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Date of last update: 10/15/2017.

Forum Name: Gastroenterology Topics

Question: nausea when lying on left side

 shygirl25 - Tue Aug 30, 2005 4:08 am

i have extreme nausea when lying on my left side. it doesn't happen when i try to sleep in any other position. can anyone give me an idea what it could be?
 Dr. Safaa Mahmoud - Sun Aug 06, 2006 8:03 am

User avatar Dear shygirl25,

Nausea occurs as a result of problems in:
- the CNS,
-o organs of the upper gastrointestinal tract (esophagus, stomach, small intestine, liver, pancreas, and gallbladder).
- non-gastrointestinal organs of the body Gynecological problems.
- associated with pain of any origin,
- motion sickness,
- medications

The diagnosis of the cause of prolonged nausea may not be easy.

Nausea results from dysfunction of any part in the digestive tract thus other associated symptoms are very helpful to find out the underlying cause.

You have mentioned that it starts only when you sleep on your left side. This is really not understandable for me, but I can think of any cause that results either in:
Pain while in this position.
Pressure on the stomach (being full or external pressure by any other organ).
Irritation of the GI tract or the peritoneum (membrane surround the gut), but this is usually accompanied with pan.

Any chronic nausea or vomiting symptom should to be investigated.

Hope you find this information useful. Follow up with your doctor is essential. Only by complete history and physical examination, the correct diagnosis can be reached.

Best regards.
 flip - Sat Sep 19, 2009 9:19 pm

If I sleep on my left side at night I sometimes wake up with nausea. It goes away as soon as I turn on my right side or back. Any reasons?
 Dr.M.Aroon kamath - Fri Oct 23, 2009 10:36 am

User avatar Hello shygirl25 & flip ,
Dr.Safaa has already responded clearly in great detail.
I only have a comment or two to add to that ....
Vomiting occuring in the left lateral decubitus position or Gastro-esophageal reflux occuring in that position may be far easier to explain.But, nausea occuring only in a particular position is perplexing.
Acute "changes" in position may explain 'motion sickness'- but, nausea only in one position and not while turning back to the supine position.... again i can't explain!

The semicircular canals in the inner ear sense position.The only plausible way in which your symptom can be explained is that it must have something to do with one of the semicircular canals.A viral infection perhaps, triggering this event.....What exactly it is, i am really unable to explain If i can gather any further information about this, i will certainly get back to you. Thanks for your very interesting query!
 jel353 - Wed Feb 10, 2010 10:40 pm

i too have a similar problem..the only difference is my nausea is relieved when im in the supine position only. I also experience extreme vertigo with a corresponding increase in respiration and diaphoresis when i switch to a lateral position. Yesterday i was playing football when i accidentally fell and hit my head on the ground, but felt nothing unusual and i even kept on playing.
 Dr.M.jagesh kamath - Wed Feb 17, 2010 9:12 pm

User avatar Hello,Post traumatic vertigo can occur after head injuries and the organ to get affected is the inner ear known as labrynth.This contains fluids which control the balance.
The couse of action would be to consult an ENT physician for diagnosis and treatment.
 MeghanOrange - Tue Jul 06, 2010 4:15 pm

Only because it seems the MD folks are perplexed by the 'left side' thing, I'll put in my two very humble cents. I suffer from chronic motion sickness and spend most of my 'in motion' vomiting my guts out. If I'm feeling whoozy but not yet puking, lying on my left side triggers my puking almost immediately. It is exponentially worse than any other position. My theory? You're crowding your stomach! If there is already some health problem related to your stomach, it certainly can't help to position it under the rest of your guts :-)

So, no dx or theory of the underlying cause, but I wanted to let you know that the 'left side' thing doesn't seem strange to me and that I too experience this characteristic (but only when I'm already ill).

Get well!

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