What’s causing nauseated feeling after eating?

Mostly, people experience feelings of nausea after eating too much food. But, feeling nauseated after eating a regular meal can be related to a variety of health conditions. The conditions causing nausea can range from mild to severe.

Nausea or feeling sick to your stomach is something everybody feels sometimes. It can also cause vomiting or throwing up. It may pass after a few hours or within a day sometimes. When queasiness causes frequent vomiting over time, it can cause serious dehydration, malnutrition and imbalances in some of the typical chemical compounds, termed electrolytes, in the blood.

Loss of appetite, or not feeling the desire to eat, can go with nausea. But it can also occur on its own. It may be difficult to notice. Moreover, it can be more serious if it leads you to not eat enough nutrients.

What are the causes of nausea?

Basically, vomiting and nausea are not diseases, but they are symptoms of various other conditions. Therefore, following are the few conditions which can make you feel nausea after eating.

Food allergies

Some foods, such as nuts, shellfish, or eggs, can disturb your immune system. These foods can cause your immune system into identifying them as injurious foreign invaders.

After eating any one of these trigger foods, your immune system introduces a series of events which leads to the release of different chemicals including histamine. These chemicals cause allergic symptoms. These signs can range from rashes and mouth swelling, to nausea.

Food poisoning

Foodstuffs which sit around for too long or is not appropriately refrigerated attracts viruses, bacteria, and other parasites. These harmful parasites can make you sick.

Food poisoning symptoms include vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea. These symptoms typically begin within a few hours after you have eaten contaminated food.

Stomach virus

This common bug is sometimes called the “stomach flu”. It infects the intestines and causes gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. People can get a stomach virus by getting too close to somebody who’s sick, or by consuming food or drinking water contaminated with the virus.


Uneasiness or a queasy feeling is one of the earliest signs showing that you are pregnant. These symptoms often start during the second month of pregnancy. But by changing hormone levels you can trigger pregnancy nausea.

Though it is formally called “morning sickness,” but nausea can strike at any time, counting mealtimes. Sometimes the taste or even the smell of certain foods can make your stomach roll. But this feeling is temporary and it won’t harm you or your baby.

Acid reflux

This condition is very common which features a burning pain, called heartburn, in the lower chest area. Acid reflux happens when stomach acid moves back up into the food pipe.

This burning feeling behind your breastbone is the hallmark symptom of a gastroesophageal disease (GERD). But this state can also cause nausea. GERD occurs when the muscular valve between esophagus and stomach malfunctions. Thus, allowing stomach acid to leak up into an esophagus.

Anxiety and stress

Stress does not only take a toll on your feelings and sentiments but it affects your physical fitness, too. Any breakup or job loss can make you not only lose your appetite but also you feel sick after eating.

You might feel just a bit odd during high anxiety. It’s feel like “butterflies in your stomach”. This kind of feeling you might have before giving any presentation or going on an interview. However, this nauseated feeling may pass in short order.

Cancer treatment

There are some chemotherapeutic drugs which cause nausea as a side effect. This feeling should go away after you have finished your treatment.

Gallbladder disease

The gallbladder is an organ which is present in the upper right side of your abdomen. Its main purpose is to help your body digest fats. Gallbladder diseases and gallstones can affect your ability to digest fats. Consequently, you will feel sick to your stomach, especially after eating a rich, fatty meal.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a collection of GI signs. It can include constipation, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. It can also cause bloating and increased gas. Moreover, nausea is one of the most common complaints in individuals with IBS.

Motion sickness

Some people are particularly more sensitive to movement. If you are among them, the motion of a moving vehicle will make you feel nauseated. Eating any food before or after your ride can make nausea even worse.

Motion sickness is more common in children, pregnant women, and people taking certain medicines. It can start abruptly, with a nauseous feeling and cold sweats.

When to see a doctor

Normally, nausea after eating food is not associated with a severe condition. But if it continues for more than 5 days, people should consult a doctor to prevent a core condition. Hence, here are the few more serious symptoms;

  • blood in your stools or vomit
  • chest pain
  • confusion
  • diarrhea which lasts for more than a few days
  • Weakness, extreme thirst, little urine production, or dizziness. These are the signs of dehydration
  • fever of over 101.5°F
  • intense abdominal pain
  • rapid heartbeat
  • severe vomiting or trouble keeping food down

Moreover, children who experience nausea after eating may require more attention.


There is a wide range of causes of nausea. But recording exact nausea time and food consumed can aid your doctor to make a proper diagnosis. Depending on the cause, getting a diagnosis could involve;

  • blood or urine tests
  • skin tests to check if you have food allergies
  • swallowing tests
  • a colonoscopy or upper endoscopy
  • an X-ray, or ultrasound scans, CT scan or MRI of the abdomen


Treatment and outlook of nausea will depend on its diagnosis and can differ critically. For instance, individuals with GERD or heartburn may need proper treatment with acid blocking medicine or antibiotics for the stomach bacteria, H. pylori.

People having a history of allergic or intolerant responses should avoid certain foodstuffs. In the case of a stomach virus, people should stay hydrated and eat bland foods once nausea falls. More severe conditions, like gallbladder disease, may require surgery.


Some tips which can help to prevent nauseated feeling after eating include;

  • Sticking to easy to digest foods, like crackers, white rice, or dry toast.
  • limiting eating when nauseated though continuing to drink
  • ginger may help during nausea. Several ginger products can be used for this including ginger ale, ginger gum, or ginger candy
  • avoiding high-fiber foods or milk
  • Trying chewing gum or sucking mints may also reduce a nauseated feeling
  • drinking liquids often but in small quantities until the improvement of nausea
  • eating smaller and more frequent meals

Common conditions associated with nausea might be treated in several ways but some preventive measures and home remedies might also aid in the short-term to deal with nausea.

Areeba Hussain

Areeba is an independent medical and healthcare writer. For the last three years, she is writing for Tophealthjournal. Her prime areas of interest are diseases, medicine, treatments, and alternative therapies. Twitter @Areeba94789300

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