Constant Nausea: 14 Common Causes (& What to Do)

Constant nausea is a symptom that is described by a persistent feeling that you are going to vomit. It can occur for many reasons, like pregnancy, medication use or as a side-effect of chemotherapy. 

Some health conditions can also cause constant nausea, like labyrinthitis, gastroesophageal reflux (GERD), anxiety, or a food intolerance. Treatment of this symptom depends on the underlying cause and any other associated symptoms, like headache, diarrhea, or abdominal pain.

You should seek medical attention immediately if your nausea is associated with symptoms like dizziness, weakness, fainting, or fever.

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Why do I feel nauseous all the time?

The most common causes of constant nausea are:

1. Pregnancy

Many hormonal changes occur during pregnancy, like increases of human chorionic gonadotropin (also known as hCG), estrogen and progesterone. These hormones stimulate changes in the body, including increased breast size, but they also cause adverse effects like an aversion to strong smells, dizziness and nausea. 

Nausea caused by pregnancy mainly occurs between the 7th and 10th weeks, however it can last for longer. In some women, they may feel nausea right up to the end of their pregnancy.

How to stop it: To improve symptoms of nausea during pregnancy, it is important to avoid an empty stomach. You should not fast for extended periods of time, and you should opt for meals that are lighter and less fatty. Another tip is to avoid drinking any liquids in the first 2 hours after waking.  Learn about some natural ways to get rid of nausea during pregnancy.

If nausea is constant and leads to frequent vomiting, you should see your doctor or obstetrician to prescribe antiemetic medications that are safe for pregnancy. 

Also recommended: Nausea Medicine For Pregnancy (Safe For Use) tuasaude.com/en/nausea-medicine-for-pregnancy

2. Labyrinthitis

Labyrinthitis is an inflammation that occurs in the labyrinth, a structure in the inner ear. This swelling can occur due to viral, bacterial or fungal infections or due to an injury in the ear. This condition can also be triggered by eating certain types of foods, or by taking boat or plane trips. Common symptoms include nausea, dizziness and ringing in the ear.  

Diagnosis for labyrinthitis is confirmed by a doctor by evaluating the patient’s health history and physically examining the inner ear. The doctor may also perform an audiometry exam. 

How to stop it: Treatment for labyrinthitis is prescribed by the doctor and usually involves a prescription for nausea medicine to relieve nausea and dizziness. The doctor may recommend some diet changes, like avoiding food that promotes inflammation and dizziness, like sugar and alcohol. 

3. Gastroesophageal Reflux (GERD) 

GERD is a condition that happens when stomach content backs up into the esophagus toward the mouth. It causes symptoms like nausea, burning in the throat or stomach, a dry cough or chest pain. 

This type of reflux can occur because the sphincter that blocks stomach content from the esophagus is unable to close properly. This can happen when a person has a hiatal hernia, for example. To diagnose GERD, you should see a doctor to order exams like an endoscopy and pH testing.

How to stop it: After confirming diagnosis, the doctor may recommend treatment with different types of GERD medication, like one that decreases stomach acid production, one that improves esophageal flow and one that accelerates stomach emptying. You should also avoid consuming drinks that are spicy or high in caffeine. 

Also recommended: GERD Diet: What to Eat & Avoid for Acid Reflux tuasaude.com/en/gerd-diet

4. Migraines

A migraine is a frequent type of headache that can worsens with stress,  decreased food intake, or with strong lights or odors. In addition to headaches, which may be pulsating, migraines are also associated with nausea, vomiting, dizziness and light sensitivity. Learn more about the other migraine symptoms that can appear. 

This condition mainly affects women, and although the causes are not well known, it may occur due to changes in blood flow within the brain.

Also recommended: Migraine Aura: Symptoms, Diagnosis, Causes & Treatment tuasaude.com/en/migraine-aura

How to stop it: When nausea and other migraine symptoms are constant and last for longer than 72 hours, you should see your doctor for treatment. They may prescribe analgesics to relieve the pain, or migraine-specific medication like zolmitriptan. Migraine flare-ups may also be reduced with health eating habits and avoiding heavy meals. Acupuncture has also been known to help. 

Check-out other natural remedies for migraines that may help to manage constant nausea.

5. Anxiety

Anxiety is characterized by excessive over-worrying over situations that have not happened and by an exaggerated fear of a negative event occurring. This feeling causes physical symptoms like increase heart rate, fatigue, nausea and even muscular pain. Learn more about what can cause an anxiety attack and way it can present.

How to stop it: To improve the nausea and anxiety symptoms, you should incorporate different lifestyle changes into your daily routine, like exercise, relaxation techniques and meditation and aromatherapy. There are also some medicinal plants that can help with stress and anxiety naturally.  

If your anxiety continues even with these changes and you continue to have nausea or other symptoms, you should seek professional help from a psychologist. Psychotherapy is necessary to help cope with anxiety, however more severe cases may require the use of anxiety medication

Also recommended: 10 Natural Remedies for Anxiety (& How to Prepare) tuasaude.com/en/natural-remedies-for-anxiety

6. Medication use

Some medications can lead to the emergence of nausea, like continued use of antidepressants such as sertraline and fluoxetine. Corticosteroids, antibiotics and anti-inflammatories may also increase stomach acid production which can cause nausea. 

Medications used in chemotherapy and radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer may also cause nausea, which is why the doctor may prescribe anti-emetics preemptively. 

How to stop it: If your medications are causing nausea, you should see your prescriber and inform them. Do not stop your treatment right away, as nausea caused by some medications, like antidepressants, will decrease overtime as your body gets used to them. 

