why does anxiety cause nausea

Mariah Brown

written by

Mariah Brown

update on

Greetings! If you’ve found yourself here wondering why anxiety causes nausea, you’re not alone. Many people experience this unsettling sensation and are eager to understand its root causes. In this article, we will explore the fascinating connection between anxiety and nausea, and shed light on why this phenomenon occurs. So, let’s dive in and uncover the answers to your question with an ELI5 (Explain Like I’m 5) writing style!

why does anxiety cause nausea

As someone who has personally experienced the unpleasant combination of anxiety and nausea, I can empathize with your curiosity. It’s only natural to seek knowledge about what our bodies go through during anxious moments and why they respond this way. By delving into the intricacies of anxiety and its impact on our physiological processes, we’ll bring clarity to this common occurrence.

The Anxiety-Nausea Connection: Unraveling the Mystery

Anxiety’s Influence on the Nervous System

Our journey begins with an exploration of the nervous system. When we experience anxiety, our body’s “fight-or-flight” response kicks in, triggered by the release of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. This response prepares us to handle potential threats by increasing our heart rate and blood pressure and diverting blood flow away from non-essential functions.

Unfortunately, this activation of the sympathetic nervous system can disrupt the normal functioning of our digestive system. The connection between the brain and gut, known as the gut-brain axis, plays a significant role in our bodily responses. Anxiety can lead to increased gut sensitivity, alterations in digestive secretions, and changes in the movement of food through the intestines, all of which can contribute to feelings of nausea.

The Role of Hyperventilation

Have you ever noticed that when you’re anxious, your breathing becomes rapid and shallow? This rapid breathing, known as hyperventilation, can also be linked to feelings of nausea. When we hyperventilate, we exhale too much carbon dioxide, leading to a disturbance in the body’s acid-base balance.

This disturbance can trigger a range of symptoms, including dizziness, lightheadedness, and yes, nausea. When our body is in a state of imbalance, our overall well-being is affected, often resulting in unpleasant physical sensations.

How to Cope with Anxiety-Induced Nausea

Deep Breathing and Relaxation Techniques

If anxiety-induced nausea has become a frequent occurrence in your life, incorporating deep breathing and relaxation techniques can be immensely helpful. By practicing deep, diaphragmatic breathing, you can counteract hyperventilation and restore balance to your body.

Additionally, exploring relaxation methods such as meditation, yoga, or mindfulness exercises can provide you with valuable tools to manage your anxiety. These practices can calm your mind, reduce stress, and indirectly alleviate the nausea associated with anxiety.

Seeking Support from a Mental Health Professional

While self-help techniques can be beneficial, it’s important to remember that anxiety can be complex and deeply rooted. If your anxiety is severely impacting your daily life or if you’re finding it challenging to manage the symptoms on your own, seeking support from a mental health professional is a wise decision.

A trained therapist or counselor can provide you with evidence-based techniques to manage anxiety and, in turn, reduce the likelihood of experiencing anxiety-induced nausea. Remember, you are not alone, and seeking help is a sign of strength.

The Anxiety-Nausea Cycle: Breaking Free

It’s important to recognize that the relationship between anxiety and nausea can develop into a vicious cycle. The fear of feeling nauseous can actually trigger anxiety, leading to a perpetuation of these uncomfortable sensations. Breaking free from this cycle requires a multifaceted approach that encompasses self-care, therapy, and a supportive environment.

By understanding the connection between anxiety and nausea, you are equipped with knowledge that empowers you to take control of your well-being. Remember, you have the capacity to overcome anxiety-induced nausea and live a fulfilling life!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Can anxiety cause long-term nausea?

A: While acute anxiety can cause temporary nausea, persistent anxiety may indeed lead to long-term symptoms. It’s crucial to address chronic anxiety with professional help to prevent prolonged physical discomfort.

Q: Are there any natural remedies for anxiety-induced nausea?

A: Some individuals find relief from anxiety-induced nausea through natural remedies such as ginger or chamomile tea. However, it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional before relying solely on natural remedies.

Q: Does anxiety medication help with anxiety-induced nausea?

A: Anxiety medication can be prescribed by a healthcare professional to manage anxiety symptoms, including nausea. Discuss your specific concerns with a healthcare provider to explore medication options.

Q: Can anxiety about feeling nauseous make me actually vomit?

A: Anxiety alone typically does not cause vomiting. However, intense anxiety can trigger a stress response that affects the digestive system and potentially leads to vomiting in some individuals.

Q: Can certain foods worsen anxiety-induced nausea?

A: Yes, certain foods, such as greasy or spicy foods, may exacerbate nausea in individuals experiencing anxiety. Pay attention to your body’s responses and consider avoiding trigger foods when you’re feeling anxious.

Q: Are there any specific breathing exercises that can help alleviate anxiety-induced nausea?

A: Breathing exercises like diaphragmatic breathing, square breathing, or the 4-7-8 technique can help reduce anxiety and indirectly alleviate nausea. Experiment with different techniques to find what works best for you.

Q: Can anxiety-induced nausea manifest as stomach pain?

A: Yes, anxiety-induced nausea can manifest as stomach pain or discomfort due to the physiological changes occurring in the gut when the body is in a heightened state of anxiety.

Q: Can anxiety-induced nausea occur without other symptoms of anxiety?

A: Yes, anxiety-induced nausea can occur as an isolated symptom without other discernible manifestations of anxiety. Each person’s response to anxiety can vary.

Q: Can chronic stress cause anxiety-induced nausea?

A: Chronic stress can certainly contribute to anxiety-induced nausea. Prolonged exposure to stressors can disrupt the body’s equilibrium and contribute to a heightened state of anxiety.

Q: Does anxiety-induced nausea affect everyone in the same way?

A: No, anxiety-induced nausea can have different degrees of severity and duration among individuals. Each person’s response to anxiety is unique.


Congratulations! You’ve explored the fascinating connection between anxiety and nausea. Armed with this knowledge, you can now navigate your journey with a better understanding of why anxiety causes nausea and how to manage it effectively. Remember, you have the power to break free from the anxiety-induced nausea cycle and live a fulfilling life. Should you have further questions or want to deepen your understanding, feel free to explore our other informative articles on related topics.


Leave a Comment