What Does It Mean To Have Nausea Before Sneezing

Sneezing and nausea are two prevalent symptoms that people experience. These two symptoms are generally not associated with each other. Yet, recent reports have started to show that a connection might exist.

Nausea before sneezing is a common complaint that many people report in recent times. Even though commonly reported, scientists are still not sure why the two symptoms happen simultaneously.

In this post, we explore the facts that scientists do know at the moment. We consider possible pathways. We will also look at methods that may help to reduce these symptoms.

Possible Connection Between Nausea And Sneezing

When searching for a connection between nausea and sneezing, you will likely find yourself with minimal information. Yet, many people are complaining about the two symptoms happening at the same time. With an increase in the number of complaints, experts seem to have noticed this factor.

nausea before sneezing

Recent research suggests that there could be a link between the vagus nerve, sneezing, nausea, and even vomiting. Thus, to better understand this connection, we should look at the vagus nerve and how it interacts with both your sinus cavity and the gastrointestinal tract.

Vagus Nerve, Sneezing, Nausea – Is There A Link?

Before we take a look at the connection, we should first consider what the vagus nerve is. This is a nerve that runs from your brain downward in your body. The nerve has a role to play in your larynx and pharynx. This means that your ability to swallow and speak both rely on the functions provided by the vagus nerve. These are not the only roles that the nerve plays, however.

A part of the vagus nerve runs through the thorax. Here, the nerve serves as a parasympathetic supply that can be related to nausea before sneezing.

In particular, a connection is created between the thorax and the heart. At this point, the vagus nerve helps to generate a stimulatory effect on the heart. This effect helps to reduce your heart rate. Some studies also explain that the vagus nerve may play a significant role in what experts describe as the brain-gut axis.

We need to consider here that the vagus nerve has a connection to various parts of the body. The nerve stimulates a large number of organs that play a role in the digestion process too.

This is also where the primary association between sneezing and nausea comes in. The vagus nerve is currently the main focus point among experts who are investigating this phenomenon.

Experts suggest that the entire process starts with a digestive condition known as gastritis. This is a widespread digestive problem. There are several reasons for the condition to develop.

nausea before sneezing

Gastritis is a condition that results in the production of excessive stomach acids. When there are too many acids in your stomach, you start to experience acid reflux as a side effect. This is where the vagus nerve comes into the picture. If you have acid reflux, then the process will irritate your vagus nerve.

If your vagus nerve experiences irritation, then you can experience several adverse effects. Many people who experience vagus nerve irritation develop a nauseous feeling. 

By irritating the vagus nerve, you also experience a similar effect on the mucous membrane.

This membrane is susceptible. When irritated, you are very likely to sneeze. Nausea before sneezing is a natural action of the body, and the goal is to relieve the irritation that the mucus membrane is experiencing.

After sneezing, you suddenly feel better afterward, with no remaining feelings of nausea. It is important to note that some people have experienced vomiting with this action. Experts believe that a similar reaction occurs in these situations. When you sneeze, you experience an increase in pressure within the chest cavity.

This pressure causes a restriction in the stomach and can push acids upward. In this case, you have acid reflux. Combined with the nausea and sneezing you just experienced, there is a slight chance that this could result in vomiting.

Sneezing, Nausea, Pregnancy – What We Know

Some pregnant women complain about sneezing and nausea affliction more often. The increased frequency of this nausea before sneezing occurrence can relate to the connection we looked at in the previous section.

What we need to look at here is the relationship that exists between pregnancy and acid reflux. Several studies and publications show that there is a strong connection between these two. Pregnant women are much more likely to experience acid reflux and symptoms associated with GERD than those not pregnant.

As we mentioned previously, acid reflux irritates your vagus nerve. Upon irritation, you feel nauseous. As the vagus nerve irritates your mucus membranes, you sneeze – your body’s way of relieving this irritation.

nausea before sneezing

Nausea And Sneezing With The Coronavirus

With the spreading of the coronavirus recently, many people have started to ask whether the virus could cause various symptoms. Currently, it is not known whether coronavirus could affect the possibility of nausea and sneezing at the same time. It is, however, essential to note that the Covid-19 virus results in an infection that can affect both the upper and lower respiratory tracts.

While it is not known if the virus could cause GERD, it is essential to consider the possibility of the infection irritating the vagus nerve. Upon irritation, you may experience a similar effect as what happens with acid reflux. During this irritation, you find yourself feeling nauseous. To compensate and relieve irritation, your body stimulates the process of nausea before sneezing.

Preventing The Affliction

Current evidence suggests that the connection between nausea and sneezing could likely be related to irritation that affects the vagus nerve. We need to keep this in mind when looking at how you can effectively prevent this affliction. With this in mind, a significant focus should be placed on the occurrence of acid reflux.

