Certain individuals tend to feel nauseated after having a meal.
This can be attributed to various reasons such as pregnancy, food poisoning, virus in the stomach, gallstones and so on.
It is important to inform the doctor about all the symptoms being experienced so that they can decide on the correct course of treatment.
When an individual gets nausea once in a while, then it may not be a cause of concern, however it is better to reach out to the doctor if this feeling of nausea does not go away even within a week’s time. The doctor would judge all the parameters and then provide an appropriate treatment option.
When we talk about feeling nausea or vomiting after eating, then it can be attributed to a number of reasons. In such cases, it becomes important to identify the exact cause so that the doctor can then suggest a proper course of treatment for the same. In most of the cases, it has been seen that lifestyle as well as diet can also lead to nausea post meal and thereby changing these habits can prevent it from happening again.
There are various conditions which can make a person sick to the stomach post a meal which can be due to food poisoning or pregnancy. When there is a closer look at the symptoms, then the doctor can make a correct diagnosis of the exact reason behind the issue. This would help in prescribing the correct treatment, after which one can enjoy the meals without any nausea or vomiting feeling.
2 Causes of Nausea After Eating
There are various conditions which can make one feel nauseated after a meal and those conditions are:
Food poisoning: Food which is kept for too long or is not properly refrigerated can lead to attracting viruses, parasites or bacteria. This can make anyone fall sick. Few of the food poisoning symptoms would include diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. These symptoms would mostly start just a few hours after the individual has consumed the contaminated food.
Allergy towards food: There are certain kinds of foods such as eggs, shellfish or nuts which at times can trick the immune system into identifying them as some kind of harmful foreign threat. When an individual eats any of these food items, the immune system comes back in action and then it launches a series of events which ultimately lead to releasing histamine and other chemicals. These chemicals released from the immune system lead to allergy symptoms and few of those symptoms are hives, nausea or swelling of the face, throat, mouth or tongue.
Virus present in the stomach: This is said to be a common kind of bug which is also nicknamed as “stomach flu”. This virus tends to infect the intestines triggering certain gastrointestinal or GI symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting or nausea. An individual can easily get this stomach virus when they are too close to someone who is already sick with the virus. It can also be due to eating contaminated food or water.
Acidic reflux: When there is a burning feeling behind the breastbone, then it is known as heartburn. This can be termed as a trademark sign of GERD or Gastroesophageal disease. This condition can also lead to nausea. GERD is known to occur when the muscular valve which is present between the stomach and esophagus tends to malfunction, thereby leading to the stomach acid to leak up into the esophagus.
Medications or drugs: There are certain medications or substances which can give that feeling of nausea or vomiting. Medicines used for chemotherapy are usually known to cause this feeling, but apart from these, there are other illicit types of drugs too which can lead to nausea. Alcohol is also known to cause nausea, since the body mostly recognizes them as toxins and foreign invaders.
Pregnancy: One of the earliest symptoms that tell you of the pregnancy would be being uneasy or having a queasy feeling from the second month onwards. Due to changes in the hormone levels, it tends to trigger a feeling of nausea. Officially, any such kind of symptoms in pregnancy is termed as “morning sickness”. Nausea is known to strike any time during the day which can include meal times as well. In certain cases, just the smell or taste of certain kinds of food would be enough to make the stomach roll with disgust. However, there is nothing major to worry since this is a temporary feeling and it would in no way harm the baby or the mother.
Treatment carried out in cancer: Certain chemotherapy medications can also have nausea as one of their side effects. This is not a major cause of concern since this nausea feeling would go away once the treatment is over.
Stress and anxiety attacks: Stress has impacted our lives in a great way and has taken a toll on our emotions. This has also caused an impact on our physical health as well. Unsteady relationships, loss of job are more than enough to make anyone lose their appetite and in certain cases, it can make an individual sick after the meal. However, one of the best methods is to let go of the stress and nausea would also go away once stress is in control.
Irritable bowel syndrome: IBS is said to be a collection of gastrointestinal symptoms. These symptoms would include diarrhea, nausea, pain in the abdomen and constipation. Most people who suffer from IBS tend to complain a lot about nausea.
Gallbladder disease: The gallbladder is an organ in the body which is in the upper right side of the abdomen. It is known to help the body in digesting fats. Any gallbladder disease and gallstones are known to cause a negative impact on the ability to digest certain fats, due to which the individual would feel sick to the stomach mostly after they have eaten a heavy, rich and full of fats meal.
Motion sickness: Some people are very sensitive towards movement. If you are among those few, then the motion of a moving vehicle would make you feel sick in your stomach. In such cases, individuals who consume food before or after the ride can actually feel nauseated or in certain cases, it can become worse.
