Nausea and vomiting - adults

Definition

Nausea is feeling an urge to vomit. It is often called "being sick to your stomach."

Vomiting or throwing-up is forcing the contents of the stomach up through the food pipe (esophagus) and out of the mouth.

Alternative Names

Emesis; Vomiting; Stomach upset; Upset stomach; Queasiness

Causes

Common problems that may cause nausea and vomiting include:

Nausea and vomiting may also be early warning signs of more serious medical problems, such as:

Home Care

Once you and your health care provider find the cause, you will want to know how to treat your nausea or vomiting.

You may need to:

If you have morning sickness during pregnancy, ask your provider about possible treatments.

The following may help treat motion sickness:

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call 911 or go to an emergency room if you:

Call a provider right away or seek medical care if you or another person has:

Signs of dehydration include:

What to Expect at Your Office Visit

Your provider will perform a physical exam and will look for signs of dehydration.

Your provider will ask questions about your symptoms, such as:

Other questions you may be asked include:

Diagnostic tests that may be performed include:

Depending on the cause and how much extra fluids you need, you may have to stay in the hospital or clinic for a period of time. You may need fluids given through your veins (intravenous or IV).

References

Crane BT, Eggers SDZ, Zee DS. Central vestibular disorders. In: Flint PW, Haughey BH, Lund V, et al, eds. Cummings Otolaryngology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2015:chap 166.

Guttman J. Nausea and vomiting. In: Walls RM, Hockberger RS, Gaushe-Hill M, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 26.


Review Date: 7/11/2017
Reviewed By: Michael M. Phillips, MD, Clinical Professor of Medicine, The George Washington University School of Medicine, Washington, DC. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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