What Is Nausea? A Detailed Look Into the Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment

What Is Nausea? A Detailed Look into the Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment

01 Nov 2020

When you indulge in some questionable foods, you can almost expect on some level that you are going to feel nauseous. But, when it gets you off-guard, it can be stressful. You will have to rack your brain trying to retrace your steps, what you ate or didn’t eat, and even who you came into contact with.

At times, some things can make you feel queasy that have nothing to do with bad food or pregnancy, which can easily land you in our Houston emergency clinic. So let’s dive a little deeper to see what nausea is all about.

What Is Nausea?

In a nutshell, nausea is a general term used to describe a queasy stomach, sometimes accompanied by a feeling that you are about to vomit. Some people have nausea but do not feel as though they are going to vomit.

Almost everyone experiences nausea, making it one of the prevalent reasons that people seek emergency care. Nausea is not a disease but a symptom of an underlying disease or disorder.

What Causes Nausea?

Several problems in any of the following body parts can cause nausea:

  • Balance Centers in the Inner Ear

Vertigo, a condition that makes you feel as though you are spinning, moving, or falling even when you are not in motion, can make you feel nauseous. Motion sickness, viral infections, certain brain or nerve tumors, and sensitivity to a position change can cause you to have vertigo.

  • Brain and Spinal Fluid

Feeling nauseous is common with a head injury, migraine headaches, stroke, brain tumors, meningitis, and bleeding into or around the brain. You can also experience nausea if you have glaucoma, which is brought about by the pressure on the nerves at the back of your eyes. At times, it is a brain reaction triggered by significant emotional distress, pain, or unpleasant odors or sights.

  • Abdominal and Pelvic Organs

There is a myriad of abdominal conditions that can cause nausea. Some of the common causes of nausea include pancreatitis, hepatitis, blocked or stretched stomach or intestine, GERD (gastroesophageal reflux), inflammation of the kidney, irritation of the stomach, appendix, intestinal lining, or pelvic organs.

Gastroenteritis (viral infections) is a common illness that causes nausea. Nausea is also a common symptom caused by menstruation and constipation.

Other than the above, nausea is a common side effect of the following:

  • Medications – Many drugs, including prescription and herbal medicines, cause nausea, especially when more than one drug is used simultaneously. Antidepressants and chemotherapy drugs are among the most common drugs that cause nausea.
  • Alcohol – Intoxication and alcohol withdrawal (including a hangover) can also cause you to experience nausea.
  • Low blood sugar – If you have low blood sugar, it is quite common to experience nausea.
  • Reproductive hormones – Nearly half of the women experience morning sickness during the first trimester of pregnancy. It is also a common occurrence for women who take birth control pills to feel nauseous now and then.
  • Anesthesia – Some people experience nausea while awakening from surgery.
  • Food poisoning and food allergies – During food poisoning, bacteria release toxins that can irritate your stomach or intestines, causing you to have abdominal cramps and nausea.


Since various reasons can cause nausea, our doctor will have to find the clues in your medical history. You can also share with our doctor in our emergency room near you about your activities and the foods you eat or ate that trigger your nausea.

Also, be sure to disclose if you are using birth control or are sexually active and of childbearing age to rule out the possibility of a pregnancy.

Other than that, you will have to undergo some examination. This might include an abdominal examination, blood pressure testing, neurological examination, among others.


Most of the time, nausea will not need treatment. But if treatment is necessary, then it will depend on the underlying cause. This means that our doctor will have to determine what causes you to have nausea since it is a symptom and not a disease.

However, here are some things that you can do:

  • Avoid caffeinated colas and teas
  • Eat bland foods that are easy for your stomach to digest
  • Avoid spicy and fried foods
  • Drink clear liquids to avoid dehydration if you have been vomiting

Other than that, you might take prescribed medication that can help treat the underlying cause. When you reintroduce food, adhere to the BRAT (bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast) diet until your stomach gets better.

We Are Here for You

If you notice that your nausea has lasted longer than three days, contact our doctor in our Houston emergency clinic. You can also call us if your nausea is associated with vomiting, blood, confusion, blurred vision, and a high fever. Feel free to consult with our doctor at Memorial Village ER, who would love to help you get better.

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