Why Do You Get Nausea from Not Eating?

Nausea or queasiness is a very annoying condition that can happen from time to time. Anyone, from children to older people, can suffer from feeling queasy when their stomach is empty. And pregnant women are especially susceptible to it. When you get nauseated from not eating, there might be an underlying condition going on that not eating can aggravate. Home remedies can be of help in some cases, but it's best to consult with a doctor and rule out any serious conditions.

Why Do You Get Nausea from Not Eating?

Nausea can be caused by a number of things. Some of the different causes include:

1. Chemical Exposure

If you are exposed to chemicals that are toxic to your body, you may experience nausea from inhaling the fumes if you haven't eaten anything. You may even experience nausea even if you have a little food in your stomach, but not enough.

2. Emotional Upset

If you experience some sort of emotional upset without anything in your stomach you may feel nauseous. The problem with this is that emotional upset may make you feel like not eating at all and then when things come to surface not eating may compound the issue.

3. Food Intolerances

  • Food Intolerances: Nausea from not eating may be due to food intolerances. You may only eat a little, and the combination of the food intolerance and mostly empty stomach may make you nauseous. If you eat certain foods and they make you feel nauseous right away, stop eating them and consult your doctor about possible allergy testing.
  • Alcoholic Beverages: If you drink alcoholic beverages on an empty stomach you may suffer from nausea. If you drink too much on an empty stomach, you may even experience nausea with vomiting.
  • Crohn's Disease: Crohn's disease causes inflammation of the intestinal tract and can cause loss of appetite. The main symptoms include constipation, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and it can cause loss of appetite with nausea.

4. Foul Odors

If you haven't eaten and smell something that is off for your nose, the smell may make you feel nauseous. This can even happen while you're cooking a meal and ruin your appetite, which is common with strong scented cheeses, sauerkraut, meats, and rotten foods.

5. Poor Digestion

If you are having digestive issues you may feel nausea on an empty stomach either from your stomach emptying too fast or not digesting your food by the next mealtime. Slower digestion may be normal for you, but if this is something new you are experiencing, it could signal an issue.

6. Motion Sickness

If you go out in a car, on a boat, or on a plane without eating first, motion sickness may be more pronounced. Even if you don't normally suffer from motion sickness, it may happen if you forget to eat.

7. Gallbladder Disease

The gallbladder lies just beneath the liver and distributes bile from the liver into the digestive system. It can become filled with gallstones and become inflamed. Not only does gallbladder disease cause sometimes severe abdominal pain, if you have not eaten.

8. Viruses

Viruses can make you feel nausea just from being ill. This can make you feel like not eating in the first place. Not eating can escalate the nausea you feel from the virus and it may become a vicious cycle.

9. Ulcers

An ulcer can occur in the stomach lining if the digestive acids wear away at the delicate tissue. The damage is worse if the stomach is left empty, as the acids begin to digest the lining of the stomach. This can cause pain and nausea from not eating.

10. Pregnancy

Morning sickness can happen at any time of day, but tends to be most prominent the morning when your stomach is empty. Some women experience this in the first trimester of pregnancy, on into the second trimester, or the entire pregnancy.

11. Hernia

 A hernia can cause an intestinal blockage with symptoms of pain and nausea. A blockage may cause appetite loss and nausea may result if your stomach stays empty for too long.

What Can Be Done to Help?

If you experience nausea from not eating, the best relief for this would be to eat. Of course, once you are nauseous you will want to keep whatever you eat as light as possible until the nausea passes. Other things you can do include:

  • Sip on some warm flat soda.
  • Eat a few saltine crackers.
  • Drink clear broth.
  • Eat a cup of Jello.
  • Take some anti-nausea medication.
  • Try to stay away from sweets.
  • Lie down and rest with your feet up.
  • Don't eat anything greasy.

The most important thing is to get something in your stomach to cut down on the amount of acid. If eating or drinking does not clear things up, you may need to see a doctor to give you prescription anti-nausea medication.

Should You Worry?

There are some serious health conditions that can cause you to lose your appetite and feel nauseous. If you feel nausea from not eating and have symptoms of something else, you should probably see your doctor as soon as possible. Other symptoms include:

  • Fever over 100.4℉
  • Cough
  • Muscle aches
  • Headache
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Migraine headache

The following conditions are more serious and should probably receive emergency treatment right away:

  • Severe abdominal pain (appendicitis)
  • Neck and back pain (meningitis)
  • Head injury
  • Possible brain tumor

If you have nausea with persistent vomiting and cannot even keep fluids down, seek emergency treatment right away.

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