Nausea and Vomiting-Adult

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

  • Causes


    Nausea and vomiting are symptoms caused by a condition or disease. Many illnesses can cause nausea and vomiting, like:

    • Motion sickness

    • Viral infections
    • Food poisoning
    • Head injury

    Serious conditions that can cause nausea and vomiting include:

    • Heart attack
    • Kidney or liver disorders
    • Nervous system disorders
    • Cancer
    • Concussion

    • Brain disorders or
      brain tumor
    • Appendicitis
      —inflammation of the appendix
    • Migraine headache
    • Intestinal obstruction

    Other causes include:

    • Overeating
    • Emotional stress
    • Pregnancy
    • Chemotherapy
      or
      radiation therapy
    • General anesthesia

  • Definition


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

  • Diagnosis

    Your doctor will ask you questions, like:

    • How long have you felt nauseous?
    • How long has the vomiting occurred?
    • Does the vomiting happen near mealtime?
    • Are you taking any medications?
    • Have you traveled recently?
    • Have you had any injuries to your head?
    • Have you lost any weight?

    • How often have you been urinating? Vomiting may cause
      dehydration
      and low urine output.

    A physical exam will be done.

    Your bodily fluids may be tested. This can be done with:

    • Blood tests
    • Pregnancy test in women

    Images may be taken of your bodily structures. This can be done with:

    • X-ray
    • CT scan
    • MRI scan
    • Ultrasound
    Ultrasound of the Abdomen
    Nucleus factsheet image
    The doctor uses a hand-held instrument called a transducer, which uses sound waves to make images of your abdomen.
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

  • Prevention

    To help reduce your chance of experiencing nausea or vomiting, take the following steps:

    • Eat small meals throughout the day.
    • Eat slowly.
    • Rest after eating.
    • Drink liquids between meals, instead of during meals.

    • Always wash your hands
      before eating.
    • Make sure you
      properly handle food
      .

  • Risk Factors


    Having a
    condition or disease that can cause nausea or vomiting
    is a risk factor.

  • Symptoms


    In some cases, you may have other symptoms in addition to nausea and vomiting.

    If you have any of these symptoms, call for medical help right away:

    • Blood in the vomit
    • Vomit that looks like coffee grounds
    • Severe headache
    • Stiff neck
    • Feeling very tired
    • Confusion
    • Not feeling alert
    • Severe abdominal pain or chest pain
    • Fever over 101°F (38°C)
    • Severe diarrhea
    • Rapid breathing or heartbeat

  • Treatment

    In some cases, you may be able to manage nausea and vomiting at home.