What can be more harrowing than getting weighed down by a splitting headache and nausea after eating a deliciously satisfying and fulfilling meal? That would completely strip you of all that pleasure you were having tasting those dexterously prepared not so long ago! In fact, you haven't even properly got over the taste of those generous helpings of dessert with which you so ceremoniously concluded your gastronomic trip and here you are, already feeling an invisible hand crushing your skull and another one tugging at your esophagus with utter disregard for your physical discomfort and social discomfiture!
If such an incident has occurred to you for the first time, it's but natural to feel a little uneasy about it, though most people would just dismiss it with a "must be something I ate" shrug and carry on with their lives. You know what, most cases of headache and nausea after eating are indeed brought about by something you ate that didn't agree with your system! For more details and the rest of the story, read right ahead....
Post Meal Headache and Nausea
What causes nausea after eating? Well, if it's just frequent and constant nausea after a meal/snack, the reasons are usually related to gastrointestinal discomfort caused by either ingesting something that caused irritation to the gastrointestinal tract or due to gastrointestinal disease which weakens the digestive function making the stomach incapable of processing and breaking down complex dietary items such as fibers, proteins, etc. Intolerance to certain edible items and food allergy can also lead to a feeling of nausea post eating those things. Also, it is normal to feel nauseous or sick after meals during pregnancy. However, when we're talking about post meal nausea accompanied by headache, the reasons may or may not be the same as those that are responsible for post meal nausea alone. Let's take a look at all possible reasons that can lead to a headache as well as nausea after eating something.
Allergies are something that cannot be fully explained. You never know what someone may be allergic to until the time that person's body shows an unusual and adverse physical reaction to it. The reactions themselves may vary greatly for the same allergen in different people. In case of food allergy or intolerance, the symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, abdominal pain, diarrhea, bloating, headache, etc. These symptoms may appear individually but a combination - any combination - of two or more of these symptoms is not uncommon. That includes simultaneous nausea and headache after eating something one is allergic to or intolerant towards.
Neck Muscle Tightness
A tightness or severe stiffness in your neck muscles can make you feel sick and give you a headache at the same time after you indulge in any activity that makes use of these muscles. Swallowing and chewing are two activities which involve these muscles for quite some time. As the neck muscles reach up to your head, the unnecessary muscular tension caused by abnormal tightening can give you a headache while the constriction of the upper part of the throat and food passageway can make you feel like throwing up.
Here comes the most common factor that causes both headache and nausea together, no matter which side of a meal you are (before or after eating, that is)! A migraine attack can be triggered after a meal if you've consumed any of the following food triggers for migraine - alcohol, cheese, cold dishes or frozen desserts and any food that contained an artificial additive or preservative.
Although gastrointestinal disease and pregnancy cannot be totally ruled out from the scope of possible factors that cause nausea and headache after eating, these do not USUALLY bring on this situation. The most common cause of a dull or splitting headache accompanied by an urge to throw up is, by far, food allergy or intolerance. Migraine comes as a close second and it can be avoided by staying away from certain food items, no matter how much they beckon to you from across the table!