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What are the Most Common Causes of Constipation and Nausea?

Sara Schmidt
By
Updated Feb 25, 2024
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Constipation and nausea are most commonly caused by diet. A diet lacking in fiber and water is the most common cause of constipation, while overeating or eating ill-prepared foods can cause nausea. Various other circumstances, such as pregnancy or illness, can also cause nausea and constipation.

Many different physical ailments or conditions can cause constipation and nausea together. Specific conditions such as multiple sclerosis, lupus, spinal cord injuries, and diabetes can cause these symptoms to occur. The common flu or other temporary illnesses often cause constipation and nausea. Depression has also caused people to experience these unpleasant conditions.

Women who are pregnant often experience constipation and nausea. Diet modification and using gentle, physician approved aromatherapy, such as lemon slices, can often help provide nausea relief. People who rarely or never exercise may experience constipation and nausea. Regular physical activity, along with sufficient water and fiber intake, are required to keep bowel movements regular.

Certain trigger foods can cause constipation and nausea. A link between caffeine and nausea exists for many people. Foods that a person dislikes or associates with unpleasant memories may cause him or her to become nauseated upon smelling or eating them. People with an intolerance to specific foods such as gluten or dairy will usually experience nausea or constipation after eating them as well. Some foods, such as processed snacks and other low-fiber foods, can cause constipation in people who do not suffer from an intolerance as well.

A person's environment can lead to upset stomach and its symptoms. Many people experience nausea in extreme heat, or when frequently switching between a cool environment and a hot one. Nausea and stress can be related, too; some people experience nausea or vomiting when they are nervous, anxious, under excessive amounts of pressure, or in a new, unfamiliar environment. Traveling, especially by boat or airplane, can also cause the symptoms to occur.

General aging can cause irregularity in bowel movements. People who maintain a healthy lifestyle and still cannot relieve themselves of constipation should consult with a physician for a safe remedy. Many people experience nausea and constipation following a surgical procedure as well. If these symptoms persist, the patient should visit his or her doctor.

Some medications can cause constipation and other uncomfortable symptoms. Many prescription-strength pain medications, such as analgesics, can cause constipation. Doctors often prescribe stool softeners in conjunction with such medications in order to prevent discomfort. Certain anti-depressants, diuretics, antacids, and nutritional supplements can also cause bowel irregularity.

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Sara Schmidt
By Sara Schmidt
With a Master's Degree in English from Southeast Missouri State University, Sara Schmidt puts her expertise to use by writing for WiseGeek, plus various magazines, websites, and nonprofit organizations. She published her own novella and has other literary projects in the works. Sara's diverse background includes teaching children in Spain, tutoring college students, running CPR and first aid classes, and organizing student retreats, reflecting her passion for education and community engagement.
Discussion Comments
By gimbell — On Sep 16, 2011

Wow, it's unfortunate that depression can cause constipation *and* anti-depressants can also cause it. As if the poor depressed people don't have enough to be bummed about, they've got to put up with constipation no matter what they do. Ouch.

By hanley79 — On Sep 15, 2011

@seHiro - I've heard the cold coffee thing, too. Maybe the original person who made that up was trying to reassure people that drinking regular hot coffee wouldn't act like a laxative. That's my best guess.

I came to this article looking for what causes nausea, in particular. Very interesting information over-all -- thanks.

By seHiro — On Sep 14, 2011

@Monika - According to the article, the nausea caused by coffee is likely due to the caffeine in it, so perhaps decaf would work well as a laxative.

Contrary to popular belief, unless you drink an awful lot of it, coffee won't make you need to pee a lot and result in dehydration. It does act like a laxative, both caffeinated and decaffeinated.

My parents (avid coffee drinkers both) always told me while I was growing up that cold coffee in particular was a laxative, but now that I've read more about it, it seems it works whether it's hot or cold. I wonder where the cold coffee part got started?

By Malka — On Sep 13, 2011

I don't know about anybody else, but I get nausea, bloating and a mucus buildup in my throat that causes me to cough a little for hours after I eat certain food. Food allergies can cause both nausea and constipation, and people tend not to take the symptoms seriously as related to their food unless told by a doctor that they have a food allergy.

Some people think that having a food allergy entails your life being threatened and you being unable to breathe, swelling up, or breaking out in hives if you have a reaction. However, those are symptoms associated with a severe allergy -- there are allergies that are much more mild, too!

My reaction to wheat is officially known as a food sensitivity. According to my doctor, if I continue to eat wheat even though I know I have adverse reactions to it, those mild symptoms of discomfort like nausea, bloating and constipation can eventually become full-on allergic reactions that would be dangerous.

By ceilingcat — On Sep 13, 2011

@Monika - I hadn't heard that about coffee. However, I have heard there are certain types of teas, like senna tea, that can help get your system going again.

When I was younger I actually suffered from really bad constipation. And of course, since I was about 12, it was just the most embarrassing thing ever! My mom ended up taking me to a bunch of doctors, but the person who actually ended up helping was the herbalist!

She gave me this supplement that was supposed to repair your digestive system and get it going again, and it really worked. I've actually never suffered from constipation since then!

By Monika — On Sep 12, 2011

It's interesting that caffeine can cause nausea because it can also help relieve constipation. Someone told me awhile ago that coffee can sort of help get things moving, so to speak.

Luckily, I don't really suffer from these stomach ailments. However, I do eat a healthy diet and I drink at least 8 glass of water every day. I know some people don't like the taste of water, but I think it's worthwhile to learn to love it, or drink it anyway. Your body needs water to be healthy!

By Sara007 — On Sep 12, 2011

@popcorn - When I was younger I dealt with headaches and nausea, as well as constipation. It was directly related to my diet and my doctor scolded me quite thoroughly for eating so much junk food and living off of diet sodas.

I ended up increasing my fiber intake and drinking oodles of water, and you know what, it really helped. I actually got to love bran cereal and all sorts of vegetables that I normally would have never touched.

If you have very bad constipation pain, I would suggest getting some temporary medication from your doctor. Laxatives may really help you. Also, to prevent nausea, you should start screening different foods out and see if that helps.

By popcorn — On Sep 11, 2011

I have honestly had the worst diet for ages and I suspect that is the reason that I have been suffering from constipation and nausea. It seems that anytime I eat something greasy or really sweet that I have trouble keeping my stomach settled, or end up battling nausea. It has gotten so bad that I have to carry pills for my stomach issues around.

Has anyone overcome constipation pain and been successful at preventing nausea?

Going to the doctor can get quite expensive, so I would like to just try to change my eating habits first and see if that helps at all. It would be nice to be regular again and not have to worry about bloating and constipation.

Sara Schmidt
Sara Schmidt
With a Master's Degree in English from Southeast Missouri State University, Sara Schmidt puts her expertise to use by writing for WiseGeek, plus various magazines, websites, and nonprofit organizations. She published her own novella and has other literary projects in the works. Sara's diverse background includes teaching children in Spain, tutoring college students, running CPR and first aid classes, and organizing student retreats, reflecting her passion for education and community engagement.
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