3205 - Milano, Duomo - Giorgio Bonola - Miracolo di Marco Spagnolo (1681) - Foto Giovanni Dall'Orto, 6-Dec-2007-cropped.jpg

A 1681 painting depicting a person vomiting
ICD-10 R11
ICD-9 787.0

Nausea (Latin nausea, from Greek ναυσίη, nausiē, "motion sickness", feeling sick," queasy or "wamble"[1]), is a sensation of unease and discomfort in the upper stomach with an involuntary urge to vomit.[2] It often, but not always, precedes vomiting. A person can suffer nausea without vomiting. Some common causes of nausea are motion sickness, gastroenteritis (stomach infection) or food poisoning, side effects of many medications including cancer chemotherapy, nauseants or morning sickness in early pregnancy. Medications taken to prevent nausea are called antiemetics and include diphenhydramine, metoclopramide and ondansetron. Nausea may also be caused by stress and depression.[3][4][5]


Differential diagnosis

The causes of nausea are many. One organization listed 700 in 2009.[6] Gastrointestinal infections (37%) and food poisoning are the two most common causes.[2][7] While side effects from medications (3%) and pregnancy are also relatively frequent.[2][7] In 10% of people the cause remains unknown.[7]

Food poisoning

Food poisoning usually causes an abrupt onset of nausea and vomiting one to six hours after ingestion of contaminated food and lasts for one to two days.[8] It is due to toxins produced by bacteria in food.[8]


Many medications can potentially cause nausea.[8] Some of the most frequently associated include cancer chemotherapy regimens and general anaesthetic agents.


Nausea or "morning sickness" is common during early pregnancy but may occasionally continue into the second and third trimesters. In the first trimester nearly 80% of women have some degree of nausea.[9] Pregnancy should therefore be considered as a possible cause of nausea in any women of child bearing age.[8] While usually it is mild and self limiting severe cases known as hyperemesis gravidarum may require treatment.[10]


A number of conditions involving balance such as motion sickness and vertigo can lead to nausea and vomiting.

Stress and depression

Nausea may be caused by stress and depression.[3][4][5]

Potentially serious

While most causes of nausea are not serious, some serious causes do occur. These include: diabetic ketoacidosis, brain tumor, surgical problems, pancreatitis, small bowel obstruction, meningitis, appendicitis, cholecystitis, Addisonian crisis, Choledocholithiasis (from gallstones) and hepatitis, as a sign of carbon monoxide poison and many others.[2]

Diagnostic approach

Often no investigations are needed, however basic lab tests may be appropriate.[2] If a bowel obstruction is possible, abdominal x-rays may be useful.[2]


If dehydration is present due to loss of fluids from severe vomiting and/or accompanying diarrhea, rehydration with oral electrolyte solutions is preferred.[2] If this is not effective or possible, intravenous rehydration may be required.[2]


Dimenhydrinate (Gravol) is an inexpensive and effective medication for preventing postoperative nausea and vomiting.[11] Meclozine is another antihistamine antiemetic. In certain people, cannabinoids may be effective in reducing chemotherapy associated nausea and vomiting.[12][13] Ondansetron (Zofran) is effective for nausea and vomiting but is expensive.[8] Pyridoxine or metoclopramide are the first line treatments for pregnancy related nausea and vomiting.[10] Medical marijuana may be prescribed where allowed for certain indications.


While short-term nausea and vomiting are generally harmless, they may sometimes indicate a more serious condition. When associated with prolonged vomiting, it may lead to dehydration and/or dangerous electrolyte imbalances.


Nausea and or vomiting is the main complaint in 1.6% of visits to family physicians in Australia.[7] However only 25% of people with nausea visit their family physician.[2] It is most common in those 15–24 years old and less common in other ages.[7]


