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Nausea symptoms, causes, and treatment

Nausea is a sensation often described as a feeling of discomfort or unease in the stomach and upper abdomen. It can often be described as:

  • Queasiness

  • Upset stomach

  • Lightheadedness

  • Salivation

  • Sensitivity to smells


Nausea can be caused by various factors, including illness, motion sickness, pregnancy, certain medications, and more. You should consider scheduling an appointment with a St. Joseph Health primary care provider if you have nausea and vomiting for any of the following reasons:

  • Prolonged duration: If your symptoms persist for more than 24 to 48 hours, it's advisable to seek medical attention.

  • Severe dehydration: If you're unable to keep fluids down and are experiencing signs of dehydration, such as dark urine, dry mouth, or dizziness, consult a doctor.

  • Blood in vomit: If you notice blood in your vomit or have a coffee-ground appearance in vomit, it could indicate a more serious underlying issue and requires immediate medical evaluation.

  • Severe abdominal pain: If your nausea and vomiting are accompanied by severe abdominal pain, it could be a sign of a more serious condition that requires medical assessment.

  • Fever: If you develop a fever along with nausea and vomiting, it may indicate an infection or other medical concern.

  • Head injury: If nausea and vomiting follow a head injury, it's crucial to seek medical attention, as it could be a sign of a concussion or other head-related issues.

  • Medication reaction: If you suspect that your symptoms are related to a new medication you've started taking, contact your doctor to discuss potential side effects.

  • Pregnancy: If you're pregnant and experiencing severe or persistent nausea and vomiting (hyperemesis gravidarum), consult your healthcare provider for appropriate management.

  • Chronic health conditions: If you have underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, kidney disease, or heart conditions and experience nausea and vomiting, it's important to consult your doctor.

  • Rapid weight loss: If you're losing weight rapidly due to persistent nausea and vomiting, it's advisable to seek medical evaluation.

  • Signs of infection: If your nausea and vomiting are accompanied by signs of infection, such as high fever, chills, or body aches, consult a doctor.


At-home nausea remedies

  • Ginger: Consuming ginger in the form of ginger tea, ginger candies, or ginger capsules can help alleviate nausea and settle the stomach.

  • Peppermint: Peppermint tea or peppermint oil aromatherapy may provide relief from nausea and promote digestion.

  • Acupressure: Applying pressure to the P6 acupressure point on your wrist, also known as the Nei-Kuan point, may help reduce nausea.

  • Lemon: Inhaling the scent of a freshly cut lemon or sipping on lemon-infused water can help ease nausea.

  • BRAT Diet: The BRAT diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast) is a bland diet that can be gentle on the stomach during bouts of nausea.

  • Hydration: Sip on clear fluids like water, herbal tea, or clear broths to prevent dehydration and ease nausea.

  • Small, frequent meals: Opt for small, frequent meals throughout the day to prevent overwhelming your stomach and reduce nausea.

  • Crackers or dry toast: Eating plain crackers or dry toast in small amounts can help settle your stomach and alleviate nausea.

  • Avoid strong odors: Strong smells can trigger nausea, so avoid exposure to strong odors or cooking aromas.

  • Rest and relaxation: Resting in a quiet and comfortable environment can help ease nausea associated with motion sickness or stress.

  • Deep breathing: Practicing deep breathing exercises can help relax your body and potentially reduce nausea.


Nausea and vomiting causes

  • Motion sickness: Traveling in a vehicle or experiencing motion can lead to a feeling of nausea and vomiting due to sensory confusion.

  • Pregnancy: Hormonal changes during pregnancy can cause morning sickness, resulting in nausea and vomiting.

  • Viral infections: Infections such as norovirus or rotavirus can irritate the stomach lining and lead to nausea and vomiting.

  • Food poisoning: Consuming contaminated food or drinks can trigger an immune response, causing nausea and vomiting.

  • Gastroenteritis: Inflammation of the stomach and intestines due to infections or other causes can result in nausea and vomiting.

  • Medications: Some medications, especially those with strong side effects, may lead to nausea and vomiting.

  • Chemotherapy: Cancer treatments like chemotherapy can cause nausea and vomiting as a side effect.

  • Migraine: Severe headaches, known as migraines, can lead to nausea and vomiting in some individuals.

  • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD): Acid reflux and irritation of the esophagus can trigger nausea and vomiting.

  • Anxiety and stress: High levels of anxiety and stress can disrupt the digestive system and result in nausea and vomiting.

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