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Nausea and hunger after eating, waking up at night hungry, urge to urinate at night. Any idea of what is going on?

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General Surgeon
Practicing since : 2008
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Hello, I do not take medications and am in generally good health as a 64-year man about 6-foot in height weighing 195 pounds. I do exercise periodically and drink adequate water. However, for the last two months I have bouts of nausea and hunger after eating and often wake up in the middle of the night with a severe hunger need to which I often satisfy with a saltine cracker and a glass of milk. I also generally wake up for urination at least once during the night, usually around 3AM. Any idea of what is going on?
Posted Tue, 11 Sep 2012 in Digestion and Bowels
Answered by Dr. Grzegorz Stanko 1 hour later
Nausea associated with hunger mostly are caused by hypoglycemia. This happens when a blood sugar level decreases what causes autonomic nervous system activation. This causes nausea, headache, shakiness, anxiety, nervousness, sweating, hand shaking and hunger.
Hypoglycemia may be caused by very rare insulin secreting tumor(what is unlikely) and can also occur on healthy people when there is bad diet (a lot of simple mono saccharides) or insufficient amount of sugars in diet. This can be easily checked with glucose meter when symptoms occur.
Please provide if you have mentioned symptoms, and if there are any abdominal aches, diarrhea or constipation, recent weight lost.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Nausea and hunger after eating, waking up at night hungry, urge to urinate at night. Any idea of what is going on? 4 hours later

I have and continue to eat a healthy diet of beef, chicken and or fish along with vegetables every day. I eat a modest breakfast (oatmeal and toast) and a healthy lunch and dinner. I do have headaches at time but no shakiness, sweating, or nervousness. I do not drink soft drinks and do watch my sugar intake and like an occasional Guinness or glass of red wine, so I am at a loss as to why I am experiencing the nausea and hunger. I have no abdominal aches or weight loss and rare constipation. I drink black coffee (4-5 cups a day).
Answered by Dr. Grzegorz Stanko 6 hours later

Even with the diet you have specified, still you can suffer from hypoglycemia. I suggest you to have checked your blood sugar in nausea/hunger situation. Especially that you have no any other symptoms from digestive system.

Black coffee intake results with adrenaline secretion what leads to blood glucose level increase but it also accelerates glucose consumption and may lead to hypoglycemia.

I suggest you to reduce amount of coffee cups a day, try to increase sugars intake, add some whole grain products like whole grain bread or brown rice.

And please check your blood sugar level during symptoms occurrence to make sure we are dealing with hypoglycemia.

Do let me know if you have more concerns.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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