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Can An Empty Stomach Cause Nausea

by Clara Wynn
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Can An Empty Stomach Cause Nausea

Can An Empty Stomach Cause Nausea? You’re not feeling well, so you decide to skip lunch in hopes that the nausea will pass quickly. But when it doesn’t go away after half an hour, your appetite starts to grow stronger instead of weaker. You start thinking maybe there’s something wrong with you — is this how morning sickness feels? Is this how food poisoning feels? What exactly is causing this terrible upset?

The most common causes of nausea are related to diet. When you don’t eat for long enough or too much, your body has no choice but to compensate by producing gastric juices (like hydrochloric acid) and sending them into your bloodstream as part of the digestive process. These fluids help break down proteins and fats. However, if these liquids remain undigested in your stomach, they’ll cause problems like heartburn and bloating. The solution is simple: Eat!

But sometimes, nausea comes from other places. A number of factors can lead to a build up of excess acids in the esophagus or stomach, including certain medications, foods and even changes in the environment around us. For example, some people have found relief from motion sickness by chewing sugarless gum; others find relief from flatulence by drinking peppermint tea. If you’ve tried all of these things without success, it might be time to consult your doctor.

If your nausea isn’t related to dietary changes, then what could possibly be causing it? Some possible culprits include:

Stress – There’s little doubt that stress affects our bodies in various ways. In addition to increasing blood pressure and heart rate, stress also constricts blood vessels and slows digestion. It’s worth noting that many different types of medication can bring on symptoms of nausea, including antidepressants, antihistamines and anticonvulsants. So if you suddenly notice yourself feeling queasy while taking any one of these drugs, talk to your doctor about whether you should stop taking them immediately.

Food allergies – Food allergies can produce a variety of symptoms, including nausea. If you think you may have a food allergy, see your doctor right away. He or she may give you an oral challenge test to determine whether you actually react badly to particular foods.

Blood clots – Blood clots in the veins of the upper gastrointestinal tract can block the flow of blood to the stomach and intestine, which interferes with proper digestion. They often occur as a result of high cholesterol levels, obesity, smoking, diabetes and prolonged use of contraceptive pills.

Hormone imbalance – Hormonal imbalances such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), pregnancy and menopause can throw off your normal digestive cycle and affect how efficiently you absorb nutrients. As a result, your body produces excessive amounts of hormones that signal your brain to secrete signals to release vomiting centers.

Tumors – Tumors in the chest, abdomen or pelvis can cause nausea because of their proximity to the area where the small bowel meets the large bowel.

Certain viruses – Viruses such as Epstein Barr and cytomegalovirus (CMV) can attack the lining of your intestines, leading to inflammation and ulcers. The resulting pain can send you running to the bathroom every five minutes.

Infection – Infections ranging from bacterial infections to viral infections such as hepatitis C can cause nausea.

Heartburn – Heartburn occurs when stomach acid refluxes upward toward the esophagus. Since the lower esophageal sphincter valve controls the passage of food into the stomach, overactive LES valves allow acidic fluid back up into the esophagus.

Anxiety – Anxiety can cause nausea by affecting both your ability to relax and your overall sense of comfort in social situations.

It’s important to note that nausea alone doesn’t always mean that something serious is going on inside your body. On the next page we’ll look at some tips for telling when nausea is just plain old “nausea bitch.”

Nausea Symptoms vs. Illness

While nausea itself isn’t necessarily a sign of illness, knowing the difference between a bad case of indigestion and true sickness is essential for getting prompt treatment and preventing further complications.

Because nausea is a symptom, not an actual disease, it tends to come and go rather than persist indefinitely. That means that its intensity varies from person to person. Sometimes people get used to being sickly for weeks at a time, only to wake up one day feeling completely fine. Even those who experience severe bouts of nausea throughout their lives tend to outgrow their affliction. Of course, if you continue to have episodes of intense nausea, especially if accompanied by abdominal discomfort or diarrhea, seek medical attention immediately.

Some people with chronic nausea suffer from conditions such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). GERD involves the movement of stomach contents back into the esophagus, usually caused by an overly relaxed lower esophageal sphincter valve near the top of the stomach. While occasional regurgitation is natural, persistent reflux can lead to scarring of the tissues lining the esophagus. Eventually, the damaged tissue allows stomach acid to leak past the valve and into the esophagus.
Other causes of nausea include irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and gastroparesis, a nerve disorder characterized by slow stomach emptying.

As mentioned earlier, nausea can be brought on by several different factors. One way to tell if your nausea is due to a specific condition is to pay attention to patterns. For instance, you probably know that nausea associated with morning sickness typically goes away once you become pregnant. But does it ever return afterward? If you suspect that you may have developed a food intolerance, and you aren’t sure whether its lactose intolerance, celiac disease or another type of ailment, try eliminating the suspected food from your diet for three days. After that period, take a stool sample and analyze it for signs of intestinal distress. Your physician can then provide you with a diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan.

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