Nausea nearly always suggests food allergy. You may not vomit every time you feel nauseated – but you may feel like you’re going to. And that can certainly make you less sociable and productive.
Consider the case of a thirty-two-year-old woman who had felt nauseated nearly every day of her life since childhood. The only way she could keep from vomiting in public was by taking large doses of antihistamines. Car travel was an ordeal – a two-hour trip required several pit stops.
‘She became depressed, lethargic and lost her zest for life,’ say the doctors who treated her. ‘And her relationship with her fianc? was strained because she was becoming short-tempered and losing her sex drive because of her constant nausea.’
When the woman fainted after drinking a cup of tea, she was sent to a hospital for neurological tests. The doctors also decided to investigate the possibility of food allergies.
‘On the basis of her dietary history, tea was excluded from her diet, and the vomiting and nausea ceased,’ say Drs Ronald Finn and H. Newman Cohen. ‘By avoiding tea she has been symptomless for five months, and is able to travel long distances by car without feeling sick’. (Lancet.) And oh, yes – she got married.
Most people have far less trouble than this woman did in figuring out that a particular food is making them sick. Nausea usually occurs shortly after you’ve eaten something that disagrees with you rather than hours later. So it’s easy to notice a pattern. But if you occasionally feel nauseated for no apparent reason, you may need to keep a diet diary to trace your nausea to the offending food.