Nausea That Goes Away When I Eat
Nausea That Goes Away When I Eat: Have you ever had nausea that would pass if only you ate something? If so, then your symptoms are likely to fall into the category of nausea and vomiting associated with a peptic ulcer (PUD). While this can apply to any type of stomach or intestinal problem, it’s most common in people who suffer from gastric or duodenal ulcers. The pain often is felt in the upper part of the abdomen; however, some patients experience pain in their backsides as well. Nausea associated with PUDs tends to come on quickly after several hours or days. It usually lasts for about two hours but sometimes can last longer. These episodes can occur throughout the day or just once at night. In severe cases, nausea associated with PUDs can even cause weight loss because the person feels nauseous all the time. This article will explore how this condition occurs and what treatment options exist.
The causes of nausea associated with PUDs are not fully understood. One theory suggests that when acid levels rise above normal in the stomach, they irritate nerves that send messages along the vagus nerve (which runs down the center of the belly) to the brain. The message tells the brain that there is too much acid present to be tolerated. The result is feeling sick to one’s stomach.
Another theory states that excess stomach acid stimulates receptors in the walls of the small intestine called enterochromaffin cells. Normally these cells produce serotonin which helps promote smooth muscle contraction. But when excessive amounts of acid stimulate the cells, they begin producing more than normal quantities of another compound called histamine. Histamine stimulates the same receptors in the gut wall that the acid does. So instead of promoting smooth muscular contractions, histamine actually inhibits them. As a result, the amount of fluid being passed through the intestines decreases, resulting in diarrhea or constipation. Both theories propose that reducing acid production could help relieve feelings of nausea.
Reducing the amount of acid produced in the stomach is an effective way to treat nausea associated with PUDs. However, certain medications used to reduce acid secretion can also cause nausea. H2 blockers like cimetidine (Tagamet HB), ranitidine (Zantac 75), famotidine (Pepcid AC), nizatidine (Axid AR) and others work by blocking the enzyme responsible for producing hydrogen ions in the stomach, thus lowering the amount of acid secreted.
H2 blockers have been shown to decrease both morning sickness and heartburn. They also seem to play a role in relieving other gastrointestinal problems such as abdominal bloating and flatulence. Some H2 blockers are available without a prescription, while others require a doctor’s approval before use. There are few side effects associated with using H2 blockers to treat nausea, except for those related to the digestive system itself. For example, taking H2 blockers over long periods of time has been linked with decreased bone density. Other possible side effects include headaches, dizziness, changes in vision, dry mouth, drowsiness, upset stomach, constipation and diarrhea.
If H2 blockers don’t provide relief for your nausea, other treatments may do so. Treatments vary depending upon the severity of the case. Doctors might prescribe anticholinergic drugs to counteract the effect of the increased level of acetylcholine released during bouts of nausea. Antibiotics may be prescribed to kill off bacteria causing an infection in the esophagus and stomach. Drugs known as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are also commonly used to control inflammation in the stomach caused by gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). PPIs prevent the body from producing enough hydrochloric acid to break down food particles. Acid-suppressing agents such as sucralfate (Carafate) and omeprazole (Prilosec) can neutralize stomach acid in order to stop its damaging effects. And finally, antiemetics, such as metoclopramide (Reglan) and domperidone (Motilitone), are given intravenously to block the central nervous system signals that lead to nausea.
In mild cases of nausea associated with PUDs, lifestyle changes alone may cure the condition. Eating smaller meals more frequently throughout the day may encourage bowel movements and keep hunger pangs at bay. Avoiding foods that contain high fat content, spicy foods, caffeine and alcohol can also alleviate many types of nausea. Drinking water can aid in digestion and should always be taken whenever possible. Finally, avoiding situations that trigger nausea, such as driving, flying or swimming, can make a big difference in terms of comfort. Taking nonprescription medication such as ginger capsules (freshly ground ginger root) can also help.
As you can see, there are numerous ways to deal with nausea associated with PUDs. Talk to your healthcare provider about treatments for your particular situation. He or she can determine if lifestyle changes, medical therapy or surgery are right for you. In addition, your physician may refer you to a specialist for further testing.
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