Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea are common symptoms in daily life. They can affect people of all ages, from babies to adults. Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea can co-occur for many reasons. The common causes include stomach virus, gastrointestinal infection, food poisoning, alcohol, or pregnancy.
These symptoms usually disappear within a few days. However, if symptoms persist for more than a few days or are accompanied by other severe symptoms, please see a doctor as soon as possible. This article will discuss 14 common causes and treatments for nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
14 Causes of Nausea, Vomiting, and Diarrhea
1. Viral Gastroenteritis
Viral gastroenteritis, also known as stomach flu, is one of the most common causes of Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. This is a very common intestinal infection caused by viruses such as norovirus, rotavirus, astrovirus, and adenovirus—these viruses are usually transmitted by contaminated food, water, or contact with infected vomit and stool.
The symptoms of viral gastroenteritis include:
- Nausea, vomiting, and watery diarrhea
- A headache with a low-grade fever
- Abdominal pain or cramping
2. Food poisoning
Food poisoning is an infection caused by eating contaminated food with a virus, bacteria, or parasite. In addition, some chemical or natural toxins can also cause food poisoning.
Food poisoning usually occurs when food is not cooked correctly or handled incorrectly. Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea are the most common symptoms of food poisoning. Other symptoms include stomach cramps, fever, and abdominal pain.
In most instances, the symptoms of food poisoning are mild and resolve on their own within a few hours to two days. However, some severe food poisoning can be life-threatening. If the pain is severe or the symptoms have not improved for a long time, you need to seek medical help immediately.
3. Overeating or overdrinking
Overeating or drinking too much alcohol can tax the digestive system and cause nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. This is more likely to occur when you eat fatty or spicy food.
Drinking too much alcohol will irritate the stomach lining and lead to inflammation in the stomach. In addition, alcohol will stop your colon from absorbing water properly and lead to diarrhea.
Other symptoms of overindulging in food or drink include:
- indigestion or heartburn
- regurgitation, bloating
- abdominal pain or stomach burning
These symptoms may worsen when you already have gastrointestinal diseases such as acid reflux, GERD, IBS, and gastric ulcers.
Digestive issues such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea are common occurrences during pregnancy. This is due to the drastic changes in hormones in the body.
According to research, morning sickness affects 7 out of 10 pregnant women during the first 16 weeks of pregnancy. These symptoms will gradually decrease with the later stages of pregnancy.
You need to consult your doctor if you suffer from severe, unending nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. Especially when the diarrhea is accompanied by low back pain and vaginal discharge; this may be caused by preterm labor or other illness.
Some certain medications may cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea as side effects. These medications irritate the stomach and kill the “good” bacteria in your GI tract.
Some common medications include certain antibiotics, metformin, chemotherapy, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Other symptoms include loose stool and frequent bowel movements.
These symptoms usually occur within a week after you start taking medicine and last for several weeks. But don’t worry too much; they tend to disappear within a period after stopping the medication.
To reduce symptoms, you need to stay hydrated during the medication and talk to your doctor about strategies to relieve discomfort.
6. Traveler’s diarrhea
Traveler’s diarrhea is a digestive tract disorder caused by eating or drinking something unclean or contaminated. The parasites, bacteria, or viruses cause diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting. Other symptoms include gas, bloating, fever, or stomach cramps.
Traveler’s diarrhea usually occurs when you visit an area with a different climate or less-than-optimal sanitary conditions. Traveler’s diarrhea usually lasts over a few days and is accompanied by severe dehydration. If you experience severe diarrhea, you may need prescription drugs for treatment.
Some cancer, such as lymphoma, pancreatic, and colon cancer, can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. In addition, cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy, can stimulate the body and cause gastric symptoms. Other common symptoms include fever, dizziness, severe pain, and weight loss in a short time.
COVID-19 is an illness caused by the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2. This is an infectious respiratory disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control(CDC), symptoms usually appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus.
COVID-19 can cause a cough, a headache, a fever, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Other symptoms include chills, fatigue, and body aches. If you experience the above symptoms, please seek medical help immediately.
