The immune system and gastrointestinal tract may have an impact on eczema, leading to symptoms such as nausea.

Eczema is a chronic skin condition with symptoms of inflammation, redness, and itchiness.

Many people know of eczema’s impact on a person’s skin. However, an aspect of the condition that many overlook is the presence of symptoms beyond the skin’s surface. One less-discussed topic is the connection between eczema and nausea.

This article looks at why eczema might cause nausea, gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms, eczema and the immune system, treatment and when to contact a doctor about eczema and nausea.

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Individuals with eczema may also experience nausea due to the inflammation that accompanies the skin condition. Inflammation is not only associated with the skin but can trigger a number of responses throughout the body.

According to the National Eczema Association, atopic dermatitis is the most common type of eczema. It may start as an allergic response before progressing to an autoimmune response. A 2021 study suggests that this may be what causes chronic inflammation and relapses.

If an individual experiences eczema and nausea, it might be a sign of another health condition, such as:

Nausea is a common GI symptom. The inflammatory response associated with eczema can disrupt the balance of the gastrointestinal tract, leading to symptoms including:

Chronic itching and discomfort that eczema causes can also induce stress and anxiety, further worsening GI symptoms. Stress can impact the digestive system, potentially leading to nausea and other related symptoms.

A 2023 review suggests that in people with atopic dermatitis, dysbiosis — an imbalance in the gut, or skin flora — may play a role. The altered microbiome in atopic dermatitis affects the immune system, stimulating inflammatory reactions manifested by atopic eczema.

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Individuals with eczema often have a more reactive immune system than those without.

When a substance triggers the immune system, whether internally or externally, the immune system initiates an inflammatory response. This inflammatory reaction is what causes the development of the itchy, painful, and rash-like symptoms that people commonly associate with various types of eczema.

A 2021 study found higher eczema rates in people with one or more autoimmune conditions, particularly those that affect the skin, digestive tract, and connective tissue, such as:

In individuals with eczema, these immune signals can disrupt the normal functioning of the digestive system, contributing to symptoms like nausea.

Addressing nausea in individuals with eczema involves a multifaceted approach that targets both the skin condition and its causes.

  1. Topical treatments: Managing eczema effectively with prescription topical treatments can help reduce inflammation and alleviate skin symptoms, potentially decreasing the systemic inflammatory response.
  2. Anti-inflammatory medications: In some cases, a doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory medications to control the overall inflammatory burden, which could also alleviate gastrointestinal symptoms.
  3. Stress management: Since stress can play a significant role in exacerbating symptoms, incorporating stress management techniques such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, or yoga can be beneficial.
  4. Probiotics: Supporting gut health through probiotic supplements or foods rich in probiotics may help restore the balance of the digestive system.
  5. Dietary modifications: Identifying and avoiding trigger foods that may worsen both skin and gastrointestinal symptoms can be crucial. Maintaining a well-balanced, anti-inflammatory diet may also contribute to overall symptom relief.

While people can often manage eczema-induced nausea through lifestyle changes and topical treatments, it is essential to recognize when to seek medical attention.

  1. Persistent symptoms: If nausea persists or worsens despite implementing coping strategies, it’s crucial to consult a healthcare professional.
  2. Severe skin symptoms: If eczema flare-ups are severe and uncontrollable, a dermatologist can provide tailored interventions to manage the skin condition effectively.
  3. Unexpected weight loss: Unexplained weight loss associated with nausea may indicate underlying issues that require medical evaluation.
  4. New or unusual symptoms: Anyone experiencing new or unusual symptoms, such as a fever, should discuss them with a healthcare professional to rule out potential complications or other underlying health conditions.

The connection between eczema and nausea highlights the impact of this skin condition on the body. Understanding the underlying mechanisms, such as inflammation and the immune system’s involvement, is crucial in developing effective management strategies.

By addressing the root causes through a combination of topical treatments, anti-inflammatory medications, stress management, and dietary modifications, individuals with eczema can find relief not only for their skin but also for the symptoms of nausea.

Regular communication with healthcare professionals ensures a comprehensive approach to managing eczema and its symptoms, promoting overall well-being in those affected by this challenging condition.