Imagine your stomach as a balloon. It fills up and inflates with air, but unlike a balloon, your stomach doesn’t pop. Instead, it stays inflated and tight. This uncomfortable condition, known as abdominal bloating, causes your stomach to feel swollen.... Read more
Imagine your stomach as a balloon. It fills up and inflates with air, but unlike a balloon, your stomach doesn’t pop. Instead, it stays inflated and tight. This uncomfortable condition, known as abdominal bloating, causes your stomach to feel swollen.
Nausea is a symptom that occurs when your stomach feels queasy. You may feel as if you could vomit. Many factors can contribute to feelings of nausea, including a medical condition or something you ate.
Abdominal bloating and nausea are symptoms that commonly occur together. One symptom often triggers the other. Fortunately, abdominal bloating and nausea usually resolve themselves with time.
Examples of conditions that cause abdominal bloating and nausea include:
- acid reflux
- gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- gastrointestinal blockage
- giardiasis (an infection from an intestinal parasite)
- irritable bowel syndrome
- lactose intolerance
- pregnancy (especially in the first trimester)
- taking certain medications (such as antibiotics)
Less common causes include:
- congestive heart failure
- dumping syndrome (a condition that can occur after you’ve had abdominal surgery)
- intestinal tumors
- liver cirrhosis
- pancreatic insufficiency
Seek emergency medical attention if you have chest pain, blood in your feces, a severe headache, neck stiffness, or you’re vomiting blood. These are all symptoms of emergency conditions, including a heart attack.
Symptoms that may warrant a trip to your physician’s office include:
- dehydration (because nausea has prevented you from eating or drinking)
- dizziness or lightheadedness when standing
- symptoms that do not subside in one to two days
- unexplained weight loss
- worsening symptoms
Contact your doctor if you experience any other symptoms that are out of the ordinary for you or make it hard to perform daily tasks.
This information is a summary. Always seek medical attention if you’re concerned that you may be experiencing a medical emergency.
Abdominal bloating and nausea related to foods you eat will typically resolve after your body has had time to digest whatever has upset your stomach. Common food intolerances include lactose and gluten. Avoid eating any foods that you determine to cause abdominal bloating and nausea.
Your doctor can prescribe medications related to underlying conditions such as acid reflux or constipation. More serious disorders, such as congestive heart failure or dumping syndrome, may require prolonged treatments.
Resting in an upright position can help reduce abdominal bloating and nausea related to acid reflux. This position reduces the acid’s flow up your esophagus. Physical activity can worsen symptoms when you feel nauseated.
Drinking clear fluids that contain natural sugar, such as sports drinks or Pedialyte, may help settle your stomach. However, drinking artificially flavored beverages and those made with sugar alcohols may contribute to abdominal bloating.
Anti-gas medications to reduce abdominal bloating, such as simethicone drops, are available at pharmacies. However, they’re not always effective.
If you’re able to target the foods causing your abdominal bloating and nausea, avoiding them can prevent your symptoms. However, you can take other steps to maintain a stomach-friendly diet, including:
- eating a bland diet (including toast, broth-based soups, baked chicken, rice, pudding, gelatin, and cooked fruits and vegetables)
- exercising regularly (this helps to reduce gas in the intestinal tract while also preventing constipation)
- refraining from smoking
- avoiding carbonated beverages and chewing gum
- continuing to drink plenty of clear liquids, which can prevent constipation that leads to nausea and abdominal bloating