Diabetes Medication – Causes and Symptoms of Nausea

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Diabetes usually referred to as diabetes mellitus, is associated with a range of issues.

A symptom of diabetes that might not be widely known is feeling nauseous.

Sickness may be caused by medicines, unchecked high blood sugar levels, and other causes. Not everyone who has diabetes will develop nausea.

It is imperative that those living with diabetes understand how to manage their condition and lower their risk of developing it.

What is Nausea?

An uncomfortable sensation in your tummy that may lead to vomiting is known as nausea. Numerous causes can lead to a person feeling sick to their stomach, such as motion sickness, food intoxication, pregnancy, overeating, overindulging in alcohol and bumps to the head.

When people feel sick to their stomach, they usually do not feel like eating anymore. They may struggle to finish the tasks they typically do on a daily basis.

Though not a pleasant experience, nausea plays a vital role in safeguarding human health. Sickness can be a deterrent for us to consume foods that may be unhealthy, such as toxins and chemicals.

Persistent nausea is more worrying than sporadic, situation-specific nausea, such as if you eat something your body cannot handle.

Ongoing nausea can be an indication that something is wrong with your body. Consequently, it is important to carry out a more in-depth inquiry into a situation where someone has been feeling continuously nauseous and the cause is unknown.

Causes of Diabetes Nausea

Nausea and vomiting can arise from different causes, including:

  • Experiencing low and high blood sugars
  • Diabetic ketoacidosis
  • Pancreatitis
  • Gastroparesis
  • Low blood pressure
  • Alcohol use
  • Even some diabetes medications can have these same effects.

Below, we will go into further detail about a few of the causes for diabetes-associated nausea.

Low Blood Sugar Levels (Hypoglycemia)

The typical level of blood sugar is between 70 and 140 mg/dL. It can be an issue if your blood sugar level is persistently higher or lower than the ideal range.

A blood sugar reading lower than 70 mg/dL is considered a low level. Hypoglycemia is the term used when the blood sugar level is too low. You may not experience any symptoms until your blood sugar level drops below a certain point, or you may notice the effects even when your blood sugar is somewhat higher.

Blood sugar levels can decrease due to having an excessive amount of insulin or other diabetes medicines, not consuming enough food, and engaging in excess physical activity, among other causes.

High Blood Sugar Levels (Hyperglycemia)

A state of having too-high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) can bring about sensations of nausea.

It is essential to consume items with sugar in them if suffering from hypoglycemia, as this will help to bring up the blood glucose levels, which should in turn lessen the feeling of nausea. It is very important to keep a close eye on blood sugar levels if you are suffering from hyperglycemia to make sure that the readings do not get too high, and to stay in contact with a medical professional.

People who have not kept their high blood sugar under control may develop diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) (which mainly affects individuals with type 1 diabetes) or diabetic hyperglycemic hyperosmolar syndrome (HHS) (usually found in type 2 diabetes patients), both of which have nausea as a symptom.

Other symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis include abdominal discomfort, exhaustion, increased urination, extreme thirst, a smell of fruit on the breath, difficulty breathing, and, in some cases, loss of consciousness.

The loss of fluids due to nausea and vomiting can intensify imbalances in electrolytes, so it is imperative to get timely medical care for these problems.

Diabetes Medications

Medications used for the treatment of diabetes are greatly beneficial, however, they can also bring about additional undesirable effects, one of them being nausea.

Metformin, a well-known drug used to treat diabetes, has been reported to produce various stomach issues including feeling queasy.

Therefore, many healthcare providers start off with a minor dosage and suggest to the patient to expand the dosage gradually as they are able to over the course of a few weeks.

Using a higher dosage and taking metformin with food may help alleviate the unwanted effects of the drug.

  • Byetta (generic name exenatide) is an injectable blood-sugar-lowering medication from the GLP-1 receptor agonist family. Byetta is known to cause side effects such as nausea or vomiting, upset stomach, and diarrhea, among others. Victoza (generic name liraglutide) is another GLP-1 receptor agonist like Byetta and is known to cause nausea and other GI symptoms.
  • Symlin (generic name pramlintide) can cause nausea, similar to the other GLP-1 receptor agonists already mentioned. Side effects can be exaggerated if too high a dose is taken, so following exact prescribing information and following up with the prescribing healthcare provider is very important.
  • Sulfonylureas, another class of diabetes medications that can cause nausea, though it is infrequent.
  • DPP-4 inhibitor drugs such as Januvia and Onglyza may cause nausea, and may also increase the risk of pancreatitis, so it usually isn’t recommended for those with a history of pancreatitis.
  • Insulin usually doesn’t cause symptoms because it’s something the body makes naturally. Still, in the event of injecting too much insulin and/or not eating enough after taking it, low blood sugar can result, which does cause nausea.


