Nauseous, But Not Pregnant? 10 Reasons You’re Queasy That Don’t Involve a Baby

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.

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    • A G Gordon

      I don’t disagree with the ten causes given above for nausea, but there is a crucial omission, though partly considered in Reason 2 (Motion Sickness). I believe that most if not all nausea, and nausea plus vomiting (though not vomiting alone) are due to subtle malfunction of the vestibular organs in the inner ear, and the stomach is a red herring. The commonest cause of this I think is low inner ear pressure, from dehydration (as in pregnancy or infections), a leaking cochlea (after head injury), low blood pressure (side effect of numerous drugs), etc. Low inner ear pressure leads to Meniere Spectrum Disorder, a very common but widely misunderstood and undiagnosed condition.

    • sara

      Thank you for posting this because I’m also sick of being asked if I’m pregnant every time I tell someone I feel queasy!

    • Allison

      Thank you! I have been nauseous for days and I made the mistake of asking my mother-in-law what could be causing it (she’s a nurse) and she asked if I was pregnant. As your article says, a woman can be nauseous w/o being pregnant (took two pregnancy tests to verify it!).

    • mary

      so what if I’ve checked all 11 reasons. thats including being pregnant and none match.

      I was kinda hoping I was pregnant. you guys talk about it like a disease or illness.

    • Johnna

      Okay so I’ve been feeling sick for a couple days now, I ate nachos at a bball game and I got sick on the bus ride home and a few dats later I still feel quesy, I have not thrown up yet, I dont think I’m pregnant, but can somebody tell me what else this could b? I’m scared

    • kimberly

      I am having a problem and can’t find answers anywhere…. I was very sick for a week and didn’t eat except a few bites here and there,now I have been recovered from the flu a few days felt fine until today. I don’t have any cold or flu symptoms like when I was sick but now today I’ve been puking now for 5 hrs (only ate a bite of food still don’t have my appetite back so its not food poisoning ) and there is nothing in my stomach but liquids what could be making me so sick I doubt I’m preggers I just had my period the 10th to the 14th omg please help

    • Ashleen Gray

      Im not pregnant and have none of the above for a year now im sick after every drink and after every intake of food iv lost ridiculase amount of weight and i dont know what to do can u get an eating disorder unintentually like ur body just decides oh i knnow ill make u throw up for the rest of ur days kill u slowl stomachy starve ur body of the things it really needs well fu## u stomach i will defete u now seriously does any one have any idea whats going on im dumbfounded and doctors dnt help much

    • guest

      Oh gosh, what I’m hoping is this smell sensitivity induced nausea doesn’t cause me to hate certain foods after this flu is gone. I LOVE baked chicken, but after its lingered in the house a few days, the Superbowl wings, should have been a treat to make me feel better! Whine. Can’t complain, because it’s not severe, but OH I hate the flu. Every smell is bothering me. Good stuff smells lousy, and bad smells almost make me throw up. And I’m already throwing up! Ha. Can’t complain tho. Have to laugh about it.