  1. ^ "Wamble definition". MedTerms Medical Dictionary. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Metz A, Hebbard G (September 2007). "Nausea and vomiting in adults--a diagnostic approach". Aust Fam Physician 36 (9): 688–92. PMID 17885699. 
  3. ^ a b "Stress symptoms: Effects on your body, feelings and behavior". Mayo Clinic. 
  4. ^ a b "Diagnostic Criteria: Clinical Guidelines for the Management of Anxiety". PubMed. 
  5. ^ a b "Disease Information for Stress/Emotional/Physical: Clinical Manifestations". 
  6. ^ "Differential Diagnosis for Nausea". 
  7. ^ a b c d e Helena Britt (September 2007). "Presentations of nausea and vomiting". Aust Fam Physician 36 (9): 673–784. PMID 17885697. 
  8. ^ a b c d e Scorza K, Williams A, Phillips JD, Shaw J (July 2007). "Evaluation of nausea and vomiting". Am Fam Physician 76 (1): 76–84. PMID 17668843. 
  9. ^ Koch KL, Frissora CL (March 2003). "Nausea and vomiting during pregnancy". Gastroenterol. Clin. North Am. 32 (1): 201–34, vi. doi:10.1016/S0889-8553(02)00070-5. PMID 12635417. 
  10. ^ a b Sheehan P (September 2007). "Hyperemesis gravidarum--assessment and management". Aust Fam Physician 36 (9): 698–701. PMID 17885701. 
  11. ^ Kranke P, Morin AM, Roewer N, Eberhart LH (March 2002). "Dimenhydrinate for prophylaxis of postoperative nausea and vomiting: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials". Acta Anaesthesiol Scand 46 (3): 238–44. doi:10.1034/j.1399-6576.2002.t01-1-460303.x. PMID 11939912. 
  12. ^ Tramèr MR, Carroll D, Campbell FA, Reynolds DJ, Moore RA, McQuay HJ (July 2001). "Cannabinoids for control of chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting: quantitative systematic review". BMJ 323 (7303): 16–21. doi:10.1136/bmj.323.7303.16. PMC 34325. PMID 11440936. 
  13. ^ Drug Policy Alliance (2001). "Medicinal Uses of Marijuana: Nausea, Emesis and Appetite Stimulation". Retrieved 2007-08-02. 

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  • nausea — nauséa s. f. (sil. se a) Trimis de siveco, 10.08.2004. Sursa: Dicţionar ortografic  NAUSÉA s.f. (Liv.) Senzaţie de vomă; greaţă. [pron. se a. / cf. lat. nausea, fr. nausée]. Trimis de LauraGellner, 17.06.2005. Sursa: DN …   Dicționar Român

  • Nausea — steht für: in der Medizin für Übelkeit eine Musikband, siehe Nausea (Band) den Roman La nausée (Der Ekel) von Jean Paul Sartre Nausea ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Friedrich Nausea, eigentlich Friedrich Grau (1496–1552), katholischer… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • nausea — (n.) early 15c., vomiting, from L. nausea seasickness, from Ionic Gk. nausia (Attic nautia) seasickness, nausea, disgust, lit. ship sickness, from naus ship (see NAVAL (Cf. naval)). Despite its etymology, the word in English seems never to have… …   Etymology dictionary

  • náusea — (Del lat. nausĕa). 1. f. Gana de vomitar. U. m. en pl.) 2. Repugnancia o aversión que causa algo. U. m. en pl.) hasta la náusea. loc. adv. ad náuseam …   Diccionario de la lengua española

  • naúsea — sensación que frecuentemente conduce al vómito, debida al mareo, inicio del embarazo, un dolor intenso, una tensión emocional, las enfermedades de la vesícula, las intoxicaciones alimentarias, fármacos y distintos enterovirus CIE 10 [véase… …   Diccionario médico

  • nausea — / nauzea/ s.f. [dal lat. nausea mal di mare , gr. nausía, var. ionica di nautía der. di nâus nave ]. 1. a. (med.) [stato di malessere caratterizzato da un senso di oppressione all epigastrio e da propensione al vomito] ▶◀ chinetosi, Ⓖ (fam.)… …   Enciclopedia Italiana

  • Nausea — Nau se*a (? or ?), n. [L., fr. Gr. ?, fr. nay^s ship. See {Nave} of a church, and cf. {Noise}.] Seasickness; hence, any similar sickness of the stomach accompanied with a propensity to vomit; qualm; squeamishness of the stomach; loathing. [1913… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Nausĕa [1] — Nausĕa (lat.), 1) die Seekrankheit; 2) Ekel …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Nausĕa [2] — Nausĕa, Friedrich, so v.w. Grau …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Nausĕa — (v. griech. naus, Schiff), eigentlich Seekrankheit, dann Ekel, Übelkeit, Brechreiz …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Nausea — is the urge to vomit. It can be brought by many causes including, systemic illnesses, such as influenza, medications, pain, and inner ear disease. * * * An inclination to vomit. SYN: sicchasia (1). [L. fr. G. nausia, seasickness, fr. naus, ship]… …   Medical dictionary

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