When Should You See A Doctor For Nausea And Vomiting?

Many of us are familiar with nausea. It's that unpleasant feeling in the upper abdomen that often precedes vomiting — the body's way of removing harmful substances as quickly as possible, per Medical News Today. Nausea and vomiting are, therefore, protective reactions and natural reflexes. However, it's important to note that nausea and vomiting aren't diseases. Rather, they're non-specific symptoms, meaning they can be attributed to various causes.

The best way to understand the cause of your nausea is to speak with your doctor. Please also contact emergency services if the symptoms are accompanied by severe headache, lightheadedness, pain, loss of consciousness, fever, stiff neck, or dizziness (via Mayo Clinic). Vomit that contains blood or fecal matter can also be an important warning sign of a more serious problem. According to Healthline, black vomit with the appearance of coffee granules is known as coffee ground vomitus. It often indicates bleeding from the stomach (blood clots that turn black from contact with stomach acid). Of course, there are a variety of other explanations for that annoying stomach pain, some of which are more worrisome than others.

Possible causes of nausea and vomiting

The causes of nausea and vomiting vary. Doctors often have to track down the cause by looking into the accompanying symptoms. For many people, food poisoning comes to mind when nausea and vomiting occur. This can be caused by a bacterial infection, something that is often accompanied by watery diarrhea and fever, per Cleveland Clinic.

According to Medical News Today, constant nausea after eating specific foods might indicate food intolerance. For example, some people are gluten intolerant. Mayo Clinic states that people can also react to cow's milk with nausea, a condition known as lactose intolerance. In order to best identify the source of the problem, you should speak with your doctor if you regularly become nauseous after eating.

As for nausea and pregnancy, they're anything but a rare combination. In fact, according to Cleveland Clinic, nausea occurs in 70% of pregnancies. The clinic also states that pregnant women usually struggle with nausea in the morning, something that can begin as early as the first six weeks of the pregnancy. The good news is that nausea and vomiting almost always resolve as pregnancy progresses into the second trimester (the middle three months), per Cleveland Clinic. Despite the common link between nausea and pregnancy, seeking medical attention is important to rule out other issues.

What are the various treatment options for nausea and vomiting?

Medical News Today states that the treatment of nausea usually depends on the cause. Your doctor will advise you on the next steps if your nausea and vomiting have a more serious cause like gastric cancer. For nausea caused by motion sickness or vertigo, antihistamines are commonly used, per Medical News Today. In the case of mild nausea, you can sometimes remedy this at home, per Healthline. Care should be taken to eat a diet that's gentle on the stomach. This means eating small meals throughout the day, avoiding hard-to-digest foods, and resting after eating.

Livestrong also advises drinking fluids to compensate for water and electrolyte losses because vomiting can lead to dehydration. Water, sports drinks, fruit juice, and clear broths are recommended. In order to assure that liquid isn't vomited up again, it's best to drink in small sips and only resume normal drinking levels after a full 24 hours.