Nausea is an uneasy feeling of the stomach that often leads to the urge to vomit. Watery mouth, also called hypersalivation, sialorrhea, or ptyalism, is a condition marked by excess saliva. While nausea and watery mouth can occur separately, they may happen together.
Nausea can be accompanied by
While watery mouth and nausea aren’t usually serious symptoms, many of the underlying conditions that cause them require a diagnosis and treatment.
In some cases, those conditions need emergency medical care.
There are a handful of medical conditions that can cause nausea and watery mouth. Some of these conditions require immediate medical care, while others can be addressed at a routine office visit.
Constipation is a gastrointestinal condition characterized by infrequent, painful bowel movements. Common symptoms include bowel movement pain, hard stools, and a feeling of incomplete evacuation.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
IBS is a group of intestinal symptoms that lead to chronic gastric discomfort. This condition can cause chronic constipation, diarrhea, or both.
Food poisoning is a bacterial infection of the gastrointestinal tract. Nausea is
Food poisoning can become a medical emergency. If you have the following symptoms, call 911 and go to the nearest emergency room:
- high fever
- bloody stool
- symptoms of dehydration
Gastroenteritis, or the stomach flu, is a bacterial or viral infection of the gastrointestinal tract. Nausea is one symptom. You may also experience:
- stomach cramps
Erosive gastritis can sometimes lead to stomach bleeding, which causes bloody vomit or stool, trouble breathing, weakness, and dizziness. Call 911 right away if you notice these symptoms.
Peptic ulcer is the umbrella term for stomach, esophageal, and intestinal ulcers. Peptic ulcers commonly cause a mild to severe burning pain throughout the chest and stomach. Other symptoms include nausea and vomiting, indigestion, and blood in the stool.
Like other gastrointestinal conditions, nausea can lead to hypersalivation.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
Acid reflux is a condition that causes digestive juices to temporarily enter the esophagus. GERD is when you experience acid reflux more than twice a week.
Esophagitis is an inflammatory condition that affects the esophagus, the tube that extends from the mouth to the stomach. With esophagitis, the inflammation can make it difficult to swallow, causing a watery mouth.
Many of the causes of esophagitis — such as GERD, medication, or infections — can lead to watery mouth and nausea. Untreated esophagitis may require medical attention.
Some of the medical causes of dysphagia can cause nausea, which can make a watery mouth worse. If dysphagia leads to choking or difficulty breathing, seek medical attention right away.
Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a serious diabetes complication that occurs when the body turns fat into ketones for fuel due to lack of insulin.
Diabetic ketoacidosis requires immediate medical attention. Go to the nearest emergency room if you experience nausea and vomiting along with:
- increased urination
- excessive thirst
- rapid breathing
- high levels of blood glucose and ketones
Gallstones are hard deposits that form in the gallbladder from excess cholesterol in the bile. Untreated gallstones can lead to a gallbladder attack, which causes nausea and vomiting. Other symptoms include:
- abdominal pain
- pale stools
Symptoms of a gallbladder attack require medical attention, as they mimic other serious gastrointestinal conditions.
Mumps is a viral disease that affects the salivary glands and causes them to swell. Having mumps can make it difficult to swallow, which can lead to a watery mouth.
Mumps can also lead to pancreatitis, which can cause nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. Other symptoms of mumps include fever and body aches.
Call 911 immediately if you notice the symptoms of a stroke, such as:
- drooping, numbness, or weakness on one side of the body
- slurred speech
Pancreatic cancer can develop from two different types of cells in the pancreas. Nausea is a common symptom of pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic cancer may also cause an increase in stomach acid, which can lead to a watery mouth.
Other symptoms include:
- unexplained weight loss
- pain in the abdomen
- skin conditions
- digestive symptoms
Generalized anxiety disorder
- stomach cramping
Excessive anxiety may even lead to IBS or stress-induced stomach ulcers, both of which can cause hypersalivation.
Carbon monoxide poisoning
Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that’s produced during the burning of fuel. Carbon monoxide poisoning can be fatal. Common symptoms include:
Carbon monoxide can cause neurological damage, which is a potential cause of hypersalivation.
Motion sickness is an inner ear disturbance caused by repeated motion, such as when traveling in a car or plane.
Nausea and dizziness are some of the first symptoms of motion sickness, as well as vomiting and a loss of balance. Both nausea and vomiting can lead to a watery mouth in motion sickness.
Lactose intolerance is caused by the body’s inability to produce lactase, the enzyme that breaks down lactose. Symptoms generally occur soon after consuming lactose. They include:
Nausea and vomiting are commonly reported symptoms within the first trimester of pregnancy.
Treatment for watery mouth and nausea depends on the cause. Some may require emergency treatment, some require treatment at a doctor’s office, and others can be handled at home.
Emergency medical attention
Diabetic ketoacidosis, carbon monoxide poisoning, stroke, and gallstones are all serious conditions that require immediate medical attention. If you or someone else is experiencing nausea, watery mouth, and other common symptoms of these conditions, call 911 right away.
For gastrointestinal infections like food poisoning, gastroenteritis, and some peptic ulcers, antibiotics can be prescribed for treatment.
Other conditions, including gastritis, GERD, and esophagitis, can be treated through a combination of medication and lifestyle changes.
Dysphagia is most commonly found in older people who require around-the-clock care.
Mumps is a viral infection that will take time, fluids, and rest to pass.
Pancreatic cancer requires tailored medical approaches from a team of doctors.
Generalized anxiety disorder requires the help of a mental health professional.
For pregnancy and motion sickness, supplements like ginger and peppermint can help with nausea.
If watery mouth and nausea are interfering with your quality of life, see a doctor. They can use a variety of tests to determine the cause and treatment of your nausea and watery mouth.
There are many different causes for watery mouth and nausea. Most times, a watery mouth is caused by nausea and not by a separate condition.
Other times, a watery mouth is caused by an underlying neurological condition or physical condition affecting the mouth. These conditions may also have nausea as a symptom.