.

All My Best,
Speaking of Women’s Health Nurse

March 14, 2018 at 5:10pm