Nausea can sneak up on you at the most inopportune moments and wreak havoc on your day. It makes you feel uncomfortable and restless. What’s worse? It’s always hard to pinpoint what exactly caused it.
But, if you’ve been feeling queasy after each meal of yours, there are a few things that might be at play. Here are seven reasons why you’ve been feeling nauseous after eating.
1. Food Poisoning
If symptoms like stomach ache, diarrhea, weakness, fever, chills, sweating, and headache accompany the feeling of nausea, then you might have food poisoning. You could get this condition by eating food contaminated by bacteria, viruses, chemicals, or poisonous metals such as lead or cadmium.
Cross contamination and improper storage of food could also cause food poisoning. Most symptoms start 24 hours after you’ve eaten something contaminated. But, foods contaminated with staphylococcus bacteria usually show symptoms between 1 and 8 hours after you’ve eaten. If you do suspect food poisoning, head to a medical practitioner at the earliest.1
2. Stomach Ulcer
If you have mild nausea accompanied by a dull or burning pain in your stomach, you might have a stomach ulcer. It is caused by bacterial, certain medications, and cancer.
If you feel weak, have difficulty breathing, blood in your vomit or stool, or stomach pain that doesn’t go away, you should see a doctor immediately.2 3
Gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) or acid reflux causes heartburn and pain in your chest right behind your breastbone. The easiest way to tell if you’re suffering from acid reflux is if you taste food or stomach acid in the back of your throat after you eat.
Apart from nausea, GERD brings with it bad breath and respiratory problems. It can be due to being pregnant, overweight, or obese. Certain medications and smoking could also cause acid reflux. If you start vomiting severely, have problems swallowing, or have blood in your vomit, you should see a medical practitioner immediately.4
Mild nausea accompanied by a pain in the upper right corner of your abdomen (lasting for 30 minutes or more) are signs of gallstones. Further symptoms of this condition include pain under the right shoulder blade and indigestion after eating high-fat or high-protein foods.
Gallstones are caused when substances in your bile (in the gallbladder) harden. This happens when the liver releases too much cholesterol in the body and there aren’t enough bile salts to dissolve it. It could also be caused when other substances in the bile cause cholesterol to crystallize or when bile gets concentrated because the gallbladder isn’t emptied enough.
Obesity, diabetes, pregnancy, and rapid weight loss could put you at a risk of gallstones. If you have abdominal pain that lasts for more than 5 hours, clay-colored stool, fever, or vomiting, you should consult a medical professional immediately.5
5. Heat Stress
Heat-related conditions can be serious, but they aren’t given as much attention as they should be. If you’ve been exposed to harsh temperatures and feel nauseous, dizzy, thirsty, and confused, then you might be under heat stress.
Heat stress can also be accompanied by heat cramps, heat stroke, and heat exhaustion. Each of these conditions requires medical attention, so it’s important to seek help if you or a loved one is going through any of these symptoms.6 7
6. Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome
If you experience severe nausea, vomiting, and physical exhaustion without any obvious cause, then you might be suffering from the cyclic vomiting syndrome. Emotional stress, anxiety, panic attacks, infections, certain foods (caffeine, dairy, or nuts), hot weather, menstrual periods, physical exhaustion, or too much exercise can cause this condition.
If you experience dry throat, infrequent urination, dry skin, lethargy, fever, and sunken eyes, please do consult a doctor at the earliest.8
Pregnancy is perhaps the first thing that springs to mind when it comes to nausea and vomiting. And, true to this, statistics state that 70–80% of all pregnant women experience these symptoms.
Although the cause of “morning sickness” isn’t completely clear, research states that it could be caused due to GERD. Simple dietary changes and oral medications can help alleviate the symptoms.9 10
While the exact cause of nausea is often hard to tell, you can always make note of other symptoms to help you diagnose the problem. And, although most cases don’t have any cause for worry, if you do experience nausea for a long time, consult a doctor at the earliest.
|↑1||8 Food poisoning and contamination. Australian Government, Department Of Health.|
|↑2||Stomach ulcer. Victoria State Government.|
|↑3||Symptoms & Causes of Peptic Ulcers (Stomach Ulcers). US Department Of Health And Human Services.|
|↑4||Symptoms & Causes of GER & GERD. US Department Of Health And Human Sciences.|
|↑5||Dieting & Gallstones. US Department Of Health And Human Sciences.|
|↑6||Protecting Workers from Heat Stress. Occupational Safety And Health Administration.|
|↑7||Heat stress and heat-related illness. Victoria State Government.|
|↑8||Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome. US Department Of Health And Human Sciences.|
|↑9||Quinla, J. D., and D. ASHLEY Hill. “Nausea and vomiting of pregnancy.” American family physician 68, no. 1 (2003): 121-128.|
|↑10||Law, Ruth, Caroline Maltepe, Pina Bozzo, and Adrienne Einarson. “Treatment of heartburn and acid reflux associated with nausea and vomiting during pregnancy.” Canadian Family Physician 56, no. 2 (2010): 143-144.|