Nausea - Symptoms, Risk factors and Treatment

Nausea is a feeling of vomiting. Often sometime before vomit, you may have a feeling of sickness or uneasiness- that is nausea. However, it may not always be accompanied by vomiting. But vomiting is most often associated with nausea. 


Nausea often is a symptom of any condition. It may vary in severity. Sometimes you are able to cope with your activities, whereas sometimes nausea may make your life too miserable. The treatment of nausea also varies from natural remedies to drugs. It can occur in any age group due to various reasons. The cause can be gastroenteritis, pregnancy, or even any medicine. Rarely nausea and vomiting indicate a life-threatening condition. But if left untreated, it can become life-threatening due to dehydration. Therefore if you are vomiting, you should replenish the lost electrolytes through an oral rehydration solution.  



Nausea and vomiting may occur separately. The most common causes for them can be;


  • Chemotherapy

  • Gastroparesis or indigestion 

  • Motion sickness

  • Rotavirus (or infections caused by other viruses)

  • Viral gastroenteritis or stomach flu

  • Vestibular neuritis

  • Migraine

  • Morning sickness

  • General anesthesia

  • Intestinal obstruction


Other possible causes of nausea and vomiting include:


  • Anxiety 

  • Bulimia nervosa

  • Cholecystitis

  • Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)

  • Acute liver failure

  • Alcohol use disorder

  • Anaphylaxis (a severe allergic reaction)

  • Anorexia nervosa

  • Appendicitis

  • Cyclic vomiting syndrome

  • Depression 

  • Enlarged spleen (splenomegaly)

  • Fever

  • Food poisoning

  • Gallstones

  • Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)

  • Brain tumor

  • Heart failure

  • Hepatitis

  • Hypoparathyroidism (underactive parathyroid)

  • Intestinal ischemia

  • Intestinal obstruction

  • Hiatal hernia

  • Hydrocephalus

  • Intracranial hematoma

  • Intussusception (in children)

  • Diabetic ketoacidosis

  • Dizziness

  • Ear infection (middle ear)

  • Hyperparathyroidism (overactive parathyroid)

  • Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid gland)

  • Meniere's disease

  • Meningitis

  • Milk allergy

  • Radiation therapy

  • Severe pain

  • Toxic hepatitis

  • Pancreatic cancer

  • Pancreatitis (pancreas inflammation)

  • Peptic ulcer

  • Crohn's disease (a type of inflammatory bowel disease)

  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

  • Generalized anxiety disorder

  • Heart attack

  • Irritable bowel syndrome

  • Pseudotumor cerebri

  • Pyloric stenosis (in infants)



Nausea and vomiting can also occur due to medicines like;


  • Aspirin

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like naproxen and ibuprofen

  • Oral contraceptives

  • Digitalis

  • Narcotics 

  • Antibiotics 



The major complication of vomiting is dehydration, which, if left untreated, can become life-threatening. The signs and symptoms of dehydration are;


  • Excessive thirst

  • Dry mouth or skin

  • Little or no urination

  • Weakness

  • Dizziness 

  • Lightheadedness

  • Fatigue

  • Dark-colored urine




To treat nausea and vomiting, the healthcare providers may prescribe antiemetic drugs, and other drugs depending upon the cause. Along with it, most importantly, they will ask you to rehydrate yourself. You can drink an oral rehydration solution to replenish lost electrolytes. Make sure you keep rehydrating yourself. Otherwise, it can result in a life-threatening condition.





To prevent nausea and vomiting, the following tips may help;


If you get motion sickness, you must take an antiemetic before you start to travel. For that, you can get an antiemetic prescribed by your doctor.


  • For morning sickness, eat something before you brush your teeth. 

  • Drink ginger and lemon tea as both are potent antiemetics.  

  • Eat frequent small meals instead of large meals.





Nausea is a feeling of sickness, often accompanied by vomiting. It can occur due to various reasons in any age group. You should rehydrate yourself if you are vomiting. 

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