Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"What causes nightly nausea?"
Every night, I feel nauseous for about an hour before I go to bed. It seems like it gets worse around when I get my period, but I'm not sure if that's connected. Why is this happening, and is it serious?
Nausea is a common condition which can have both minor as well as serious causes. If this is persisting I encourage you to see your primary care physician. Evaluation of your symptoms may allow for early diagnosis as well as treatment. Nausea (either with or without vomiting) can be divided into acute or chronic. Acute nausea has many causes, but viral infections ("the stomach flu") is one of the most common. Other infections can cause this, Other common causes include medication effects. Serious problems include gastric tract obstruction, although this of often associated with stomach pain and constipation. These all can have worsened nausea at night. Both laying down as well as eating (for most people dinner is the biggest meal) can exacerbate nausea--so any of these causes can worsen nausea at night. Chronic nausea is also a little more complex. The most common cause is constipation. This again can be worse at night when one lays down or after eating the entire day. Constipation can worsen in some women during menses. Gastric reflux disease, or heartburn, also causes nausea and is worsened in the evening. Other causes include gastroparesis (or weakened stomach, often in diabetics), or partial obstruction of the stomach's outlet. Finally, there is a diagnosis known as cyclic vomiting--although this is a difficult diagnosis to make. Talk with your doctor. Pretty much any cause of nausea can be exacerbate at night and exacerbated with menses.
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