Feeling nauseated during or after a bowel movement is an unpleasant and often concerning symptom. But what causes that sick, dizzy feeling when you poop? Is it something to worry about or can be easily remedied? This comprehensive guide covers all you need to know about nausea during bowel movements.
What Causes Nausea When Pooping?
There are several potential culprits behind feeling nauseated when having a bowel movement:
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a common disorder affecting the large intestine. It causes symptoms like abdominal cramping, bloating, diarrhea, and/or constipation. Nausea and vomiting can also occur, especially during flare-ups when bowel movements aggravate the sensitive intestines.
IBS occurs due to colonic muscle spasms or contractions leading to pain, cramping, and changes in bowel habits. This gastrointestinal disturbance can stimulate the vagus nerve which relays signals between the brain and abdomen. This triggers the area postrema in the brain which controls nausea and vomiting reflexes.
Some people may have undiagnosed food intolerances like lactose intolerance, fructose malabsorption, or celiac disease. Eating problem foods can irritate the digestive tract and cause diarrhea, abdominal pain, and nausea when pooping. Those with inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis are also prone to nausea if eating trigger foods.
This condition affects the normal spontaneous movement of the stomach muscles which helps digest food. When the vagus nerve is damaged, it causes delayed emptying of food from the stomach into the small intestines. This can lead to bloating, abdominal pain, nausea and even vomiting when pooping.
A partial or complete blockage in the intestines can lead to vomiting, constipation, cramping, and nausea when attempting a bowel movement. This dangerous condition requires immediate medical attention. Tumors, impacted stool, twists in the bowel, hernias, or inflammatory bowel disease are common causes.
Certain medications like antibiotics, antidepressants, opioids, and NSAIDs can cause nausea as a side effect. The gastrointestinal disturbances lead to stomach pain, bloating, and nausea that is exacerbated during bowel movements.
For some people, pooping cause extreme anxiety especially if they’ve had a prior bad experience. The nerves and anticipation trigger the brain’s nausea reflex leading to queasiness when having a bowel movement. This is more likely in public bathrooms or unfamiliar settings.
Morning sickness and nausea are very common pregnancy side effects. The hormonal changes relax the muscles and slow down digestion. This can lead to constipation issues. Bearing down to poop can intensify nausea and vomiting tendencies.
Straining Too Hard
Excessive pushing and bearing down on the toilet can stimulate the vagus nerve and trigger nausea and dizziness. This problematic bowel pattern stems from constipation issues or enlarged prostate in men. The rectum contains many vagus nerve endings that are sensitive to pressure.
Ongoing issues with GERD, gastritis, ulcers, gallstones, or stomach flu can cause waves of nausea. The act of pooping aggravates these conditions leading to vomiting, dizziness, and nausea when having a bowel movement.
When to See a Doctor
Occasional and mild nausea when pooping is usually not a major concern. However, if it persists and is accompanied by more serious symptoms, then it’s wise to see a doctor for evaluation.
See a physician promptly if you experience:
- Severe pain or cramping
- Blood in stool
- Unexplained weight loss
- Persistent diarrhea or constipation
- Fever or vomiting
- Abdominal swelling or tenderness
You should also consult a doctor if nausea when pooping is progressively worsening or affecting quality of life. Immediate medical care is required for any signs of a bowel obstruction like inability to pass stool or gas, severe vomiting, high fever, and abdominal swelling.
How is Nausea When Pooping Diagnosed?
To get to the root cause of nausea during bowel movements, the doctor will perform:
Medical History – Discussion of symptoms, bowel habits, medications, diet, and family history of gastrointestinal disease.
Physical Exam – Abdominal palpation to check for pain, swelling, masses, or enlarged organs. Rectal exam to assess anal sphincter tone, hemorrhoids, blood, and masses.
Food and Poop Diary – Recording eating habits, poop frequency, stool consistency, aggravating foods, and timing of nausea for a few weeks.
Blood Tests – Check for anemia, infections, celiac disease, kidney function, and electrolyte imbalances indicating dehydration.
Stool Sample Analysis – Screens for blood, infections parasites, and bacteria like C. difficile or inflammation.
Colonoscopy – A camera on a flexible tube examines the full length of the colon. Detects polyps, cancer, inflammation, and obstruction causes.
Endoscopy – A tiny camera images the upper digestive tract including the esophagus, stomach, and small intestine. Helps diagnose ulcers, celiac disease, gastritis, and gastroparesis.
Imaging Tests – CT scan, MRI or barium x-ray visualizes obstructions, polyps, cysts, hernias, or slow intestinal motility.
