1 Nausea Summary

Are you feeling uneasy and feel like about to vomit? You might have nausea. In some cases, nausea becomes severe that you experience vomiting. Vomiting is almost always triggered by nausea, so the two are often described as occurring together. You may experience nausea without actual vomiting.

Aside from vomiting, nausea can be accompanied by other symptoms. Almost anyone feels uncomfortable when having nausea. A bout of nausea can prevent you from doing physical or mental tasks.

Nausea can easily make you feel sick that you become unable to work, accomplish tasks at home, school or work. Repeated bouts of nausea can be debilitating.

There are many reasons why nausea occurs. You can have nausea even if you are perfectly healthy. In some cases, nausea can be caused by real health problems. Note there are many medical conditions that feature nausea as a symptom.

Nausea is a very common health symptom, and how it occurs is still not completely understood by experts. Nausea is a complicated mechanism triggered by the brain and brainstem.

Experts also say that nausea is a safeguard so our early ancestors can easily throw up gathered foodstuffs that could be poisonous. This may explain why nausea is one of the initial symptoms of poisoning.

You can have nausea due to motion sickness, dizziness, after recovering from fainting, morning sickness, after concurring concussion, or stress. These conditions are often not associated with health problems.

Sometimes, nausea can be caused by medical conditions. One of the most common causes of nausea is food poisoning. Another frequent cause is alcohol intoxication.

Other health conditions that causes nausea include severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis), migraine, rotavirus infection, anorexia nervosa, viral gastroenteritis, bulimia, cholecystitis (inflammation of the gallbladder), depression, hernia of the stomach, gallstones, enlarged spleen, hematoma inside the skull, increased pressure inside the skull, concussion, liver or pancreas problems, ulcers in the stomach, brain injury, or intussusception.

Many of these conditions cause nausea and vomiting with other symptoms. Medicines like those used in cancer, inhaled anesthetics, or radiation therapy often cause nausea and vomiting. In most cases, nausea does not require doctor’s attention. 

Repeated bouts of nausea, or if nausea occurs with other symptoms, should be brought to medical attention. You should see a doctor if you have nausea and vomiting with chest pain, blurring of vision, severe pain in the stomach, fainting, or vomiting with bile, or fecal material.

Nausea with high fever, cold clammy or pale skin, or have signs and symptoms of dehydration should be seen by the doctor. Note that nausea is a caused by several conditions so the doctor may need to perform physical examinations and tests to determine the cause.

Treating the cause relieves nausea. Because it can have many causes, treatment of nausea can be simple or require many procedures.

There are certain medicines that can be used to treat nausea. There are also several effective remedies for relieving nausea. Since nausea can have triggers, staying away from them is also recommended.

2 Causes

Nausea is sometimes caused by normal body’s responses to something harmful or poisonous. For example, you may feel sick after eating spoiled food. You can also have nausea and vomiting after bingeing on food.

Sometimes, eating novel foods that are perfectly okay may elicit nausea and vomiting. Adults may also experience nausea after eating too much food. Some smells and foods like raw egg whites also elicit nausea to many people. Consuming too many alcoholic drinks may also cause the same thing, as alcohol is considered poisonous to the brain.

Children may have nausea or vomiting due to feeding too much food or milk, or due to repeated coughing.

Pregnant mothers may have repeated bouts of nausea and vomiting, especially in the first trimester. This is thought to be caused by a sudden surge of hormones that support a pregnancy.

In other people, intense pain and stress may trigger nausea. Nausea and vomiting may also occur if the brain experience sensory overload, like in the case of motion sickness and seasickness.

Certain medicines may cause nausea and vomiting as a side effect. In fact, almost all medicines may cause nausea and vomiting if you take too much dose. Note that medicines, especially at large doses, may register to the brain as poisonous and so cause vomiting.

Other cases of nausea require medical attention as they can be caused by health problems. Nausea and vomiting are often caused by food poisoning. The bacteria that cause food poisoning produce toxins that cause nausea and vomiting. A bout of nausea and vomiting within 8 hours after eating a meal may indicate food poisoning.

