Endometriosis can cause gastrointestinal (GI) issues, including nausea and diarrhea. More common endometriosis symptoms include cramping, abdominal pain, and bleeding between periods.

Endometriosis is a disease of the female reproductive system that occurs when cells similar to the endometrial lining grow outside the uterus. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), endometriosis affects about 10% of women and girls of reproductive age. This translates to about 190 million people.

The Office on Women’s Health estimates that endometriosis is most common in women in their 30s and 40s.

Endometriosis tissue can grow in the digestive tract and cause GI issues, including nausea.

This article explores the links between endometriosis and nausea. It includes tips on treatment, prevention, outlook, and when to see a doctor.

A note about sex and gender

Sex and gender exist on spectrums. This article will use the terms “male,” “female,” or both to refer to sex assigned at birth. Click here to learn more.

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Endometriosis can cause nausea. This symptom may increase during a person’s period.

Research from 2021 suggests that women with endometriosis may experience physical symptoms, including GI symptoms.

In addition to nausea, endometriosis can cause other GI symptoms, such as:

Other endometriosis symptoms

Nausea can be a symptom of other conditions. However, if a person has additional endometriosis symptoms, it is possible they have the condition.

A person should contact a doctor if they experience other symptoms of endometriosis, such as:

Health experts do not yet fully understand why endometriosis causes nausea. However, it could be due to the presence of endometriosis tissue in areas of the GI tract. This could affect digestion and trigger some digestive symptoms.

In a small 2015 study involving 109 people with endometriosis, 85% of those participants reported experiencing GI issues in the previous year. The authors note that nausea may also be a side effect of gonadotropin-releasing hormone, which doctors use to treat endometriosis.

Although many people may feel nauseated before or during their period, nausea can be a symptom of endometriosis and may worsen during a person’s period.

Nausea can be a typical symptom of a person’s menstrual cycle. Many people experience it before, during, or after their periods.

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) can also cause nausea before a period. PMS is a combination of physical and emotional symptoms that people may experience after ovulation, before the start of a period.

Researchers do not know the exact cause of PMS, but they believe the rapid decrease in estrogen and progesterone levels after ovulation may play a role.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists states that painful menstrual cramps can cause nausea during a period. This may be due to elevated prostaglandin levels, which can cause painful uterine contractions.

After a period, hormonal imbalances resulting from decreased estrogen and progesterone levels may induce feelings of nausea.

However, if a person also experiences other symptoms of endometriosis, such as pelvic pain and pain during intercourse, they should contact a doctor.

Pain is the most common symptom of endometriosis. A person with endometriosis may have excessively painful cramps during menstruation and may experience nausea as a result of excessive period pain.

Health experts often find endometriosis challenging to diagnose because there are no specific diagnostic tests for it. Also, the symptoms may overlap with those of other gynecological and GI conditions.

To diagnose endometriosis, a doctor may recommend the following:

  • a biopsy, which involves removing a tissue sample for laboratory testing
  • a pelvic exam
  • imaging tests, such as an ultrasound or MRI scan
  • a laparoscopy, in which the doctor uses a laparoscope to view the uterine cavity

A doctor can definitively confirm endometriosis only by performing a biopsy via a pelvic laparoscopy.

Learn more

Learn more about diagnosing endometriosis.

A person with endometriosis-associated nausea may find that simple home remedies are enough to relieve the symptom.

Additionally, treatment for the underlying cause — endometriosis — can relieve symptoms, including nausea.

Home remedies

According to the United Kingdom National Health Service (NHS), home remedies such as the following can help stop nausea:

  • getting plenty of fresh air
  • listening to music
  • watching a film
  • taking regular sips of a cold drink
  • drinking ginger or peppermint tea
  • staying hydrated
  • eating smaller, more frequent meals

A person can also try taking an over-the-counter nausea relief medication such as Pepto-Bismol.

Treatment for endometriosis

Endometriosis does not yet have a cure, but treatment can help manage symptoms.

Treatment for endometriosis may include:

  • surgery to remove endometriosis tissue
  • hormonal medications and contraceptives
  • pain relievers

Treating endometriosis may reduce a person’s symptoms, including nausea.

Learn more

Learn more about treating and managing endometriosis.

Endometriosis is a lifelong condition — it does not yet have a cure. However, there are ways a person can manage endometriosis and nausea.

Pain medications, hormonal treatment, and surgery can significantly benefit people with endometriosis and nausea by relieving symptoms.

A person may also find that lifestyle strategies, such as following a healthy diet and getting plenty of exercise, help improve symptoms of endometriosis.

Additionally, endometriosis symptoms may decrease or disappear after menopause. As a person’s body stops producing estrogen, endometriosis growths may shrink.

Avoiding certain nausea triggers can help prevent the onset of the condition. A person may try to avoid:

  • wearing tight clothes around the stomach and pelvic area
  • spicy foods
  • strong odors from perfume and cooking
  • sea voyages
  • heat and humidity
  • flickering lights
  • sugary, high fat, processed, or fried foods

A person should contact a doctor if they are experiencing:

  • frequent nausea
  • nausea and severe abdominal pain
  • vomiting for more than 24 hours

A doctor will evaluate a person’s symptoms and recommend the best treatment.

This section answers some frequently asked questions about endometriosis and nausea.

Does endometriosis cause nausea and headaches?

Yes, endometriosis can cause both nausea and headaches.

Research from 2019 suggests that women with endometriosis have a higher prevalence of migraine — a condition that can cause a severe form of headaches as well as other symptoms.

According to a 2022 study, women with endometriosis have a five times greater chance of developing migraine than women without endometriosis.

Can endometriosis cause nausea and dizziness?

Yes. According to a 2021 review, endometriosis can cause nausea and dizziness in women with the condition.

Endometriosis is a condition in which endometrial-like tissue grows outside the uterus. It can affect a person’s digestive system, causing nausea and other GI symptoms.

A person with endometriosis who feels nauseated should consult a doctor. A doctor may be able to recommend ways to treat or manage the symptom.

Depending on the cause of a person’s nausea, a doctor may recommend a variety of treatments. In addition, certain lifestyle and dietary habits may help improve a person’s symptoms.