Why Do I Feel Nauseous Before Sneezing?

Sneezing and feeling nauseous are common occurrences, but have you ever wondered if there’s a connection between the two? Recent reports suggest that there might be more to this simultaneous experience than meets the eye. In this article, we’ll explore what scientists know about the link, potential causes, and possible remedies.

Possible Connection Between Nausea And Sneezing

While there isn’t abundant information about the connection between sneezing and nausea, many people have reported experiencing both symptoms at the same time. With an increase in such complaints, experts have started to take notice.

Recent research suggests that the vagus nerve, sneezing, nausea, and even vomiting might be linked. To understand this connection, let’s delve into the role of the vagus nerve in your body.

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

Before we explore the connection, let’s understand the vagus nerve. This nerve originates in your brain and extends downward throughout your body. It plays a crucial role in various bodily functions, including swallowing and speaking. However, its involvement doesn’t stop there.

A portion of the vagus nerve runs through your chest, establishing a connection with your heart. At this point, the nerve stimulates your heart, reducing your heart rate. Additionally, experts believe that the vagus nerve influences what is known as the brain-gut axis, playing a significant role in the digestive process.

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This brings us to the association between sneezing and nausea. The vagus nerve takes center stage here as experts investigate this phenomenon. According to their findings, it all begins with a digestive condition called gastritis, which causes excessive stomach acid production and subsequent acid reflux. If you experience acid reflux, your vagus nerve can become irritated.

This irritation can lead to various adverse effects, including a sense of nausea and irritation of the mucous membrane. Sneezing is a natural response to relieve the irritation in the mucous membrane. After a sneeze, you generally feel better, with no lingering nausea. In some cases, vomiting may also occur due to the pressure built up in the chest cavity during a sneeze, which can push acids upward.

Sneezing, Nausea, Pregnancy – What We Know

Pregnant women often complain of sneezing accompanied by nausea more frequently. This increased occurrence can be attributed to the connection we discussed earlier. Studies show that there is a strong link between pregnancy, acid reflux, and symptoms associated with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

As we mentioned before, acid reflux irritates the vagus nerve, leading to nausea. Sneezing is your body’s way of relieving irritation in the mucous membranes, which can be stimulated by the vagus nerve.

Nausea And Sneezing With The Coronavirus

Given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, many people wonder if the virus can cause symptoms such as nausea and sneezing. While there is currently no conclusive evidence linking the coronavirus directly to these symptoms, it’s worth considering how the infection affects the upper and lower respiratory tracts.

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Though it remains uncertain whether the virus can cause GERD, it’s possible for the infection to irritate the vagus nerve, similar to acid reflux. This irritation can trigger feelings of nausea, leading to the body’s defense mechanism of sneezing to relieve the discomfort.

Preventing The Affliction

Understanding that irritation of the vagus nerve is likely behind the connection between nausea and sneezing is crucial when it comes to prevention. Acid reflux plays a significant role in this regard.

Research suggests that up to 27.8% of people in the United States suffer from GERD, a condition associated with frequent acid reflux. This higher incidence could explain the increasing number of complaints regarding feeling nauseous before sneezing.

Preventative Measures For Acid Reflux

To reduce the risk and frequency of acid reflux, it’s important to address contributing factors. Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial, as being overweight or obese significantly increases the likelihood of developing GERD. Additionally, there are other measures you can take:

  1. Avoid trigger foods that can cause acid reflux, such as spicy or fatty foods, citrus fruits, and carbonated beverages.
  2. Opt for smaller, more frequent meals to avoid overfilling your stomach.
  3. Eat your meals slowly, giving your body ample time to digest.
  4. Avoid lying down immediately after eating.
  5. Elevate the head of your bed to prevent stomach acid from flowing back up.
  6. Reduce stress levels through relaxation techniques like meditation or exercise.

Are There Treatment Options?

Currently, there is no definitive cure for the specific symptoms of gastritis, sneezing, or nausea before sneezing. However, addressing contributing factors and underlying causes can help alleviate the symptoms.

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If your symptoms are due to gastritis, identifying and treating the cause is vital. Bacterial infections are often treated with antibiotics, while histamine blockers like Cimetidine and Ranitidine can reduce stomach acid production.

For those with GERD, antacids are commonly recommended to regulate stomach acid levels during episodes of acid reflux. Prokinetic agents and proton pump inhibitors are also effective treatments to reduce symptom occurrence.

If nausea persists after sneezing, you may require alternative treatments targeted at relieving nausea, such as lorazepam, dimenhydrinate, meclizine, or prochlorperazine.


Why do you sneeze when you feel nauseous?

The exact pathways behind feeling nauseous before sneezing are yet to be fully understood. Although experts link these symptoms to the vagus nerve, conclusive evidence is still lacking. Ongoing research may shed more light on the reasons behind this simultaneous occurrence.

Why do I suddenly feel sick and nauseous?

There are numerous potential causes for sudden onset nausea and malaise, ranging from minor issues to underlying diseases or problems. If you experience persistent symptoms, it’s advisable to consult a licensed medical professional for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Can digestive problems cause sneezing?

Digestive problems can indeed trigger sneezing, especially after consuming large meals, particularly if you have preexisting gastrointestinal issues. This reaction is often referred to as the “snatiation reflex,” where food stretches the stomach and irritates the vagus nerve.

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