Causes of Nausea

Common Causes: Some of the various simple or better-known common causes of nausea may include:

Example Concerning Causes: There are various causes of nausea, and although many are not serious, some can be life-threatening. Some examples of very serious illnesses or life-threatening medical emergencies where nausea may occur include:

There are many other causes that may also be serious, including many others found in the other sections. Review all possible causes carefully and see your doctor promptly for a full diagnosis. Seek emergency medical attention as appropriate for any of these serious conditions.

Pregnancy and Nausea: That nausea occurs in pregnancy is well-known. Pregnancy-related nausea may be related to various aspects of pregnancy:

Infectious Disorders: Nausea is a very common symptom of numerous types of infections in the stomach or gastrointestinal tract. Various fever-causing disorders can also often cause nausea as one of the symptoms. This can apply to systemic illnesses or to localized infections. There are many possibilities. Some example causes include:

Is there a diarrheal disorder? Read more about: Diarrhea.

Chronic Gastrointestinal Disorders: There are various chronic disorders of the gastrointestinal system that may cause nausea:

Gastrointestinal Organ Disorders: There are various other disorders of the internal organs of the GI system that may cause nausea:

Liver Disorders: Various infections and disorders of the liver can cause nausea, such as:

Urinary and Kidney Disorders: Various urinary or renal disorders can cause an imbalance in the body’s chemistry, such as by the failure to remove enough waste products. Examples include:

Metabolic and Endocrine Disorders: Various imbalances in the body’s chemistry, electrolytes, endocrine or hormonal systems can cause nausea as a symptom. There are many possible disorders that may cause this, such as:

Balance Disorders: Various balance disorders can cause nausea in relation to dizziness or vertigo. Motion sickness is a simple example. Various other disorders cause dizziness, such as an ear infection (e.g. labyrynthitis). Vertigo attacks in diseases such as Meniere’s Disease usually also cause nausea. Causes of light-headedness or fainting may also occur. Examples of disorders causing dizziness include:

Read more about: Balance Disorders, Dizziness, Vertigo.

Heart Disorders: Sometimes nausea may be a symptom of a heart disorder. Some of the possible heart complaints include:

Testicular Pain: The nausea may be related to pain in the testicular region, which often appears as lower abdominal pain with nausea. Some children may be unable to distinguish between abdominal pain and testicular pain. Causes may include:

Other Causes: Various other possible causes of nausea can occur. Some examples are:

Substances: Alcohol and various other substances can cause nausea as a side effect. Nausea and vomiting can occur with alcohol intoxication (excessive intake of alcohol), and also as an after-effect (hangover). Various other illicit substances can cause nausea and other symptoms. Consider some of the possible causes:

Drug Side-Effect: In addition to alcohol and illicit substances there are various medications, herbal remedies, or supplements that can cause nausea as a known side-effect. Chemotherapy for cancer is a well-known example. Also possible is an interaction between two drugs or with other substances, foods, herbs, etc. Consider whether anything has changed recently in your medications or eating habits.

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Back to: « Nausea

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Medications that may increase nausea


Antibiotics: Azithromycin, metronidazole, erythromycin, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole

Antiparasitics: Albendazole, thiabendazole, iodoquinol, chloroquine, mefloquine

Estrogens: Oral contraceptives, estradiol

Cardiovascular: Digoxin, levodopa

Narcotic analgesics: Codeine, morphine, meperidine

Nonsteroidal analgesics: Ibuprophen, naproxen, indomethacin

Antidepressants: Fluoxetine, paroxitene, sertraline

Asthma medication: Aminophylline

Bisphosphonates: Alendronate sodium, ibandronate sodium, risedronate sodium

Source: CDC Yellow Book 20161

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Morning Sickness: Many women have some nausea or vomiting, or "morning sickness," particularly during the first 3 months of pregnancy.

However, hyperemesis gravidarum occurs when there is severe, persistent nausea and vomiting during pregnancy.

Source: CDC2

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Heart attack: Unexplained nausea (feeling sick to the stomach) or vomiting

Women are twice as likely as men to experience nausea, vomiting, or indigestion during their heart attack. These feelings are often written off as having a less serious cause. Remember, nausea and vomiting may be signs that something is seriously wrong, especially if you have other symptoms.

If you have any one of these symptoms and it lasts for more than five minutes, call 9-1-1 for emergency medical care. Even if your symptoms go away in less than five minutes, call your doctor right away—it could be a sign that a heart attack is coming soon. Don't waste time trying home remedies or waiting for the feelings to pass on their own. Remember, quick treatment can save your life.

Source: OWH (DHHS)3

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Subdural hematoma: Symptoms of a subdural haematoma can include:

  • feeling and being sick

Source: NHS Choices UK4

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Heart attack: For instance, instead of having chest pain during a heart attack, women may feel extremely exhausted and fatigued or have indigestion and nausea.

Source: NIH News in Health (NIH)5

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Some causes may include:6 Causes of Nausea:

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Some more causes may include:7 Causes of Nausea:

Causes List for Nausea

List of possible causes of Nausea or similar symptoms may include:8

... Full Causes List for Nausea »

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  1. Source: CDC Yellow Book 2016: travel/ yellowbook/ 2016/ the-pre-travel-consultation/ motion-sickness
  2. Source: CDC: reproductivehealth/ maternalinfanthealth/ pregcomplications.htm
  3. Source: OWH (DHHS): heartattack/ symptoms.html
  4. Source: NHS Choices UK: conditions/ Subdural-haematoma/ 
  5. Source: NIH News in Health (NIH): issue/ aug2014/ feature1
  6. Source: Human Phenotype Ontology
  7. ibid.
  8. Source: Algorithmically Generated List

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Note: This site is for informational purposes only and is not medical advice. See your doctor or other qualified medical professional for all your medical needs.