There are many reasons for nausea. Fortunately, there are some alternatives to traditional medical treatments.
Causes of Nausea
Nausea is a feeling of wanting to vomit or “being sick to your stomach”. There are many reasons for feeling nauseated, and they range from mild to serious. A very common cause is food allergies. Food poisoning or “stomach flu” is an infection (parasites, viruses, bacterial infections, etc.) in the digestive tract that can also cause queasiness. Some people who have GERD (gastroesophageal reflux) have stomach contents that push back up into the esophagus, and this can cause heartburn as well as nausea. Kidney stones, motion sickness, migraines, and pregnancy morning sickness are other common causes of this discomfort. There may be more serious reasons behind being sick in the stomach, however, and these include cancer, intestinal blockage, poisoning, ulcers, andappendicitis.1 Chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and general anesthesia can also cause nausea. Feeling sick may also be triggered by vertigo and the overuse of alcohol or drugs. There are also several diseases and disorders that can be responsible for nausea, including anorexia, brain tumor, bulimia, Crohn’s disease, depression, diabetes ketoacidosis, gallstones, anxiety, heart attack, head trauma, strep throat, pancreatitis, and many more.2
Treatments for Nausea
The first line of defense for nausea symptoms might be at home remedies, such as a change in diet or medication. Lying down might be beneficial. Patients need to make sure they stay hydrated with clear liquids (small amounts, taken frequently). Some antihistamines and motion sickness medications (i.e. Dramamine, Scopolamine) may be useful as well.3 Pepto-Bismol, Mylanta, Maalox, and other over-the-counter medications can ease queasiness. Acupressure (pressing the thumb to the wrist for 30 seconds) is another self-care option. Patients should avoid strong smells and hot rooms. Having a fan blowing onto the face, getting fresh air, napping, relaxing, and bathing can also provide relief. Somepeople may find eating crackers, ginger ale, or the BRAT (bananas, rice, applesauce and toast) diet helpful.4 If the queasiness leads to frequent vomiting, if poisoning is suspected, if the vomit has “blood or dark, coffee-colored material”, if it is accompanied by a stiff neck or headache, if there is severe stomach pain, if there is no urination for 8+ hours, and if other signs of dehydration occur, emergency medical care may be required. Doctors will run necessary blood tests and urinalysis, and they may X-ray the abdomen.5 If there is an infection, antibiotics may be prescribed. Alternative care options for some kinds of nausea include acupressure, as noted above, as well as naturopathic medicine, aromatherapy, bodywork (i.e., reflexology), homeopathy, hydrotherapy, meditation, and traditional Chinese medicine.6 Research has shown that acupuncture can be helpful in relieving nausea.7
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