What is nausea?

Nausea is a common symptom of many medical conditions recognized by feeling sick to the stomach or a sensation of wanting to vomit.
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Causes of nausea

There are many different causes of nausea. The most common causes of nausea include:

  • Heartburn or GERD
  • Stomach viruses
  • Medication 
  • Food poisoning
  • Chemotherapy
  • Diet
  • Motion sickness

Risk factors for nausea

There are a variety of risk factors that may increase a person’s likelihood of suffering from nausea.

You may be at greatest risk if you:

  • Are pregnant
  • Have a digestive tract disorder
  • Are undergoing cancer treatment
  • Have heart disease

Symptoms of nausea

Symptoms of nausea are typically uncomfortable but not extremely painful. Most common symptoms are discomfort in the chest, upper abdomen or the back of the throat.

Nausea can be associated with:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Gas or bloating
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Pregnancy

Diagnosis of nausea

Your primary care doctor can diagnose nausea if necessary, though it's easily recognized by the feeling of discomfort.

Your physician may ask a series of questions, look for potential contributors or perform tests to confirm the cause of your symptoms.

Treatment for nausea

To relieve mild nausea symptoms, try the following at-home care:

  • Drink water
  • Eat bland foods such as crackers or broth
  • Avoid sweets and greasy foods
  • Rest with your head elevated

If your nausea does not improve, your doctor may prescribe medications that will relieve your symptoms.

Find a primary care doctor nearby

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