Children with fever often experience nausea and vomiting. Nausea and vomiting that occurs after a concussion or head injury can be a symptom of brain damage. Those who suffered a concussion should go to the doctor right away.

Problems in the inner ear such as otitis media may cause nausea. The vestibular system that senses balance is located in the inner ear and infection may cause it to send abnormal signals to the brain to cause nausea.

Abdominal problems often cause nausea and vomiting as a symptom, here are those conditions:

Nausea can be a symptom of other conditions such as serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis), eating disorders, diabetic ketoacidosis, heart failure, meningitis, liver failure and liver cancer, milk allergy, and Meniere’s disease.

Note that there are medicines that can cause nausea. Medicines like those used to treat cancer often cause nausea and other symptoms. Certain antibiotics, antidepressants, pain relievers (like Aspirin and Naproxen), narcotics, and iron supplements may also cause nausea. Nausea is a commonly reported side effect of most medications.

Patients who underwent radiation therapy may experience nausea as a side effect. Inhaled anesthetics used in surgery may also cause nausea, which is why patients regaining consciousness after such procedures often vomit.

3 Diagnosis and Treatment

Nausea is a subjective sign, meaning that only you can notice it. You must report it to the doctor along with other symptoms. In most cases nausea is harmless, and there is no need to go to the doctor.

However, nausea that occurs with other symptoms may require medical attention. If nausea occurs with symptoms such as severe pain, headache, or if you or the child is unable to eat or drink, or have signs of dehydration (thirst, dry mouth, reduced urination, passing out dark urine, weakness, and lightheadedness), go to the doctor right away.

If you suspect poisoning, call poison control hotline right away. Note the characteristics of the vomit in the case of vomiting. Vomit with material that looks like coffee grounds has a green color, or has fecal smell should be seen by the doctor.

Also, you should see the doctor if you have bouts of vomiting lasting two days (24 hours for children), or have unexplained weight loss. If poisoning is suspected, try to remember or identify the poison.

Nausea has many causes so the diagnosis will depend on your other symptoms. The doctor will ask about your medical history, perform physical exams and order blood tests. Blood tests will determine if you have electrolyte imbalances, the presence of infection or inflammation.

Suspected problems in the digestive system may be further examined by examining the stool for bacteria or blood tests to detect bacteria markers. Abdominal x-rays, CT scan, or abdominal is used to check for blockage or stones in the gallbladder.

To diagnose ulcers or blockage in the digestive tract, the doctor may sometimes perform endoscopy, which inserts a tube with a camera at one end down your throat. Endoscopy allows the doctor to examine your digestive tract.

Suspected brain injuries may be examined using advanced positron emission tomography (PET) scan and CT scan.

Nausea and vomiting are treated by addressing the cause. Repeated vomiting often cause dehydration so you will be given intravenous fluids. In the case of ingested poisons, the doctor may try to flush out the stomach, and have the vomit examined to detect the poison.

If there is an infection, your doctor may give you antibiotics. Some causes of nausea and vomiting such as swallowed foreign object, intestinal blockage, intestinal ischemia, appendicitis, or blockage of the vessels carrying the bile, require immediate surgery to prevent more serious complications.

There are medicines that can relieve nausea and vomiting. These drugs include Aprepitant, Proclorperazine, Palonosetron, Ondansetron, Granisetron, or Dolasetron. These drugs are often given to relieve nausea caused by procedures like chemotherapy and radiation therapy. These drugs should not be given to treat morning sickness in pregnant mothers or relieve nausea in children.

There are effective remedies for nausea and vomiting that you can try. Resting for a while usually, reduce anxiety. Try to avoid triggers such as noise, tobacco smoke, food and cooking odors, perfume, stuffy rooms, heat, or flickering lights. You can try to eat bland foods such as dry crackers, gelatin, or toast to relieve nausea. These may work well for nausea and suitable for pregnant patients.

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