Gastric Emptying Scan – Radioactive material is eaten and measured as it passes through the stomach. Confirms or rules out gastroparesis.
Anorectal Manometry – Measures pressure and muscle contractions in anal sphincters and rectum. Checks for physical causes of constipation.
Anal Electromyography – Records electric signals in anal sphincter muscles. Determines if nerves are functioning normally.
Lifestyle Remedies for Nausea with Bowel Movements
Drink More Fluids
Staying hydrated keeps stools soft and prevents constipation and straining which aggravates nausea. water, herbal teas, broths, diluted juices, and electrolyte drinks help replenish fluid losses.
Eat More Fiber
Insoluble fiber from vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and nuts adds bulk to stool. This speeds up intestinal transit preventing hard, dry stools that require pushing and straining.
Physical activity stimulates the digestive tract reducing constipation. It also releases endorphins that have a calming effect to improve anxiety-related nausea.
Improve Toilet Posture
Don’t strain or forcibly bear down. Keep knees elevated above hips by using a footstool while sitting on the toilet. Lean forward to emulate a squat position. Relax the abdominal muscles instead of pushing.
Try Relaxation Techniques
Practicing deep breathing, meditation, yoga, listening to music, or mindfulness therapy helps reduce pooping-related anxiety and nausea.
Identify and limit foods, medications, or situations that seem to make nausea worse with bowel movements. This may require an elimination diet supervised by a doctor or dietician.
Medications that Help with Nausea When Pooping
Several over-the-counter and prescription medications can provide relief from nausea associated with bowel movements:
- Antiemetics– Help prevent vomiting and nausea. Examples are promethazine, prochlorperazine, ondansetron, and scopolamine.
- Antispasmodics– Relieve spasms and cramps in the intestines. Common types are dicyclomine, hyoscyamine, and clidinium.
- Antidiarrheals– Slow down intestinal contractions. Loperamide or diphenoxylate are often recommended.
- Antibiotics– If an infection is causing diarrhea and nausea, antibiotics like metronidazole, vancomycin, or rifaximin may be prescribed.
- Tricyclic Antidepressants– Elavil and nortriptyline treat nausea associated with gastroparesis, IBS, and constipation.
- Prokinetics– Promote gastric emptying and improve gastroparesis. Metoclopramide or erythromycin are commonly prescribed.
- Laxatives– Stool softeners, stimulant laxatives, fiber supplements, lubricants, and osmotic laxatives can relieve constipation.
- Anti-anxiety Medications– For those with nervousness or phobias about bowel movements, short-term anti-anxiety meds like benzodiazepines may help.
Discuss all medications with your doctor and never self-prescribe. Be aware of potential side effects and take as directed. Seek prompt medical help if nausea is severe, persistent, or accompanied by warning signs like dehydration, weight loss, or bloody stools.
When is Surgery Required?
Most cases of nausea when pooping can be managed with lifestyle adjustments, medications, dietary changes, and treating the underlying condition. But some situations may require surgery such as:
- Bowel Obstruction– Removal of impacted fecal matter, hernia repair, resection of diseased bowel segments, or cutting bands of scar tissue.
- Slow Transit Constipation– Colectomy to remove part of the colon may help severe slow transit constipation uncontrolled by laxatives.
- Pelvic Floor Dysfunction– Sacral nerve stimulation or botox injections can relax tight pelvic floor muscles that restrict defecation.
- Pyloric Stenosis– Enlarged pylorus is surgically widened to allow food to empty normally from the stomach. Provides relief in intractable gastroparesis.
- Anal Fissures– Chronic fissures are treated surgically by cutting a small portion of the anal sphincter to reduce spasms and pain with bowel movements.
Surgery is generally reserved for serious cases that do not improve with conservative treatment. Discuss risks versus benefits thoroughly with your surgeon before considering an operation.
When to Seek Emergency Care
Seek prompt emergency medical care if you experience:
- High fever with nausea and abdominal pain
- Blood in vomit or bloody diarrhea
- Chest pain, sweating, and nausea
- New, severe abdominal pains and vomiting
- Signs of dehydration – dizziness, dry mouth, rapid heart rate
- Inability to have a bowel movement or pass gas
- Swollen, tender abdomen
- Fainting or prolonged nausea and vomiting
Call 911 or go to the nearest ER if you suspect a bowel obstruction, volvulus, or perforation which can quickly become life-threatening. These require emergency surgery and hospital admission for IV fluids, bowel rest, and pain management. Don’t hesitate to seek help for worrisome nausea, as prompt treatment leads to better outcomes.