9. Environmental Pollution and Poisoning
Environmental factors such as pollution and heavy metal poisoning can cause sudden nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
Heavy metal poisoning is usually caused by heavy metals such as arsenic, lead, mercury, and cadmium. It can cause abdominal pain, muscle spasms, and muscle weakness.
In addition, Radiation exposure, plant toxins, insect bites, excessive cigarette smoking, and industrial chemicals can also lead to body poisoning. If you suspect heavy metal poisoning, consult a doctor for testing immediately.
10. Motion sickness
Motion sickness is a common cause of nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. It usually occurs when you travel in a boat, a car, or an airplane. This condition is caused when the information from your inner ear conflicts with other sensory systems.
Other symptoms include feeling queasy and cold sweats. You can take some Motion sickness pills to relieve symptoms. There are some other methods to help you avoid motion sickness. These remedies include chewing gum, resting, and drinking ginger ale.
11. Stress and anxiety
Prolonged stress and anxiety can affect your digestive system and cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. In addition, Drastic changes in hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol can also affect your gut. Transfer of blood from the stomach to vital organs can cause diarrhea or vomiting. You can reduce stress and anxiety with deep breathing exercises or professional help.
12. Irritable bowel syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome is also known as IBS or spastic colon. It is more common in women than in men. This condition can cause diarrhea, constipation, bloating, vomiting, and stomach pain. This is chronic, a chronic, long-term disease that cannot be effectively cured. But you can relieve symptoms with dietary changes and medication.
13. Bowel obstruction
A bowel obstruction refers to the blockage of the small or large intestine. The blocked part can swell and lead to nausea, bloating, constipation, vomiting, and diarrhea. Other symptoms include appetite loss, abdominal swelling, stomach cramping, and inability to pass gas.
A bowel obstruction can be caused by many causes, including postsurgical adhesions, tumors, and impacted stool. This usually requires medication or surgery.
14. Stomach flu
Stomach flu Is also known as Viral gastroenteritis. It is caused by many different viruses, such as norovirus. This condition can lead to inflammation in the stomach and intestines.
The common symptoms include fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. This condition usually disappears on its own within a few days. You can speed up the treatment process by drinking more water.
Other common causes of Nausea, Vomiting, and Diarrhea
- Diverticulosis and diverticulitis
- Celiac disease
- Cyclic vomiting syndrome
- Crohn’s disease
- C. difficile infection
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Peptic ulcer
- Lactose intolerance
- Cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome
Home remedies for Nausea, Vomiting, and Diarrhea
Nausea: Nausea can be treated at home with some simple remedies. One of the most effective remedies is to drink plenty of fluids, preferably clear liquids such as water, weak tea, and clear broths.
Ginger is also known to be effective in helping to alleviate nausea. Adding a few drops of ginger essential oil to a cup of hot water and sipping it slowly can help reduce nausea. Other home remedies for nausea include eating small meals throughout the day, avoiding spicy foods, and taking a few deep breaths.
Vomiting: Vomiting can be treated with home remedies such as drinking ginger tea or taking ginger capsules. Other remedies include consuming small amounts of liquids like clear broths and teas, avoiding foods that are fried or greasy, and eating bland, low–fat foods such as crackers, toast, and bananas.
Additionally, avoiding activities that can increase nausea and taking anti–nausea medications may help reduce vomiting.
Diarrhea: Home remedies for diarrhea include drinking fluids such as water, clear broths, and weak tea to prevent dehydration. Foods such as crackers, toast, bananas, and applesauce can help absorb excess fluids in the intestine and reduce diarrhea symptoms.
Additionally, probiotics such as kefir and yogurt can help restore the balance of good and bad bacteria in the intestines and reduce diarrhea symptoms. Herbal remedies such as chamomile, peppermint, and ginger can also help reduce diarrhea symptoms.
When to see a doctor?
If the symptoms persist for a long time, do not improve, or even worsen, you need to seek medical attention immediately. Other severe symptoms include:
- Weakness and confusion
- Difficulty breathing or swallowing
- Swelling and severe pain in the abdomen
- Chest pain radiating to the back
- Severe vomiting or diarrhea lasting more than two days
- Severe dehydration symptoms such as dizziness and dry mouth