7. Food intolerance 

A food intolerance is a condition that occurs when your body reacts to certain types of food and causes physical symptoms. Symptoms can include nausea, diarrhea, bloating and a stomach ache. This condition is different from a food allergy, as food allergies will often cause sudden reactions, like coughing, redness and itchiness. 

Some people may develop an intolerance to lactose, which is a sugar present in cow milk and is commonly found in many types of food.

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How to stop it: If you notice you have nausea after eating or drinking a specific type of food, you should see a gastroenterologist to confirm a diagnosis. This can be done with a blood test or an elimination diet. Treatment for a food intolerance is mainly the removal of the triggering food from the diet or with the use of enzymes, like lactase, which can help the body breakdown and absorb lactose. 

8. Stomach ulcer

A stomach ulcer is a wound in the stomach lining that can cause symptoms such as constant nausea, burning in the upper abdomen, bloody vomiting and/or dark stools. 

Also recommended: Stomach Ulcer Symptoms: 7 Signs (with Online Symptom Checker) tuasaude.com/en/stomach-ulcer-symptoms

What to do: Treatment is directed by a family doctor or gastroenterologist, and may include the use of medications, such as amoxicillin, omeprazole, aluminum hydroxide, magnesium hydroxide.

Some home remedies, such as potato juice and Maytenus ilicifolia tea, also help to complement the treatment of gastric ulcers

9. Dyspepsia

Dyspepsia is a condition where a person presents signs and symptoms of indigestion, such as pain in the upper abdomen, belching, constant nausea and a feeling of general malaise.

What to do: the doctor may prescribe analgesics to relieve stomach pain, and medications that inhibit acid production, like omeprazole and esomeprazole. Dyspepsia caused by an H. pylori infection may additionally be treated with antibiotics.

10. Gastroparesis

Gastroparesis is the stop or decrease in stomach flow, causing symptoms such as constant nausea, vomiting, feeling of a full stomach, gas accumulation, pain and abdominal discomfort.

What to do: Treatment involves diet changes, reducing food portions and opting for low fat and high fiber diet. Initially, patients may need to adhere to a liquid diet to ensure adequate nutrient absorption and hydration to facilitate stomach emptying.

The doctor may also prescribe medications, such as erythromycin, domperidone and metoclopramide to increase intestinal flow and manage nausea and vomiting. When these interventions are not effective, the doctor may recommend surgery. 

11. Gallbladder stones

Gallbladder stones, or cholelithiasis, are caused by the accumulation of bilirubin or cholesterol within the gallbladder. It can cause symptoms symptoms such as pain in the stomach or back, vomiting, constant nausea and excessive sweating.

What to do: stones generally disappear on their own and do not require treatment. However, when the stones are very large and become trapped in the bile ducts, the doctor may recommend the use of shock waves or medications like ursodiol to destroy and dissolve the stone.

Gallbladder removal is indicated when the person has severe abdominal pain or when the stones are very large. It can be done through an incision in the belly, or laparoscopically, where surgical instruments enter the belly through small cuts made.

Also recommended: Diet After Gallbladder Removal: What to Eat & Avoid tuasaude.com/en/diet-after-gallbladder-removal

12. Bowel obstruction

A bowel obstruction is an emergency situation that occurs when feces cannot pass through the intestine due to a blockage. It causes difficulty in evacuating or eliminating gas, abdominal swelling, constant nausea or abdominal pain, which can worsen over time.

What to do: A partial bowel obstruction with milder symptoms can be treated with IV fluids and improving hydration to facilitate the passage of feces. The doctor may place an NG tube through the nose into the stomach to remove excess gas and liquids.

In more serious cases, surgery is necessary to unblock the intestine, allowing feces to pass through the intestine normally.

13. Kidney stones

Kidney stones are a type of stone that appear in the kidneys and urinary tract. They can cause symptoms such as back pain, abdominal pain, groin pain, constant nausea and red urine. 

Also recommended: Top 10 Kidney Stone Symptoms (with Online Symptom Checker) tuasaude.com/en/kidney-stone-symptoms

What to do: Treatment for kidney stones may include the use of oral anti-inflammatories, such as diclofenac and ketorolac, and analgesics, such as acetaminophen and tramadol.

In addition, the doctor may also recommend the use of medications that help eliminate small stones, such as calcium channel blockers and alpha-adrenergic blockers. Surgery is indicated for the removal of large stones or when other complications arise, such as a blockage of the urinary tract.

Check-out some natural remedies for kidney stones that you can use to complement your medical treatment and speed-up recovery.

14. Enteritis

Enteritis is an inflammation of the intestine that causes symptoms such as severe diarrhea, abdominal pain, vomiting and nausea. This disease mainly occurs due to the consumption of food or water contaminated by bacteria or viruses, and can also be a consequence of the use of some medications.

What to do: it is important to consult a gastroenterologist so that the underlying cause can be identified and the most appropriate treatment can be initiated. Treatment may include rest, increased fluid intake and consuming easily digestible foods. In cases where enteritis is caused by bacteria, the doctor may also prescribe antibiotics.

When to see the doctor 

Generally, nausea is not a sign of a serious illness, however you should see your doctor if you also experience the following symptoms: 

  • Bleeding from the mouth
  • Excessive vomiting 
  • Fever
  • Weakness;
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain

These symptoms can indicate a more serious health problem, like stomach or heart changes, and therefore you should seek medical attention as quickly as possible.