ZocdocAnswersIs it normal for anxiety to cause nausea?

Question

Is it normal for anxiety to cause nausea?

I'm a woman in my 20s and ever since I was a teenager I have had crippling problems with anxiety. Often the anxiety leads to nausea and even sometimes vomiting, and I really want to control this. What are my options?

Answer

Anxiety and nausea are commonly related. Many people experience this on occasion. However, if you have severe (or "crippling") or often interference in your life by this condition, you should see your primary care doctor. In general, anxiety causes a release in chemicals by the body that sparks the body into action. Specifically, adrenaline (also known as epinephrine) is released. This allows the body to be ready for any activity--or "fight or flight." Our ancestors evolved this reflex in order to be ready for physical activity (fighting or running away) in the face of danger. One of the ways the body gets ready is that is distributes blood to the muscles, heart and brain. This allows for physical activity. In order to get this "extra" blood to the muscles, blood is diverted away from the gastrointestinal system. This means the stomach and all is basically put on hold and digestion slows. This can result in nausea as food stops going down and can on occasion result in vomiting. Therefore the adrenaline release from your anxiety may very well be causing nausea. This should be evaluated. Anxiety can be treated with both medicines and other therapy. Other causes of nausea should be ruled out. See your doctor. Good luck!

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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