Nausea after eating and stomach pain can occur for numerous reasons. Identifying those causes can help you minimize the discomfort you experience after a meal. Nausea after eating can range from mild and temporary to severe and even chronic. In some cases, nausea after a meal can signal a serious health problem that requires medical attention.
Along with nausea, you may experience other symptoms such as excess saliva, dizziness, and stomach pain. Here are some common causes of nausea after eating you should be aware of in order to narrow down what could be causing you that post-meal discomfort.
Causes of nausea after eating
Food poisoning: If something you ate wasn’t properly prepared or was contaminated, it can lead to food poisoning. Food poisoning can occur fairly soon after the meal. You will feel nauseous and may even vomit. The good news is, food poisoning is temporary and often doesn’t require medical attention as long as you drink enough fluids to prevent dehydration.
Viral gastroenteritis: This is a viral infection you can catch after eating contaminated food. Other symptoms include fever, diarrhea, and cramping abdominal pain. Once again, unless you become dehydrated or experience other complications like blood in stool, medical intervention is not required and all you need is rest and fluids.
Stress and anxiety: Stress and anxiety can negatively impact the gut. If you are stressed or anxious while eating, the associated hormones can disrupt the digestive processes and cause nausea.
Peptic ulcer: A peptic ulcer is commonly caused by H.pylori. After a meal, a person with a peptic ulcer can experience a burning sensation along with nausea. A healthy diet and smoking cessation can help reduce the symptoms. Treating H.pylori can help rid yourself of the nausea experienced after eating.
Acid reflux: Acid reflux is when the acid commonly found in the stomach comes up to the esophagus, resulting in nausea and a burning sensation.
Indigestion: When the digestive process becomes disrupted, then indigestion can occur. Other causes of indigestion include eating greasy food, overeating, experiencing emotional stress, and drinking carbonated beverages.
Food allergies: When you consume a food you’re allergic to, your body’s immune system starts attacking it, causing symptoms like nausea, cramping, diarrhea, or constipation. Common food allergens are gluten, milk, and peanuts.
Psychological factors: Anxiety, eating disorders, or believing you have an allergy when you don’t are psychological factors that can prompt nausea after eating.
Pregnancy: Hormones during pregnancy decrease motility of the gut, thus increasing the likelihood of nausea and vomiting along with other digestive symptoms. The good news is, these symptoms are temporary and resolve after the pregnancy is over.
Infrequent eating: If you keep postponing your meal, when you finally get around the food it could make you feel nauseous. If you have gone for quite some time without food, when you’re finally at it, eat slowly and don’t rush your meal.
Appendicitis: If pain occurs in the lower right side of your stomach after a meal, and is accompanied by nausea, your appendix could be inflamed and you should seek medical attention immediately before it bursts.
Gallstones: If pain is experienced higher up the abdomen, especially after consuming greasy food, you could have gallstones, which can cause nausea as well.
Cancer: Although less common, some cancers can cause nausea after eating. Also look for blood in your stool as a possible sign of stomach cancer.
Treatment options for nausea after eating
Here are some treatment options for the various common causes of nausea after eating.
Food poisoning: Avoid solid food, spicy food, greasy food, fried or sweet foods. Drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration.
Viral gastroenteritis: Drink plenty of water and replenish electrolytes with sport beverages.
Stress and anxiety: Drink peppermint or ginger tea, stay well hydrated, make appropriate lifestyle changes to reduce stress and anxiety, and seek help if your anxiety is severe or interferes with your daily life.
Peptic ulcer: Treat H.pylori with antibiotics, quit smoking, and reduce stress.
Acid reflux: Don’t smoke, reduce alcohol intake, speak to your doctor about medications, don’t eat before bed, lose weight if you are overweight or obese, keep your head slightly elevated when sleeping, and don’t wear tight clothing or a tight belt.
Indigestion: Properly chew your food, reduce stress, and do not use too many medications.
Food allergies: Identify your food allergy and do your best to avoid the food in question.
Psychological factors: Seek therapeutic help to combat any psychological issues you may be having.
Pregnancy: Eat in smaller portions, avoid laying down immediately after meals, limit caffeine beverages, and avoid alcohol altogether.
Infrequent eating: Stick to a regular eating schedule and don’t skip meals.
Appendicitis: See a doctor right away to prevent complications.
Gallstones: See a doctor right away to prevent complications.
Cancer: See a doctor right away if you suspect stomach cancer.
These treatment options can help you reduce nausea after eating and bring the enjoyment back to your meals.