Read below about nausea, including causes, treatment options and remedies. Or get a personalized analysis of your nausea from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

This symptom can also be referred to as:
Feel like throwing up

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Nausea Symptoms

There you are, going on about your day like normal, until your stomach starts to suggest otherwise. It suddenly feels like you're on a roller coaster. Your stomach is twisting. You start to feel dizzy and sweaty. Maybe you start questioning yourself — maybe you're just being dramatic — but then you start looking for someplace to put your barely digested lunch. This is an all too familiar case of nausea.

Symptoms of nausea include:

The brain is actually responsible for those nauseous waves you're experiencing, not your stomach. The sensation can come from ingesting something that the chemoreceptor trigger zone of the brain regards as dangerous, such as certain foods or medications.

If this part of the body is what's triggering your nausea, you will most likely vomit with time. The area postrema of the brain will also make you feel queasy if there are changes to pressure or your equilibrium, such as when riding a carnival ride. If this is the case, you can try to fight the sensation until your body returns to normal — and hopefully you won't vomit.

Nausea Causes Overview

Nausea is a non-specific symptom. The following list is short considering how many possible causes there are, but it's a good place to start.

  • Norovirus infection: This type of infection is common and can easily spread. Your stomach becomes inflamed, leading to discomfort, nausea, and diarrhea.
  • Rotavirus infection: Rotavirus is common in children. It causes severe inflammation in the stomach and bowels. Early symptoms include nausea and vomiting, followed by diarrhea.
  • Mononucleosis: Caused by the Epstein-Barr virus, mononucleosis can make the liver swell. This can lead to poor appetite, discomfort, and nausea.
  • Recurrent migraine: If you're familiar with migraines, you know that nausea is a common symptom, along with vomiting and sensitivity to lights and sounds. If your head is pounding and you're nauseous, the two are almost always related.
  • Acute stomach ulcer: Common symptoms of stomach ulcers include abdominal pain, especially after meals, and poor appetite. You can be nauseous, though this doesn't happen with everyone diagnosed with an ulcer.
  • Pregnancy: This is a very common symptom early in pregnancy.

Most of the time, nausea isn't a sign of something more sinister. It might cause you to vomit or it will simply come over you in waves for several minutes or hours until the sensation dissipates.

A.I. Health Assistant Causes for Nausea

The list below shows results from the use of our A.I. Health Assistant by Buoy users who experienced nausea. This list does not constitute medical advice.

  1. 1.Viral (Norovirus) Infection

    Noroviruses are a group of related viruses that leads to nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and cramps. These viruses cause gastroenteritis, an inflammation of the stomach and intestines. When the diarrhea and/or vomiting is severe, dehydration can occur. Symptoms of dehydration include a dry mouth, dizziness, urinating less frequently and dark urine.

    Usually resolves within 2-3 days.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    diarrhea, vomiting or nausea, fatigue, nausea, abdominal pain (stomach ache), headache
    Symptoms that always occur with viral (norovirus) infection:
    diarrhea, vomiting or nausea
    Symptoms that never occur with viral (norovirus) infection:
    severe abdominal pain, throbbing headache, severe headache, tarry stool, vaginal bleeding, alertness level change
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  2. 2.Acid Reflux Disease (Gerd)

    Acid reflux disease, also known as GERD, occurs when the acidic contents of the stomach come back up into the esophagus. The most common symptoms are heartburn and regurgitation.

    With proper treatment, symptoms may be relieved within days & at most several weeks.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    nausea, sore throat, pain below the ribs, cough with dry or watery sputum, deep chest pain, behind the breast bone
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  3. 3.Indigestion (Dyspepsia)

    Indigestion, also known as dyspepsia, is a condition that causes pain or discomfort in the stomach after eating. In some cases, indigestion also causes heartburn, burping, and nausea. Indigestion or dyspepsia is a very common complaint. Every year, about 1 in every 4 people will experience an episode of dyspepsia, of which most cases do not have a serious underlying cause.

