Nausea is a feeling of distress of the stomach that usually occurs right before vomiting. Whereas vomiting is the emptying of the stomach contents through the mouth, it might be either voluntary or involuntary.
Vomiting in children could either be from overeating, which is harmless or food poisoning which is a sign of a serious illness.
Vomiting is common in pregnancy but rapid vomiting may lead to a serious condition called hyperemesis gravidarum where there is an imbalance in the fluids and minerals the mother carries which could endanger the mother and the baby’s lives.
Nausea and vomiting are not diseases per se but can be symptoms of a variety of other diseases that include,
- Motion sickness
- Medication-induced vomiting
- Intense pain
- Emotional stress
- Gallbladder disease
- Food poisoning
- Reaction to certain odors
- Heart attack
- Concussion or brain injury
- Some forms of cancer
- Bulimia or other psychological illness
- Gastroparesis or slow stomach emptying is a condition often noted in people with diabetes
- Intake of toxins or high amounts of alcohol
- Bowel obstruction
When to get help?
The patient is recommended to get emergency medical assistance if any of the following occurs along with vomiting,
- Vomiting blood
- Severe headache
- Stiff neck
- Confusion and decreased alertness
- Severe abdominal pain
- Rapid breathing
- Excessive vomiting is a serious medical condition as it may tear the lining of the esophagus, this condition is called Boerhaave's syndrome and it requires immediate medical help
- If home treatment does not reduce vomiting and dehydration is present
- If the patient vomits for more than a day
- Infants and children under six years old should be given medical help if vomiting lasts for a few hours along with diarrhea and dehydration.
The doctor might opt for different treatment methods for nausea and vomiting, some of these methods include,
- Increase the amount of drinking water gradually
- Avoid eating eat solid food until vomiting and nausea has passed
- If vomiting and diarrhea continue for 24 hours or more, an oral rehydrating solution should be given to prevent dehydration.
- In pregnancy, eating a cracker right after waking up or eating a high protein snack before bed might help reduce morning sickness
- Prescription and nonprescription medications are available to control vomiting associated with pregnancy, motion sickness and other forms of dizziness. Since vomiting could be a sign of various other diseases it is advised to consult a doctor before using these medications.
Vomiting occurs after the feeling of nausea. Here are some ways to prevent nausea,
- Eat smaller meals instead of large meals
- Eat slowly
- Try not to drink water or other liquids during meals instead make it a habit to drink water in between meals
- Avoid foods that are hard to digest
- If feeling nauseated, try eating food
- Do not exercise or do heavy lifting right after a meal