What are the Most Common Causes of Acid Reflux and Nausea?

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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 17 September 2016
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When a person has acid reflux and nausea, the problem commonly stems from the lower esophageal sphincter, which is a ring of muscles that closes the stomach off from the esophagus after food moves from the esophagus to the stomach. If these muscles fail to work as they should, acid from the stomach may be allowed to flow upward into the esophagus, causing pain and nausea. Sometimes, a hiatal hernia may cause these symptoms as well. A host of other factors that may contribute to their development, including consuming a large meal right before lying down, smoking, taking aspirin or ibuprofen, and being overweight or pregnant.

Acid reflux, also called heartburn, is an uncomfortable condition in which acids back up from a person's stomach and flows into the esophagus. Nausea is one of the symptoms of acid reflux; other include bloating, hiccups that last for an extended period, coughing and hoarseness, belching, and a bitter taste in the mouth from regurgitated stomach contents. When a person has a chronic and severe case of acid reflux, he may have blood in his vomit or stool as well.


Normally, an individual’s esophageal sphincter prevents acids from traveling backward from his stomach to his esophagus, but that is not always the case. This ring of muscle is supposed to close right after food moves into the stomach. Sometimes, however, the esophageal sphincter stays open too long, doesn’t close completely, or opens when it should not. In such a case, a person may experience acid reflux.

Sometimes, the cause of the problem with the esophageal sphincter is a hiatal hernia. This is when the top portion of the stomach and the esophageal sphincter are pushed up through the natural hole in the diaphragm. The diaphragm usually helps to keep the stomach out of the chest and assists with keeping acid in the stomach. It is not able to do so when the stomach is above it, however.

A person’s lifestyle or the things he consumes often also contribute to acid reflux and nausea. For example, when a person lies down soon after eating, he may be more likely to experience these symptoms. Eating spicy and acidic foods, consuming fatty foods, and drinking alcoholic and caffeinated beverages may contribute to the problem as well. Aspirin, some muscle relaxers, and some other types of medications may also contribute to acid reflux. Additionally, a person may be more likely to develop acid reflux and its symptoms if he is overweight or a smoker; pregnancy can be a risk factor as well.


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Post 3

My sister has nausea and acid reflux from stress. I have no idea how, but whenever she's worried, she gets ill.

Post 2

@fBoyle-- Yes, I had the same problems for several years and I was finally diagnosed and treated. But you really do need to see a doctor for a diagnosis because there are many gastrointestinal issues that can cause these symptoms. You cannot diagnose and treat yourself.

My problem was a stomach bug called helicobacter pylori. Like you, I suffered for a long time with acid reflux and nausea. I could only eat several different types of food without upsetting my stomach and vomiting. I had acidity all the time.

Finally, I went to a great gastrointestinal specialist who surprisingly did a very simple and short test. I literally had to blow into a patch for five minutes. He

took the patch and had it tested for bacteria and it came back positive for helicobacter pylori. This is a type of bacteria that almost everyone has. It doesn't make everyone sick, just some people. The treatment is antibiotics -- a lot of it. I had to take antibiotics along with acid reflux medications for a month to kill the bug. But it worked and I've been symptom free for three years.
Post 1

I have chronic acid reflux, stomach cramps and nausea. I've had these symptoms for about six months now. I've seen a doctor several times. I've even been to the emergency once. I know that I don't have any stomach ulcers because I had a stomach x-ray. The doctor at the hospital said that I need to see a specialist and I will have to get a procedure where they take stomach fluid and analyze it.

I don't have good insurance right now and having a tube inserted to my stomach from my mouth doesn't sound great. I've been taking over-the-counter medications for acid reflux. These medications help but the problem persists.

Has anyone had these symptoms before? Were you able to get to the bottom of it?

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