Causes of Nausea & Diarrhea

Nausea , or the feeling of stomach sickness including an urge to vomit, can often be accompanied by other gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea. These two symptoms are a relatively common experience for most people and are usually minor annoyances that go away on their own within one to three days. There are, however, some serious causes of nausea and diarrhea, and if the symptoms occur frequently or do not recede on their own, a doctor should be consulted.

Woman with upset stomach. (Image: Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images)


Virtually everyone has had an experience with the stomach flu, which is also known as gastroenteritis. This infection of the gastrointestinal tract can be caused by bacteria or a virus. Some of the common ways that gastroenteritis is contracted is through contact with an infected person or through ingesting contaminated food or water. Most people recover quickly from a bout of gastroenteritis, but those with compromised immune systems, infants and the elderly can develop a severe infection that can be deadly. In addition to nausea and diarrhea, symptoms of stomach flu include aches and chills, low grade fever, vomiting, abdominal cramps and headaches. If the infection is viral, there is no real treatment, but bacterial stomach flu may be treated with antibiotics.

Migraine Headache

Migraine headaches are a particular type of headache, and a lot of people get them. According to, it is estimated that 17.6 percent of females and more than 5 percent of males in the United States suffer with migraine headaches each year. Migraine headaches usually only occur on one side of the head, which differentiates them from other types of headaches. Many sufferers describe their headache pain as throbbing in nature. Many patients notice an aura that occurs before the pain of the headache sets in. This aura can involve visual disturbances and alterations in consciousness. Symptoms of a true migraine can include nausea, diarrhea and other stomach involvement, irritability, food cravings and anxiety in addition to the pain.


Most women who become pregnant suffer with nausea and vomiting, also known as "morning sickness." This usually occurs in the early stages or the first trimester of pregnancy. For some women, diarrhea also becomes a problem. According to, the most common causes of diarrhea during pregnancy include lactose intolerance, dietary and hormonal changes or new sensitivities to foods. While nausea can last for weeks or months, diarrhea during pregnancy is usually short-lived, but if it becomes severe, a doctor should be consulted.


Acute appendicitis is the inflammation of the appendix, a small pouch located at the beginning of the large intestine. This pouch can become infected and inflamed, and is one of the leading causes of abdominal surgery in the U.S., according to MedlinePlus. Symptoms of this infection include abdominal pain, especially on the right side, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, chills, fever and loss of appetite.

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