• Atopic dermatitis is associated with health conditions affecting other organs.
  • Some studies have found an association between eczema and conditions like inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and food allergies, which can cause nausea.
  • Researchers have found a higher risk of skin, gastrointestinal tract, and respiratory tract infection among people with atopic dermatitis. This may be due to skin barrier dysfunction and immune responses related to eczema.

Eczema is a chronic condition that causes scaly, itchy patches of skin. It may look red, dark brown, purple, or ashen gray, depending on skin tone.

The most common type is atopic eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis.

People with atopic eczema have an increased risk of developing certain other health conditions, some of which can cause nausea. For example, nausea may be a sign of an infection, food allergy, or other condition.

The association between eczema and other health conditions suggests that it may be a systemic disease, capable of affecting the whole body.

Read on to learn more about the link between eczema and nausea.

Multiple factors likely contribute to the development of atopic eczema, including:

  • genes that affect your skin barrier
  • reactions from your immune system
  • exposure to substances that cause allergic reactions or irritate your skin

The skin barrier is the outer layer of your skin. It helps keep out bacteria and other germs. When the skin barrier isn’t working properly, it may lead to the development of eczema. The skin barrier in people with eczema may also allow germs, allergens, and other harmful substances to pass through skin more easily.

This difference in skin barrier function and the immune responses in people with eczema may raise the risk of infections.

A 2018 review found that people with atopic eczema have increased risk of:

  • skin infections, such as cellulitis and herpes
  • respiratory tract infections, such as influenza and chest colds
  • gastrointestinal infections

Gastrointestinal infections are one of the most common causes of nausea.

Trillions of bacteria and other microbes live in the gastrointestinal system. They make up the gut microbiota, which shapes how the immune system develops and responds to perceived threats.

According to a 2019 review of research, imbalances in the gut microbiota in early childhood are linked to an increased risk of atopic eczema. Children with eczema tend to have less diverse gut microbiota than usual.

Gut microbiota imbalances are also linked to other health conditions, such as food allergies.

Eczema and food allergies

Eczema is more common in people with food allergies. When someone eats a food containing an allergen, it can cause a range of symptoms including nausea.

Other potential symptoms of an allergic reaction include:

  • runny nose
  • watery eyes
  • warm, flushed skin
  • itchy rash or hives
  • swelling of the tongue, lips, or face
  • stomach cramps
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • anxiety
  • throat tightness
  • difficulty breathing
  • lightheadedness
  • loss of consciousness

In severe cases, allergic reactions can be life threatening. If you notice difficulty breathing or throat tightness after eating, seek medical attention immediately.

Make an appointment with your doctor if you think you might have a food allergy.

If you receive a diagnosis of food allergy, your family doctor or allergist can help you learn how to avoid foods that cause a reaction. They will also prescribe epinephrine to treat severe allergic reactions.

Eczema and diarrhea

If you experience diarrhea on a regular basis, it might be a sign of:

  • food allergy
  • inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  • irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • another chronic health condition

Some research suggests that people with eczema have increased risk of developing IBD or IBS.

Both of these conditions can cause:

  • abdominal pain and cramping
  • abdominal bloating
  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • gas

If you have IBD or IBS, eating certain foods might make your symptoms worse. A doctor or registered dietitian can help you identify food triggers and learn how to avoid them.

Your doctor may also prescribe medication to help reduce symptoms of IBD or IBS.

Skin itchiness can make it hard to sleep, leading to sleep disturbances and fatigue in people with eczema. Infections, IBD, or other health conditions may also contribute to fatigue.

Let your doctor know if you’re having trouble sleeping or experiencing fatigue.

They may:

  • recommend changes to your sleep habits or environment
  • adjust your treatment plan for eczema to reduce itchiness
  • prescribe other treatments if they find that other health conditions are playing a role

If you have eczema and develop nausea, it might be a sign of another health condition.

Eczema is linked to several other health conditions, including some that can cause nausea. For example, people with eczema appear to have an increased risk of gastrointestinal infections, food allergies, IBS, and IBD.

Let your doctor know if you experience frequent nausea or other symptoms. They can help identify the cause and recommend treatment.