Navigating Nausea - Understanding, Coping, and Relief!

Medically reviewed by Aaron L Weigmann MD., MS Plastic Surgeon May 13, 2024| Written by Abdul Jabbar

Navigating Nausea - Understanding, Coping, and Relief!

Nausea is a catchall sensation that we’ve all experienced at some point in our lives. It can be incredibly challenging as it often disturbs the stomach and triggers the urge to throw up. You may also feel lightheaded or dizzy and may have difficulty swallowing. 

According to research, nausea can be a result of undergoingchemotherapy,eating spoiled food, being pregnant, or having migraines. Meanwhile, chronic nausea for unexplained reasons affects0.6% of adults.

Most cases of vomiting and nausea aren't severe. But if nausea persists for more than one day a week, it's time to consult a physician as this cansignificantly impact your quality of life.

So, let’s delve into nausea, its symptoms, causes, and ways to cope with it.

Symptoms of Nausea

Nausea is uncomfortable yet unpainful - leading to a peculiar feeling in the chest, upper abdomen, or back of the throat. The term is derived from Greek terms ναυσια & ναυτια - which designated the significantsigns and symptoms of seasickness.

The most common sign is the sensation of imminent vomiting. Some other possible signs include:

  • Stomach ache
  • Loss of appetite
  • Abdominal stress
  • Excessive sweating
  • Light fatigue or sensitivity
  • Respiratory muscle contractions
  • Uneasy feeling in the chest or throat

More thanone study further confirms that nausea can either occur alone or accompany dyspepsia, gastrointestinal symptoms, or vomiting. 

Also, both vomiting and nausea are symptoms of various other health conditions. 

What is the Difference Between Nausea and Vomiting?

Vomiting and nausea usually go hand in hand, but they are slightly different. While the frequency of nausea falls between50% to 80%, the rate of vomiting is approximately 50%.

Nausea is that unsettled, queasy feeling in the stomach like it’s doing somersaults — making you want to “hurl.” But that’s not the actual act of tossing your cookies!

On the other hand, vomiting is the real deal; it is when your stomach says, “Enough!” and throws out its contents through your mouth.

In short, nausea gives you a warning bell that tells you something is not right in the stomach, and vomit makes you get rid of what’s irritating it.

What Causes Nausea?

Knowing what exactly is causing nausea can be complex.Research suggests that the act of vomiting and the sensation of nausea occur as a result of both pathological and psychological conditions. 

For instance, if your stomach gets upset after you’ve tried new food earlier that day, it may demonstrate food poisoning. Likewise, it could be due to motion sickness if you feel queasy during a road trip. 

Infection often leads to nausea. This may involve: 

Abdominal stress or nausea can also occur as a result of:

  • Anxiety 
  • Some treatments andmedicines
  • Motion sickness
  • Heart problems
  • Migraine 
  • A bowel blockage
  • Drinking alcohol excessively
  • Head injuries
  • Chemical changes in the body

A proper diagnosis of the cause behind nausea can determine the best course of action. Here’s how:


Your physician will enquire about your activities and other symptoms that could have triggered this condition. Sometimes, nausea may simply indicate an undetected pregnancy. 

However, a physician may seek the help of other tests to determine the exact cause. 

Depending on your medical history and recent symptoms, these tests may include neurological examination, abdominal examination, and blood pressure testing. If you have had a head injury, you may also need a brain imaging test like a Computed Tomography Scan (CT scan). 

Once you’re diagnosed with nausea and it persists for a couple of days, you need medical treatment to cure this condition. 

What Gets Rid of Nausea Fast? 

What helps with vomiting and nausea differs from person to person, but you can control this uncomfortable sensation through several things.

Some at-home remedies for nausea include:

1. Eating Ginger

Ginger has been used for centuries to alleviate nausea. It is believed to stimulate saliva flow and aid digestion. You can consume it in the form of tea, capsule, or food. 

Interestingly,several studies suggest that ginger can ease nausea caused by chemotherapy, anesthesia, and morning sickness.

2. Aromatherapy

According to a review, aromatherapy can reduce feelings of nausea as compared to placebo treatment. In this, vomiting or nausea symptoms are reduced by using some essential oils such as: 

  • Peppermint Oil: Known to assist with digestion and minimize symptoms.
  • Ginger Oil: Linked to relieving dizziness, vomiting, headache, nausea, and fatigue.
  • Inhaling Lavender Oil:Alleviates nausea caused by anxiety or stress.

3. Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated lowers nausea by keeping electrolytes in balance. Drinking fluids, like oral rehydration solutions or water, can settle the stomach by replacing all the lost electrolytes.

In astudy conducted by the University of Wisconsin Whitewater, it was recommended that vomiting adults drink sufficient fluids to prevent dehydration. 

Start with see-through fluids like clear soups, juices, Jello, water, popsicles, and Gatorade. Drink a small amount (almost one tablespoon) every 20 to 25 minutes.

4. Deep Breathing

Another proven technique to relieve nausea ispracticing deep breathing. It can improve your health by activating the diaphragm, ultimately creating a massaging action felt by organs like the stomach. This can reduce bloating, constipation, urgency, and abdominal pain – all of which are linked to nausea. 

This relaxation technique will regulate bodily processes and lower stress levels, too.

