Why Do You Have Headaches and Nausea After Eating? Causes and Treatment!

Indeed, most people must be familiar with headaches and nausea after eating Halloween candies or thanksgiving dinner. The problem is not that serious. But why do you get nausea and headaches after eating something?

You may feel dizzy and nauseous due to low blood pressure, high sugar levels, or food intolerance. However, if you have nausea, fatigue, shakiness, or headaches after every meal, then your body may be in trouble. There is a problem with digestion and absorption of the food you’re eating. 

In order to stop the symptoms and ensure that you digest your food properly, it is crucial to determine what is causing them. Let’s find the reason and how to cure headaches and nausea after eating in this postprandial headache guide. 

Headaches and Nausea After Eating

Headaches after eating something may be referred to as postprandial headaches. Mostly, headache is the only symptom, but sometimes nausea and vomiting can follow. 

Some people may have the worst dizziness followed by only nausea or sometimes vomiting after eating anything. Others may feel sick only after eating something sugary and high in fats or carbs. Moreover, their pattern of headaches and sickness is quite different as well.

If you feel a headache and nausea after eating pizza, sugar, chocolate, or refined carbs, you’re not alone. Many people have this problem at times. Often, mild medical conditions or food allergies can trigger it. Taking bed rest and medicines helps to relieve it.

Headaches and nausea after eating

However, if you have this problem with every meal you eat, you shouldn’t ignore it. It may indicate some underlying disease that needs immediate attention. For instance, eating disorders, gastric problems, or stress can lead to headaches and nausea after eating anything.

Related to read: Pulsating in head: How to Fix And Avoid?

Causes

Nausea and headaches after eating may happen due to a variety of reasons. Also, the severity of the condition depends on the possible cause. Following are a few possible reasons for nausea and headaches after eating. 

  • Drop-in blood sugar level
  • Food allergies and intolerance
  • Food poisoning
  • Digestive tumors
  • Unbalanced hormones
  • TMJ disorders (chewing causes a ringing sound and headaches)
  • Cold-stimulus headache (headache and nausea after eating something cold)
  • GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disorder)
  • IBS (Irritable bowel syndrome)
  • Eating disorder (anorexia, bulimia nervosa)
  • Motion sickness
  • Anxiety
  • Chronic mesenteric ischemia (narrowing of blood vessels in the small intestine)
  • Migraine
  • Heart disorder (often headache and vomiting after eating is the risk of heart attack)
  • Drug interaction
  • Excess use of caffeine
  • Pregnancy
  • Postprandial Headache
  • Acid Reflux
  • Foodborne illness

Related to read: Can lack of sleep cause nausea?

Food Allergies Headaches And Nausea

Occasionally, people are sensitive to a particular type of food, or a specific ingredient. If you eat food to which you are allergic, you may suffer nausea and headaches as a result. 

However, true food allergies don’t just cause headaches. In fact, true food allergies may cause you to faint, have hives, and have anaphylactic reactions (inability to breathe). For example, gluten is not an actual food allergen in Celiac disease, as it is an autoimmune condition. 

Food Allergies Headaches And Nausea

Thus, most food-induced headaches occur as a result of food intolerance, which occurs due to your body’s biochemistry. 

In true food allergies, your immune system produces chemicals histamine and immunoglobulin E (IgE) in response to the allergen that gives rise to dizziness and nausea

Much research hasn’t been conducted on food intolerances, but they can cause serious health problems. Food allergies headaches can be triggered by several foods, but the most common culprits are: 

  • Dairy products (milk, eggs, cheese, butter, ice cream)
  • Tree nuts (cashews, almonds, pine nuts, pistachios, walnuts, hazelnuts)
  • Peanuts
  • Corn, wheat, soy
  • Gluten
  • Citrus 
  • Cereal
  • Plants milk
  • Cane sugar and other sources of sugar
  • Yeast
  • Seafood (fish, shellfish, shrimps, sushi)

Besides these, you may have nausea and headaches after eating something spicy, or sugary. 

Related to read: Know The Facts About Feeling Dizzy Before Bowel Movement

Treatment

There are a variety of conditions that can cause you to feel sick after eating. Causes range from food poisoning to health problems to pregnancy.

These symptoms often resolve on their own or can be treated effectively with anti-nausea or antiemetic drugs. If you have a food allergy, you may avoid nausea and headaches by not ingesting the allergen. 

But, for conditions like medical disease or bacterial infections, you need proper medical attention and prescription medicines. A doctor may identify the root cause of your condition by pinpointing your symptoms. 

When your doctor determines the source of your problem, they can help you find a treatment that will prevent you from feeling sick after eating. This allows you to eat normally without feeling ill.

Home Remedies

You can effectively treat headaches and nausea after eating something with drugs. But, in many cases, high-quality herbal supplements, healing foods, and some health tips are a part of a patient’s treatment plan, depending on their diagnosis.  

Lying In A Quiet Dark Room

In most cases, rest can help relieve the headache and nausea. You should choose a room with dim light and complete silence and sleep or take a rest for some time. Moreover, if you put a moist or cool cloth on your eyes or forehead, this may give you immediate relief. 

Related to read: How long Should you wait after Eating to Sleep?

