Understanding the Common Causes of Nausea and How to Prevent Them

We’ve all had that unmistakable feeling of nausea in the pit of our stomach that signals we may need a bathroom fast. If it happens often enough, you might even be able to recognize whether it’s something you can wait out or a warning that vomit is sure to follow quickly.

There are two types of nausea diagnoses in the medical world: queasiness and nausea accompanied by vomiting. You (or your doctor) can track down the cause depending on which one you have.

While it may seem like endless things could make you sick to your stomach, in reality, only a few of these are likely to be the case. Once you narrow them down, you can treat the problem more effectively.

The next time your stomach threatens to rebel, consider which of these common causes of nausea could be the culprit. Then, use the simple tips we’ve included to alleviate the symptoms.

1. Food Poisoning

Far more common than you might think, food poisoning is a frequent cause of nausea when it is accompanied with vomiting and/or diarrhea. 

If these are your symptoms, think about where you ate recently, what you ate, and who around you had the same thing (if anyone). It can take a few hours or a few days before contaminated food starts to show up in your system. 

The easiest way to know if it was food poisoning is if multiple people ate the same thing and show the same symptoms. Otherwise, it’s a matter of narrowing down the possible causes. It may turn out to be impossible to figure out the reason for your food poisoning, but the treatment is consistent.

Start by giving your stomach time to settle before you try to eat again. Make sure to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water or juice with electrolytes. As you add food to your diet, begin with plain broths and slowly ease back into normal items, avoiding spices and highly seasoned foods until you feel yourself again.

In severe cases of food poisoning, your doctor may give you antibiotics or an antiparasitic.

2. Stomach Flu

Catching the flu virus can happen to any of us, and it may take a few days after exposure before you show any signs. Viral gastroenteritis, better known as the stomach flu, comes with some clear symptoms, though.

If your nausea comes with vomiting, stomach cramps, and/or diarrhea, and you have bodily pains and a low-grade fever, you probably have the somach flu. 

Give yourself time to rest and stay hydrated. There is no specific medical treatment for this flu other than waiting it out and letting the virus clear your system. Your doctor may recommend anti-nausea medicine if the vomiting is severe enough. Otherwise, try to drink ginger or peppermint tea and avoid contact with others until you are not contagious. 

This virus can be very dangerous for people with compromised immune systems, like babies and the elderly.

3. Constipation/Indigestion

Is your nausea accompanied with signs of heartburn, gas, or painful stomach cramps? You could have indigestion or constipation. They can be separate, but it’s also common to have both at the same time.

To relieve your symptoms:

  • Treat yourself as though you are constipated, as that usually fixes the indigestion issues, too.
  • Drink plenty of water and get active to help release any blockages from your intestine.
  • Eat plenty of fiber and limit fatty foods like dairy and high proteins.

There are also over-the-counter gas and constipation remedies that can give you fast relief.

4. Migraines

Certain types of migraines come with nausea and vomiting. It’s difficult to mistake nausea due to migraines, as you’ll have severe and often debilitating headaches, too.

If you have migraines regularly, focus on figuring out what your triggers are. It may be caffeine, hormones, lack of sleep, or another cause. Once you know the triggers, you can avoid migraines.

But if you have regular painful migraines, your doctor may prescribe medication to treat or prevent them. In states where it’s legal, like Pennsylvania, medical marijuana is a safe and effective way to handle migraines. (You can learn more about this at Veriheal’s site here.) 

5. Stress

When you’re undergoing massive stress, it’s possible for your body to get so uptight that you throw up. This can be caused by external circumstances or by extreme pain. In stress-related nausea and vomiting, the key is to treat the stressor to get rid of the symptoms.

6. Early Pregnancy

Of course, nausea and vomiting are also signs of pregnancy. If you’re a sexually active female able to get pregnant and 1-5 are not the problem, you might want to take a pregnancy test to determine your next steps.


Feelings of nausea can get in the way of having a productive, enjoyable day. But the treatment for your symptoms depends on the cause. Review these six common reasons we get nauseous to figure out how to feel better fast!