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Teens & Nausea
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Teens & Nausea
Over the last 6 weeks my 16 year old daughter has developed a
worrisome problem. Every school day morning when she wakes at 6:15 AM
she is hit with nausea. The nausea comes on strong and then diminishes
throughout the morning. Often but not always she vomits (only saliva &
maybe a small amount of bile). I have her using SeaBand (mixed
questionable results) until the nausea passes. She is NOT pregnant.
There is no fever or other glaring signs of illness. Her appetite is
good (except in the morning). She is doing well in school, likes
school, & looks forward to going....
The odd thing is that on the weekends when she is able to ''sleep in''
she almost never wakes with nausea.
Does anyone else have or experienced a similar situation? If so please
elaborate. Have you been able to get any definitive answers as to what
is going on?
Very worried Mama
I had issues very similar to your daughters from the age of about
16-22. Some of it was stress related. A lot of it turned out to be
hormone related. No one really thought to consider that. Sometimes I
was on the pill and that certainly made it worse. But even when I
wasn't on the pill, this was an issue for me and I missed lots of
school in high school and college because of it. Tums or Rolaids in
the morning helped. It might be worth talking to a hormone specialist
(they did not have such people when I was young). It may just be the
hormonal shift she is going through. Is she depressed or low-energy
as well? I have had no issues with either since that time in my life,
but they were bad then. Getting into exercise was huge for me. I'm
not sure anyone could have talked me into it at that time, but it
helped regulate my body quite a bit. Good luck!
was a similar teen
My 16-year old daughter has a similar problem. We've determined
(after many tests and trips to the gastroenterologist's office) that
the nausea is a stress reaction, increase in epinephrine, drop in
blood glucose, feeling nauseated and faint, even shakey at times.
It's all stress. We have found three things that help: 1) Taking a
Calcium Tums tablet or Prilosec at bedtime, 2) immediately upon
rising (or even before getting out of bed) starting the morning with
an ounce of protein -- chocolate SILK soy milk, 1 tsp of peanut
butter, a little piece of meat, cheese, 1/2 cup of yogurt -- to give
the stomach acids something to digest. Regular milk, though rich in
protein, sometimes adds to my daughter's nausea. And 3) if nausea
persists after taking above measures, we find that a fingertip of
ginger paste used in oriental cooking does the trick beautifully!
These need not progress in any particular order, though this is the
sequence we have found most helpful. In my daughter's case, the
stress of a private AP-level high school was too much, so we're
homeschooling now, and she's loving it. Far less drama in the
A dietitian and MOM
I remember that when I was a teenager I had an 8 am dance class and
once or twice had to excuse myself so I could throw up. I was just
not physically able to be up and active so early. I was always a kid
who needed a lot of sleep -- still am.
There's lots of research on how much sleep teens need and how their
circadian rhythms adjust in these years -- everyone knows that
school should start later for this age group, but unfortunately no
one is willing to modify the school day.
I'd have her checked out by a doctor just to make sure nothing else
is going on, but I would consider the possibility that she just
feels sick from lack of sleep and too early of a morning. Talk to
her about the importance of sleep so that she can make the
connection between how she feels in the morning and when she goes to
bed. Then see if she can get to sleep earlier. Also make sure she's
not using any screens (cell phone, computer, TV, gaming system) an
hour before bed as research shows that these devices can also
disrupt sleep patterns.
Still need 9 hours when I can get it.
First of all if you haven't already done so I would like to suggest
that you make an appointment for her to see her doctor for an exam.
You say that she looks forward to going to school and likes school but
it's curious that on school days she is more prone to feeling
nauseous. Might her symptoms be related to some underlying anxiety
about school? Or a situation that is troubling her that she has not
voiced to you?
If you feel that there may be some truth to what I am saying and her
doctor doesn't pinpoint something physical you might want to seek the
help of an alternative health practitioner who can work with your
daughter to alleviate her symptoms and improve her well being. My
daughter has an alternative MD who subscribes homeopathy and herbs to
help her with her anxiety and she has responded very well to this
approach. Unfortunately, her doctor is in Southern California but
there are some fine practitioners in our area as well. If you are
interested I think that the Berkeley Parents Network has some pretty
good leads for alternative practitioners. Best of luck to you and
Hope this helps.
My 15-year-old daughter has had very similar morning stomach
problems (nausea, indigestion, no appetite), that then go away later
in the morning. She will have these symptoms for several weeks and
then they will go away for awhile and later return. She also never
has the problem on days when she is able to sleep in. I don't
really have a solution, just some thoughts:
1. Last spring when my daughter was having her most severe morning
stomach issues, she was shortly afterward diagnosed with an ovarian
cyst. Ovarian cysts are very common and usually go away on their
own after a couple of menstrual cycles. Stomach problems are one of
the symptoms of ovarian cysts.
2. I also think there may be a stress component to my daughter's
morning stomach problems. It seems to increase during exams.
3. Stomach problems are super common in kids, and not easy to
identify the cause of. I know of many, many children and teens who
have had mysterious stomach ailments that ebb and flow, and almost
always are nothing serious (but still painful and real).
In my mid-20s I suffered from chronic reflux which manifested as
nausea and not heartburn. Could night time acid reflux be part of
the problem? Also when I was younger I hated to wake up early
because, beside feeling really really groggy, I would feel sick as
well although not as extreme as you describe. (I used to be a very
heavy sleeper but now that I'm older and have been sleep trained by
two babies, I can be instantly awake at any time.) I would look at
diet, getting enough sleep, and stress (which makes any underlying
condition worse). Good luck!
