What are the Differences Between Nausea and Diarrhoea

What are the Differences Between Nausea and Diarrhoea?

Nausea and diarrhoea can happen to anyone and be very disruptive. Understanding the potential causes and available treatments can help you get relief faster. This article from healthcare nt sickcare covers the basics of recognizing these symptoms, when to see a doctor, possible medical tests, and at-home care options.
When it comes to gastrointestinal issues, it's essential to understand the differences between symptoms like nausea and diarrhoea. While they both can be uncomfortable and disruptive, they are distinct in their causes and effects on the body.

What is Nausea?

Nausea is a sensation of unease in the stomach that often precedes vomiting. It can be triggered by various factors such as infections, motion sickness, pregnancy, or certain medications. Nausea is the body's way of signalling that something is not right in the digestive system.

What is Diarrhoea?

Diarrhoea, on the other hand, is characterized by loose, watery stools and increased frequency of bowel movements. It is usually caused by infections, food poisoning, irritable bowel syndrome, or other gastrointestinal issues. Diarrhoea can lead to dehydration if not managed properly.

How are they Different?

Nausea is primarily a feeling of discomfort in the stomach, often accompanied by the urge to vomit. Diarrhoea, on the other hand, is a change in bowel habits that results in loose stools. While nausea is more focused on the upper gastrointestinal tract, diarrhoea affects the lower gastrointestinal tract.

It's important to note that nausea and diarrhoea can sometimes occur together, especially in cases of food poisoning or stomach flu. In such instances, it's crucial to stay hydrated and seek medical attention if symptoms persist.

What Are the Symptoms of Nausea and Diarrhoea?

Nausea refers to an uneasy feeling in your stomach that makes you feel like you need to vomit. Typical diarrhoea includes three or more loose, watery bowel movements per day.
Other diarrhoea symptoms can involve:
  • Cramping
  • Bloating
  • Urgent need to use the bathroom
  • Abdominal pain or discomfort

What Causes These Digestive Issues?

Many causes can lead to nausea or diarrhoea, including:


  • Food poisoning
  • Viral gastroenteritis (stomach flu)
  • Bacterial infections
  • Parasites


  • Antibiotics
  • Chemotherapy
  • Iron supplements


  • Lactose
  • Gluten

Other Causes

  • Anxiety or stress
  • Overeating
  • Gallstones
  • Ulcers

When Should You See a Doctor?

In most cases, nausea and diarrhoea will resolve on their own within 48 hours. You should make an appointment with your doctor if you experience:
Testing a stool sample can check for infections that may require medication. Getting blood work done can look for nutrient deficiencies, infections, intolerance, or other issues.

How Are Nausea and Diarrhoea Treated?

At-Home Care

For mild cases, try:
  • BRAT diet: Bananas, rice, apple sauce, toast
  • Electrolyte drinks like coconut water or sports drinks
  • Over-the-counter anti-nausea medication
  • Probiotic yogurt
  • Rest

Medical Care

If home treatment doesn't help within 48 hours or your symptoms are severe, your doctor may recommend:
  • IV fluids
  • Anti-nausea prescription medication
  • Antidiarrhoeal medication
  • Identifying and treating any underlying infection or condition

Is nausea always related to the stomach?

No. Nausea can originate from the brain and inner ear instead of the digestive tract. Motion sickness is one example.

How can you tell if diarrhoea is from an infection?

Diarrhoea lasting more than 3 days or containing blood/pus often indicates infection. Testing a stool sample can identify bacterial, viral, or parasitic culprits.

What food poisoning causes nausea and diarrhoea?

E. coli, Salmonella, Clostridium botulinum, and norovirus most typically cause food poisoning with nausea/diarrhoea. Foods prone to contamination include under cooked meat, eggs, dairy, shellfish, salads, and deli items.

Can nausea and diarrhoea be a sign of pregnancy?

Yes. Nausea and vomiting affect up to 80% of pregnant women due to hormone changes. Some also experience loose stools. These symptoms usually fade during the second trimester.

