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Nausea and Vomiting—Adult

  • Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Publication Type:


Nausea and Vomiting—Adult


Nausea is an uneasy feeling in the stomach that may make a person want to vomit. Vomiting is throwing up stomach contents through the mouth.


Many illnesses can cause nausea and vomiting, such as:

Serious problems that can cause nausea and vomiting are:

Other causes may be:

Risk Factors

The risk of this problem is higher in people who have a condition or disease that can cause nausea and vomiting.


Some people may have other symptoms along with nausea and vomiting, such as:

  • Feeling very tired
  • Vomiting blood
  • Vomit that looks like coffee grounds
  • Severe headache
  • Severe diarrhea
  • Stiff neck
  • Rapid breathing or heartbeat
  • Severe belly pain
  • Confusion
  • Lack of alertness
  • Chest pain


The doctor will ask about symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done.

Blood tests will be done. Some women may be given a pregnancy test.

Images may be taken of organs in the body. This can be done with:

Abdominal Ultrasound.

The doctor uses a hand-held instrument called a transducer, which uses sound waves to make images of your abdomen.

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Any underlying causes will need to be treated. Most people are able to manage nausea and vomiting on their own. Some things that may help are:


The risk of this problem may be lowered by:

  • Eat small meals throughout the day.
  • Eat slowly.
  • Rest after eating.
  • Drink liquids between meals, instead of during meals.
  • Practice proper hand hygiene before eating, after using the bathroom, and after contact with people who are sick.
  • Handle food properly.

Ways to Control Nausea

  • Drink clear liquids like water, juice, or broth.
  • Eat light foods that do not cause stomach upset.
  • Eat and drink slowly.
  • Eat smaller meals.
  • Eat more often.
  • Rest after eating.
  • Eat foods from all the food groups. This will ensure proper nutrition.




  • Nausea and vomiting. American College of Gastroenterology website. Available at: https://gi.org/topics/nausea-and-vomiting.
  • Nausea and vomiting. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: https://familydoctor.org/symptom/nausea-and-vomiting.
  • Nausea and vomiting in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/approach-to/nausea-and-vomiting-in-adults.


  • James Cornell, MD
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.