How to Prevent Nausea When Having a Bowel Movement
You can help avoid nauseating pooping episodes by:
- Eating more fiber and staying hydrated
- Not delaying when you feel the urge to have a bowel movement
- Setting aside relaxing time for pooping without rushing
- Practicing mindful breathing and meditation during bowel movements
- Assuming a squatting position with knees elevated
- Identifying and avoiding any trigger foods
- Taking medications as prescribed
- Getting moderate physical activity daily
- Treating anxiety, IBS, and constipation proactively
- Visiting your doctor for persistent problematic symptoms
Making bowel care and hygiene a priority goes a long way in preventing associated nausea and discomfort. Pay attention to your body’s signals and allow enough time to have a complete, unhurried bowel movement when needed.
When to See a Gastroenterologist
A gastroenterologist specializes in diagnosing and treating gastrointestinal conditions causing nausea like:
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Stomach ulcers
- Bowel obstruction
- Inflammatory bowel diseases
- Celiac disease
- Anal fissures
They perform colonoscopies, endoscopies, and additional tests to pinpoint the origin of nausea with bowel movements. GI doctors can provide specialized medication and diet therapies for relief. They also determine when surgery may be warranted.
Ask your primary physician for a referral to a gastroenterologist if nausea with pooping persists despite lifestyle remedies and medications. Catching and properly treating the underlying condition can help prevent progression and serious complications.
Coping with Nausea During Bowel Movements
Feeling sick when you poop can affect your quality of life. Here are some tips to help cope physically and emotionally:
- Communicate openly with loved ones so they understand if you can’t engage in certain activities due to unpredictable nausea.
- Join local or online support groups to exchange tips and encouragement with others experiencing bowel-related nausea.
- Try nausea-relieving acupressure wristbands, aromatherapy, ginger tea, peppermint oil, or anti-nausea medications.
- Don’t blame or shame yourself. Know there are medical reasons behind pooping nausea and treatments available.
- Practice self-care and be patient with your body. Follow doctor’s orders for medications, diet, and interventions.
- Identify soothing rituals that help – sipping mint or ginger tea, meditating, listening to music, warm baths, or using essential oils.
- Avoid situations when nausea is worst such as early mornings, after certain meals, during high stress, when overtired, or when transitioning positions.
- Use relaxation techniques to stay calm on the toilet and gently breathe through nausea and dizziness episodes.
- Keep a nausea journal detailing triggers, timing, severity, and relief measures. Share this with your doctor.
- Stick to bland, easy-to-digest foods on high-nausea days. Stay hydrated with electrolyte drinks like Pedialyte.
- Remind yourself nausea is temporary and talk positively. Visualize yourself feeling better.
When to Change Your Diet
Diet modifications may help resolve nausea that seems correlated with certain foods or meals. Try keeping a detailed food diary for 2 weeks noting the:
- What you ate and time of day
- When nausea occurred
- Duration and severity
- Other symptoms like gas, bloat, diarrhea
Look for patterns of particular problem foods preceding nausea episodes like:
- Dairy (lactose intolerance)
- Wheat products (gluten or celiac disease)
- Fructose fruits and juices (fructose intolerance)
- Gas-producing foods – beans, broccoli, onions, cabbage
- Fatty greasy meals (gallbladder issues)
- Alcohol, caffeine, chocolate (GI irritants)
- Sugar-free sweeteners like sorbitol (osmotic diarrhea)
Consult a doctor or dietitian before eliminating any major food groups long-term to ensure nutritional needs are still met. Keeping a food diary helps determine if a short elimination trial may be worthwhile.
Foods that Reduce Nausea with Pooping
Some foods are easier to digest and may help minimize nausea episodes associated with bowel movements:
Ginger – Has antiemetic properties. Can be consumed as ginger tea, candied ginger, or ginger ale.
BRAT Diet – Bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast provide binding fiber to firm up loose stools.
Peppermint Tea – Has a soothing, calming effect on the gut and reduces inflammation.
Probiotic Yogurt – Restores healthy gut bacteria to improve digestive health and immunity.
**Fennel or Chamomile Tea **- Have anti-inflammatory agents and relax digestive tract spasms.
Oatmeal – High soluble fiber absorbs liquid in the intestines and slows digestion.
Skinless Chicken and Fish – Provide lean protein that is easy to digest and less likely to aggravate nausea.
Low-Fat Dairy – If not lactose intolerant, yogurt and kefir provide probiotics. Milk, cheese, and ice cream have less lactose.
