9 Surprising Reasons You're Nauseous That Have Nothing To Do With A Stomach Bug

Nausea is a famous symptom of early pregnancy, overeating, or the stomach flu. Oh, and don’t forget about that hangover-induced nausea, which has inspired many a sufferer to swear off a particular drink forever. (Fireball, I’m looking at you.) But these aren’t the only reasons you feel sick to your stomach, and there are some surprising reasons you're nauseous that have nothing to too with too much booze or a baby in your stomach. Mental health disorders, hormonal changes, or even that venti cup of coffee may leave some people feeling queasy.

So if you occasionally feel nauseous but aren’t sure about the reason, one of these weird causes may be to blame. Some of the triggers are just a normal part of the body’s responses to infections or other maladies — even a drop in blood sugar. But some people may feel nauseous as a response to certain medications or too many energy drinks.

And of course, if your nausea is particularly debilitating, or it appears to be the symptom of a more concerning condition, have a chat with your physician to get to the root of your problem. It may be related to a treatable infection or other health problem that your doctor can help address. You don’t have to chug bottles of Pepto in silence. Here’s to a brighter future with fewer gastrointestinal upsets.


Generalized Anxiety Disorder

The National Institute of Mental Health lists nausea as a symptom of Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). In addition to the titular feelings of anxiety and uneasiness, other physical symptoms include headaches, muscle tension, and feeling lightheaded.



The journal General Hospital Psychiatry published a study in 2002 that found a correlation between patients with nausea and those who are clinically depressed. In fact, approximately 24 percent of patients who experienced nausea were also clinically depressed.


Eating Disorders

Gastrointestinal problems such as nausea are a potential complication of eating disorders such as anorexia, as the Mayo Clinic reports. Anemia, bone loss, and kidney problems are additional complications that may result from malnutrition.


Caffeine Overdose

That fifth cup of coffee might be too much of a good thing, at least as far as your stomach is concerned. As The Mayo Clinic explains, too much caffeine may cause stomach upset such as nausea. The clinic also reports that about 400 mg of caffeine a day (around four cups of coffee) is apparently safe for most adults.



As the Annals of Palliative Medicine reports, nausea is such a common reaction to medicine that the FDA lists it as a potential side effect for most medications. While the exact causes are unknown, it may just be the body responding to medication as though it were a potentially toxic substance.



Nausea — in addition to light sensitivity — is one of the symptoms used to differentiate migraine headaches from tension or sinus headaches, according to the Office of Women's Health. Debilitating pain is another potential symptom of these particularly awful headaches.


Ear Infections

According to the Vestibular Disorders Association, infections of the inner ear may trigger nausea in some individuals. Additional symptoms include vertigo, balance problems, and vision trouble.


Low Blood Sugar

Feeling hangry? Early signs of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) include nausea, hunger, shakiness, and irritability, according to Medical News Today. The condition may also occur in diabetics who have taken too much insulin.



According to Core Physicians, symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) may include nausea, bloating, and headaches. (And, of course, cramping.)