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Nausea is the feeling that you are about to vomit. This is a very common symptom associated with thousands of medical conditions. As such it is very difficult to come to a diagnosis based on nausea alone. You should give your doctor many more details than just "I feel like I'm about to vomit".

What can cause nausea?

Illnesses in every system in the body can give rise to nausea. Let's start from the head and go down. Neurological conditions like demyelinating diseases and degenerative disorders (like Parkinson's) cause nausea. Nausea almost always accompanies migraines. Vision abnormalities lead to headaches and nausea. Ear conditions can cause hearing loss, loss of balance and nausea.

Skeletal abnormalities like cervical spondylosis interfere with neural signals coming along the spinal cord from other areas of the body and result in nausea. Myocardial infarction (heart attack) presents with chest pain, nausea, sweating and rapid breathing. Any viral fever may give rise to nausea and vomiting. Serious infections like pneumonia cause loss of appetite and nausea. Gastro-intestinal conditions like gastritis, gastric ulcer, intestinal obstruction, cholecystitis, hepatitis, pancreatic cancer, and chronic inflammatory bowel diseases present with nausea. Cancers are notorious for causing loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting. Renal infections, renal failure and kidney stones can cause nausea.

It is therefore plausible that nausea occurs due to some disturbance of the precarious balance of the body. Mechanisms might even be common to all of the above conditions. Many studies have identified various mechanisms that can cause nausea. Tumor necrosis factor is one such important mechanism. It is a protein formed in the body in response to injurious agents, and it is the chemical that gives rise to the general ill feeling.

Nausea in women

Many women suspect a pregnancy when they get morning sickness a few of weeks after having unprotected sex. Nausea during pregnancy is due to excess progesterone, and any hormonal contraceptive containing a high progesterone concentration can cause the same.

Exacerbation of gastritis and duodenitis due to hormonal contraceptives worsen nausea and vomiting. The later part of the menstrual cycle where progesterone levels are a bit higher can cause some women get nauseous. Most do not experience excessive nausea, but a few are unfortunate enough to do so.

What can you do?
  • Develop correct dietary habits.
  • Eat regularly.
  • Do not miss meals.
  • Use small snacks to soothe the stomach in case you miss a main meal.
  • Do not use this as an excuse to snack too often.
  • Do not overeat.
  • Try to avoid things that make you sick.
  • Drink enough water.
  • Tea, coffee, spicy food and chocolate tend to exacerbate gastritis.
  • Reduce fatty food because it makes food stay longer in the stomach without moving on into the small intestine.

Obese people tend to get reflux disease more. Weight loss with an effective exercise regimen will improve symptoms a lot.

If simple measures do not give you relief it is always better to consult a doctor.

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