What Causes Nausea in IBS

In this article I will looking at what causes nausea in IBS and what you can do about it.

You may be experiencing the feeling as though you may vomit. This feeling is known as nausea and it is not pleasant.

Lady with nausea

How Does IBS Cause Nausea?

Whilst you may experience nausea, it is important to note that this is not a common symptom of IBS.

Common symptoms of IBS include (4 );

  • Stomach pain or cramps
  • Bloating
  • Diarrhoea
  • Constipation

Instead, nausea is a symptom which is often reported by those who have IBS. We just don’t know if this is directly related or just chance.

What is Nausea?

Nausea has been defined as an ‘unpleasant painless subjective feeling that one will imminently vomit’ (1 ).


What Causes Nausea in IBS?

Your nausea could be caused by one of many things. It could even have a combination of things.

Here are some common causes of nausea;

  • Anxiety
  • Constipation
  • Food Intolerances

It goes without saying, if you are experiencing nausea then you must speak to your family medicine doctor ASAP. It is important to get a diagnosis.

The actual mechanism of nausea is quite complicated. Even scientists do not fully understand it yet. We think that nausea involves the following elements (2 );

  • Your nervous system
  • Your endocrine system
  • Your psychological stat
  • Gastric dysrhythmias

How to Prevent Nausea?

If you suffer from nausea, then you are going to want to know how to stop it.

Firstly, you need to get an assessment from your doctor. I know this is frustrating and takes longer than me simply giving you a list of cures. But we need to rule out underlying causes that are not IBS.

Ways to Manage Nausea

1. Medications

There any many medications that can help you with nausea.

Some medications can be purchased over the counter, whilst others must be prescribed.

Please speak to your local pharmacist or GP to get advice about which medications are good for nausea.

2. Ginger

You may have heard that ginger is good natural remedy for nausea.

The exact mechanism of how this works is unknown. But taking ginger has been proven to work and has no side effects (3 ).

3. Diet

Sadly, there is not a lot of research looking into specific diets and nausea.

Here are some pointers from my own practical experience which may help you;

  • Eat ‘little and often.’
  • Avoid smelly foods.
  • Avoid foods high in fat such as cake, fried food and chocolate.

4. Acupuncture

Wrist acupuncture has been shown to improve nausea.

You may be slightly wary of this alternative therapy. However, this particular area has been researched well with around 40 studies (4 ).


Nausea is not a common symptom of IBS. Your nausea could be caused by many other things and it is important to find out what.

You do not need to suffer with nausea though, as there are many ways to manage it.


1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14724837/

2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4699282/

3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12233808/

4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19370583/

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