Manhattan Gastroenterology
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Queasiness, an upset stomach, and strange feelings after eating that make you want to throw up are not the best experiences and may affect your eating habits and health if you are not careful. The causes of nausea range from treatable and temporary to chronic conditions that need medical attention. The experienced and board-certified gastroenterologists at Manhattan Gastroenterology work out the reasons behind your nausea and look for signs of underlying medical issues that are causing unusual symptoms. The top-rated specialists help you understand what you are going through, identify the triggers behind your problems and recommend the best solutions so that you enjoy your meals and life, free of nausea.

Feeling nauseous immediately or a few hours after eating or overeating is something that most of us go through at some point in our lives. Many causes of nausea are common and can resolve on their own or managed effectively with home remedies and over-the-counter medications. But certain conditions do not go away on their own, and you may need specialist guidance and advice to find relief.

A closer look at some other symptoms can help to pinpoint what is causing nausea after you are done eating. Identifying the condition solves half the problem, and an expert healthcare provider can find the best solution to stop you from getting sick after every meal.

What Causes Nausea After Eating?

Food Poisoning

It is one of the most common causes of nausea after eating. When the food is not cooked right, or you do not store it properly afterward, it can become a breeding ground for bacteria or in some cases, viruses and causes illness when you consume it. Eating contaminated food can result in nausea, vomiting, and abdominal cramps after some time.

Food poisoning occurs when:

  • The food is not heated to the necessary temperature
  • The refrigerator is warmer than 40°F (4.4°C)
  • The cooking surfaces and hands are not cleaned properly before food handling
  • When raw products like meat, seafood, poultry, and eggs come in contact with ready to eat foods

The most commonly experienced symptoms of food poisoning are nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. These symptoms may start within 30 minutes to a few hours after you have eaten contaminated food.

Sometimes nausea after eating food also results from stomach flu. You can get infected with this virus if you eat contaminated food or come in close contact with someone already down with it.

Allergies and Food Intolerances

Are you having nausea immediately after eating?
Nausea After Eating

Allergies and intolerances from certain foods can make you feel nauseous after eating. Foods like nuts, eggs, shellfish, wheat, soy, or milk are identified by your immune system as harmful foreign invaders. As a result, the immune system launches a series of events that releases histamines and other chemicals when you eat any of these foods. They can produce allergy symptoms ranging from hives and mouth swelling to nausea. Allergies can be life-threatening if they are not treated timely.

A large population is sensitive to dairy, gluten, and food additives that are not digested and result in nausea. Food intolerances are not life-threatening, but they can lead to inconvenient symptoms like nausea, diarrhea, bloating, and stomach pain. Food allergies or intolerances do not get better on their own and need immediate treatment. Call your doctor if you experience nausea along with other debilitating symptoms.

Pregnancy

Nausea is one of the earliest physical signs of pregnancy experienced by most women during the early days of their pregnancy. Most women report an uneasy, queasy feeling that makes them want to throw up early in the morning as well as many times during the day. Changing hormone levels are believed to be the triggers behind this feeling of nausea, especially after eating. In many cases, the smell or taste of certain foods can also make the stomach roll and lead to nausea.

This type of nausea is normal and not a matter of great concern as it is temporary and does not cause any harm to the baby or the mother to be. If you experience more severe morning sickness or persistent vomiting, it is essential to consult a doctor. Too much vomiting and loss of fluids can cause body weight loss, dehydration, and electrolyte imbalance in the body which is not good, during this time.

Narrowed Arteries

If the arteries of your intestines start narrowing or shrinking from their original size, it reduces the circulation of blood in the vessels. It mainly occurs due to the buildup of fatty material called plaque in the arteries that affects the blood supply to the body.

These arteries supply oxygen-rich blood to your heart, and narrowing of the arteries can result in inadequate blood flow, which can lead to chest pain or discomfort, shortness of breath, dizziness, weakness, and extreme nausea.

