Eczema is associated with conditions that may cause nausea, such as inflammatory bowel disease and food allergies. However, research on eczema’s direct effects on nausea is limited.

Eczema is a chronic inflammatory skin condition that may cause itchy, scaly, and sometimes painful skin patches or blisters.

The most common type of eczema is known as atopic dermatitis, according to the National Eczema Association.

Research suggests that people with atopic eczema have an increased risk of developing other health conditions, some of which may cause nausea. For example, nausea may be a sign of a gastrointestinal infection or food allergy.

The association between eczema and other health conditions suggests that it may be a systemic disease. This means that eczema may be capable of affecting the whole body, rather than only your skin.

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

Research on whether eczema can directly cause nausea is limited.

That said, some oral and injection medications sometimes prescribed to help treat eczema may cause nausea as a side effect. These may include:

If you experience nausea as a result of taking these medications, speak with a doctor. They could modify your treatment plan to help prevent these symptoms.

Eczema has also been associated with some health conditions that could affect your immune system and gastrointestinal system. These may lead to nausea.

Multiple factors may 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 the skin more easily.

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

For example, a 2018 research review found that people with atopic eczema have an 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, diarrhea, and vomiting.

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

According to a 2018 review, 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

According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, people with eczema are more likely to develop allergies. It’s estimated that two-thirds of children with eczema will develop seasonal allergies later in life.

When you have an allergy, eating food that contains an allergen may cause a range of symptoms, such as 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

Nine foods are responsible for up to 90% of allergies in the United States, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These include:

  • peanuts
  • fish
  • cow’s milk
  • shellfish
  • soybeans
  • wheat
  • sesame
  • tree nuts
  • eggs

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 regularly, it might be a sign of:

  • food allergy
  • food intolerance, such as to lactose, gluten, or histamine
  • inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  • irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • another chronic health condition

Some research suggests that people with eczema have an 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.

Symptoms of eczema like skin itchiness can make it hard to sleep, leading to sleep disturbances and fatigue. Poor sleep may also trigger inflammation and worsen your eczema symptoms.

Infections, IBD, or other health conditions may also contribute to fatigue.

Speak with a doctor 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

Can eczema affect your stomach?

It’s unclear whether eczema could directly affect your stomach. However, eczema has been associated with gastrointestinal conditions that could affect your stomach, such as food allergies, IBD, and IBS.

Can eczema make you feel unwell?

Eczema symptoms like itching and inflammation could affect your immune and gastrointestinal systems. This could lead to fatigue, nausea, and other unpleasant symptoms.

Can contact dermatitis cause nausea?

Contact dermatitis may happen when you come into contact with an irritant or allergen, such as soaps, detergents, metals, and plants. Systemic symptoms of contact dermatitis may include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, among others.

What causes nausea and itchy skin?

Many conditions may cause nausea and itchy skin. These may include food allergies, cirrhosis, and mastocytosis, among others. Speak with a healthcare professional if you experience nausea and itchy skin without any known cause. They could provide a proper diagnosis and treatment plan for you.

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.