Is My Nausea COVID-19 Related? Gastrointestinal Problems vs COVID-19


Posted By Author on May 26, 2022

COVID-19 shares many symptoms with the flu, sometimes making it difficult to diagnose. Symptoms like diarrhea, nausea and vomiting can be associated with both COVID-19 and other everyday illnesses – but a trained gastroenterologist can help! Our GI specialists have provided some useful insights below, so take a look!

How Do I Know if My Diarrhea, Nausea or Vomiting Is Due to a Normal Sickness or COVID-19? 

The CDC lists gastrointestinal issues as potential COVID-19 symptoms, along with shortness of breath, fatigue, headaches, loss of taste/smell, etc. While diarrhea, nausea and vomiting are often less common symptoms, it is best to consult a trained gastroenterologist to be on the safe side. Your GI specialist can help determine whether your symptoms are COVID-related or due to a common illness like the flu. 

CDC: Common Symptoms of COVID-19

A wide variety of symptoms are now associated with COVID-19, ranging from mild to life-threatening. Watch for symptoms 2 to 14 days after virus exposure, including the following:

  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle/body aches
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Common Symptoms & Causes of Nausea, Vomiting & Diarrhea

Those with gastrointestinal issues may experience these unpleasant symptoms, leaving them feeling less than their best.

Nausea Symptoms

While symptoms vary, you may experience the following:

  • Weakness
  • Sweating
  • A buildup of saliva in your mouth
  • Urge to vomit

Nausea Causes

One of these causes could be to blame for nausea:

  • Early stages of pregnancy (morning sickness)
  • Seasickness/motion sickness
  • Indigestion
  • Particular smells or odors
  • Severe pain
  • Being exposed to chemical toxins
  • Emotional stress, such as fear
  • Gallbladder disease

Vomiting Symptoms 

Vomiting can be accompanied by these symptoms: 

  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fever
  • Lightheadedness/Fainting
  • Vertigo
  • Rapid pulse
  • Excessive sweating
  • Dry mouth
  • Decreased urination
  • Chest pain
  • Confusion
  • Excessive tiredness

Vomiting Causes

There is an extensive list of causes for vomiting, so be sure to visit your GI specialist if symptoms persist. 

  • Appendicitis
  • Acute cholecystitis (inflammation of the gallbladder)
  • Bowel obstruction
  • Certain medicines (antibiotics, opioid painkillers etc.)
  • Chemotherapy
  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • Gastroenteritis
  • Heart attack
  • Infections
  • Labyrinthitis
  • Kidney infections/stones
  • Medication reaction
  • Migraines
  • Motion sickness
  • Neumonia
  • External stimuli (shock, pain, smells, sounds, etc.)
  • Pregnancy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Sepsis

Diarrhea Symptoms

Patients with diarrhea may experience the following:

  • Abdominal cramps or stomach aches
  • Bloating
  • Upset stomach
  • Urgent need to go to the bathroom
  • Dehydration
  • Fever
  • Bloody stools
  • Leaking stool and incontinence

Dehydration is a serious side effect of diarrhea, making it more important than ever to drink plenty of fluids. Symptoms may include:

  • Feeling thirsty
  • Not urinating as often
  • Having dry skin and a dry mouth and nostrils
  • Exhaustion
  • Lightheadedness
  • Headaches
  • Rapid heart rate

Diarrhea Causes

  • Bacterial infection
  • Virus
  • Food allergy or intolerance
  • Ingested parasites 
  • Medication reaction or side effect
  • Intestinal disease
  • Functional bowel disorder
  • Result of stomach or gallbladder 
  • Metabolic condition

Having Gastrointestinal Problems? Schedule An Appointment at Charleston GI – No Referral Needed! 

If you are experiencing GI symptoms, there’s no need to suffer in silence. Our team of board certified gastroenterologists is here to help, offering a higher standard of caring to patients throughout the Lowcountry. We can also help determine the cause of your symptoms, whether you’re suffering from COVID-19, a common illness or a more serious condition.

Plus, we’ve made great care convenient with four area locations – open five days a week! And there’s no referral needed. Contact the GI center nearest you to schedule an appointment!

Disclaimer: Information on this page is sourced from the CDC website. In the event of a discrepancy between the information on CharlestonGI.com and the CDC website, please follow CDC’s guidance.