Nausea and Vomiting

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Definition

What are nausea and vomiting?

Nausea is pronounced stomach discomfort and the sensation of wanting to vomit. Nausea can be a precursor to vomiting the contents of the stomach. Nausea and vomiting may occur separately or together.

How common are nausea and vomiting?

Nausea and vomiting are extremely common. Almost everyone experiences nausea and vomiting at some time, making them some of the most common problems in medicine. They can occur in patients in any gender at any age. They can be managed by reducing your risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.

Which signs and symptoms can nausea and vomiting usually be associated with?

Related signs and symptoms include:

  • Heartburn
  • Fever
  • Dizziness
  • Upset stomach
  • Pain

Causes

What causes nausea and vomiting?

Causes of nausea and vomiting can include:

  • Abdominal and pelvic organs — Many different abdominal conditions can cause nausea. Common abdominal causes of nausea include inflammation of the liver (hepatitis) or pancreas (pancreatitis); a blocked or stretched intestine or stomach; gastroesophageal reflux (GERD); irritation of the stomach, intestinal lining, appendix or pelvic organs; inflammation of the kidney; and gallbladder problems. The most common abdominal illnesses that result in nausea are viral infections (gastroenteritis). Nausea also can be caused by constipation and normal menstruation.
  • Brain and spinal fluid. Nausea is common with migraine headaches, head injury, brain tumors, stroke, bleeding into or around the brain and meningitis (inflammation or infection of the membranes covering the brain). It can be a symptom of glaucoma, resulting from pressure on the nerves at the back of the eye. It sometimes is a brain reaction triggered by pain, significant emotional distress or exposure to unpleasant sights or odors.
  • Balance centers in the inner ear — Nausea can be related to vertigo, a dizzy sensation of spinning, moving or falling when you are not moving. Common conditions that cause vertigo include motion sickness (triggered by repeated movements in different directions inside a car, boat, train, plane or amusement ride), viral infections of the inner ear (labyrinthitis), sensitivity to position change (benign positional vertigo) and certain brain or nerve tumors.

Nausea also is a common side effect of some body chemical changes:

  • Reproductive hormones — About 50% of women experience morning sickness during the first few months of pregnancy, and it is a common side effect of birth control pills.
  • Medications — Many medicines (including prescription, over-the-counter and herbal medicines) commonly cause nausea as a side effect, especially when more than one medication is taken at the same time. Chemotherapy drugs and antidepressants are among the medicines that frequently cause nausea.
  • Low blood sugar — Nausea is common with low blood sugar.
  • Alcohol use — Both alcohol intoxication and alcohol withdrawal, including a hangover, can cause nausea.
  • Anesthesia — Some people experience nausea while awakening from surgery and recovering from anesthesia.
  • Food allergies and food poisoning — In food poisoning, small amounts of bacteria in contaminated food produce irritating toxins that cause nausea and abdominal cramps.

The conditions mentioned above are some common causes of this symptom. Consult with your doctor for an accurate diagnosis.

Risk factors

What increases my risk for nausea and vomiting?

You are more likely to experience nausea and vomiting if you have any of the conditions mentioned above.

Please consult with your doctor for further information.

When to see your doctor

When should I see my doctor?

You should contact your doctor if you or your loved one has any of the following:

  • Nausea accompanied by heart attack symptoms. Heart attack symptoms include crushing chest pain, an intense headache, jaw pain, sweating, or pain in your left arm.
  • Nausea combined with a severe headache, stiff neck, difficulty breathing, or confusion.
  • Nausea followed the ingestion of a probably poisonous substance.
  • Nausea accompanied by dehydration.
  • Inabiltiy to eat or drink for more than 12 hours due to nausea.
  • Nausea that persists over 4 hours of trying over-the-counter interventions.

On noticing one of these symptoms or having any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor to get the best solutions for your situation.

Lifestyle changes & home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage nausea and vomiting?

These following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with nausea and vomiting:

  • Eat small meals every few hours so your stomach won’t feel full.
  • Try to avoid bothersome odors such as perfume, smoke or certain cooking smells.
  • If you have had nausea for weeks to months, consider keeping a food diary to help identify foods that cause nausea.
  • Avoid eating any food that smells or appears spoiled or has not been refrigerated properly.
  • If you are prone to motion sickness, avoid reading in a moving vehicle. Also, try to sit in the part of the vehicle with the least movement (near the wings of an airplane or in the center of a boat). Ask your doctor about taking anti-nausea drugs before traveling.
  • Avoid alcohol, caffeinated colas, coffees and teas.
  • Drink beverages that settle the stomach, such as ginger ale or chamomile tea.
  • Drink clear liquids to avoid dehydration (if vomiting is associated with nausea).
  • Eat small, frequent meals to allow the stomach to digest foods gradually.
  • Eat foods that are bland and simple for your stomach to digest, such as crackers or unbuttered bread, rice, chicken soup and bananas.
  • Avoid spicy foods and fried foods.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor for the best solutions.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Review Date: December 24, 2018 | Last Modified: December 24, 2018

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