What are the Most Common Causes of Bloating and Nausea?

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  • Written By: Daphne Mallory
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 03 February 2019
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The most common causes of bloating and nausea are indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome, and lactose intolerance. Indigestion, or dyspepsia, is caused by eating certain foods as well as digestive conditions that are already present. Irritable bowel syndrome occurs when the colon is irritated, and it can only be controlled by diet intervention and a change in lifestyle habits. Lactose intolerance is caused by eating dairy products, and the immediate symptoms often include bloating and feelings of nausea. In most cases, these conditions can be treated at home and without prescription medications or a doctor’s visit.

Indigestion is descriptive of a number of symptoms that occur during or after eating. In addition to bloating and nausea, the other symptoms that accompany indigestion are abdominal pain in the upper region and heartburn. Individuals who experience indigestion often complain of feeling full more than usual during the meal and sometimes after. It’s often fine to wait it out until the symptoms are reduced or eliminated. However, going to the hospital is a necessity if an individual experiences any shortness of breath or chest pain.


Irritable bowel syndrome occurs when the brain cannot communicate effectively with the intestinal tract. Excessive stress, chemicals, and hormones often disrupt the messages sent between the brain and intestinal tract, which results in muscle spasms. The spasms often lead to nausea and diarrhea or constipation, making bowel movement uncomfortable. Irritable bowel syndrome if sometimes genetic, but in many cases it is a result of weak intestines caused by a immune system disorder. Abstaining from foods known to increase the chances of irritable blower syndrome, such as beans and other gas-producing foods, can often help.

Individuals who are lactose intolerant often first become aware of their condition when they experience bloating and nausea after eating a meal containing dairy products. The lactose, which is the sugar found in the dairy, cannot be properly broken down by the body if it does not also produce the enzyme lactase. Those who are lactose intolerant do not produce lactase and experience cramps, diarrhea, and gas in addition to bloating and nausea. The body may also stop making lactase temporarily because of the stomach flu. The best way to treat lactose intolerance is often to avoid dairy products and eat lactose-free and diary-free products instead.

Persistent bloating and nausea symptoms should be cause for concern and deserve medical attention. This is especially true when changes in diet and lifestyle do not significantly mitigate the symptoms. Medical doctors can help rule out other diseases that may be the underlying causes of indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome, and lactose intolerance.


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Post 4

I think I may be partially lactose intolerant, if that is even possible. I can eat ice cream and yogurt with no issues at all, but if I drink a glass of milk, I get painfully bloated and sick at my stomach.

I don't actually vomit, but I do have pain in my abdomen. It kind of feels like trapped gas, because the pain doesn't pass on through. Sometimes, I even get an intense stabbing pain in my intestines.

I don't know anyone who is actually fully lactose intolerant. Do these sound like the same symptoms that someone who is known to be intolerant of dairy products experiences after consuming dairy?

Post 3

I tend to get bloated right before I have diarrhea and nausea. I have learned not to eat Japanese food, because it does this to me every time.

I don't know whether I'm allergic to something that they use to prepare the food or what, but this has happened about four times after I have eaten at different Japanese restaurants. Within a few minutes of finishing a meal, my stomach starts gurgling, and I have to find a bathroom.

I usually feel uncomfortably full of gas before it hits. I get very nauseated as it moves through my system, and I have since learned not to eat there.

Post 2

@lighth0se33 – That sounds a lot like what I went through before discovering I had polycystic kidney disease. Because of the abdominal pain, constipation, and nausea, my doctor originally thought I had irritable bowel syndrome. She gave me some medicine and told me to come back in a week if it didn't help.

A week later, I was still suffering, so she set me up for a CT scan. That's when she found that I had multiple cysts on my kidneys. This is a genetic condition that causes pain whenever a cyst ruptures, along with nausea. The bloating was probably just because of the constipation, which was unrelated.

It usually causes kidney function to decline over time. You should see a doctor just to make sure you don't have this condition.

Post 1

I've been having severe abdominal pain and bloating, and I don't know what is wrong with me. The pain stays in one spot and is intense, but the bloating is all over. When it first started, I felt extremely nauseous.

I am also constipated. I haven't defecated in five days. I am extremely uncomfortable.

I have been taking pain pills that I have on hand from an old prescription to deal with the pain, but it keeps returning. What could be wrong with me? I know I should see a doctor, but I have been trying to wait it out because I don't have health insurance.

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