Medications

Several medications can cause nausea. They include:

  • Pain killers
  • Antibiotics
  • Chemotherapy medicines
  • Anti-seizure medications
  • Diabetes medications

Nausea can occur when medications are taken orally as well as when given through an IV. Chemotherapy can also cause anticipatory nausea and vomiting, while triggers can also lead to such a condition. The chances of developing nausea and vomiting can increase with the number of chemo sessions an individual has been through.

In most cases, it has been found that the feeling of nausea goes away once the treatment is over, but if you continue to experience troublesome nausea, call your doctor to avoid any complications.

Stress and Anxiety

Stress and anxiety are not just bad for emotions, but they can also affect your physical health and wreak havoc on the digestive system. You may experience feelings of nausea immediately after eating if you are highly emotional, have a social anxiety disorder, or have other phobias.

Health experts believe there is a strong relationship between gastrointestinal systems and anxiety and depression. The digestive tract and the brain are connected through nerves. When you are stressed, your brain’s fight or flight response kicks in, dumping a ton of hormones into your bloodstream that force your body to react. These hormones have a negative, inflammatory effect on your gut microbiome, which results in nausea or diarrhea.

Keep a journal to determine if your condition is set off by anxiety and stress, and note down when you feel anxious and nauseous. It will help you notice the pattern between the two and work out techniques to avoid the annoying symptoms.

Acid Reflux

Also known as heartburn, acid reflux occurs when stomach acid flows up into the esophagus, causing inflammation it and triggering nausea. Acid reflux happens because large amounts of stomach acid get splashed back up into your esophagus or throat and stay there. The burning sensation caused by this acid can result in nausea. You can get acid reflux shortly after eating, particularly if you have consumed spicy or greasy food or a heavy meal that takes time to digest.

If you do not take timely action to treat or prevent acid reflux, excessive exposure to stomach acid can damage your esophageal lining and cause GERD. It is a chronic condition marked by irritation, inflammation, ulcers, and symptoms that only turn painful with time.

There are many other conditions too that can cause nausea after eating, such as gallbladder disease, viral or bacterial infections, stomach ulcers, pancreatitis, and irritable bowel syndrome, to name a few. It is best to check with a qualified gastroenterologist to identify your symptoms and the root cause behind them.

Tips to Prevent Nausea

Try these tips to avoid feeling sick after you eat:

  • Go for smaller, frequent meals instead of eating a few large meals
  • Avoid greasy, fatty, or spicy foods that take a longer time to digest and may cause nausea
  • Eat bland foods like crackers or toast that keep the stomach calm
  • Limit your intake of solid foods but continue to take fluids like water, juices, and light soups
  • Suck on a crushed ice or ice cubes, mint, or try some chewing gum
  • Avoid any bending or lifting
  • Relax and sit still after eating to give your food time to digest
  • Eat and drink slowly
  • Try cold or room temperature foods if eating hot or freshly cooked foods makes you feel queasy

Home remedies can help you prevent nausea and control the queasy feelings.

When to Seek Medical Help?

Experiencing nausea occasionally after eating or during pregnancy is not dangerous. It could be anything from stress to acid reflux from eating something greasy or spicy or the result of hormonal changes. However, if you feel nauseous every time you eat, the symptoms do not seem to be subsiding, and home remedies do not work, seek medical help.

Call your doctor immediately if you experience the following along with nausea:

  • Blood in the vomit
  • Severe headache or stiff neck
  • Lethargy, confusion, or decrease in alertness
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Rapid breathing or pulse
  • Dehydration

The doctor will find out the reasons behind your symptoms and explore underlying conditions that may be causing the unpleasant sensations. They will provide emergency treatment to stop your nausea and make you feel better.

If you are not feeling good and want to get yourself checked, schedule an appointment with top-rated gastroenterologists at Manhattan Gastroenterology for a better understanding of what may be going on with your digestive health. The award-winning specialists use the best diagnostic tools and equipment to look for diseases and disorders of the gastrointestinal tract and find out the reasons behind mild to severe nausea and vomiting. They work hard to manage your symptoms and use their expertise and experience to ensure you are on a speedy road to recovery and maintain good digestive health throughout your life.

Updated on Aug 27, 2022 by Dr. Shawn Khodadadian (Gastroenterologist) of Manhattan Gastroenterology