It's so long ago....but my boyfriend in high school had this problem.
In his case, it turned out to be that his stomach digested food at a
different pace than other stomachs, and he awoke nauseous every
morning. He and his family experimented and found solutions based on
when and what to eat. Another person I knew had similar issues and was
helped by consulting with Nori Hudson, Berkeley nutrition expert, who
helped figure out what was going on--it was a different problem but
they found a solution.
First, get to a doctor for a full workup. Items to check - cardiology
workup, since children have different symptoms than adults, e.g.
instead of classic angina kids often experience nausea (Lucile Packard
at Stanford is quite familiar with this area). Other items include
checking thyroid (hypothyroidism often manifests itself at this age) -
the treatment in this case is a simple pill. There are other very less
likely possibilities like tumors and such, but those are very rare. A
thorough health exam will alleviate your worries and put you on
BTW, I'm hypothyroid and I've often found it extremely difficult to
get up rapidly (note, not ''early'' - ''rapidly''). I get dizzy and
nauseated and can't eat. Too little sleep also is difficult when your
thyroid levels are off, and they are at the lowest in the early
morning - that's why you're supposed to take your thyroid pill first
thing in the morning without fail.
One thing to consider if she has some physical limitations at this
time - why not start school later? My daughter had a 2nd-7th period
schedule for junior year. It can be done if you push for it.
Finally, make sure you do a pregnancy test. Now I know and you know
and she knows that she's not pregnant, but do it anyway, because the
doctor's office will insist on it. Assure them you have done one
yourself, but they are free to do one as well. This gets this issue
off the table fast and allows you to get talking about other medical
Your post does not mention if your daughter has been to a doctor. Also
it may take more than one pregnancy test to know if someone is
pregnant. Nausea can indicate many things:
Since she needs to sleep in on weekends and then the symtoms go away
could mean she is really stressed at school. I don't think any adults
today have a reasonable idea of the stresses in school today - even
carefully chosen school environments are a mixed bag. If this is the
case please seek counseling. Being stressed can lead to many long term
physical changes in the brain and organ systems that are real,
debilitating, and potentially life threatening. Not sure why society
is not supportive as a whole to this option in this day and age, but
change is often ''a long time coming''.
I would really support your making a doctor's appt, or if your medical
office has a nurse practioner or a physician's assistant if this gets
her in sooner. Rule out medical causes, and at the same time check out
counseling. Counseling (IMHO) should be seen more as as something that
keeps us well, or makes us better, than as a last ditch unwelcome resort.
Hope things improve
Hypoglycemia can cause nausea in the morning--I have had this. She
should try eating a small meal w/ protein & no sugar just before
bed, and see if she feels better. Hope this helps.
Is she taking birth control pills (maybe without telling you)? They
can cause symptoms of pregnancy, including ''morning sickness'' and
Lack of sleep could also be the culprit. My daughter, who has a
sensitive system, feels nauseous when she doesn't get enough sleep or
if she has to get up drastically early in the morning. That would fit
why your daughter is OK on the weekends.
Good luck figuring it out!
I know this is a long shot, but I know my teen was getting morning
nausea when we switched our brand of daily vitamins. I didn't figure
it out until I started taking them and had the same experience. Now I
am sure we take them on a really full stomach and there's no problem.
mom of teen
There are many causes for morning nausea. Have your daughter checked
for food allergies, seasonl allergies, lactose intolerance, sinus
The sinus infection can go undetected for a long period of time. The
infection is toxic to your body and causes nausea.
Hope your daughter feels better soon,
I wonder if this could be an inner ear problem from rising early or
from interrupting a sleep cycle. Or an acid stomach/reflux issue,
from anxiety, diet, eating disorder. etc. In any case, I hope she
goes to her doctor to check out all possible physical causes.
Without any disrespect, it is possible to get a false negative on a
home pregnancy test.
I'd be worried too
I've always felt a bit nauseous upon awakening early. As a girl, I
remember horrid egg breakfasts before church on Sundays. Now, when I'm
readying for work at 7:00 a.m., the smell of eggs or onions cooking is
too much! I can handle a bit of toast and tea. My appetite comes into
full force at about 11:00 a.m. Weekends I wake up later, and have no
problem! I think my body is telling me it's just not quite awake yet.
I usually bring a mid-morning snack with me if I have to leave early.
I don't see this as a problem -- I've always been amazed at anyone who
can actually eat so early!
Fit & Healthy Mom
Are you sure she is (1) getting enough sleep and (2) not stressed by
school? I've known of kids who got nausea when faced with a
situation that stressed them - including a day at a summer camp
that ''should'' have been fun. At 16 she could be trying really hard
to fit in, to assure herself and you that she's not being a baby,
and just having stress. High school is full of really good reasons
Try waking her up at the school time on the weekend and see if that
makes her nauseated. If she is sick on the weekend you should take
her to the doctor. Good luck, it sounds stressful to YOU!
I have the same concern with my 15 year old daughter. She is out of
school today for the same problem, wakes up at 7, often feels nausea
and has a light amount of vomiting and then states she does not feel
well enough to go to school. She usually likes school and is doing ok
but I fear that missing so much school is affecting her grades. I
think that part of the problem is fatigue, not getting enough sleep
and it affects her physically. My advice is to make sure she eats and
drinks well in the evening and then goes to sleep early enough to get
at least 9 hours of sleep. I am trying this and have suggested
counseling but my daughter is resistant. She seems to have more of
this problem when she returns from staying with her Dad, we have joint
It could be stress, dehydration, food sensitivities.... Probably a
good idea to have a doctor rule out pinworms, ulcer, or worse.
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