Nausea can be attributed to a variety of causes. Both physical illness and even psychological stress can be culprits of this bothersome symptom. But if you're experiencing it after eating, the list of possibilities narrows down. Nausea is not always a sign of something serious, but it's best to check with your doctor if you continue to experience it and any other accompanying symptoms.
Chronic Gallbladder Disease
Nausea and vomiting are associated with gallbladder problems. Nausea after eating is specifically tied to chronic cholecystitis, or chronic gallbladder disease. You may also experience abdominal discomfort, gas and diarrhea. Acute cholecytitis involves inflammation of the gallbladder, with gallstones being the cause in 90 percent of cases, MedlinePlus reports. Over time, these acute attacks cause the shrinking and thickening of the gallbladder, affecting its ability to function properly.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease, better known as GERD, is another possible reason why you're experiencing nausea after meals. GERD is a condition that involves consumed food or liquids in the stomach moving back up into the esophagus. Because of the accompanying stomach acid, this event can cause intense symptoms. Besides nausea, other symptoms like heartburn, sore throat and coughing may occur. In addition, it may cause an acidic taste in your mouth. Lying down after eating can worsen the reflux. Foods that can trigger GERD include tomatoes, citrus products, fatty foods, onions, chocolate and minty foods.
Foodborne illness is a serious medical concern affecting millions of people in the United States each year. Approximately 5,000 Americans die annually as a result of the illness, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports. Food that hasn't been cooked properly causes sickness. Consuming food that has been left unrefrigerated for more than two hours can also lead to considerable bacteria growth. Symptoms including nausea, vomiting, fever and diarrhea are common. These effects may begin in as little as 30 minutes up to several days following the intake of the contaminated food.
All of these conditions may require medical treatment from your physician. Gallbladder disease usually requires surgery to remove the organ. Although mild cases may resolve on their own, severe foodborne illness requires hospitalization. Get immediate medical help if you have continual nausea, bloody diarrhea, high fever and prolonged vomiting. If you suspect GERD is the cause of your nausea, consult your physician when symptoms last longer than two weeks. Treatment of GERD involves lifestyle changes including avoiding trigger foods and losing excess weight. Both over-the-counter and prescription drugs may be recommended to control acid production.