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What causes Nausea? 12 Common Causes and More

What causes Nausea? 12 Common Causes and More

by Zahra Ijaz · March 2, 2022

Do you know that there are different Nausea Causes? Nausea most often occurs due to viral gastroenteritis, and you might mistake it as stomach flu, or morning sickness.
However, medications, general anesthesia, etc. can also be nausea causes.
Rarely, it can indicate a serious or even life-threatening condition.
Keep on reading.

1.

12 Common Causes of Nausea

Certain factors like stress, anxiety, infections, motion sickness, and many more are nausea causes.

However, it is not life-threatening. Nausea is a sensation that makes you feel that you need to vomit, and in some cases, you do vomit, however, not always.

Learning about the causes of nausea can help you avoid triggers and help understand if you need medical help.

Keep on reading.

nausea causes 1

Nausea Causes

There are a number of tigers for nausea. Some of the common causes are:

  • stress or anxiety
  • motion sickness
  • pregnancy
  • phobias
  • migraine
  • food poisoning
  • viruses like influenza, i.e. flu, or norovirus, i.e. stomach flu
  • gastrointestinal disorders like irritable bowel syndrome, IBS
  • certain medications like hormonal contraceptives or beta-blockers
  • problems with your inner ear like labyrinthitis, or vestibular neuritis
  • thyroid disorders
  • eating disorders

Let’s discuss all the causes as follows:

Infections

Different types of infections can potentially be nausea causes. These include:

Food Poisoning or Stomach Flu Gastrointestinal infections like those that occur due to food poisoning or viruses are one of the most common reasons for nausea.

Moreover, nausea, stomach pain or cramping, vomiting, and diarrhea are symptoms that you may experience.

Food poisoning occurs when you ingest food or drink that contains a virus, toxin, or bacterium.

These may include Salmonella and Escherichia coli.

Other gastrointestinal viruses like norovirus or rotavirus occur due to contact with someone who is already sick.

These infections often clear up on their own at home. Drinking enough fluids and electrolytes is crucial for preventing dehydration, especially in young children.

nausea causes, infections

Flu and COVID-19 Some other types of viral infections can also trigger nausea.

These include flu and COVID-19. Common symptoms of COVID-19 are:

Fever or chills, loss of taste or smell, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, headache, body aches, blocked or runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

According to a review, in about 6,335 people with COVID-19, about 79% of them experienced nausea.

People with flu may also have the above symptoms. Nausea is more common in children with lu than in adults, however, both groups may experience it.

As the symptoms of COVID-19 are just like that of flu and can also vary from one person to another, it is important to stay at home and follow local guidelines if you have symptoms that may indicate COVID-19.

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Digestive Disorders

A wide range of digestive disorders can be nausea causes.
These are as follows:

Gastritis Acid or a bacterium: H. pylori can cause inflammation of the stomach and can lead to stomach ulcers.

Gastroparesis With this condition, your stomach empties much slower than it should.

Moreover, certain medications or nerve damage often cause this, and this condition is common in people with diabetes.

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease Triggers chronic acid reflux and indigestion.

nausea causes, digestive disorders

IBS This condition can cause stomach cramping, along with diarrhea or constipation.

Celiac Disease An autoimmune disease that causes symptoms in response to consuming gluten.

Gallbladder Conditions Includes issues like gallstones.

Pancrease Conditions Includes issues like pancreatitis.

Usually, nausea is not the only symptom that comes with chronic digestive disorders. You might also experience the following:

  • gas or belching
  • abdominal bloating or fullness
  • heartburn or indigestion
  • abdominal pain and cramping
  • diarrhea, constipation, or both
  • reactions or intolerance to certain foods or food groups

Furthermore, the diagnosis and treatment of digestive disorders vary depending on the causes.

They often involve a combination of medications, dietary, and lifestyle changes, and in some cases, medical procedures.

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Mental Health Conditions

Mental health and digestive health are closely related to one another.

People with mental health conditions can also experience symptoms. These include nausea. In the same way, stress can also exacerbate digestive conditions.

If you frequently feel stressed, anxious, or panicked, then you may have an anxiety disorder.

Nausea, rapid heartbeat, quick or shallow breathing, choking sensation in the throat, sweating, dizziness, and tense muscles are symptoms of anxiety.

mental health

Moreover, severe anxiety can also trigger panic attacks or in some cases, fainting.

For instance, if you have a fear of needles or blood, you may experience nausea, dizziness, or loss of consciousness. This is vasovagal syncope.

Furthermore, you might experience a phobia of nausea and vomiting itself, and doctors call this Emetophobia.

Treatment for anxiety disorders often involves talking therapy, medications to manage symptoms, or both.

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Inner Ear Conditions

Your vestibular system resides in the inner ear. This helps your body to retain a sense of balance and know where it is relative to its surrounding.

However, certain issues with this system can cause dizziness, or vertigo, which in turn becomes nausea causes.

Certain conditions that may cause this are:

Motion Sickness This condition occurs in response to conflicting signals of movement that are sent to your brain.

Riding in cars, planes, or boats often triggers motion sickness.

Labyrinthitis An inner ear infection that can occur following a cold or flu.

ear infection

Vestibular Neuritis Occurs when the nerve inside the inner ear becomes inflamed.

Meniere’s Disease This condition causes episodes of dizziness which can also be severe.

Moreover, the treatment for inner ear disorders can vary and depends on the cause and individual.

If you have an ear infection, you may find that your symptoms improve on their own, while over-the-counter, OTC travel sickness medications may be enough to ease occasional cases of motion sickness.

However, if you have more chronic conditions, then you need to try different medications, lifestyle changes, or coping techniques to manage your symptoms.

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Hormonal Changes

Changes in the levels of hormones, like those that occur due to pregnancy, hormonal contraception, or endocrine glands, can also be nausea causes.

