Fatigue and nausea are common symptoms that often occur together. In some cases, these symptoms may develop as a result of lifestyle factors, such as poor sleep or diet, or lack of exercise. In other cases, they may signal an underlying medical condition that requires treatment.
Fatigue is a term that describes a lack of energy or a feeling of tiredness or sluggishness. Nausea is a feeling of discomfort in the stomach or a feeling of needing to vomit.
This article outlines the potential causes of combined fatigue and nausea and lists the medical treatments and home remedies that may help alleviate these symptoms. We also provide advice on how to prevent fatigue and nausea and when to see a doctor.
Fatigue and nausea can co-occur as a result of:
- lifestyle factors
- short-term, or acute, illnesses
- long-term, or chronic, conditions
Some possible causes of fatigue and nausea are outlined below.
The following lifestyle factors may cause fatigue and nausea:
- staying awake too late
- not getting enough sleep
- eating too much
- eating too late at night
- drinking too much alcohol the night before
- using recreational drugs
- lacking physical activity
- overexerting oneself
- being jet-lagged
Certain infections may also cause symptoms of fatigue and nausea. Examples include:
- bacterial infections, such as:
- viral infections, such as:
- parasitic infections, such as:
Mental health issues can sometimes cause physical symptoms, including fatigue and nausea. Examples include:
- loss and grief
Fatigue and nausea can sometimes occur as a result of a condition that affects the hormones or the endocrine system that makes the hormones. Examples include:
- Addison’s disease
Issues that affect the nerves and the nervous system may also cause symptoms such as nausea and fatigue. Examples include:
Other conditions could also cause nausea and fatigue with or without additional symptoms. Some examples include:
Fatigue and nausea are common during the early stages of pregnancy. Doctors use the term “morning sickness” to refer to nausea and vomiting during pregnancy, although these symptoms may occur at any time of day. A 2014 study notes that morning sickness occurs in around 85% of pregnancies.
If there is any possibility that a person may be pregnant, they should take a pregnancy test. If they are not pregnant, they should see their doctor to determine the cause of their morning nausea.
Feeling nauseous upon waking up may simply be the result of poor sleep or an upset stomach from the night before. However, it could also signal a more chronic underlying health issue.
It is fairly normal for a person’s energy levels to dip after eating. This happens because the body redirects blood to the digestive system to help break down food in the stomach.
Eating too much may cause a large dip in energy levels since the body has more food to digest. Overeating may also cause feelings of fullness or nausea.
Symptoms of fatigue and nausea after eating can sometimes signal a digestive issue. Other possible symptoms of a digestive disease include:
- difficulty swallowing
- acid reflux
- abdominal pain
- belching or flatulence
- bowel incontinence
- blood in stool
- unexplained weight gain or weight loss
The treatment for fatigue and nausea depends on the underlying cause. Treating the cause should help eliminate or control the symptoms. Chronic conditions may require a long-term treatment plan.
Doctors may also prescribe treatments for the symptoms themselves. For example, a doctor may prescribe antiemetic drugs to reduce nausea and vomiting.
Certain home remedies may help manage the symptoms of fatigue and nausea. Some examples are outlined below.
Home remedies for nausea
The following home remedies may help settle an upset stomach and reduce feelings of nausea:
- sipping a cold drink
- drinking ginger or peppermint tea
- eating foods containing ginger, such as ginger biscuits or candied ginger
- eating multiple small portions
- getting a lot of fresh air
- finding distractions, such as listening to music, watching a movie, or reading a book
In addition, people should avoid the following:
- preparing or eating strong-smelling foods
- eating foods that are spicy, fried, or greasy
- eating too fast
- drinking while eating
- wearing clothing that is tight around the waist or abdomen
- lying down shortly after eating
Home remedies for fatigue
The following home remedies may help reduce fatigue:
- eating smaller meals and healthful snacks every 3–4 hours
- gradually decreasing caffeine intake over the course of 3 weeks
- limiting alcohol intake and avoiding alcohol before bedtime
- drinking more water to prevent dehydration and associated fatigue
- gradually increasing physical activity
- reaching or maintaining a moderate weight
- going to bed and waking up at the same time each day, even on weekends
- avoiding daytime naps
- establishing or maintaining a relaxing bedtime routine
- reducing stress levels through one or more of the following:
- working out
- practicing yoga or tai chi
- spending time with friends
- receiving counseling or cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for fatigue caused by stress, anxiety, or low mood
Experiencing fatigue and nausea is not always a cause for concern. Sometimes, these symptoms are the result of poor lifestyle habits. Changing these habits should lead to an improvement or reduction in symptoms.
However, people should see a doctor if they experience severe, persistent, or worsening episodes of fatigue and nausea.
It is important to seek immediate medical attention for fatigue and nausea that are accompanied by any of the following symptoms:
- chest pain or pressure
- difficulty breathing
- slurred speech
- persistent confusion
- continuous or repeated vomiting
- yellowing of the skin or eyes
- suicidal thoughts
The above symptoms may indicate a serious underlying medical condition that requires prompt medical treatment.
The outlook for people experiencing combined fatigue and nausea depends on the underlying cause of these symptoms.
Fatigue and nausea are not always a cause for concern. This combination of symptoms sometimes goes away following appropriate lifestyle adjustments, such as changes in eating, sleeping, or exercise habits.
However, severe, persistent, or recurrent episodes of fatigue and nausea can indicate an underlying medical condition that requires treatment. In some instances, it may take time for a doctor to diagnose and treat the cause. Once a doctor has established a diagnosis and a treatment plan, a person will typically find relief from these symptoms.
It may not be possible to prevent all causes of fatigue and nausea. However, the following factors may reduce a person’s risk of developing these symptoms:
- staying hydrated
- limiting alcohol and caffeine intake and avoiding either before bedtime
- avoiding large meals and eating late at night
- getting plenty of sleep each night
- following basic personal hygiene to help prevent infections
- eating a healthful diet and exercising regularly to reduce the risk of health conditions that can cause fatigue and nausea
- alleviating stress through one or more of the following:
- seeking therapy for mental health issues, such as anxiety or depression
Fatigue and nausea are symptoms that commonly occur together. In some cases, they are the result of lifestyle habits, such as poor sleep or diet, or lack of exercise. In other instances, they may signal an underlying mental or physical health issue that requires treatment.
Sometimes, a person may experience symptom relief after using home remedies to aid sleep, alleviate stress, or improve diet. However, if these changes do not lead to an improvement in symptoms, a person should see their doctor.
Anyone who experiences severe, persistent, or recurrent episodes of fatigue and nausea should seek a medical diagnosis and treatment. Following appropriate treatment, most people should experience an improvement in their symptoms.