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What is Nausea?

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Causes and treatments for nausea and vomiting

By Katherine Solem 

Nausea and vomiting is an uncomfortable symptom many of us have experienced. When various things invade your body, vomiting can be an effective way for your body to deal with the intruders, but that doesn’t make it any more bearable. Although nausea and vomiting are often associated with the stomach flu, both have a variety of other causes. Learn about some of the causes of nausea and vomiting and what you can do about it.

Causes of Nausea

  • Chemotherapy: A common, and uncomfortable, side effect of chemotherapy is nausea and vomiting.
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  • Gastroenteritis: This digestive tract infection can cause diarrhea and vomiting.
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  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD): This chronic heartburn disease can cause feelings of nausea after eating.
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  • Gastroparesis: This condition is characterized by stomach muscles not functioning properly causing your stomach to not empty as it should which in turn leads to feelings of nausea.
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  • General Anesthesia: While general anesthesia is critical for surgeries and other treatments, it can often cause nausea when waking up.
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  • Food allergies: Consuming certain foods you are allergic too, such as dairy products if you are lactose intolerant, can cause you to feel nauseous.
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  • Food poisoning: Consuming foods that have bacteria, parasites, viruses or toxins can cause you to become sick and feel nauseous.
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  • Influenza: More commonly known as the flu, influenza can also cause you to feel nauseous.
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  • Migraine: Nausea can accompany the intense headache associated with migraines.
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  • Morning sickness: In pregnant women, morning sickness is characterized by feelings of nausea and vomiting.
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  • Motion sickness: While the severity of the nausea caused by motion sickness can vary greatly between individuals, for some people, motion sickness can cause intense feelings of nausea and consequently cause vomiting.
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  • Alcohol overdose or illicit or toxic substances: Alcohol overdosing, illicit substance use or toxic substances can cause nausea and vomiting as your body tries to expel the consumed substances.
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  • Rotavirus: This virus is a common cause of diarrhea, particularly in children and infants, and also causes nausea and vomiting.
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  • Vertigo: Vertigo causes you to feel as though you are in motion or spinning and consequently can cause dizziness, nausea and vomiting.
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  • Viral gastroenteritisMore commonly known as the stomach flu, this virus causes you to feel nauseous and can make you vomit.
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Symptoms Associated with Nausea

  • Vomiting: This is the most common symptom that accompanies nausea as your body tries to get rid of something that might make you sick.
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  • Abdominal pain
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