What is Nausea and what causes it?
Everyone will experience nausea and vomiting at some point in their life. Whilst there is no cure for nausea, you can help to prevent and ease symptoms by adopting simple lifestyle changes.
In most cases, the feeling of nausea will surpass within 24 hours, however for more persistent cases of nausea, anti-sickness medicines such as Cyclizine tablets may be needed to help supress symptoms.
Our guide covers what the common causes of nausea are and what symptoms you should look out for as well as simple lifestyle changes you can adopt to help prevent nausea and vomiting.
What is nausea?
Nausea is the sensation you experience when you feel like you need to be sick (vomit). It can occur at any time and be low level or severe. You can also experience nausea as a result of a physical or psychological problem.
If you feel nauseous, it does not necessarily mean that you will definitely be sick, although this is a possibility. Nausea is associated with a number of problems, including side effects to medicine, travel sickness and stomach problems.
This problem is very common and affects everyone from time to time. However, it can be very unpleasant and last for long periods in some cases.
What are the symptoms of nausea?
The most common symptom of nausea is a queasy feeling, which occurs in the stomach. This feeling will likely make you feel like you need to be sick or go to the toilet.
The queasiness may also be accompanied by one or more of the following symptoms:
- Abdominal pain
- Saliva build-up in the mouth
- Vomiting or the urge to vomit
What causes nausea and vomiting?
Nausea and vomiting can be caused by a variety of common issues. These symptoms can occur when suffering with the following common problems:
- Food poisoning
- Motion sickness
- Infections like flu
- Morning sickness
- Acid reflux
Did you know that certain medications such as Naproxen, Ibuprofen and even some high blood pressure treatments can cause nausea symptoms? Harvard health offer a helpful guide on what to do if you medication causes nausea.
Nausea during pregnancy
Many women experience morning sickness while pregnant, especially during the early stages of pregnancy. The exact root cause of morning sickness is still unknown, although it may be due to the hormonal changes that occur within the body, or low blood sugar.
Whatever the cause, morning sickness can be very debilitating and last for long periods. The good news is that it will normally cease sometime between the 16th and 20th week of pregnancy.
Nausea and vomiting are the two main symptoms of morning sickness. An antihistamine medicine like cyclizine is often prescribed by doctors to treat morning sickness. Over the counter anti-sickness medicines can sometimes help, too.
More information on morning sickness can be found in our guide on the condition.
What can I do to stop nausea?
The NHS recommends, whenever possible, get out into the fresh air, as this can help to ease the feeling of nausea dramatically. Sitting inside and breathing in stale, warm air can serve to make your nausea symptoms even worse.
Food that contains ginger can help to settle the stomach, such as a small piece of root ginger or some ginger biscuits.
Home remedies that have proven to be effective in relieving some people’s nausea include drinking peppermint or ginger tea, which can help to soothe the stomach. You should stick to clear liquids, such as water, if you do feel sick. Take small but regular sips of water to ease your symptoms.
Eat food that is plain, such as dry toast, crackers and fruit. Do not eat or cook food that has a strong smell to it, such as spicy or greasy foods. You should also eat smaller meals more frequently. After eating, do not lie down straight afterwards.
Taking steps to distract yourself from feeling sick can also help to make your nausea feel less severe. This could involve watching television or listening to music.
When should I seek medical help?
In most cases, nausea will go away on its own without the need for medical treatment. However, you should speak to your GP if your nausea does not go away after a few days.
Similarly, if your nausea keeps coming back for no apparent reason, you should also call 111 or talk to your doctor.
Nausea can also be a sign of a heart attack if it is accompanied by any of the following symptoms:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Pain that spreads to your arms, neck, jaw, or back
If you get any of these symptoms while feeling sick, you should call 999 straight away.
How long does nausea last?
For common and easily identifiably causes of nausea such as food poisoning, motion sickness, sick bugs and even migraines, nausea will typically clear on its own without the need for medicine or treatment within 24 hours.
The cause of nausea will usually determine how long or how frequently it will last for.
How is Nausea treated?
Most cases of nausea will typically clear within 24 hours and will not require treatment. However, in some cases, you doctor, or pharmacist may suggest certain lifestyle changes that will help you to avoid your nausea triggers.
If after implementing certain lifestyle changes your nausea is still persistent, you doctor or pharmacist may choose to treat your nausea symptoms with medicine.
Simple lifestyle changes to treat nausea
Simple lifestyle changes can help to relieve nausea symptoms or prevent them from occurring altogether.
Cleveland Clinic recommend the following when trying to control nausea symptoms:
- Sip clear, cold liquids such as water
- Avoid fatty, greasy, spicy or sweet foods
- Eat slower, smaller and more frequent meals
- Avoid physical activity immediately after eating
- Avoid coming into contact with strong smells such as aftershave or perfumes
- Eat lighter, drier foods such as crackers or plain bread
- Do not mix hot or cold food, stick to one of the other
Treating Nausea with medicine
As unpleasant as nausea can be, there are many different anti-sickness medicines available to tackle the symptoms. Many of these can be taken by both adults and children. Many can also be taken by pregnant women to combat morning sickness.
Cyclizine is commonly prescribed for people who are experiencing nausea and vomiting. This antihistamine medication works to block the brain’s vomiting centre receptors, which stops them from reacting from nausea messages being sent to them. Cyclizine gets to work very quickly, normally easing nausea in half an hour, and will be in effect for up to 6 hours.
You can buy Cyclizine 50mg tablets online from Medicine Direct.
Women who are suffering from morning sickness can be prescribed cyclizine, although it may not be the first recommendation by the doctor.
Prochlorperazine 5mg tablets may also be prescribed to treat nausea. This medicine contains prochlorperazine maleate, which is a phenothiazine, and works to block the dopamine receptors in the brain. It can be taken by adults and children over 1 year old and also takes effect after 30 minutes.
Stemetil (Prochlorperazine) is also available to buy online, which is the branded version of prochlorperazine.
Domperidone 10mg tablets are an antiemetic drug that is suitable for people over the age of 12. Domperidone stops the messages being sent from the chemoreceptor trigger zone (CTZ) of the brain to the vomiting centre.
You can view our Nausea treatment page to view the full range of medication available at Medicine Direct to ease these symptoms.