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Nausea: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, Prevention and Natural Remedies

Last Updated: Aug 05, 2021

What is Nausea?

Nausea is an uncomfortable, uneasy, queasy feeling in the upper part of the stomach that leads to an involuntary urge of vomiting. Nausea is a non-specific symptom and may occur due to various reasons. It should be remembered that the feeling of nausea is not any disease but it is a symptom that can result from a wide range of other disorders. It is completely physical or psychological in origin.

Nausea Symptoms:

Nausea is a feeling of discomfort in the stomach that is usually followed by vomiting. It itself is not a disease but represents signs or symptoms of several diseases such as motion sickness, early pregnancy stages, food poisoning, overeating, emotional stress, ulcers, heart attack, appendicitis, brain tumor, bowel obstruction, etc.

The symptoms of nausea are often difficult for people to describe. Nausea symptoms are not at all painful but a very uneasy feeling that is felt in the chest, upper abdomen and/or at the back of throat.

It becomes necessary to control nausea, vomiting and other associated symptoms both for the sake of the patient’s comfort as well as to prevent the conditions of dehydration because dehydration often worsens nausea and vomiting. The most common symptoms that occur with nausea are:

  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Gastric pain
  • Lightedness
  • Lethargy
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Diarrhea
COVID-19 Symptoms: Nausea can be one of the symptoms of Covid-19 which further leads to shortness of breath as it is one of the significant symptoms of Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) . The other common symptoms are dry cough, fever and fatigue.

Is nausea a sign of covid-19?

Yes, it can be one of the symptoms of Covid-19. The common symptoms of COVID-19 are related to the respiratory disease: fever, fatigue, persistent cough and muscle pains. Many people are also experiencing gastrointestinal symptoms like vomiting, nausea or diarrhea.

What triggers nausea?

Nausea can take a root from various causes. The causes may differ according to age. The common causes of nausea are:

  • Bacterial Infection or virus
  • Pregnancy
  • Food Poisoning
  • Heartburn or burning sensation in the stomach
  • Motion sickness and seasickness
  • It also occurs as a side effect of various medications such as cytotoxic chemotherapyand common anaesthetic agents
  • Certain food like highly spicy and high-fat food
  • Gastroenteritis
  • Intense pain
  • Migraine
  • Low blood pressure
  • Any kind of fear or stress
  • Heart attack
  • Psychological illness
  • Excessive alcohol
  • Bowel obstruction

Can nausea cause death?

Yes, due to nausea, a person may face shortness of breath which can cause sudden death.

When should I be concerned about Nausea?

Although Nausea is not a disease, it is a matter of concern when accompanied by some serious symptoms. In case, it is followed by chest pain, severe headache, pain in the left arm, and sweating which are the symptoms of a heart attack, it is a medical emergency.

When Nausea goes along with some other symptoms such as the stiff neck, difficulty in breathing, headache, confusion, it should be taken seriously. Some other conditions are Nausea followed by loss of appetite or not subsiding even in 24 hours duration.

How nausea is treated at home?

When a person suffers from the feeling of nausea:

  1. It is important that they give rest to their stomach and at the same time take care to avoid dehydration.
  2. Intake of clear fluids (such as water, sports drinks, clear broths, popsicles, etc.) in small amounts at regular intervals during the first 24 hours can help in such cases
  3. Too much of fluid intake is not recommendable for such patients as stretching of the stomach may cause the condition to worsen
  4. However, such patients should avoid the consumption of milk or other milk products during the initial 24 hours of an episode of nausea and vomiting
  5. In such a case reduced tolerance to milk and other milk containing products can lead to vomiting, bloating and even diarrhoea.

For a proper and effective treatment for the problem of nausea, it is important for the doctor to assess the medical history of the patient as well as diagnose the underlying cause that has led to the problem of nausea.

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How is nausea treated?

In many cases, nausea resolves by itself. Treatment includes plenty of fluids and a liquid diet. Nausea treatment depends on the causes. Treatment for nausea includes:

  • Drink more and more amount of liquid
  • Avoid eating solid food until vomiting has passed
  • Have oral rehydration solution to prevent and treat dehydration
  • Pregnant women who experience morning sickness can eat some biscuits or high protein snacks
  • Vomiting due to cancer treatments can be treated with other types of drug therapy.

Nausea often gets worse when the patient suffers from dehydration as well and this results in a vicious cycle. Nausea makes drinking of fluids difficult; worsening the dehydration and this again increases the feeling of nausea. When such a case occurs, the patients are given intravenous fluids to control the condition and break the cycle.

Medicine for Nausea:

Nausea is a non-specific symptom that can occur due to various underlying causes. Non-serious causes of nausea and vomiting can be usually relieved by using over the counter medications.The medications that are taken for the prevention and treatment of nausea are known as antiemetics. The most common antiemetics prescribed by doctors to treat the symptoms of nausea and vomiting are:

Note:Please have a consultation with your doctor before taking any medication.

Are there any side effects?

The treatment for nausea is safe in most cases. However, it is has also been reported that many patients are found to suffer from various side effects of anti-nausea medications.