A possible long-term effect of having high blood sugar over an extended period of time is gastroparesis. High blood sugar has an adverse effect on the nerves of the stomach, impeding it from expelling food out of the stomach to other parts of the digestive tract correctly.

Signs of gastroparesis encompass a sensation of satisfaction, acid reflux, queasiness, and throwing up. Eating large, high-fiber, and/or high-fat meals can exacerbate symptoms.

Certain foods take more time to break down, not just ones that relate to gastroparesis. The more time passes while food is in the stomach, the more potential there is to experience symptoms.


The pancreas, which is the organ in charge of producing insulin, can become inflamed and painful, which is referred to as pancreatitis.

Diabetics who have not yet gotten the disease under control are twice to three times as susceptible to getting pancreatitis as those without diabetes. The pancreas may become swollen and inflamed, known as pancreatitis, which can lead to nausea. Although nausea is often the primary symptom, it is often accompanied by other signs such as vomiting, stomach pain, and elevated triglyceride levels.

Conversely, long-term pancreatitis can increase the likelihood of getting diabetes.

Long-term irritation of the pancreas can disrupt its capability to make insulin. The hormone insulin aids in controlling and reducing one’s blood sugar level. When insulin production drops, it causes a spike in blood sugars.

Those aged over 50 years with diabetes for five or more years could be more vulnerable to pancreatic cancer. Patients with pancreatic cancer may have nausea in advanced cases if it isn’t recognized early on.

It is possible that pancreatic cancer may be an underlying cause if your diabetes becomes increasingly unmanageable. It is essential to have regular check-ins with your medical specialist in order to avoid any potential issues resulting from diabetes.

Alcohol use

Drinking alcoholic drinks while taking medications that reduce one’s blood sugar may result in an uncomfortably low level of glucose, which can make one feel nauseous. It is particularly probable if you drink alcoholic beverages on an unfilled stomach.

Drinking too much alcohol causes the pancreas to produce more insulin. This is why it is essential for people taking medications for diabetes to be aware of how much alcohol they consume.

Consuming metformin while consuming a significant amount of alcohol can not only increase your likelihood of hypoglycemia but also increase the risk of lactic acidosis.

Treatments and Management of Nausea

The management of nausea could differ based on the source, if it is due to an issue with blood sugar, pancreatitis, or gastroparesis.

To treat high blood sugar, exercise may help. If your blood sugar is higher than 240 mg/dl, it is advised that you examine your urine for ketones. If there are ketones in your system, it is not recommended to work out, as it can increase your glucose levels even more.

Artificial Sweetener Warning

Though items with no sugar may seem to be a suitable choice for people living with diabetes, research has determined that the extended use of products having manufactured sweeteners can be damaging.

Xylitol and other sugar substitutes can lead to stomach upset, including nausea and diarrhea. These symptoms may be amplified with increased consumption.

If your blood sugar is low, don’t allow yourself to indulge excessively; this could lead to your blood sugar reaching an unhealthy level. Instead, it is recommended to follow the 15-15 rule:

  1. Have 15 grams of simple carbohydrates like a tablespoon of sugar or four ounces of juice to raise your blood sugar.
  2. Wait 15 minutes to recheck your levels.
  3. If your blood sugar is still below 70 mg/dl, have another serving and wait 15 minutes more.
  4. Repeat these steps until your blood sugar reaches 70 mg/dl.

Treatment for pancreatitis depends on severity. To treat less serious cases of acute pancreatitis, taking a break and being administered either IV fluids or antibiotics can get you back to feeling healthy in a brief amount of time. In cases of serious pancreatitis, surgery may be needed in order to eliminate the gallbladder or to decrease the pressure in the pancreatic duct.

