Nausea (Latin nausea, from Greek Template:Polytonic, nausiē, "motion sickness", or "wamble"), is a sensation of unease and discomfort in the upper stomach with an involuntary urge to vomit. An attack of nausea is known as a qualm.
The most common cause is motion sickness (see definition, above), most often in automobiles, followed by gastroenteritis (a stomach infection) or food poisoning but nausea also frequently occurs as a medication side effect and in pregnancy. There are some medications, called antiemetics, that improve symptoms of nausea, including metoclopramide and ondansetron.
The causes of nausea are many. One organization listed 700 in 2009. Gastrointestinal infections (37%) and food poisoning are the two most common causes. While side effects from medications (3%) and pregnancy are also relatively frequent. In 10% of people the cause remains unknown.
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. It is due to toxins produced by bacteria in the food.
Nausea or "morning sickness" is a common symptom of pregnancy. In the first trimester nearly 80% of women have some degree of nausea. Pregnancy therefore should. be considered in any women of child bearing age. While usually it is mild and self limiting severe cases known as hyperemesis gravidarum may require treatment.
While most causes of nausea are not serious some serious causes do occur. These include: diabetic ketoacidosis, surgical problems (pancreatitis, small bowel obstruction, meningitis, appendicitis, cholecystitis), Addisonian crisis, Choledocholithiasis (from gallstones) and hepatitis among others.
Dimenhydrinate (Gravol) is an inexpensive and effective medication for preventing postoperative nausea and vomiting. Meclozine is another antihistamine antiemetic. In certain people, cannabinoids may be effective in reducing chemotherapy associated nausea and vomiting. Ondansetron (Zofran) is effective for nausea and vomiting but is expensive. Pyridoxine or metoclopramide are the first line treatments for pregnancy related nausea and vomiting. Medical marijuana may be prescribed where allowed for certain indication.
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. However only 25% of people with nausea visit their family physician. It is most common in those 15–24 years old and less common in other ages.
- "Wamble definition". MedTerms Medical Dictionary. http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=33156.
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- 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.
- Drug Policy Alliance (2001). "Medicinal Uses of Marijuana: Nausea, Emesis and Appetite Stimulation". http://www.drugpolicy.org/marijuana/medical/challenges/litigators/medical/conditions/nausea.cfm. Retrieved 2007-08-02.
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