Nausea and vomiting are two of the most common symptoms that people experience. They can be caused by a variety of different things, including food poisoning, motion sickness, and pregnancy. In most cases, you can treat nausea and vomiting with home remedies or over-the-counter medications. However, they may be a sign of a more serious medical condition in some cases.
This article will discuss the causes, treatment, and prevention of nausea and vomiting. Let’s jump in!
Nausea is the feeling of wanting to vomit. Vomiting is the forceful emptying of the stomach contents through the mouth. Nausea and vomiting are often referred to as “being sick to your stomach” or “throwing up.” (1)
Most people have experienced nausea and vomiting at some point in their lives. It is usually not a serious medical condition and will resolve on its own. However, nausea and vomiting can be extremely uncomfortable and may lead to dehydration if they are severe. They occur in both children and adults, although they are more common in pregnant women. (2)
What are the causes of nausea and vomiting in adults?
There are many different things that can cause nausea and vomiting. Most often, they are caused by an infection or a virus, such as the flu. Other common causes include:
- Food poisoning
- Motion sickness
- Pregnancy (“morning sickness”)
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Migraine headaches
- Certain medications (such as chemotherapy drugs)
- Stomach pain
- High fevers
- Anxiety or emotional stress
- Severe pain
- Depression (major depressive disorder)
In some cases, nausea and vomiting may be a sign of a more serious medical condition, such as:
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Kidney disease
- Celiac disease
- Heart failure
- Heart attack
- Brain tumor
- Gallbladder disease
What causes nausea and vomiting in infants and children?
Although, there are many possible causes of nausea and vomiting in infants and children. Some common causes include:
- Motion sickness
- Gastroenteritis (stomach flu)
- Intestinal obstruction (blockage in the intestines caused by gallstones, tumors, hernias, or other conditions)
- Infections (viral, bacterial, or parasitic)
- Food allergies or sensitivities
- Food poisoning
- High fevers
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
How are nausea and vomiting treated?
In most cases, nausea and vomiting can be treated at home with rest and simple self-care measures. It is important to drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration.
Clear liquids like water, broth, or sports drinks are best. If you are able to keep liquids down, you can also try taking small sips of ginger ale or sucking on hard candy.
Avoiding greasy, spicy, or fatty foods can also help. If you are vomiting, it is best to wait until the nausea has passed before eating solid food. Gradually reintroduce bland foods like crackers or toast. (6)
If you are pregnant and experiencing nausea and vomiting, be sure to talk to your doctor before taking any medications.
Over-the-counter options like Dramamine or Bonine may be safe for you to take. In some cases, a doctor may prescribe medication to help with nausea and vomiting.
For example, they may prescribe an anti-nausea medication for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. If you are experiencing severe or persistent nausea and vomiting, it is important to see a doctor.
How can nausea and vomiting be prevented?
There are several things that you can do to prevent nausea and vomiting. If you are prone to motion sickness, try to sit in the front seat of the car or take a medication like dimenhydrinate (Dramamine) before getting on a plane, boat, or train.
Eating small, frequent meals can help to prevent nausea and vomiting related to pregnancy. Avoiding greasy or fatty foods can help to prevent indigestion-related nausea and vomiting.
If you are taking medication that causes nausea and vomiting as a side effect, talk to your doctor about ways to prevent or reduce these symptoms.
In some cases, such as cancer chemotherapy, there may not be anything that can be done to prevent nausea and vomiting. In these cases, it is important to follow your doctor’s instructions on how to best manage these symptoms.
Nausea and vomiting are common symptoms that can be caused by a variety of things. In most cases, they are not serious and will resolve on their own. However, severe or persistent nausea and vomiting can lead to dehydration and should be treated by a medical professional.
You can do several things to prevent nausea and vomiting, such as avoiding greasy foods or taking medication to prevent motion sickness. If you are experiencing severe or persistent nausea and vomiting, it is important to see a doctor.
Dehydration can be a serious complication of vomiting and should be treated by a medical professional.