Diseases & Conditions


NauseaCausesMedicationsPreventionRisk FactorsSymptomsTreatmentTypes

What is Nausea?

Nausea or qualm signifies a sensation of discomfort and uneasiness in the region of upper stomach accompanied by an involuntary and immediate urge to vomit.

Causes of nausea

Many factors can cause nausea. The more important of them are…

  1. Motion sickness is the most frequent cause of nausea and the same is experienced while traveling in a motor vehicle, ship or airplane.
  2. Gastroenteritis, a type of stomach infection
  3. Food poisoning: Food poisoning can bring about a sudden onset of vomiting and nausea after 1-6 hours of ingestion of food that is contaminated. The bacteria present in the food produces toxins which contaminates the food. The attack can last for 1 - 2 days.
  4. Several medications can possibly bring about nausea. The medications that are most often associated with nausea are chemotherapy regimens as well as general anesthetic drugs.
  5. Pregnancy: Nausea, also known as morning sickness is a common enough symptom experienced during pregnancy. In the initial three months almost all pregnant women undergo some degree of morning sickness. Nausea during pregnancy is usually self limiting and mild, but severe attacks of a type of nausea termed hyperemesis gravidarum might need clinical treatment.
  6. Disequilibrium: several conditions related to problems connected with equilibrium like vertigo and motion sickness can bring about nausea as well as vomiting.
  7. More serious causes: Most instances of nausea are nothing to worry about, but serious causes do exist. They include…
    • Diabetic ketoacidosis
    • Surgical problems like pancreatitis, appendicitis, obstruction of the small bowel, meningitis, cholecystitis,
    • Choledocholithiasis due to gallstones
    • Addisonian crisis
    • Andhepatitis etc.

Medications for nausea

There are various ways to take the more common medications for the treatment of nausea and vomiting, and the same is particularly important if tablets are regurgitated prior to digestion. Patients can also be made to take the medicine in liquid form as long as it is possible to keep it down. If none of these work, medication can be administered through the rectum or in the form of topical gel applied directly on the skin.

Medication for nausea can include

  • Anit-emetics such as Compazine and Phenergen
  • Diphenhydramine (Benadryl)
  • Haloperidol (Haldol)
  • Metoclopramide(Reglan)
  • Anti-anxiety drugs such as lorazepam

There are treatments that can accompany medications or provided as you are awaiting medication. These can include…

  • Fresh air and loosening of the sufferer’s clothes
  • Applying cold compresses to the wrists, neck and forehead of the patient.
  • Avoidance of odors that might trigger nausea; don’t cook food that is heavily odored and refrain from wearing after-shave or perfume in the presence of the patient
  • Provide small meals as well as limit drinks provided with each meal.

Prevention of nausea

There is no known way to prevent nausea

Risk factors of nausea

Short-term nausea as well as vomiting is considered generally harmless, but they can at times point to a serious condition. When subjected to prolonged vomiting, nausea might result in dehydration and or potentially risky electrolyte imbalances. A point to note here is that nausea/vomiting are not specific illnesses in themselves but can be indicators of some deeper underlying cause.

Symptoms of nausea

The only symptoms that is related to nausea are an urge to vomit and vomiting

Treatment for nausea

Since nausea is a symptomatic condition, any treatment of the same should be aimed at investigating and treating the underlying disease that caused nausea in the first place and reversing the same if possible. This might include avoiding or removing noxious stimuli, doing away with unnecessary medications as well as treating constipation. When the cause of nausea happens to be irreversible, medications to cure nausea as well as vomiting might be made use of or the symptoms will remain despite the treatment. Once the illness is resolved, the symptom of nausea will disappear.

Types of nausea

There are no further classifications of the condition termed nausea.