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:
- Heart attack
- Kidney or liver disorders
- Nervous system disorders
- Cancer, including brain tumors
- Brain disorders
- Migraine headache
- Intestinal obstruction
Other causes may be:
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
- 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:
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
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