How to Care for Someone With Nausea and Diarrhoea?

If a loved one develops these unpleasant digestive symptoms, you can help by:
  1. Keeping Them HydratedOffer small, frequent sips of water, broth, or electrolyte beverages like Pedialyte. Dehydration can develop quickly.
  2. Providing Gentle FoodsBRAT diet foods are typically well-tolerated. You can also try plain pasta, applesauce, mashed cauliflower, or low-fiber cereal.
  3. Pepto-Bismol, Emetrol, Bonine, and Imodium can ease symptoms temporarily. Check labelling guidelines first.
  4. Watching for Red Flags
  5. Monitor fever, blood in stool, dizziness upon standing, or inability to keep liquids down. Seek medical attention promptly if these develop.
  6. Ensuring Comfort
  7. Nausea and diarrhoea take a toll. Offer wash cloths, warm blankets, cool compresses, audiobooks, or light conversation to make them more comfortable.

2 Ways to Try to Prevent Nausea and Diarrhoea

While not foolproof, you may reduce your odds of nausea and diarrhoea by:
  1. Practising Food Safety: Cook meats thoroughly, avoid risky foods when dining out, wash produce, and don't eat anything past its prime. Be extra cautious when travelling.
  2. Managing Stress: Chronic anxiety and high stress both can trigger tummy troubles. Exercise, get enough sleep, set reasonable expectations for yourself, and make time to unwind. Consider counselling if needed.

What Lab Tests are Commonly Used for Nausea and Diarrhoea?

Healthcare providers often recommend blood tests to check for infections, inflammation, or other abnormalities that could be causing the symptoms. Stool tests are also commonly used to detect parasites, bacteria, or viruses that may be responsible for gastrointestinal issues.

What is the Difference Between Nausea and Diarrhoea?

How Do these Lab Tests Help in Diagnosis?

By analysing the results of these tests, healthcare professionals can pinpoint the specific cause of nausea and diarrhoea. This information is crucial for determining the most effective treatment plan for the patient.

What can Lab Test Results Reveal?

Lab test results can provide valuable insights into the presence of pathogens, inflammation levels, and overall health markers. These findings help healthcare providers make informed decisions about the best course of action for managing the symptoms.

Why is it Important to Undergo Lab Testing?

Timely and accurate diagnosis is key to addressing nausea and diarrhoea effectively. Lab tests provide objective data that guide healthcare providers in developing personalized treatment strategies for each individual patient.

When to Visit healthcare nt sickcare for Testing?

If home treatment doesn't resolve diarrhoea, nausea, and related symptoms within 48 hours, lab tests may be needed. healthcare nt sickcare offers affordable, convenient testing at our Pune lab or in your home. Patients can also order tests online via our website.
Checking a stool sample can identify bacterial, viral, or parasitic infections causing your digestive woes. Blood tests through healthcare nt sickcare can pinpoint nutrient deficiencies, food intolerance like celiac disease, inflammatory bowel diseases, pancreatitis, and other issues making you feel unwell.
Don't settle for ongoing nausea, diarrhoea, cramping, bloating, or other disruptive symptoms. healthcare nt sickcare's accurate testing and fast results help you and your doctor get to the bottom of what is ailing your digestive system. We use advanced diagnostics to support the best possible treatment plans.

Nausea and diarrhoea usually fade in 48 hours or less. But if symptoms persist or seem severe, lab testing may be needed. healthcare nt sickcare offers stool analysis, blood tests, and more to check for infections, inflammation, intolerance, and other root causes of digestive troubles. Our convenient online test ordering and at-home phlebotomy options take the hassle out of getting answers. Reach out today to learn more about our services.

 #nausea #diarrhea #digestivetests

Understanding the difference between nausea and diarrhoea can help individuals better manage their symptoms and seek appropriate treatment. While both can be uncomfortable, knowing the distinct characteristics of each can aid in identifying the underlying cause and addressing it effectively.

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