One study found that up to 27.8% of people in the United States have GERD. This condition is also known as Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease. It is a condition that causes more frequent incidences of acid reflux. The higher occurrence could explain the increase in complaints related to getting nauseous before sneezing.

Preventative Measures For Acid Reflux

There are methods that people can use to effectively reduce their risk of GERD and the symptoms related to the condition.

One of the most important factors to consider is weight. Studies show that being overweight or obese dramatically increases the risk of developing this condition. In turn, this makes you more likely to experience frequent episodes of acid reflux.

Apart from weight, there are other factors that you can use to reduce the risk and frequency of acid reflux:

  • Try to wear loose-fitting clothes. Some people find that tight clothing makes them more likely to experience acid reflux throughout the day.
  • It is essential to avoid lying down after you have had a meal. This can cause stomach acids, combined with the food, to enter your esophagus. In turn, this results in acid reflux.
  • When you eat, whether it is a meal or a snack, make sure you chew slowly. If you eat too quickly, then you risk triggering acid reflux. This is especially important in cases where you have already been diagnosed with GERD.
  • If you smoke, consider quitting. Several studies show that smoking is a risk factor for GERD and acid reflux.

It is also important to note that certain foods are also known to trigger acid reflux. If you currently include these foods in your daily life, they can cause acid reflux and vagus nerve irritation.

Some foods that have been linked to acid reflux include:

  • Caffeinated drinks. This includes tea, coffee, and some sodas. 
  • Tomatoes and raw onions.
  • Chocolate.
  • Products that contain citrus. Oranges, lemons, and other citrus fruits can also trigger acid reflux.
  • Peppermint is another possible cause.
  • Any spicy food can result in acid reflux. The food can also irritate the lining of your stomach. In such a situation, the acid reflux may be more severe. This also means that you experience a greater level of irritation on your vagus nerve.

Are There Treatment Options?

Currently, experts do not have a cure or specific treatment for problems like gastritis sneezing or nausea before a sneeze. It is, however, possible to target contributing factors and underlying causes with the use of specific treatments.

If you experience severe nausea before sneezing, it could mean that you have gastritis. In this case, you will need to determine the cause of gastritis. If a bacterial infection is causing the symptoms, you need to take a course of antibiotics. Histamine blockers are sometimes used to help reduce the amount of acid your stomach produces. Standard drug options include Cimetidine and Ranitidine.

If you have GERD, then you should consider using antacids. These are drugs that help to improve the regulation of stomach acids. The drugs are often used while you experience acid reflux. If you use a fast-acting antacid, then you might be able to reduce the risk of feeling nauseous and sneezing afterward. 

If a doctor can confirm that GERD and similar problems cause the symptoms, consider using prokinetic agents or proton pump inhibitors. These are also effective treatment options that can effectively reduce the occurrence of your symptoms.

When you experience fewer sessions of acid reflux, then your vagus nerve won’t be irritated frequently. In turn, you will also find yourself less likely to experience the combination of nausea, sneezing, and vomiting. 

It is important to note that if you are feeling nauseous after sneezing, you might need a different type of treatment. Some drugs effectively reduce nausea, such as lorazepam, dimenhydrinate, meclizine, and prochlorperazine.

FAQ

Why do you sneeze when you feel nauseous?

Nausea before sneezing is somewhat of a trending topic in recent times. While many people report feeling nauseous before sneezing, medical experts are still not sure about the exact pathways that play a role.

Experts in the medical industry present a few possible reasons for this common complaint, but no conclusive evidence exists. Further research may show us more details on why this is happening to some people.

One common association that experts currently make relates to the vagus nerve. Sneezing, nausea, and vomiting in combination may be associated with this particular nerve. 

Why do I suddenly feel sick and nauseous?

Nausea and a general sick feeling do not have a fixed cause. There are many reasons why you can feel a sudden onset of these symptoms. In some cases, the cause is not severe, and the symptoms fade very quickly.

However, when the symptoms are persistent, it is essential to consider an underlying disease or problem. In this case, you should consider seeking advice from a licensed medical professional. This can ensure any diseases or disorders are detected without delay – which can also improve the efficacy of the treatment.

Can digestive problems cause sneezing?

It is not uncommon for a person with digestive problems to experience sneezing – and there does seem to be some type of connection here. This often happens when you eat a large meal, especially if you have existing issues with your gastrointestinal tract.

Experts often refer to this reaction as the snatiation reflex. This term combines two words that relate to such a situation – a sneeze, as well as satiation. This happens when food stretches your stomach, which irritates the vagus nerve.

Dr Ahmed Zayed

Dr. Ahmed Zayed holds a baccalaureate of Medicine and Surgery. He has completed his degree at the University of Alexandria, Egypt. Dr. Ahmed believes in providing knowledgeable information to readers. Other than his passion for writing, Dr. Ahmed spends his time outside the hospital, either reading or at the gym.

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