Nausea And Vomiting: Causes & Treatment
Barf! Retch! Hurl! Blargh!
So many names for one of the most uncomfortable sensations we feel- vomiting.
Nausea and vomiting are one of the most terrible duos. The uneasiness and discomfort we face – maybe after a strenuous workout, some dodgy food or an intense night of partying. Even worse is the gurgling in your throat, the sour taste in your mouth and the constant dread that comes just before.
Nausea precedes vomiting and it can be caused by any kind of gastrointestinal irritation.
Luckily, there are some simple and effective solutions to these problems.
What are Nausea and Vomiting?
Vomiting is when the contents of the stomach are forcefully ejected through the mouth. It can either be a one-off event or a periodic one. Keep in mind that vomiting is not a disease but a useful albeit icky defense mechanism. It is symptomatic of actual diseases or problems in our bodies.
Vomiting doesn’t just happen out of the blue though. Well before that, we feel a sense of unease, food repulsion and an imminent feeling that we’re going to vomit. This is called nausea.
Read More: Can Anxiety Cause Nausea?
Causes of Nausea and Vomiting
Any number of reasons can cause nausea and vomiting
- Motion sickness
- Severe emotional distress
- Stomach infections or food poisoning
- Peptic ulcers
- Eating disorders
- Trauma to the abdomen or brain
- Food allergies
- Adverse reactions to drugs
- As a reaction to pungent odours
What are the Signs of Nausea?
Since our body uses nausea as an early warning system for vomiting, recognizing the signs and symptoms of nausea helps us take early action to alleviate the problem before it progresses.
- Urge to Vomit- This is the most common and strongest symptom. You may experience an urge to vomit long before you do.
- Loss of appetite- Your body will be repulsed by most foods. You will experience a lack of appetite and even the sight and smell of food can exacerbate nausea.
- Sweating- You may find yourself covered in sweat with clammy hands.
- Retching- You may feel your abdominal muscles heave as if you’re just about to vomit without vomit being ejected.
- Unease- A sense of dread and malaise can come over you.
Nausea and Vomiting in Adults and Children
While adults certainly experience nausea and vomiting, children suffer from it far more commonly.
In the case of infants and very young children, it is essential to distinguish between spit-up and vomiting.
Spitting up is when food contents leak out of a baby’s mouth, usually accompanied by a burp. This is completely normal and should cause you no worry as long as your baby continues to grow and eat food regularly.
The most common causes of vomiting in children are stomach flu and motion sickness. Be wary of projectile vomiting. Children are also prone to dehydration so keep Oral Rehydration Solution handy.
Treating Nausea and Vomiting
Nausea and Vomiting can be treated effectively with at-home remedies as well as with medication.
- Nausea can be prevented by eating smaller meals throughout the day and avoiding extremely spicy foods.
- Drinking ice-cold water can prevent nausea and vomiting
- Rest with your head in an elevated position
- Ginger, fennel and clove are effective home remedies
- Deep breathing exercises can help you regain control after a bout of nausea
- OTC medications known as anti-emetics are the drugs of choice to treat vomiting. Anti-histamines can also be effective.
Know More: Home Remedies for Nausea
Nausea and vomiting usually subside on their own in a short while. However, complications can and do arise.
- Continuous or intermittent vomiting with or without fever for a period of 24 hours or more should be treated as an emergency.
- Immediately see a doctor if you see blood in your vomit. Blood in vomit typically presents a coffee-ground appearance.
- Vomiting and diarrhea are usually a sign of stomach flu or gastroenteritis.
- A vomiting patient with neck stiffness, headache or altered consciousness has probably suffered from trauma and should be rushed to the hospital immediately.
- Clammy hands and feet with increased heart rate, vomiting and shivering may be symptomatic of shock
- Dry lips and sunken face after a prolonged bout of vomiting are emblematic of dehydration and should be treated with oral rehydration solution as soon as possible.
What relieves nausea fast?
There are many home remedies available to treat nausea fast. You can try chewing ginger or mint leaves. Aromatherapy using scents such as citrus and rose is also helpful. Slowly drink cold water and try to control your breathing and get some fresh air.
When should I be concerned about nausea and vomiting?
You should be concerned about nausea and vomiting when you notice complications like bleeding, dehydration, neck rigidity and fever.
What to drink after vomiting?
Oral Rehydration Solution is the best thing to drink after vomiting as it restores both fluids and electrolytes. If it is unavailable, ice-cold water can also be sipped slowly.
How long should nausea and vomiting last?
While they usually subside within a few hours, nausea and vomiting can sometimes persist for around 24 hours. If they continue beyond that, consult a doctor immediately.
What home remedy stops vomiting?
Asafoetida or heeng is one of the best home remedies for vomiting. It can be mixed in water and then drunk. Other remedies include chamomile, ginger, peppermint and clove
So the next time you feel that barfing feeling, remember that you have the power to prevent it from worsening. With a little bit of knowledge, you can save yourself from hours of discomfort and hassle.