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5 Surprising Causes of Nausea

5 Surprising Causes of Nausea

Whether you’re out to eat, attending an important meeting, or getting ready to give a presentation, nausea can hit when you least expect it – and often at the most inopportune times.

Nausea, often described as being “sick to your stomach,” is when you feel an uneasiness in your stomach or feel the urge to vomit. Other symptoms of nausea include feeling lightheaded or dizzy, difficulty swallowing, or a lack of appetite.

When you’re feeling nauseous, stomach flu or food poisoning are usually the first culprits that come to mind. However, there may be another cause for your upset stomach. Here are five lesser-known reasons why you may be feeling nauseous:

1. Dehydration can cause nausea

In addition to all its other essential functions – such as lubricating joints, cushioning bones, and delivering oxygen throughout your body – water is critical to your digestive process.

Dehydration happens when you don’t drink enough water or lose water too quickly through sweating, diarrhea, etc. Dehydration often causes dizziness, disorientation, and headaches – all of which can leave you feeling nauseous. Dehydration can also lead to constipation, which may make your stomach hurt even more.

The fastest way to rehydrate and reduce nausea is to drink more water. Men should drink at least 15 cups of water daily, while women should drink at least 11 cups. Avoid soda, alcohol, and caffeinated drinks, which can dehydrate you even further.

2. A UTI can cause nausea

Many urinary tract infections (UTIs) cause pain in your lower belly. A UTI can also lower your blood pressure, causing you to feel dizzy or lightheaded. If you experience nausea or vomiting, it usually means the infection has spread to your upper urinary tract and will require immediate medical attention to prevent kidney damage.

3. Nausea is a symptom of COVID

COVID-19 can cause severe nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea – either alone or with other COVID symptoms. Digestive symptoms like these are less common but tend to appear first. If you have COVID-19, you will likely develop other symptoms within a day or two, such as fever, cough, congestion, and/or loss of taste or smell.

4. Lack of sleep can cause nausea

Not getting enough sleep increases inflammation of tissues throughout your body, including your stomach and intestines, which can cause nausea. In fact, long-term sleep deprivation can lead to chronic digestive disorders.

Studies show that sleep deprivation worsens the symptoms and severity of disorders like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), Crohn’s disease, and more.

5. Anxiety can cause nausea

Anxiety, a natural response to stress, can affect your digestive system and cause extreme nausea and discomfort.

Sometimes, anxiety-related nausea is so intense that it can make you physically ill. Your stomach might churn and cramp so badly that you have to make a dash to the bathroom or end up vomiting. Feeling nauseous makes some people even more anxious – creating a vicious cycle.

How do you know when nausea is anxiety-induced? The key is to note exactly what’s happening when you experience nausea, so you can begin to identify when it’s connected to your anxiety (vs. actually being sick).

What can I take for nausea?

The following at-home remedies can help you get temporary nausea relief:

  • Pepto Bismol or Tums: Helps neutralize stomach acid to soothe your upset stomach.
  • Caffeine-free Sprite or ginger ale: The fizzy bubbles can calm a turbulent stomach.
  • Essential oils: Some of the properties in lavender, ginger, and peppermint oil can work to relax muscles, relieve pain, and help with nausea.

Avoid pain relievers like ibuprofen and aspirin as they can irritate your stomach lining and make your nausea worse.

Should I go to urgent care for nausea?

Yes! An urgent care clinician can evaluate your symptoms, determine what’s causing your nausea, and provide a treatment plan. Nausea can also be an early warning sign of more serious medical concerns like appendicitis or intestinal blockage. Visit urgent care or your local emergency department right away if:

  • Your nausea or vomiting has lasted for two days or longer (12 hours for infants or 24 hours for children under age two)
  • You’ve had intermittent bouts of nausea or vomiting for over a month
  • You can’t keep down small amounts of clear liquid
  • You think you might be dehydrated (symptoms include excessive thirst, dark-colored urine, and dry mouth)

Find a vybe near you

All vybe urgent care centers have licensed medical professionals with a wide range of healthcare knowledge and can help you relieve your nausea.

Walk in or schedule an appointment at your local vybe urgent care today! Our centers are open seven days a week for your convenience.