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3 Possible Reasons You Have Nausea After Working Out
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  • Editor’s Note: This article is intended for information purposes only. It does not substitute a doctor. It is vital to always consult a medically trained professional for advice that suits your needs best.

    Exercise is highly recommended, even during pregnancy, for overall good health and well-being. But, as any fitness trainer and practitioner would say, you also have to listen to your body. Having nausea after workout, for instance, may clue you in for some health-related issues.

    What is nausea?

    Nausea is defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as "a stomach distress with distaste for food and an urge to vomit." It is not a disease but a symptom of many varying conditions, according to experts. It also doesn't necessarily involve vomiting, which is another symptom.

    Simply put, nausea is that uneasiness in your stomach and vomiting is the actual emptying of stomach contents through the mouth. Nausea and vomiting may occur separately or together, experts also point out.

    Pregnant women in their first trimester are said to be more prone to nausea as part of what is known as morning sickness. About 50 to 90 percent of pregnant women are believed to have experienced nausea. Cancer patients who are taking chemotherapy are also susceptible to nausea.

    Other common nausea causes are:
    • Certain smells or odors
    • Indigestion
    • Food poisoning
    • Migraine
    • Seasickness and other motion illnesses
    • Medications
    • Emotional stress
    • Viruses and infections
    • Eating disorder
    • Premenstrual syndrome o perimenopausal symptoms

    Nausea after workout

    Aside from the common causes, nausea can also be induced by exercise. A 2013 study published on the United States National Library of Medicine-National Institutes of Health (NLM-NIH) has these findings:


    "Nausea and vomiting are relatively frequent GI (gastrointestinal) symptoms in athletes, especially those performing endurance sport disciplines. In the majority of the cases they are particular physiological reactions to strenuous exercise and might be alleviated by proper hydration.

    "However, there are cases of persistent nausea and vomiting caused by somatic diseases which sometimes demand expanded diagnostics and treatment."

    An earlier study, published in 2001 also on NLM-NIH, has this conclusion: "Exercise causes nausea, the severity of which is related to exercise intensity and food intake, but not sex differences nor physical training."

    Exercise intensity

    In the 2013 study, only athletes, particularly those into endurance sports, participated. But in the 2001 study, the participants were a mix of athletes and non-athletes of both genders. Both studies show that the intensity, both low and high-intensity, of exercise can cause nausea and even vomiting.

    Food intake

    In the 2001 study, participants were tested for nausea by visual analogue scales. The results show that scores for nausea were greater during exercise at fasting state and immediately after eating than those without exercise.

    On the other hand, immediately after eating, scores for nausea were greater during high-intensity exercise than during low-intensity exercise. During high-intensity exercise, scores for nausea were greater immediately after eating than without eating.

    Heat exhaustion

    Another possible reason for exercise-induce nausea is heat exhaustion, according to experts at the Johns Hopkins Medicine. They say heat exhaustion may be caused by exercising outdoors on a hot day or in a place with high humidity. Because of high humidity, your body can’t use sweat to cool itself, and this robs your body of one of the most important ways of getting rid of extra heat.

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    Ways to ease nausea after workout

    Experts agree that the best way to ease nausea induced by exercise is to drink water or other fluids to keep yourself hydrated. Afterwards, you can also try these remedies to find relief:

    • Eat bland foods.
    • Stay away from salty and fatty foods.
    • Avoid large meals.
    • Drink ginger tea.
    • Have some lemon candy.
    • Relax and get some air.
    • Ask your doctor for a short-term prescription of anti-sickness medicine called antiemetic, which is safe to use in pregnancy.

    Another way to ease nausea after workout is through acupressure, which is based on Eastern medicine practices used to open up blocked energy pathways in the body. You can do acupressure at home by using your fingers to apply pressure to different pressure points. (Read here for nausea pressure point.)

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