What causes nausea and what causes sudden nausea?

What causes nausea and what causes sudden nausea?
Photo source: Getty images

Nausea is a symptom that occurs frequently. It manifests itself along with a feeling of nausea, often with vomiting. Its causes are multiple. Some experience it when travelling, women during hormonal changes and during pregnancy. In more severe cases, it is a manifestation of a disease.

Nausea is a condition in which a person feels like vomiting. The technical term is nausea. And in most cases, nausea is caused by causes in the central nervous system or the digestive system.

If there are other symptoms and, for example, the nausea is prolonged or acute, it may be a symptom of a disease in the body. This needs to be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible.

The most common problems accompanying nausea are:

  • Nausea, feeling like vomiting
  • weakness
  • Pallor
  • shivering
  • lack of appetite
  • dizziness

Travel and psychological factor

The feeling of nausea is quite often associated, for example, with travelling. Nausea is present quite frequently. In some people, it may also be associated with dizziness and vomiting. The technical term for this nausea is kinetosis, i.e. motion sickness.

The following types of kinetosis are known:

  • motion sickness when travelling in a car, bus or train
  • airplane motion sickness
  • seasickness
  • space sickness, which is actually a disorder of adaptation to weightlessness
  • simulator sickness
Blue sky, airplane
Kinetosis is common in air travel. Photo source: Getty Images

It also occurs in stressful situations and during periods of anxiety. In people with weaker psychological resilience, it can also be triggered by extreme sensory input. There is usually a known cause that comes from the external environment. Nausea of this kind is usually short-lived and passes at the same time as the external stimulus.

The digestive system and nausea

Most often, nausea and vomiting sensations are associated with diseases of the digestive system. It is accompanied by abdominal pain, vomiting. In some cases, increased body temperature or fever.

Also, excessive food intake, i.e. overeating, can be behind the nausea. But also an inappropriate diet, such as in the case of a dietary error. The latter can be the case in gallbladder disorders.


A peptic ulcer on the stomach or on the duodenum brings with it especially abdominal pain and vomiting. Nausea often comes along with a reduced appetite.

Gastritis is also a problem in its acute or chronic form. Gastritis is caused by irritation. It is an inflammation of the stomach and its lining. Nausea is also present in the case of stomach cancer.


Problems with the pancreas can also result in nausea and feelings of vomiting. In pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas), for example, the pain is accompanied by vomiting and general nausea.

Pancreatitis is most often triggered by alcohol and is therefore also common in alcoholics. In pancreatic cancer, vomiting several times a day is common. However, weight loss and abdominal pain are typical symptoms.

Liver and gallbladder

Problems with nausea are also caused by diseases of the gallbladder and biliary tract. For example, with inflammation of the gallbladder, there is pain in the right lower abdomen, but especially a feeling of vomiting, sometimes even outright vomiting.

Gall bladder stones, which can also cause this inflammation, are also a problem. Problems in the bile ducts, which are accompanied by pain and also nausea, are also often the cause. Liver diseases, such as hepatitis, steatosis of the liver or cirrhosis, are also manifested by fatigue and nausea with vomiting.

Model, digestive system, stomach, liver, intestines
Diseases of the digestive system are accompanied by nausea. Photo source: Getty Images


Peritonitis, which is an inflammation of the peritoneum (the thin membrane in the abdominal cavity), is very often caused by abdominal pain and vomiting. It can also occur in appendicitis. As a result of inflammation and necrosis, the appendix ruptures and the contents of the intestines cause inflammation.

This condition is severe, intensely painful. The difficulty makes it necessary to seek a medical examination. If this condition is left untreated, there is a high risk of death.

Small and large intestine

Even with some diseases of the intestine, a person may have feelings of vomiting. As is the case, for example, with Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. For example, even with diverticulosis, which is an inflammatory disease of the large intestine, nausea occurs.

It can be a concomitant symptom in irritable bowel syndrome.Appendicitis is accompanied by nausea and, in particular, pain, first around the navel and later radiating mainly to the right side.

In constipation, nausea is present as a result of problems in emptying the stool. There is also a feeling of fullness in the stomach and abdominal pain. Similarly, in the case of intestinal obstruction (technically called ileus), the aforementioned problems occur.

Neurological disorders

The vomiting sensations do not always have to be of this origin. Sometimes it is just a problem in the inner ear, for example, when there is a spinning or unforeseen movement, which results in nausea.

Headache, nausea and vomiting, as well as sensitivity to light, are common in migraine. Vertigo, an attack of dizziness, is also common.


Alternatively, diabetic neuropathy and diabetes in general can also be accompanied by nausea. This is the case when the sugar level is low or, conversely, high. In this magazine article we take a closer look at diabetes, blood sugar levels and also diet.