Try breaking your meals into five or six smaller portions throughout the day rather than eating three large meals. This can help with managing gastroparesis. Stay away from alcoholic beverages and soda and don’t recline for two hours after eating. Be certain to keep regulating your blood sugar levels, as excessively high glucose can result in stomach contents taking longer to be emptied and in increased nausea.

In more extreme circumstances of gastroparesis, such as those related to diabetes, undergoing surgery to reduce tension in the stomach may be suggested.

Lifestyle Changes

Handling the queasiness caused by diabetes can be a tough issue since many of the nourishments that can abate sickness (like bananas, applesauce, and rice) may frequently lead to spikes in blood sugar levels. There are, however, dietary changes you can make to help reduce this symptom that will keep your blood sugar in check:

  • Get your carbs mostly from unprocessed non-starchy vegetables.
  • Avoid or limit heavy, spicy, or deep-fried foods.
  • Involve your healthcare professional in your meal-planning.
  • Eat smaller and more frequent meals.

Eating foods that are high in protein and drinking clear soups, herbal teas, and ginger can be beneficial when you are feeling nauseated.

Nausea Medications

There are multiple over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medications that can help treat nausea:


  • Pepto-Bismol (bismuth subsalicylate)
  • Antihistamines such as Dramamine (dimenhydrinate)


  • Zofran (ondansetron)
  • Promethegan (promethazine)
  • Reglan (metoclopramide)
  • Compro (prochlorperazine)
  • Transderm Scop (scopolamine)

It is essential that you voice any concerns you may have to your physician about the dangers, advantages, and consequences of these drugs, and if they are suitable for you.

When to See Your Healthcare Provider

It is essential to coordinate with your medical professional in order to keep insulin amounts and glucose level in check while managing your diabetes appropriately. There may be times, however, when diabetes-related nausea and vomiting may warrant medical care, including:

  • You have difficulty regulating blood sugar.
  • You have nausea and vomiting for more than a day.
  • Nausea or vomiting is accompanied by fever, sweating, or fatigue.
  • You can’t keep solids or liquids down.
  • Seek emergency care for nausea if:
  • Nausea is accompanied by sharp pain.
  • You’re vomiting blood or oddly colored discharge.
  • You’re experiencing high fever or blurred vision.
  • You’re finding it hard to breathe.
  • You experience fainting or loss of consciousness.


Diabetes may result in feeling sick and throwing up, but it is possible to regulate if the possible causes are looked out for. Continue consulting your doctor regarding any diabetes-related issues that are causing your queasiness and build a plan that can be used to manage it both short-term and long-term.


It is critical for those with diabetes to abide by their doctor’s advice to manage their condition and promote good physical health. Controlling your diabetes can help maintain disease signs such as queasiness and retching in check.

It is commonplace to feel nauseous when you have diabetes, but it is critical to not to dismiss any of the warning signs or speak to your doctor if you are having alarmingly high or low blood sugar or any of the conditions stated.

When dealing with diabetes, it is important to recognize that YOU are the primary individual in charge of your medical care, and understanding the signs and warning signs of additional severe complications of diabetes keeps you in command of your wellbeing.

Adhering to the diet and exercise program recommended for diabetes, taking the proper medications and being diligent in doing so can help regulate the disease.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Nausea After Eating Sugar a Sign of Diabetes?

Children may experience nausea, which could be an indication of type 1 diabetes. Ketoacidosis is generally linked to type 2 diabetes and can occur even after other symptoms have presented themselves, such as unintentional body mass reduction, frequent peeing, great thirst, yearning for food, weakness, impaired vision, and non-healing sores.

Can High Blood Sugar Make You Throw Up?

Yes. Hyperglycemia, high blood sugar, can cause nausea. It is probable that it will take place when you consume more than usual, following physical activity, or early in the morning. If you do not keep your blood sugar levels in check, your body will begin to create ketones, which are byproducts that pass through the body. This can also result in queasiness and spewing, in addition to other signs.

Is Throwing Up When You’re Pregnant a Sign of Diabetes?

Gestational diabetes doesn’t usually cause noticeable symptoms. Possible sickness such as feeling nauseous, tiredness, and having a sudden urge to urinate frequently could be signs of a health problem; however, these can also be part of having a normal pregnancy. If you are experiencing nausea and throwing up, discuss it with your medical practitioner. A glucose test can be used to verify if you have gestational diabetes so that you can acquire the correct treatment.


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