Since there are a number of anti-nausea medications and it is not possible to list out the side effects of each and every medicine vividly, so on a whole the common side effects of these medications are listed down here.

Some of the common side effects of taking anti-nausea medications are constipation, tiredness, dizziness, headache, indigestion, troubled sleeping, anxiety and fidgeting. It is seen that these side effects vary from person to person.

In most cases these side effects do not get serious enough. However, if a person suffers from such side effects, then he or she may consult their doctor in order to change the medications.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

The treatment for nausea is usually done for a short time until the cause of this queasy feeling is totally treated. During this time the patient should take care so that he/she does not suffer from dehydration as well.

Dehydration can often cause the condition of nausea to worsen. The post treatment guidelines for the treatment of nausea include taking the medicines regularly on time as directed by the physician.

The patient should also take small amounts of liquid (such as water, sports drink or clear broth) at regular intervals to avoid dehydration. If nausea and dehydration is found to occur together leading to a worse situation then the patient needs to take intravenous fluids to control this symptom.

However, care should be taken to treat the underlying cause. This is so because once the underlying cause is successfully treated then the uncomfortable feeling of nausea also goes away on its own.

How long does it take to recover?

It should be remembered that nausea is not a disease on its own but a non-specific symptom that can occur due to some other underlying problems. In general, the medications used to treat nausea are to be taken for a short time, until the underlying cause of this uncomfortable feeling is fully treated, or the patient recovers.

The time of recovery from this symptom vary greatly. As for example, a patient having nausea due to an ear infection will need to take such medications only for a few days. On the other hand, for a person having nausea due to migraine needs to take these medications once or twice during every attack.

When did nausea stop?

How long nausea will last or when would it stop is determined by the cause behind nausea. If nausea is caused due to the consumption of spoiled food, viral illness or motion sickness then it usually lasts for short period and it should not be the cause of concern. In most of the cases, it may not last any more than minutes to a few hours and usually go on its own within 24 hours.

What is the price of the treatment in India?

The price of the treatment for nausea may vary greatly depending upon the cause of this symptom and the cost of the medicines that are prescribed by the doctor. However, on an average, the price of the treatment of nausea varies from Rs. 450 to Rs. 7,000 in India. This treatment is easily available in all cities and towns of India.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

Nausea is just a symptom of a wide range of other underlying ailments. The medicines prescribed for nausea just gives temporary relief from the symptom. In order to achieve permanent treatment of this problem, it is important to cure the underlying problem that has led to this condition of nausea. Once the underlying cause of nausea is successfully cured, the symptoms of nausea also get cured.

How nausea can be cured?

Medications for anti-nausea are commonly used. But the anti-nausea medicine usually has its own negative side-effects and also side-effects like drowsiness occurs. Below are some ways to cure nausea naturally:

  • Eat ginger: it is the most commonly used remedy to treat nausea. It is an effective alternative medication, during pregnancy, after chemotherapy or operation.
  • Try Acupressure: Many times acupuncture and acupressure is used for treating nausea and vomiting.
  • Have lemon slices: Freshly cut lemon or citrus smells may help to reduce nausea.
  • Control your breathing: Taking slow and deep breaths can also reduce nausea. Specific breathing techniques are effective remedies to control nausea.
  • Use certain spices: some spices are the most common home remedies to reduce the severity of nausea like Fennel powder, cinnamon, Cumin extract.
  • Peppermint Aromatherapy: The smell of peppermint oil during the onset may help you to lower down your symptoms.

How should you sleep when Nauseous?

The sleeping positions should be proper in the condition of being nauseous. It is better to prop one’s head at an upper-level position from the level of the body, rather than lying flat. Ideally, the head should be 12 inches above the feet when sleeping in the condition of Nausea, preventing the occurrence of acid reflux.

Can a shower help Nausea?

Nausea in some cases is associated with marijuana consumption, in conditions like intense pain or cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome. In such conditions, the individual wants to relieve his symptoms of Nausea and vomiting, by taking showers with hot water. This way of treating Nausea sounds weird, but it does have a healing effect in such situations.

How is nausea prevented?

Nausea can be triggered easily from the below onset:

  • Strong odour
  • Flickering lights (this can trigger migraine also)
  • Sea voyages
  • Humidity and heat

During the above conditions, you can take anti-nausea medication before travelling to prevent motion sickness. Alter your eating habits such as frequent meals, eat small, it can help to reduce the symptoms of nausea. Avoid heavy physical activity after your meals to minimize nausea.

What should you eat when you're Nauseous?

Being nauseous, it's better not to have food for a few hours or having it, one should try to follow some restrictions regarding it. The food items that are commonly preferred to be consumed in such conditions are chicken rather than red meat, soy, fruit juices, carbonated drinks, yogurt, dry foods like toast, breadsticks, crackers, etc., bland and soft food items, gelatin, boiled and mashed potatoes, etc.

References

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Written ByDr. Shivam Malhotra Sleep Medicine(Training),MBBS Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery,MD - General MedicineGeneral Physician
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