Gastro Health

When to Seek Expert Advice for Nausea and Vomiting?

Written by
Dr. Vasantha K S
and medically reviewed by Dr. Gokul Kruba Shanker

Published on Sep 06, 2018   -  2 min read

Abstract

Abstract

Nausea and vomiting, although common symptoms, can cause a lot of distress when it is persistent. It is important to find out the cause and treat it accordingly.

When to Seek Expert Advice for Nausea and Vomiting?

Nausea is an unpleasant feeling in the stomach that often precedes vomiting. It may or may not be followed by actual vomiting. Vomiting is the forceful throwing up (expelling out) of contents of the stomach through the mouth.

Both nausea and vomiting are commonly caused by different conditions. Both are not diseases per se but non-specific symptoms of various illnesses or disorders.

Causes

Some common causes of nausea and vomiting are:

  • Food poisoning.
  • Alcohol intoxication.
  • Drug side effect.
  • Head injury.
  • Repulsive sights and smells.
  • Travel sickness (especially by car or airplane).
  • Early pregnancy.
  • Chemotherapy.
  • Overeating.
  • Migraine.
  • Liver disorders.
  • Inner ear disturbances.

Complications

Here are some signs to watch out for in case of persistent vomiting:

  1. Choking.
  2. Dehydration.
  3. Increased thirst.
  4. Dryness of lips and mouth.
  5. Throat irritation.
  6. Severe tiredness.
  7. Weight loss.
  8. Concentrated urine.

Home Remedies

Nausea and vomiting can be managed at home with these tips:

  1. Ginger is known to help ease the queasy feeling. So, are citric fruits. Include ginger in lemonade if ginger tea is not agreeable to you.
  2. Have bland foods such as crackers, toast or wheat rusk on an empty stomach to keep nausea at bay.
  3. Avoid hot, greasy, and spicy foods until you get completely alright.
  4. Keep yourself hydrated with fresh juices, yogurt drinks or green tea. Sip only a little fluid at a time.
  5. Eat what you feel like whenever you are comfortable. Do not force yourself to eat your regular meal on schedule at this point.
  6. Although the symptoms seem to come from the stomach, nausea and vomiting are controlled by the brain. So, relax your mind and distract yourself.
  7. Surround yourself with pleasant sights and smells.
  8. Get ample rest.
  9. Take antiemetics as prescribed by your doctor.

When to Seek Help?

Usually, nausea and vomiting are not serious and are common symptoms which can be managed. But, consult a doctor if:

  • There is associated fever or abdominal cramping or pain.
  • It follows a head injury or fall.
  • If there is a new or recurring episode of a severe headache or a migraine.
  • If you vomit blood, be it fresh (bright red) or old (brown/dark red).
  • You are known to have a medical condition involving the heart, kidney or liver.
  • There is severe fatigue or dehydration.

Investigations

Once you seek a doctor's advice, they will find the cause based on your associated symptoms and history. In some cases, a few investigations may be necessary to rule out certain disorders:

  1. Blood tests.
  2. Upper GI endoscopy.
  3. Ultrasound scan.

Treatment

There are many groups of antiemetics which may be prescribed based on the cause. Some commonly prescribed drugs include:

  • Diphenhydramine.
  • Dimenhydrinate.
  • Metoclopramide.
  • Promethazine.
  • Ondansetron.
  • Domperidone.
  • Doxylamine.

Frequently Asked Questions


1.

What helps control nausea and vomiting?

To control nausea and vomiting, medications such as Pepto-Bismol, Kaopectate, and Dramamine (for motion sickness) can help. Apart from this, home remedies like aromatherapy (scents of clove, lavender, peppermint), ginger or fennel tea, and deep breathing can also help.

2.

What can cause sudden nausea?

Sudden nausea is seen in peptic ulcers, motion sickness, food poisoning, and pregnancy.

3.

How do you make nausea go away?

The following tips can relieve nausea:
- Sitting up straight.
- Sitting in front of a fan.
- Cool compresses on the back of the neck.
- Sip on clear fluids, lemon or chamomile tea.
- Inhale peppermint essential oil.
- Take antiemetic medications.

4.

Can stress and anxiety cause nausea?

Yes, stress and anxiety can result in various mental and physical symptoms, including nausea. When you are extremely stressed or anxious, you feel your stomach churn. This can result in nausea and even vomiting.

5.

Can dehydration cause nausea?

Yes, dehydration is known to cause nausea. Severe dehydration can result in nausea and dizziness, which can make you throw up and lose more water. Dehydration can also lower your blood pressure, again resulting in nausea.

6.

Can being hungry cause nausea?

Hunger pangs, which is caused by the buildup of acids in the stomach or stomach contraction, can indeed make you nauseous. Stomach acids can also regurgitate and result in nausea.

7.

When should you be concerned about nausea?

If you experience any of the following signs or symptoms along with nausea, then get immediate medical help:
- Chest pain.
- Severe headache.
- Jaw pain.
- Profuse sweating.
- Breathing difficulty.
- Stiff neck.
- Confusion.

8.

Is constant nausea a sign of cancer?

Nausea is commonly associated with chemotherapy, which are drugs given to treat cancer. But in some cases, cancer of the bowel can lead to bowel obstruction, nausea, or vomiting.

9.

Is nausea a sign of infection?

Yes, it is. Viral, bacterial, or parasitic infection of the stomach can result in nausea, stomach cramps and pain, diarrhea, and vomiting.

Last reviewed at:
07 Sep 2018  -  2 min read

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