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The origin of the word 'Nausea' can be found in ancient Greek texts which use the word 'nautia' or 'nausie' to mean seasickness, dislike, or repulsion. These words influenced the Latin word 'nausea' which was first coined to mean seasickness. Cool, eh?
Our ancestors were avid travelers, so it is no surprise that they needed a word for the motion sickness caused by the movement of the ship in tumultuous waters. This feeling however, was not only felt by our seafaring ancestors.
We now know that every person alive is bound to feel nauseous at some point in their lives. So, what exactly causes this uneasiness, and why do we feel it?
Some of the most common triggers of nausea are the stomach virus (also known as 'gastroenteritis'), or food poisoning. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that a staggering 48 million Americans (that is one in every six people), fall victim annually to food-borne illnesses that are caused by them consuming any contaminated food or beverage. The nauseous feeling is then caused by the body trying to repulse any bacteria or toxins that enter it via the gastrointestinal tract.
This is usually felt in the initial stages of a pregnancy, and sometimes is what alerts a woman to the fact that she might be pregnant. The reason for nausea is thought to be the human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) pregnancy hormone that is produced mostly during the first trimester. The symptoms of nausea usually lessen as the months go on, but for a few unlucky women out there, it remains until the baby is born. On the subject of hormonal nausea, it can also be felt when a woman is going through premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
A few people also get nauseous on moving vehicles. This can take many forms like seasickness, carsickness, and airsickness name a few. The reason people feel this motion sickness is because the signals being fed to your brain through your eyes and through your vestibular system (the balance and motion control sensors in your ear) don't correlate. Therefore, some infections of the inner ear like vertigo can also cause the patient to feel nauseated.
Even though the list of reasons in this article has so far been only medical reasons, certain psychological triggers can cause nausea too. Anorexia and Bulimia Nervosa are some eating disorders that automatically trigger nausea at some point because of frequent vomiting. Stress, depression, anxiety can also cause nausea. Who hasn't felt nauseous before giving a speech to a roomful of people?
Other reasons for nausea could be allergies, lack of sleep, a reaction to medication, viral infections etc... There are many innumerable causes, but we attempted to mention the primary and most common ones.