When we talk about nausea after eating, based on the causes, the symptoms would vary as per their underlying cause. Below are few of the symptoms one can watch out for so that they can identify the underlying problem:
Allergy of food: Symptoms would include diarrhea, finding it difficult to breathe, hives, pain in the stomach, wheezing sound, itching, vomiting or swelling on the face, throat or mouth.
Virus in the stomach or food poisoning: Symptoms would include cramps, vomiting, diarrhea which is loose or watery or low grade fever.
Heartburn: Symptoms would include coughing, a burning feeling in the chest, a feeling that something is in the chest, burping out a sour liquid.
Pregnancy: Symptoms would include missed periods, swollen breasts which are tender as well, fatigue.
Gallbladder problem: Symptoms would include vomiting, pain which appears in the upper right abdomen.
Anxiety attacks or stress: Loss of sex drive, aches in the muscles, having trouble with sleep, getting irritated easily, fatigue, feeling sad.
Motion sickness: Symptoms would include an uneasy kind of feeling while traveling, vomiting, cold sweating or dizziness.
4 When to Seek Medical Help
When an individual gets nausea once in a while, then it may not be a cause of concern. However, it is better to reach out to the doctor if this feeling of nausea does not go away even within a week’s time. It is important to call the doctor immediately else it can result in major symptoms such as chronic diarrhea, blood found in stool or vomit, pain in the chest, excessive feeling of thirst, lesser production of urine and rapid heartbeat.
When you visit the doctor, they would ask you about the symptoms which would include when exactly did you get the nausea feeling, how long did that feeling last and what seemed to trigger that feeling. It is ideal to maintain a diary of what you had eaten and how you had felt after it as it can help a great deal for the doctor to make the correct diagnosis. Based on what the conditions may be, the doctor can suggest certain tests which would include:
Urine sample tests
A skin test for checking on the possibility of food allergies.
X-ray, an ultrasound or a CT scan for checking the organs for any signs of disease internally.
An upper endoscopy to check whether the esophagus has swollen which could be a possible sign of GERD.
Flexible sigmoidoscopy or a colonoscopy for checking on any kind of problems present in the gastrointestinal tract.
Based on the diagnosis carried out by the doctor, they would then look to create a treatment plan once the exact underlying cause has been identified. Below are a few of the treatment options which can be suggested by the doctor for the causes which were mentioned earlier.
Allergy of food: Advisable to avoid or stay away from any of those food items that could trigger the symptoms.
Cancer treatment such as chemo: The doctor can suggest certain anti-nausea medications to be taken until the treatment is completed. At the same time, one should ensure to eat smaller meals which are mostly made up of bland foods that can include a clear broth, oatmeal, chicken. Individual can also try going in for acupuncture.
Motion sickness: While travelling, the individual should get comfortable or sit in such a location where they would feel the least amount of movement, thereby leading to less nausea. Those locations can be sitting near the front of the train or in case of an airplane, the ideal seat would be over a wing. Also, ensure to wear a motion sickness waistband or a patch as an emergency.
Gallbladder disorder: The doctor can advise certain medicines which would help in dissolving the gallstones or in certain cases, the doctor can also suggest to go in for surgery for removal of the gallbladder which is also known as cholecystectomy.
Pregnancy-related nausea: Try eating bland foods as much as possible such as pasta, toast or crackers and stay away from those food items which can possibly trigger nausea.
Heartburn or GERD: Individuals suffering from GERD should avoid fatty and spicy food items, they should also look to lose weight so that it makes the body fit. The doctor can also suggest certain antacids or any other medications for reducing the excess stomach acid.
Stress or anxiety: The best treatment is to stay away from stress and anxiety which would automatically reduce the symptoms. One can also seek help from a counselor or therapist. Try out certain relaxation techniques which can include yoga or meditation to make the mind calm and at peace.
Virus in the stomach: Try going in for foods which are bland, avoid any kind of spicy items and suck on ice chips. Ideal to rest for a few days until the infection goes away.
Whatever the reason, one can take certain precautions to avoid instances of nausea after meals. Below are few tips one can practice to avoid the feeling of sickness:
It is better to avoid spicy, greasy or fried food items.
When you consume anything whether food or drink, then ensure you do it slowly.
Anytime you get that feeling of nausea, try to suck on ice cubes or crushed ice.
In case the smell of the food makes you feel uneasy, then it is better to serve food at cold or room temperature so that the smell is not as much.
Go in mainly for bland food items such as toasts or crackers.
Post the meal; do not rush into any work. Relax and give some time for the food to settle down so that it gets digested well.
Do not eat meals all at one time or twice a day in huge quantity. The ideal way is to eat in smaller amounts throughout the day. So instead of two or three large meals, make it six smaller meals spread throughout the day.
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