5. Cold Compress

The application of an ice pack or a cold compress can highly assist with nausea by providing a nice cooling sensation on the forehead and the back of the neck. This counteracts the response of the hypothalamus to nausea and lessens the feeling of being flushed or hot. 

You can either use a homemade or a store-bought compress that can be easily kept in the freezer. 

All these remedies are super helpful when it comes to alleviating nausea. Luckily, most people recover fast with these effective tips and don’t even need medical intervention.

But see, ifnausea still lingers without improvement and gets worse, you may opt for over-the-counter medications for relieving nausea symptoms. 

6. Medications

  • Meclizine hydrochloride (Dramamine II, Bonine) or dimenhydrinate helps patients with nausea and prevents motion sickness. In general, they are thought to block specific receptors in the brain that trigger the stomach or lead to vomiting.
  • Take glucose, liquid antacids, phosphoric acid, fructose, and bismuth subsalicylate solution based on the doctor’s recommendations. These medications assist by coating the stomach lining to neutralize the stomach acid.
  • Using scopolamine skin patches (like Transderm Scop) is also beneficial for stopping extended trips with risk of vomiting, such as a long boat ride. But remember that it is for adults only and shouldn’t be used by children. In the case of children, blood tests and additional physical examinations may be required.
  • To prevent vomiting, kids typically receive two to three medicines, such as Dexamethasone, An NK1 receptor antagonist, and A 5-HT3 receptor antagonist.

Since most anti-nausea medications show side effects of drowsiness, therefore, a woman who is pregnant must consult with a physician to choose a drug that is safe for the baby.

Also, if you continue to feel queasy after using these remedies, you must consult a physician who may prescribe some drugs. 

Can Lifestyle Changes Help With Nausea?

Although the causes of nausea aren’t that easy to prevent, you can adopt some lifestyle changes and guidelines to reduce the episodes of nausea:

  1. Avoid bothersome odors, like smoke, perfume, or specific cooking smells.
  2. Consume small portions of meals every few hours to prevent your stomach from feeling overly full.
  3. Don’t lie flat right after having a meal.
  4. Take proper rest. Also, avoid abruptly getting out of bed or standing up too fast. 
  5. Keep your face forward while traveling. A good idea is to keep your eyes fixed on the horizon. Also, avoid watching the screen or reading when you are in your vehicle.
  6. Becoming dehydrated can make you feel nauseous; so take a few sips of water every hour.
  7. Read the label before taking any anti-nausea medication, as some motion-sickness medicines can cause drowsiness. 
  8. Avoid alcohol if you’ve nausea, as it can make you even sicker. 
  9. Keep a food diary to identify meals that are causing you nausea, especially if you have had this condition for months or weeks.
  10. Enjoy fresh air by getting outside for a 10-15 minute walk to help alleviate nausea symptoms.
  11. Try meditation, guided imagery, or deep breathing to settle your stomach.
  12. Limit the intake of greasy, fried, and heavily spiced meals, as they can worsen nausea.
  13. If certain supplements or drugs make you nauseous, talk to your doctor about the option of taking them with food rather than on an empty stomach.

What Foods Reduce Nausea?

Nausea triggers vary from one person to another. Some can’t bear the smell of meat while cooking, while others feel queasy when thinking about certain vegetables.

Here are some food options that most nauseating people find easy to tolerate:

  • Snack Plates: act as a useful source of protein, fiber, and fats in your diet. Try seedy crackers, cold meats, cheese fruits, and olives.
  • Greek Yogurt with Granola: is ideal for pregnant individuals as it is gentle on the stomach, provides protein and calcium, and minimizes first-trimester heartburn.
  • Broths: if you cannot keep solids down, vegetable and bone broths are great nutrient-dense options to avoid dehydration. 
  • Pasta with Ground Beef:rich in iron and nutrients and helpful in pregnancy. 
  • Toast and Eggs:incorporate them into your regular diet for additional choline. Try taking these with whole-grain toast to fulfill fiber needs.
  • Smoothies:packed with minerals, antioxidants, and vitamins; convenient to digest than many solid foods. Blend bananas, ginger, and a handful of spinach with almond milk or coconut water to make a nausea-relief smoothie.
  • Peppermint Tea:having anti-nausea properties, many people find it a useful remedy. Inhale the peppermint oil scent or brew a cup of tea for extra comfort.
  • Ginger:add fresh ginger to mild hot water or try to carry Ginger chews to relieve nausea.
  • Fruit with Cheese or Nut Butter: to stabilize your blood sugar levels.

Don’t skip your meals, especially in the morning. Any food is better than keeping your stomach empty; eat something you can manage easily. But try to aim for something with vitamins and protein.

It is evident through studies that when your vomiting and nausea stop, you can go back to your normal diet but start back gradually as your body might not be able to accept it instantly. 


Nausea is a disruptive and unpleasant experience thatsignals your body to avoid toxic ingestion. Whether it’s due to a stomach bug, pregnancy, or motion sickness, it can leave you feeling weak and exhausted. Often, this is short-term and not a cause for concern. 

But if nausea persists or keeps coming back, it could imply a more serious underlying condition. 

That said, it’s best to seek medical advice to opt for the most appropriate treatment plan.

Hope this article helped you understand nausea better!