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Can Anxiety Make You Nauseous

by Clara Wynn
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Can Anxiety Make You Nauseous

Can Anxiety Make You Nauseous

Can Anxiety Make You Nauseous? When you’re feeling stressed out or overwhelmed with work, anxiety may pop into the picture as one of your first reactions. In fact, anxiety is considered by many experts to be an inevitable part of life because we all encounter situations where our emotions are heightened. It’s only natural for us to react in those moments — whether through anger, fear, sadness or joy — but when anxiety becomes chronic or intense enough it can cause problems.

People who suffer from chronic anxiety disorders such as panic disorder often have difficulty functioning on a daily basis due to their constant state of worry and distress. They often withdraw socially, which makes them less likely to seek help if they really need it. But people don’t just become social isolates because they’re depressed; there are also other reasons why someone would avoid friends and family. For example, some individuals aren’t comfortable around large groups of people and feel uncomfortable talking about how they’re feeling, while others are simply not interested in meeting new people.

Many people who develop anxiety disorders are sensitive to noise, light or changes in temperature, so they tend to stay indoors more than they’d like to. Or maybe they live in areas with bad air quality and choose instead to spend their days inside. Anxiety sufferers may also prefer smaller spaces, such as elevators, bathrooms or airplanes over larger ones. These preferences lead to behaviors known as “environmental avoidance,” which is when an individual avoids certain environments because he or she feels unsafe. This avoidance pattern can make it harder for people with anxiety disorders to manage their condition successfully.

On top of environmental issues, another reason why people with anxiety disorders might get nauseated could be linked to their own personal history. Some people seem to be predisposed genetically to developing this problem. People whose ancestors suffered from mental illness, including anxiety disorders, are at greater risk for themselves developing these conditions as well. On the flip side, however, no definitive studies have been conducted yet to determine what role environment plays in causing anxiety-related nausea.

Researchers do know that the brain chemical serotonin is involved in both depression and anxiety and that low levels of serotonin in the brain have been linked to feelings of anxiety and depression. Serotonin works its magic primarily within the gut, where it helps regulate movement and communication between nerves throughout the gastrointestinal tract. One way that the body gets rid of excess serotonin is through defecation. So if you’ve ever felt bloated after eating a heavy meal, then perhaps you’ll understand why nausea occurs during bouts of anxiety.

Although nausea itself doesn’t indicate any underlying medical condition, it’s important to consult your doctor if your nausea lasts longer than two weeks or if it comes along with other unusual symptoms. Your physician will want to rule out any potential causes before making a diagnosis of an actual health issue.

Keep reading to learn what causes nausea and what kinds of treatments exist to alleviate this unpleasant sensation.

  • Causes of Nausea Associated With Anxious Thoughts
  • Treatments for Nausea Associated With Anxious Thoughts
  • Nausea Associated With Vomiting
  • Causes of Nausea Associated With Anxious Thoughts

As mentioned previously, scientists aren’t exactly sure what causes anxiety-related nausea, although several theories have been put forth. The most popular theory suggests that high levels of cortisol (a hormone produced by the adrenal glands) trigger anxiety and related stomach disturbances, particularly when the person is exposed to loud noises or bright lights. Cortisol is released under stressful circumstances, including being startled, having something touch your skin or seeing blood splatter. High levels of adrenaline can also play a part in triggering nausea.

Other researchers theorize that anxiety-induced nausea is caused by malfunctioning hypothalamic neurons that produce hormones called somatostatin and vasoactive intestinal polypeptide. If the hypothalamus malfunctions, it can send incorrect signals to the pituitary gland, which produces hormones that release growth hormones.

Whatever the underlying cause, nausea associated with anxious thoughts seems to affect women more frequently than men. Women may also be more prone to developing motion sickness or gastric reflux disease, which can contribute to feelings of discomfort. Studies show that women also tend to report higher rates of postpartum mood disorders, which include major depressive episodes. Researchers believe that estrogen and progesterone deficiencies following childbirth can disrupt normal hormonal responses, leading to depression.

Women who take oral contraception pills have fewer reports of postpartum depression compared to nonusers, indicating that birth control use may protect against depression. However, birth control doesn’t seem to offer much protection against postpartum anxiety, since women using it still reported similar amounts of anxiety-associated nausea as nonusers.

If you find yourself experiencing extreme nausea, try taking antacids containing magnesium hydroxide or calcium carbonate. Over-the-counter antiemetics, such as Dramamine, Phenergan, or Propranolol Hydrochloric Acid Tablet can also relieve nausea temporarily.

For more information on treating nausea, keep reading.

Postpartum depression affects approximately 15 percent of new mothers worldwide each year. Postpartum depression is characterized by severe sadness and/or irritability, loss of interest in activities once enjoyed, insomnia and trouble concentrating. Symptoms typically occur within three months after delivery. However, it can occur even later in motherhood and is usually found in women who experienced difficult births or complications during pregnancy. Although no specific cause exists, some argue that genetic factors are responsible for increased vulnerability to postpartum depression in women. Many experts suggest screening all new mothers for signs of depression. Treatment methods vary depending upon the severity, but antidepressants are commonly prescribed.

Treatments for Nausea Associated With Anxious Thoughts

There are several different types of medications available to treat nausea, as well as vomiting and heartburn. Treatments depend on the type of nausea experienced and the cause. Antihistamines, decongestants and corticosteroids are typical remedies used to combat allergic reactions, such as hives, swelling and fluid buildup. Drugs used to treat nausea generally fall into one of four categories: dopamine antagonists, prostaglandin inhibitors, histamine blockers or cholinergic agonists. Most of these drugs come in pill form, though some patients receive injections of botulinum toxin or acupuncture therapy.

Dopamine antagonists, such as domperidone, are sometimes prescribed to counteract nausea and vomiting. Domperidone blocks receptors in the central nervous system that stimulate the muscles surrounding the esophagus and stomach. Dopamine antagonists are often used to prevent regurgitation of food back up into the mouth. Decongestants, such as pseudoephedrine hydrochloride, are used to reduce swelling in nasal passages and sinus congestion, which can cause pain and pressure behind the eyes. Antihistamines, such as diphenhydramine, drowsiness and dryness of mucous membranes. Cholinergic agonists, such as metoclopramide, increase the amount of saliva production to ease swallowing difficulties.

Patients should always talk to a doctor regarding treatment options before beginning medication. Depending on the cause of nausea, doctors may recommend lifestyle changes, such as avoiding triggers to the problem or changing habits related to the condition. For instance, one woman who was unable to undergo surgery until her third trimester had her anesthesia administered via IV rather than inhalation technique. She said her surgeon told her that the procedure would have gone smoother if she had been given general anesthesia earlier in her pregnancy. Another patient switched her diet from spicy foods too bland and stopped drinking caffeine to see if it helped calm her racing mind.

To read additional articles on nausea, visit the next page.

The best way to stop nausea is to avoid it altogether. Find ways to relax and cope with the situation instead. Try yoga, meditation, deep breathing exercises, or relaxation tapes. Avoid alcohol and smoking, as these substances worsen nausea. Stay away from fatty foods, especially greasy fried foods, caffeinated drinks and chocolate. Also, eat small meals every few hours. Take frequent bathroom breaks and drink water to keep your stomach filled and settle down.

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