Getting Fresh Air 

Whenever you feel nauseous or have a headache, you should breathe in the fresh air. Nevertheless, it is not clear how fresh air helps nausea symptoms. But it does so! In particular, if you’re feeling too hot and nauseous, then taking fresh oxygen may give you instant relief. 

Fresh air relive nausea and headache

You can sit in the room with the open window, or stroll in the park for relief. 

Use Ginger

Ginger is another excellent home remedy to cure nausea and headaches related to food. It has incredible anti-nausea and anti-inflammatory properties that make it the best treatment for uncomfortable headaches and induced nausea.

For head pain, you can massage the ginger oil into your forehead, neck, and temples once or twice. Also, you can sip ginger tea. Its aroma helps alleviate the nauseous condition. 

Talk A Short Stroll

Sometimes, nausea and headaches after eating something may happen due to slow digestion or a large meal. Therefore, walking 10 to 20 minutes after eating may help to accelerate the digestion process. So, you may get relief from food-induced nausea and headaches. In fact, you should make it a habit to take a short stroll after every meal.

Related to read: Walking on Treadmill While Pregnant

Cold Compression

Typically, your body temperature is elevated when you’re suffering from head pains and nauseous. Using cool pads helps you reduce your body temperature and relax. You should place the cold pad on your neck and try to remain calm. Within a short time, it relieves nauseated states considerably. 

Use OTC Medicines In Moderation

Another efficient and helpful method to relieve nausea and headaches after eating is to take anti-nausea and headache medicines. Mostly you can take them over the counter from the local pharmacies. 

OTC drugs for headache relieve

While OTC medicines may help, sometimes drugs may not relieve symptoms. However, taking prescribed medicines is more effective than OTC drugs. 

Related to read: Do Tums Help With Nausea? 

Assess Your Need For Medical Attention

Usually, a person has a single episode of dizziness after eating. In that case, it may not indicate some medical emergency, as it may happen due to a person’s minor changes in the person’s blood sugar and pressure level. 

Moreover, headaches and food sickness are usual during pregnancy and may improve after childbirth. However, if headaches interfere with your everyday activities or worsen with time, you should not ignore them. As with an intense headache, you may fall and get an injury. Therefore, it is good to talk to a doctor and take meds to control it.

Importantly, if you are a diabetes patient and get recurrent dizziness after eating a meal, counsel your physician. 

Rarely, you may get an ischemic stroke, in which your blood connection to the brain is cut off. Following are the few signs of stroke:

  • A droopy face
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty in walking
  • Weakness of one side of the body
  • Numbness on one side of the face
  • Inability to move the mouth
  • Severe headache
  • Vision problem

Ischemic stroke is a medical emergency. So, if you have some or all the signs, then you should immediately attend a doctor.

FAQs

What is postprandial hypoglycemia? 

The term reactive or postprandial hypoglycemia, commonly known as a sugar crash, determines blood sugar levels after 4 hours of the last meal. It does not always relate to diabetes. This condition may make you feel queasy after hours of eating. Most people have abnormal changes in the glucose level after a high-carb diet. 

What is a hunger headache?

When you have not eaten for long, you may not only hear hunger pangs from your tummy, but may also notice some squeezing and throbbing in your head. This is a hunger headache that may develop due to a very low blood glucose level in the blood. Besides throbbing in your head, you may have problems making sentences or communicating, and weaknesses. Typically, this condition may go away on its own once you eat something healthy. 

Why do I get headaches after eating red meat?

In general, people with migraines may have head pain episodes with red meat or processed meat as it may contain nitrate and a chemical, tyramine, that triggers head pain. So, you should take it in moderation or avoid it.

Why do I get headaches after eating pork?

Pork meat may contain certain types of worms and parasites that transfer to man during ingestion. Therefore, it leads to infections in men. Trichinosis is one of the main conditions that cause headache, nausea, dizziness, diarrhea, and stomach pain. 

How long does a sugar headache last?

Often, sugar headaches go away in a few hours. But in some cases, it may last for 2 days. 

Why do I get a headache after eating chocolate?

Many people get headaches after eating chocolate. It is because of the high content of caffeine and beta-phenylethylamine in the chocolate that triggers headaches. 

What does COVID-19 headache feel like?

Covid-19 headache may feel like something is throbbing or stabbing in your headache. Also, you feel pain on both sides. However, this is not the only symptom of COVID-19. Some apparent signs are loss of taste and smell, fever, shortness, or difficulty breathing.

Related to read: 10 Most Important FAQ On Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

As a Conclusion

As a whole, the feeling of headaches and nausea after eating something is caused by conditions that can be mild or serious. Usually, the queasy feeling may go away on its own after some time. But, if your symptoms are not improving with time, or you have a problem after every meal, then it might be possible you’re dealing with something serious health condition. 

So, You should seek medical advice for your condition and take the appropriate treatment. 

Aneeza Pervez

Aneeza Pervez

Hello, I'm Aneeza Pervez. Writing about mental health, wellness and a healthy lifestyle is something I specialize in. I also enjoy traveling, reading, entertaining, and composing. As a health advocate, I create content that educates people about how to be healthy. Health is wealth, so do your best to keep it!

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