Cardiovascular causes

In myocardial infarction, severe chest pain, restlessness, nervousness may be present. A heart attack is caused by blockage of a heart vessel. Depending on the site of the non-blooding of the heart muscle, symptoms such as nausea, heaviness in the stomach, vomiting, sweating, pallor are associated.

Some diseases of the heart are also manifested by nausea. For example, angina pectoris, which is a manifestation of coronary artery disease, is manifested by chest pain.

Sometimes it is possible to observe feelings of nausea in pericarditis, which is also a heart disease. Even with high blood pressure, people can have problems with nausea and headaches.

Infectious diseases

Several infectious diseases are also associated with nausea. For example, meningitis, technically known as meningitis, can be an infectious disease. It is accompanied by severe headaches and also nausea along with vomiting.

Similarly, the brain is affected by tick-borne encephalitis, a viral disease that attacks not only the membranes but also other parts of the brain. It is characterised by malaise. Ticks also transmit Lyme disease, a bacterial disease that attacks the nerves and causes nausea.

More common infectious diseases include salmonellosis, which is a diarrhoeal disease caused by the bacterium Salmonella. It causes problems in the intestines and diarrhoea, nausea and abdominal pain are typical.

Malaria is a less common disease, known mainly from tropical countries. Its characteristic symptoms also include nausea and vomiting. But also fever, chills and muscle aches. Reduced appetite as well as weight loss, vomiting and nausea are also caused by tapeworm infection, which enters the body in the form of larvae.

Mumps can also cause nausea in some cases and is an infection of the salivary parotid glands. HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, also manifests itself in more frequent nausea and vomiting after certain years.

Poisoning and nausea

A woman is lying in bed, intoxicated with alcohol, holding a bottle of alcohol in her hand, asleep or unconscious
Alcohol poisoning is a risk of inhaling vomit. Photo source: Getty Images

Several acute and life-threatening conditions are also associated with nausea, which comes on very suddenly. Most often, for example, it is intoxication (poisoning of the body) by a substance, which leaves long-term effects.

Alcohol intoxication is common, when nausea is accompanied by vomiting. In severe alcohol poisoning, there is a risk of unconsciousness. This is then a risk for inhalation of vomit.

Nausea and vomiting is a symptom of a number of poisonings. With disturbances of consciousness, there is a risk of aspiration (inhalation) of vomit and acidic stomach contents. This condition threatens the life of the person by suffocation, or threatens health by complicated pneumonia.

Food allergies and hypersensitivity

In allergic reactions and anaphylactic shock, which is an overreaction of the immune system to an allergen, nausea occurs. Nausea also occurs after eating. In addition to this, various other symptoms occur, such as skin or swelling.

One of the forms is food allergy and hypersensitivity to certain ingredients. This case includes intolerance to lactose, but also gluten. In addition, allergy to nuts, eggs, soy, exotic fruits is common.

With flu and diseases of the respiratory system

Nausea and heaviness on the stomach also accompany several respiratory diseases, for example, pneumonia. They are also frequent in influenza or other respiratory diseases, whether viral or bacterial.

Injury as a cause

Nausea and vomiting can occur even after an accident. They are typical of concussion. In addition, symptoms such as short-term unconsciousness, loss of memory for the period of the accident, disorientation occur. In the case of a head injury, if a concussion is suspected, an examination is recommended.

Woman has nausea in the toilet, she's on the verge of vomiting
In women, it is accompanied by hormonal changes. Photo source: Getty Images

Women and nausea

In women, hormonal changes occur during the fertile period. They appear during ovulation, but also during menstruation. Even the menopausal period is full of hormonal changes. In these cases, some women report nausea, vomiting. Abdominal pain is common.

In addition to these cases, difficulties can also occur with cysts on the ovaries, with ectopic pregnancy. Even with inflammations of the genital tract of a woman, nausea can occur, along with fever and pain.

Nausea in pregnancy

Pregnant woman, white shirt
Nausea is a symptom of pregnancy. With repeated vomiting, examination is important. Photo source: Getty Images

Hormonal changes also take place during pregnancy. Nausea can occur in the morning, but also throughout the day. Morning gestosis, in which morning sickness and vomiting occur, is present in approximately 70%. It is most common from the 6th to the 14th week of pregnancy, i.e. mainly in the first trimester.

Vomiting in pregnancy is also professionally called emesis gravidarum. To help with nausea during pregnancy, psychological help and support, rest, eating smaller portions are recommended. In some cases, vitamin B6 helps.

A major complication is excessive vomiting. Professionally, it is called hyperemesis gravidarum. Excessive vomiting endangers the woman and the fetus by dehydration and disruption of the internal environment. In this case, a gynaecological examination is necessary.

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