Nausea is an urge to vomit or a general uneasiness in the stomach. Almost everyone experiences nausea at sometime in life. Nausea is not a disease, but rather a symptom of many disorders.
What are the causes?
Nausea can occur due to a number of causes which might be related to irritation or dysfunction of stomach such as following infection of stomach, motion sickness, drugs and alcohol, irritants in food and emotional disturbances.
What are the symptoms?
Nausea is itself a symptom as already defined above. The symptoms include distaste for food, discomfort in upper abdomen, vomiting, which may sometimes be very forceful and the patient may retch. Additional symptoms may include sweating, diarrhoea and dizziness.
How is it diagnosed?
The doctor is able to diagnose the cause of nausea by reviewing the patient’s medical history and by a physical examination. This may be enough in most of the cases, but laboratory tests such as a complete blood count, electrolyte levels, blood glucose and liver function tests may be done to detect infections of the digestive tract, poisonous substances in food or any illness involving the brain. A pregnancy test may be suggested for a woman of child-bearing age.
What is the treatment?
Treatment is decided depending upon the symptoms and causes of the condition. Medicines that are most commonly prescribed are chewable antacids to neutralise the acid in the stomach. Some drugs called anti-emetics, may help reduce nausea.
There are some ways of preventing nausea. Prevention is related to its cause. Following some basic guidelines can prevent it:
Eating small meals at a time
Avoiding any irritating odours such as perfumes, smoke or fuel
If the nausea is due to morning sickness during pregnancy, avoiding fatty foods can help.