What are the Most Common Causes of Afternoon Nausea?

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  • Written By: Christine Hudson
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 02 February 2019
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There are many reasons for afternoon nausea, including caffeine use, lack of sleep, or an illness. One of the most common causes of afternoon nausea in women is pregnancy. Nausea is body's way of suppressing the appetite because something is wrong, usually either in the digestive tract, blood sugar levels, or the balance center in the inner ear. Balance center issues may include infections in the ear or simple motion sickness.

Despite its name, morning sickness during pregnancy does not only occur in the morning. Afternoon nausea is quite often associated with pregnancy, especially in the early stages. If nausea in the afternoon or evening is a fairly new occurrence and there is the possibility a woman may be pregnant, she may wish to see a doctor. Common treatments for this cause of nausea include home remedies such as chamomile or peppermint tea, hard candies to suck on, or simply lying down. Nausea which is severe and persistent during pregnancy may need to be treated by a change in diet, or even medications which a doctor has prescribed or deemed safe.


A low calorie intake or high sugar diet can cause nausea part way through the day, especially in a person who is more active. Blood sugar levels may become imbalanced throughout the day, especially in those with diabetes. Some proven ways to treat nausea due to diet issues include eating a small amount of bland and starchy food, drinking water, or even taking licorice herb or fiber capsules.

Other factors, such as stress, lack of sleep, and anxiety may cause afternoon nausea. A brain without enough rest may become more susceptible to internal and external changes, causing symptoms like nausea, irritability, or even hallucinations. Just as a brain with undue stress or anxiety may be less able to process and function properly, a tired brain may develop these same problems.

In the case of motion sickness, the balance center within the inner ear becomes confused by the signals it is receiving. For example, when reading in a car, a person's eyes may be steady on the book, but the fluid in his ears is moving with the car. This type of mismatch in the senses stresses his brain, his stomach muscles may begin to quiver, and nausea sets in. There are some motion sickness medications that are available with or without prescription which can prevent this nausea. If this occurs unexpectedly, treatment may require that the movement stop if necessary, or that the sufferer drink plenty of cold water.

Persistent afternoon nausea may also be a sign of more serious problems such as ulcers, gallstones, or colitis. If a person is experiencing persistent nausea associated with other symptoms like pain, it is generally recommended that they seek professional treatment. In the most serious cases, nausea may be a sign of prolonged high blood pressure or a heart attack. Nausea with tightness in the chest, pain in the upper arms, or unexplained sweating may be life threatening and warrants an immediate visit to a doctor.


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Post 4

Coffee does not dehydrate you and caffeine is not a diuretic.

Post 3

I didn't realize I was pregnant until eight weeks because I was expecting nausea in the morning, not the afternoon. So I kept thinking that the nausea and bloating were from something else. But it turned out to be first-trimester sickness!

Post 2

@ankara-- It happens to me sometimes too.

Do you drink a lot of coffee when you don't sleep well? I think my nausea is more related to my over-consumption of coffee rather than lack of sleep. Coffee gives energy at first, but then it makes me tired more than ever. Coffee also makes me dehydrated because it's diuretic and I forget to drink more water when I have it. If I don't eat enough food, it gives me acidity as well. All of these things add up and lead to nausea.

Post 1

I get lightheadedness and nausea in the afternoon if I don't get enough sleep the night before. I don't know why I'm like this because none of my friends have this complaint.

If I have to study all night or wake up earlier than usual, I literally get nauseated toward the end of the day from fatigue. The nausea will not go away unless I sleep and I usually rush home to take a nap. Even if I sleep for an hour, the nausea goes away. It's very weird.

Does anyone else experience this? Why do you think this happens?

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