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Nausea (Latin nausea, from Greek ναυσίη, nausiē, "seasickness"), is the sensation of unease and discomfort in the upper stomach and head with an urge to vomit. An attack of nausea is known as a qualm. Nausea which affects the stomach is sometimes called wamble.
Nausea is not a sickness, but rather a symptom of several conditions, many of which are unrelated to the stomach. Nausea is often indicative of an underlying condition elsewhere in the body. Motion sickness, which is due to confusion between perceived movement and actual movement, is an example: the sense of equilibrium lies in the ear and works together with eyesight. When these two "disagree" about the extent to which the body is actually moving, the symptom is presented as nausea, although the stomach itself has nothing to do with the situation. The stomach's involvement comes from the brain's conclusion that one of the senses is hallucinating due to poison ingestion; the brain then induces vomiting to clear the supposed toxin.
In medicine, nausea can be a problem during some chemotherapy regimens and following general anaesthesia. Nausea is also a common symptom of pregnancy, in which it is called "morning sickness". Mild nausea experienced during pregnancy can be normal, and should not be considered an immediate cause for alarm.
Causes of nausea include, but are not limited to:
- Acute HIV infection
- Addison disease
- Brain tumor
- Chicken Pox
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Crohn's disease
- Drugs, whether the drug in use is for reasons that are medicinal, recreational, intentional, and/or unintentional.
- Eating disorders
- Influenza (rarely in adults, more commonly in children; not to be confused with "stomach flu" Gastroenteritis)
- Food poisoning
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease
- Heart attack
- Increased intracranial pressure
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Kidney failure
- Kidney stones
- Ménière's disease
- Morning sickness
- Peptic ulcer
- Sleep deprivation
- Superior mesenteric artery syndrome
- Tullio phenomenon
- Withdrawal syndrome
- Vestibular balance disorder
- Viral hepatitis
While short-term nausea and vomiting are generally harmless, they may sometimes indicate a more serious condition, such as coeliac disease. When associated with prolonged vomiting, it may lead to dehydration and/or dangerous electrolyte imbalances.
Symptomatic treatment for nausea and vomiting may include small portions of solid food. This is usually not easy, as nausea is nearly always associated with loss of appetite. If the patient is dehydrated, rehydration with oral or intravenous electrolyte solutions may be required. Ingesting crushed ice has also proven effective.  If the cause of the nausea is motion sickness, sitting down in a still environment may also help.
There are several types of antiemetics, and researchers continue to look for more effective treatments. The main types used post-operatively for surgical patients are ondansetron, dexamethasone, promethazine, dimenhydrinate and (in small doses) droperidol. Doxylamine is the drug of choice in pregnancy-related nausea. When ingested or inhaled, marijuana has been shown to reduce nausea in the majority of users. The antidepressant Mirtazapine has anti-emetic effects as well. Also available are a variety of non-invasive (but often untested) mechanical devices for suppressing nausea induced by motion sickness.
The spices ginger and peppermint have been used for centuries as traditional remedies for nausea, and recent research has validated these remedies. Also, citron fruit was once widely considered to relieve nausea.
Bismuth is another common remedy, and is contained in several over the counter stomach medications, notably Pepto-Bismol.
- Drug Policy Alliance. Medicinal Uses of Marijuana: Nausea, Emesis and Appetite Stimulation. URL accessed on 2007-08-02.
- University of Maryland Medical Center. Ginger. URL accessed on 2007-08-02.
Digestive system - Gastroenterology (primarily K20-K93, 530-579)
GERD - Achalasia - Boerhaave syndrome - Zenker's diverticulum - Mallory-Weiss syndrome - Barrett's esophagus
Duodenal ulcer - Intussusception - Abdominal angina
Diarrhea - Appendicitis - Bowel obstruction - Diverticulitis - Diverticulosis - IBD (Crohn's, Ulcerative colitis) - IBS - Constipation - Megacolon (Toxic megacolon) - Anal fissure - Anal fistula - Anal abscess - Rectal prolapse
Inguinal (Indirect, Direct) - Femoral - Umbilical - Incisional - Diaphragmatic - Hiatus
Alcoholic liver disease - Cholestasis (Mirizzi's syndrome) - Liver failure - Cirrhosis - Hepatitis - PBC - NASH - Fatty liver - Peliosis hepatis - Portal hypertension - Hepatorenal syndrome - Budd-Chiari
Gallbladder/Biliary tree (Gallstones, Choledocholithiasis, Cholecystitis, Cholesterolosis, Cholangitis, PSC, Biliary fistula, Ascending cholangitis)
Malabsorption (e.g. celiac, Whipple's) - Tropical sprue - Hematemesis - Melena - Gastrointestinal bleeding (Upper, Lower) - Peritonitis
See also congenital
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