The last few days, I’ve been having stomach trouble – constant nausea and queasiness, and it’s not fun. Everyone’s reaction when I tell them about my problem? “Are you pregnant?!” I’m not. I’ll spare you the evidence, but I’m sure that my nausea isn’t baby-related. But I do find it annoying that if you’re a woman and you feel like ralphing, you MUST be preggers. (Like we don’t know how to take birth control?) So here are ten reasons that you might feel like you’re about to hurl – whether you’re a man or a woman:
1. Emotional Stress – If you’ve ever felt queasy before a performance, interview, or race, you’ve experienced this. General and acute stress can both make you feel ill, so managing stress levels could go a long way towards getting your stomach back on track.
2. Motion Sickness – Planes, trains, and automobiles (and boats) don’t do stomachs any favors. Motion sickness occurs when your inner ear, vision, and sensory nerves that normally help keep you balanced are thrown off. When one part of your body senses motion, but the other doesn’t (i.e. your inner ear senses movement on a boat, but your eyes don’t), the result is motion sickness, which often includes severe nausea. Nonprescription medications like Dramamine and some acupressure techniques can be used to treat motion sickness.
3. Food Poisoning – O.k., so duh. But if you’re feeling nauseous out of the blue, you might want to look at your food log and make sure you haven’t eaten spoiled food. If you have? Stock up on Gatorade, Immodium, and get thee to a private bathroom. If you have blurred or double vision, and/or you have symptoms of severe dehydration, then it’s time to call the doc.
4. Food Allergies and Food Intolerance – If you have a true food allergy, you’ll probably know it: Reactions are normally extreme, and include an itchy mouth and full-on vomiting and diarrhea, as well as other reactions like rashes, hives, and swelling. But food intolerance can also cause less severe symptoms, including nausea. Pay attention to what you’re eating that might cause nausea, and see a doctor if symptoms persist.
5. Medication – An upset stomach is a side effect of many prescription and over-the-counter meds, especially when taken on an empty stomach. If you’re experiencing regular nausea, check the label on your medications and talk to a doctor about alternatives.
6. Reaction to Some Smells/Odors – You don’t have to be knocked up to be super sensitive to smells: Body odor, sewage, and strong sulfur odors can make many people sick, but you might also be sensitive to smells that aren’t traditionally thought of as bad. Peppermint oil can help reduce nausea, but it’s also a good idea to avoid perfumes and strong synthetic scents when possible.
7. Intense Pain – Scientists don’t know exactly why, but extreme pain, especially migraines and headaches, are often associated with nausea. Treating the primary cause of pain can help, but doctors can also prescribe medications to treat the nausea, specifically.
8. Concussion or Brain Injury – It’s normal to feel nausea directly after suffering a concussion, so if you’ve hit your head and thought it wasn’t serious, but feel like throwing up, it’s probably time to head to a doctor.
9. Overeating – If you’ve eaten so much that you need to throw up, you probably deserve a little discomfort. But then again, doesn’t this happen every Thanksgiving?
10. Infections (Like a Stomach Flu) – Viral infections like the stomach flu are a common culprit of nausea and vomiting, but unfortunately, they can’t be treated with antibiotics. Resting at home and taking in lots of fluids are the best way to help your body fight off the infection.