Vegetable Broths – Provide hydration and electrolytes without gut irritation.
Following an anti-nausea diet under medical or nutrition guidance may help reduce pooping-related queasiness. But note that overly restrictive diets should not be maintained long-term without supervision.
Stress and Anxiety Relief
Since nerves and anxious thoughts about pooping can trigger nausea, it’s important to manage stress levels. Some relaxing techniques to try:
Yoga – Gentle twists, squats, and forward folds massage the intestines reducing IBS and constipation-related nausea. Deep breathing also calms the mind.
Meditation – Quiets worries and reduces fight-or-flight response of nausea. Apps like Calm provide digestive health meditations.
Counseling – Helps identify and overcome anxious thoughts or phobias about bowel movements. Provides coping strategies.
Mindfulness – Trains your mind to stay focused in the present moment when nausea strikes instead of overthinking.
Music Therapy – Calms the vagus nerve arousal that leads to nausea and vomiting. Create a playlist for the bathroom.
Warm Baths – Heat and floating take pressure off the abdomen providing therapeutic relief from cramping.
Stress Management – Make lifestyle changes to reduce anxiety triggers. Set healthy boundaries and make time for self-care.
OTC Anti-Anxiety Medications – Ask your pharmacist about options like lorazepam that provide temporary relief from debilitating pooping anxiety.
Decreasing nervous tension is key to breaking the cycle of pooping-related nausea and anxiety. Discuss options with your doctor to find stress relief that works for you long term.
When to See a Therapist
The mind-gut connection is very real and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can help immensely in cases of chronic nausea tied to bathroom anxiety or phobias. A therapist can teach relaxation techniques and thought exercises targeted to relieve pooping-related stress.
Signs it may be beneficial to speak to a counselor include:
- Panic, racing thoughts, or feeling out of control when needing to poop
- Intense anxiety about pooping in public restrooms or outside the home
- Fear of vomiting or embarrassing accident while pooping
- Avoiding leaving the house or social events due to nausea issues
- Obsessive planning and routines around bowel movements
- Repeatedly googling causes of pooping nausea and seeking reassurance
- Generalized anxiety disorder or panic attacks worsening nausea
- Depression, negative self-talk, and isolation due to uncontrollable nausea
- Perfectionistic tendencies combined with nausea and diarrhea
- Childhood trauma, PTSD, or phobias affecting bathroom habits
- Emetophobia – extreme fear of vomiting worsening nausea
Cognitive behavior therapy trains the mind to respond differently to pooping cues and anxiety by:
- Identifying unhealthy thought patterns that increase fear
- Developing coping strategies and concrete action plans
- Practicing relaxation, mindfulness, and desensitization
- Challenging cognitive distortions and catastrophic thinking
- Understanding links between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors
- Building confidence and overcoming avoidance
If anxiety about bowel movements is severely impacting the quality of life, a psychologist can provide support, tools, and empowerment to regain control. Telehealth options make this care accessible and private.
Nausea when pooping is an unsettling and frustrating symptom affecting many people for diverse reasons. But thankfully several treatments exist to provide relief once the origin is found. Don’t hesitate to see a doctor if you regularly experience associated vomiting, pain, or disruption of activities.
Identifying and avoiding triggers, adjusting your diet, practicing relaxation techniques, taking medications as directed, and treating underlying conditions can often resolve pooping-related nausea. Be patient through diagnostic testing, communicate openly with your healthcare provider, and follow their guidance. Support groups and counseling provide additional help in managing anxiety associated with bowel movements.
While it may require some trial and error, most causes of nausea when pooping can be successfully treated or managed with lifestyle changes and medical care. Pay attention to your body’s signals, advocate for yourself, and follow up promptly if symptoms persist or worsen. Relief is possible so you can enjoy optimal digestive health and well-being.
Faizan Ahmad is a passionate medical writer and health enthusiast. He joined Quick Medico in 2023 as a place to provide reliable information and resources about health, diseases, and wellness topics.
Now as the editor-in-chief of Quick Medico, Faizan leads a team of experienced medical writers and health professionals. His goal is to make complex health topics easy to understand and provide readers with practical information to improve their health and well-being.
Outside of work, Faizan enjoys being in nature, reading non-fiction books, and spending time with friends and family. He brings his natural curiosity and passion for lifelong learning to every article he writes or edits for Quick Medico. Faizan lives in Islamabad, Pakistan, and looks forward to continuing to grow Quick Medico into a leading health information site that empowers readers to take control of their health.