    These symptoms are likely to resolve, if they persist you should discuss this with your primary care physician.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    nausea, stomach bloating, dyspeptic symptoms, bloating after meals, vomiting
    Symptoms that always occur with indigestion (dyspepsia):
    dyspeptic symptoms
    Symptoms that never occur with indigestion (dyspepsia):
    vomiting (old) blood or passing tarry stools, rectal bleeding, bloody diarrhea, fever
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  4. 4.Recurrent Migraine

    Migraines are headaches of moderate to severe intensity, which happen when blood vessels in the brain swell up. They are episodic and thus can recur often. Most migraine sufferers experience increased sensitivity to sounds and/or lights and become nauseous and vomit.

    Migraine symptoms may resolve within a day or two, but the condition can come and go for a year or more. If any particular episode is unusually severe or does not respond to your customary treatments, you may want to see a doctor urgently.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    headache, history of headaches, fatigue, nausea, mild headache
    Symptoms that always occur with recurrent migraine:
    headache, history of headaches
    Symptoms that never occur with recurrent migraine:
    fever, headache resulting from a head injury
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  5. 5.Viral (Rotavirus) Infection

    Rotavirus is a virus that causes an infection of the gut, known as gastroenteritis. Symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting and fever. When the diarrhea and/or vomiting is severe, dehydration can occur. Symptoms of dehydration include a dry mouth, dizziness, urinating less frequently and dark urine.

    Symptoms resolve on their own within a few days.

    Rarity:
    Ultra rare
    Top Symptoms:
    diarrhea, vomiting or nausea, nausea, fatigue, abdominal pain (stomach ache), headache
    Symptoms that always occur with viral (rotavirus) infection:
    diarrhea, vomiting or nausea
    Symptoms that never occur with viral (rotavirus) infection:
    constipation, tarry stool
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment

    Nausea Checker

    Take a quiz to find out why you’re having nausea.

    Nausea Quiz
  6. 6.Functional Dyspepsia / Indigestion

    Indigestion, also known as dyspepsia, is a condition that causes pain or discomfort in the stomach after eating. In some cases, indigestion also causes heartburn, burping, and nausea. Indigestion or dyspepsia is a very common complaint and in most cases there is no serious underlying cause. This is when doctors call it 'functional'.

    Symptoms of indigestion often come and go and may be chronic. Usually treatment includes medicines that neutralize or diminish stomach acid production or medicines that relief nausea.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    stomach bloating, nausea, dyspeptic symptoms, bloating after meals, vomiting
    Symptoms that always occur with functional dyspepsia/indigestion:
    dyspeptic symptoms
    Symptoms that never occur with functional dyspepsia/indigestion:
    vomiting (old) blood or passing tarry stools, rectal bleeding, bloody diarrhea, fever
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  7. 7.Non - Specific Nausea and Vomiting

    Nausea and vomiting with no recognizable cause.

    1 day

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    nausea, vomiting
    Symptoms that always occur with non-specific nausea and vomiting:
    nausea, vomiting
    Symptoms that never occur with non-specific nausea and vomiting:
    diarrhea, fever, headache
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  8. 8.Morning Sickness

    Morning sickness is the nausea and vomiting (throwing up) that many women have during pregnancy. Symptoms can be mild or severe. Even though it is called "morning" sickness, symptoms can happen any time of day.

    Morning sickness usually gets better after the first few months of pregnancy.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    nausea or vomiting
    Symptoms that always occur with morning sickness:
    nausea or vomiting
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  9. 9.Food Poisoning by the Staphylococcus Bacteria

    Staphylococcus aureus is a bacterium that can be spread by food workers who handle food without washing their hands, and can also be found in unpasteurized milk and cheese products. Infection with this bacterium causes a stomach and intestinal illness in a short period of time, with symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, cramps, and diarrhea.

    Non-contagious illness usually lasting for 1 day (may take up to 3 days in rare cases).

