What Is Nausea?

Nausea is a feeling a person gets that they may vomit. Nausea is marked by unsettling feelings that can make an individual feel queasy, that range from mildly uncomfortable to severe. Stomach upset is typical with nausea. While nausea occurs before a person vomits or has dry heaves, it does not always necessarily lead to vomiting. Nausea is a common symptom of several conditions and illnesses.


There are several conditions that can cause nausea. Common causes of feeling nauseous include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Medications (including antibiotics, narcotics, aspirin, oral contraceptives, and anti-inflammatories)
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation treatment
  • Morning sickness
  • Motion sickness
  • Migraine
  • Eating disorder (anorexia or bulimia)
  • General anaesthesia
  • Stomach flu
  • Drug or alcohol withdrawal
  • Alcoholism
  • Fever
  • Food poisoning
  • Heart failure
  • Thyroid problems (underactive and overactive)
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Certain allergies
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Intestinal obstruction
  • Brain tumour
  • Middle ear infection

Symptoms of Nausea

While nausea can be very unpleasant, it is typically painless. Symptoms associated with nausea include: dry mouth, clammy skin, feeling faint, dizziness, stomach pain, diarrhoea, dry mouth, decreased urination, and fever.

Other more serious symptoms of nausea include: increased sweating, chest pain, severe abdominal pain, trouble breathing, fatigue, and fainting.

Treatment for Nausea

Nausea typically goes away on its own, but can be a sign of a more serious condition. It is important to seek medical attention when nausea is accompanied by chest pain, severe abdominal cramping or pain, high fever, blurred vision, stiff neck, rectal bleeding, and faecal odour or material in the individual’s vomit.

It is important to seek immediate medical attention when nausea or vomiting are accompanied by a severe headache or pain, namely when a person has not experienced a similar headache before. Immediate medical attention should also be sought when nausea is paired with symptoms of dehydration, such as dry mouth, excessive thirst, decreased urination, dark coloured urine, and dizziness.

Treatment for nausea depends on what it is caused by. For example, nausea related to motion sickness is typically treated with medication. Taking pain medication for headaches that accompany nausea can also sometimes provide relief.

Nausea can also be self-treated at home. Home remedies for nausea include:

  • Avoiding greasy, fried foods
  • Eating only plain, light foods such as crackers, clear broth, and bread
  • Ginger tea
  • Resting until the nausea subsides
  • Avoiding activity after eating
  • Consuming cold liquids

Medication is sometimes necessary to treat nausea. Medications used for nausea are known as antiemetics. While most require a prescription, some are available over-the-counter. These medications include:

  • Meclizine hydrochloride (an antihistamine that is taken for nausea caused by motion sickness)
  • Emetrol (an oral solution that helps nausea caused by a bacterial or viral infection and overeating)
  • Dimenhydrinate (an antihistamine that should only be taken for motion sickness)
  • Bismuth subsalicylate (has an effect on the stomach lining to reduce nausea and vomiting associate with nausea)

Nausea FAQ

What helps nausea go away?

Taking small sips of water is one of the best ways to make nausea go away. Non-acidic fruit juices (such as apple juice) can also help relieve nausea. It is important to slowly sip these fluids rather than gulp them down quickly.

Are there any foods that can help with nausea?

Yes. Eating bland foods such as crackers, bread, toast, and dry, unsweetened cereals can help reduce nausea. It is best to eat foods that are cool, rather than spicy and hot. Fried, greasy, or sweet foods should also be avoided.

Can nausea be dangerous?

Nausea is typically harmless and usually passes on its own. It can be a sign of something more serious, especially when accompanied by excessive vomiting.

What does it mean when an individual gets nauseous every time they eat?

Nausea after eating is usually caused by inflammation of the stomach lining or from an ulcer. Inflammation of the gallbladder and gallstones can also cause nausea after eating.

External Links

What is Nausea?, Brian Joseph Miller, Everyday Health Media

What Causes Nausea?, George Krucik, HealthLine

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