• Nausea and Vomiting—Adult


    Nausea is that uneasy feeling in the stomach that may make a person want to vomit. Vomiting is the act of throwing up stomach contents through the mouth.


    Nausea and vomiting are symptoms caused by a condition or disease. Many illnesses can cause nausea and vomiting, like:
    Serious conditions that can cause nausea and vomiting include:
    Other causes include:

    Risk Factors

    Having a condition or disease that can cause nausea or vomiting is a risk factor.


    In some cases, you may have other symptoms in addition to nausea and vomiting.
    If you have any of these symptoms, call for medical help right away:
    • Blood in the vomit
    • Vomit that looks like coffee grounds
    • Severe headache
    • Stiff neck
    • Feeling very tired
    • Confusion
    • Not feeling alert
    • Severe abdominal pain or chest pain
    • Fever over 101°F (38°C)
    • Severe diarrhea
    • Rapid breathing or heartbeat


    You will be asked the following questions:
    • How long have you felt nauseous?
    • How long has the vomiting occurred?
    • Does the vomiting happen near mealtime?
    • Are you taking any medications?
    • Have you traveled recently?
    • Have you had any injuries to your head?
    • Have you lost any weight?
    • How often have you been urinating? Vomiting may cause dehydration and low urine output.
    A physical exam will be done.
    Your bodily fluids may be tested. This can be done with:
    • Blood tests
    • Pregnancy test in women
    Images may be taken of your bodily structures. This can be done with:
    Ultrasound of the Abdomen
    Nucleus factsheet image
    The doctor uses a hand-held instrument called a transducer, which uses sound waves to make images of your abdomen.
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.


    In some cases, you may be able to manage nausea and vomiting at home.

    Strategies to Control Nausea

    • Drink clear liquids such as water, juice, or broth.
    • Eat light foods that do not further upset your stomach.
    • Eat and drink slowly.
    • Eat smaller meals.
    • Eat more often.
    • Rest after eating.
    • Eat foods from all the food groups as much as you are able. This will ensure that you get proper nutrition.

    Strategies to Control Vomiting

    • Rest when you need to.
    • Slowly build your way up to drinking larger amounts of clear liquids such as water, juice, or broth.
    • Do not eat solid foods until vomiting has passed.
    • Do not stop taking your medications unless advised by your doctor.
    • Also, ask your doctor if there are over-the-counter medications that may help relieve your symptoms.
    Vomiting may cause you to become dehydrated. You may need to drink an oral rehydrating solution (ORS) if vomiting makes it difficult for you to stay properly hydrated.
    There may be times when symptoms will need to be treated by your doctor. This may be the case if nausea and vomiting are caused by surgery, cancer therapy, pregnancy, or motion sickness. Your doctor may be able to prescribe medications to relieve the symptoms.


    To help reduce your chance of experiencing nausea or vomiting:
    • Eat small meals throughout the day.
    • Eat slowly.
    • Rest after eating.
    • Drink liquids between meals, instead of during meals.
    • Always wash your hands before eating.
    • Make sure you properly handle food.


    Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians http://familydoctor.org

    National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disorders http://www.niddk.nih.gov


    Canadian Association of Gastroenterology https://www.cag-acg.org

    Canadian Digestive Health Foundation http://www.cdhf.ca


    Kuver R, Sheffield JV, McDonald GB. Nausea and vomiting in adolescents and adults. University of Washington, Division of Gastroenterology website. Available at: http://www.uwgi.org/guidelines/ch%5F01/ch01txt.htm. Accessed December 18, 2014.

    Nausea and vomiting. American Academy of Family Physicians Family Doctor website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/health-tools/search-by-symptom/nausea-vomiting.html. Accessed December 18, 2014.

    Nausea and vomiting in adults. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T900007/Nausea-and-vomiting-in-adults. Updated April 29, 2016. Accessed September 29, 2016.

    Revision Information

  • LiveWell personal health survey

    How healthy are you really? Find out – free.Learn more

    It's time to stop guessing. If you want to make some changes but just aren't sure how, the free personal health survey from LiveWell is a great place to start.

  • HeartSHAPE Spotlight

    At risk for a heart attack? Learn more

    Fight heart disease and prevent heart attacks. HeartSHAPE® is a painless, non-invasive test that checks pictures of your heart for early-stage coronary disease.

  • Calories and Energy Needs

    Calorie NeedsLearn more

    How many calories do you need to eat each day to maintain your weight and fuel your physical activity? Enter a few of your stats into this calculator to find out.

  • Ideal Body Weight

    Ideal Body WeightLearn more

    Using body mass index as a reference, this calculator determines your ideal body weight range. All you need to do is enter your height.

  • Body Mass Index

    Body Mass IndexLearn more

    This tool considers your height and weight to assess your weight status.

  • Can we help answer your questions?

    Wellmont Nurse Connection is your resource for valuable health information any time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Speak to a Nurse any time, day or night, at (423) 723-6877 or toll-free at 1-877-230-NURSE.