Nausea is a word for the feeling of wanting to vomit or be sick.
Nausea and vomiting can have many different causes. The most common causes are stomach problems such as food poisoning and infections, pregnancy, travel sickness, or emotional problems such as anxiety. They are also possible side-effects of some anti-HIV drugs and other medicines.
Sickness in pregnancy
Nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy is very common. It is often referred to as ‘morning sickness’, but can occur at any time of the day.
Morning sickness most commonly affects women in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy and usually clears up by weeks 16 to 20.
Try to get plenty of rest, as being tired can make you feel worse. Talk to your GP or midwife if sickness is causing you problems, as they can advise on dietary changes that might help, or medication options.
Symptoms of nausea
People with nausea usually feel queasy, but don’t actually vomit unless it is very acute. So nausea can range from a mild uncomfortable feeling to an agonising lurching in the stomach that makes it difficult even to speak. It can also – but not necessarily – be accompanied by symptoms like dizziness, dryness of the mouth, tummy upsets and diarrhoea, chest pain and sweating. Depending on how serious these symptoms are, you can either seek medical help or try out some simple home remedies to relieve them.
Some things you can do to cope with nausea and vomiting
- Eat small, frequent meals, rather than large ones.
- Avoid eating greasy, fatty, fried or spicy food. Instead, choose bland foods like potatoes, rice and bread.
- Try dry food such as toast or cereal.
- Salty food such as crackers, plain biscuits or thin soup can help reduce nausea. Try to carry some crackers with you when you leave the house.
- Don’t lie flat for at least an hour after you eat.
- Eat food cold or at room temperature – hot food can worsen nausea.
- Herbal teas, such as peppermint, chamomile or ginger can help settle upset stomachs.
- If you vomit, stay hydrated by regularly taking small sips of water.