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    nausea, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps (stomach cramps), vomiting
    Symptoms that always occur with food poisoning by the staphylococcus bacteria:
    nausea or vomiting
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  10. 10.Small Bowel Obstruction

    A small bowel obstruction is most often caused by adhesions after surgery, which make it difficult or impossible for food and fluid to pass through the bowel. This causes a blockage. Small bowel obstructions often cause nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and constipation.

    With appropriate treatment, symptoms resolve within days. In 18% of patients, an obstruction occurs again within 10 years.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    abdominal pain (stomach ache), nausea, stomach bloating, being severely ill, abdominal cramps (stomach cramps)
    Symptoms that always occur with small bowel obstruction:
    being severely ill
    Urgency:
    Hospital emergency room

Nausea Treatments and Relief

Even though nausea is common, there are times when being evaluated by a doctor can help prevent further complications. When trying to decide if you should schedule an appointment or possibly head to the emergency room, consider the following.

Schedule an appointment if:

  • Your nausea has come and gone for more than a month
  • You have unexplained weight loss
  • You've been vomiting for more than two days

Seek immediate treatment if:

Sometimes, you just have to let nausea run its course. But there are a few things you can do to lessen its intensity.

  • Over-the-counter medication: Anti-nausea medication like Pepto-Bismol can help your stomach stop flipping.
  • Ginger: Making a ginger drink and slowly sipping on it can have you feeling back to normal quite quickly.
  • Vitamin B6: Taking a vitamin B6 supplement is a simple way to calm down the waves of nausea.
  • Peppermint oil: Try diffusing peppermint oil while you relax or mix a few drops with some coconut oil and rub it directly beneath your nose. The calming sent should help your stomach relax.
  • Lemon: When you're nauseous, certain smells and foods can send you over the edge. Citrus scents are easy on the stomach and can help dull your nauseous feelings.

The next time you feel your stomach performing a gymnastic routine, start trying to determine why. Then focus on treating the symptom before a good day quickly takes a turn for the worse.

FAQs About Nausea

Here are some frequently asked questions about nausea.

What does nausea mean?

Nausea is the feeling you get when you think you might throw up.

Can pain cause nausea?

Yes, intense pain can cause nausea, although the pain is usually caused by an injury or illness.

What can cause constant nausea?

Constant nausea, which we will define as sudden onset of non-relenting nausea (and not chronic nausea) can have many causes. The most common ones include problems with the stomach or intestines (e.g. obstrucion or motor dysfunction), food poisoning, dizziness or motion sickness, medicines, pregnancy, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), migraine headaches, and alcohol consumption.

What causes nausea and diarrhea ?

Acute gastroenteritis is second only to the common cold as a cause of lost work or school productivity. Bacterial, viral, and parasitic pathogens cause this illness which is characterized by diarrhea and/or vomiting. Vomiting is especially common with infections caused by rotaviruses, enteric adenovirus, norovirus, and staphylococcus .

Why do I feel sick after I eat?

If nausea/vomiting occurs several hours after food consumption, it can indicate food poisoning, bowel obstruction or delayed emptying of the stomach/intestine (most commonly occurs after abdominal surgery). If it occurs soon after eating, common causes may include food poisoning, inflammation of the stomach lining (gastritis), ulcers, pregnancy, or eating disorder (bulimia).

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Nausea

  • Q.Have you vomited?
  • Q.Any fever today or during the last week?
  • Q.Have you been feeling more tired than usual, lethargic or fatigued despite sleeping a normal amount?
  • Q.Have you lost your appetite recently?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, try our nausea symptom checker to find out more.

Nausea Quiz

Nausea Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced nausea have also experienced:

    • 10% Abdominal Pain (Stomach Ache)
    • 9% Headache
    • 5% Fatigue
  • People who have experienced nausea had symptoms persist for:

    • 45% Less Than a Day
    • 30% Less Than a Week
    • 9% Over a Month
  • People who have experienced nausea were most often matched with:

    • 60% Acid Reflux Disease (Gerd)
    • 20% Viral (Norovirus) Infection
    • 20% Indigestion (Dyspepsia)
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

A.I. Health Assistant

Take a quiz to find out why you’re having nausea

Nausea Quiz