Key Points about Nausea

  • Nausea is a sense of feeling sick to your stomach and wanting to or feeling that you are about to vomit.
  • Nausea is a common symptom of several medical conditions and diseases, including pregnancy, heart disease, viral infection of the stomach, digestive disorders, or cancer.
  • Drinking water, eating bland foods, avoiding sugary and greasy foods, and resting with your head elevated can relieve mild nausea symptoms.
  • Schedule an appointment with your doctor if your nausea does not go away on its own.
Common related conditions
Bloody Stool Constipation Diarrhea Celiac Disease Heartburn Irritable Bowel Syndrome Lactose Intolerance

Overview

Nausea is a feeling that you are about to vomit, or that you want to vomit but are unable to. It can be a symptom of several medical conditions or diseases.

Most instances of nausea can be treated at home through rest, hydration, and eating bland foods.

Nausea that does not go away on its own may be a symptom of an underlying illness. Consult your doctor if you are experiencing persistent nausea.

Nausea causes

Nausea can be caused by any number of factors, including:

  • Heartburn or GERD
  • Viruses, such as stomach flu
  • Medication
  • Food poisoning
  • Chemotherapy
  • Diet
  • Motion sickness

Nausea risk factors

There are a variety of risk factors that may increase a person’s likelihood of suffering from nausea. If you have any of the conditions below, you are at greater risk:

  • Pregnancy
  • Stomach virus
  • Digestive tract disorder
  • Cancer
  • Heart disease

Nausea symptoms

Symptoms of nausea are typically uncomfortable but not extremely painful. Most common symptoms are discomfort in the chest, upper abdomen or the back of the throat.

Nausea diagnosis

Your primary care doctor can diagnose nausea. During a medical and physical exam, your physician will ask a series of questions and look for signs of dehydration or other potential causes for your symptoms. When necessary, your doctor may order blood or urine tests or an abdominal X-ray.

Nausea treatment

To relieve mild nausea symptoms, try the following home remedies:

  • Drink water
  • Eat bland foods such as crackers or plain bread
  • Avoid sweets and greasy foods
  • Rest with your head elevated

When to seek care

Schedule an appointment with your doctor if your nausea does not go away on its own.

Next Steps

Your doctor may prescribe medication or set up a long-term plan to alleviate symptoms of persistent nausea.