Let’s discuss them as follows:

Pregnancy Nausea is one of the common symptoms during pregnancy. It is also termed Morning Sickness, though it can also occur at any time.

Moreover, it can develop suddenly or gradually. Pregnant people may also experience nausea when around certain foods, smells, or when they are hungry.

pregnancy

Generally, morning sickness improves after 14 weeks of pregnancy. Your doctor may prescribe vitamin B6 or doxylamine to help with nausea and vomiting during pregnancy.

Thyroid Disorders Your thyroid glands control hormones that help to regulate the metabolism in your body.

Both overactive and underactive thyroid can be nausea causes.

Symptoms of an overactive thyroid or hyperthyroidism are:

  • nervousness
  • tiredness or muscle weakness
  • irritability
  • intolerance to heat
  • difficulty sleeping
  • shaky hands
  • rapid heartbeat
  • frequent bowel movements
  • weight loss and difficulty gaining weight

While symptoms of an underactive thyroid or hypothyroidism are:

  • puffy face
  • tiredness
  • weight gain and difficulty losing weight
  • constipation
  • dry skin and hair
  • depression
  • slower heartbeat
  • intolerance to the cold

Your doctor will treat these conditions with medications, which may also cause nausea as a side effect.

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Neurological Conditions

There are a number of ways in which changes in your brain and nervous system can be nausea causes.

Scientists do not fully understand all of them yet. One of the most common triggers of nausea is migraine.

This is a disorder that causes episodes of moderate to severe headache along with some other symptoms.

These are light or sound sensitivity, nausea, vomiting, and an aura. An aura is a condition in which neurological changes occur before the pain develops.

neurological disorders

In some cases, you might experience silent or acephalgic migraine which does not cause any pain.

Moreover, there are different treatments for migraine. In case of occasional or less severe episodes, you may find taking OTC pain medication and avoiding triggers is enough.

However, in case of severe or frequent migraines, you may need preventive medications or therapies.

While more serious neurological nausea causes are head trauma, meningitis, or a hemorrhage.

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Side Effects of Medications

One of the important things to note is that nausea is a common side effect of many medications.

These medications include antibiotics, antidepressants, OTC pain medications like aspirin or iburophen, certain supplements like iron, opioids, and chemotherapy.

Moreover, medications work by changing chemical processes in your brain and body

side effects of medications

For instance, neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine can impact nausea and vomiting. So these drugs that act on these chemicals can worsen or improve these symptoms.

Medication-related nausea and vomiting can be constant or occur at random intervals.

Furthermore, it often starts shortly after taking a new medication.

Make sure to seek medical advice or speak with your doctor if medicines could be nausea causes.

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2.

Treatment, Remedies, and More

An important thing to note about nausea causes is that you can treat it with both, medications, and home remedies

However, in case of severe nausea you should seek medical attention to make sure there is no underlying cause of it.

You can also prevent it before its onset. Let’s discuss these all in this section.

nausea causes 2

Treatments Options

Treatment for nausea causes depends on the trigger or cause of it.

Sitting in the front of the car, for instance, can help relieve motion sickness.

Moreover, you can also help motion sickness with the help of medications like dimenhydrinate or Dramamine, antihistamines, or by applying a scopolamine patch to relieve seasickness.

treatment

Taking medications to address the underlying cause of nausea can also help.

For instance, stomach acid reduces GERD or pain-relieving medications for intense headaches can also help.

Relieving Nausea

What can help people manage nausea can vary depending on the causes.

For general nausea, the United Kingdom’s National Health Service, NHS suggests:

  • getting fresh air
  • eating small, frequent meals
  • staying hydrated by sipping cold drinks like water or juice
  • drinking ginger or peppermint tea
  • eating foods that contain ginger
  • avoiding spicy foods, strong-smelling, or greasy foods

In case your experience nausea because of stress or anxiety, you may find breathing techniques, relaxation training, or mindfulness exercises to be helpful.

Prevention Tips

Avoiding the triggers of nausea can help to prevent the onset of nausea.

This includes avoiding flickering lights, which can trigger migraine attacks.

Moreover, avoid heat and humidity, sea voyages, strong odors like perfume, and cooking smells.

prevention tips

Taking anti-nausea medications like scopolamine before a road trip can also help.

Changes to your eating habits like eating small, frequent meals can help to reduce nausea symptoms.

Avoid intense physical activity after meals to minimize nausea, avoid spicy and greasy foods can also help.

Certain examples of foods that are less likely to cause causes are cereal, crackers, toast, gelatin, and broth.

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Speaking to your Doctor

While home remedies can help to relieve the feeling of nausea, they are not a replacement for medical treatment if you have underlying conditions.

If you frequently experience nausea for no clear reason, consider speaking with a doctor as they can help to determine the cause.

If the cause is psychological, speaking with a therapist can help.

Moreover, nausea is not a medical emergency, however, if it occurs along with symptoms of a serious condition or after an injury, you will need emergency help.

Dial 911 if you experience nausea:

  • after a recent head injury
  • along with a severe, sudden headache
  • with stiff neck, fever, headache, and vomiting

In some cases, nausea can be an early sign of a heart attack and this is very common in women who experience less obvious symptoms during a heart attack.

Seek emergency help if you observe the pain, pressure, or squeezing in the center of the chest, trouble breathing, lightheadedness, a cold sweat, or pain on one or both arms, the back, neck, or jaw.

Conclusion

There are a number of nausea causes, and in most cases, it is not a sign of an underlying serious illness. A number of conditions can trigger nausea that is treatable or temporary.

Speak with your doctor or seek medical advice in case of chronic or recurring nausea as there may be certain ways to reduce this symptom and improve your quality of life.

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