Nausea - Is it Dangerous

Nausea - Is it Dangerous

Nausea: Should I See a Doctor?

Nausea is a widespread problem with nearly limitless potential causes. In the vast majority of cases, it is not a sign of a severe or life-threatening condition. As a result, many cases do not require medical attention. When it is severe or ongoing, however, it should be evaluated by a medical professional. In addition to being a possible sign of a serious underlying condition, chronic nausea can lead to future complications.

Underlying Medical Conditions

Nausea is not an illness in itself. Instead, it is a symptom of another problem. It is characterized by the feeling of the stomach wanting to empty itself. It often results in vomiting, or the act of the stomach forcefully emptying itself. The potential causes of this sensation are numerous and include everything from stress to infectious diseases or even cancer. Because there are so many problems that are known to cause nausea, determining the exact cause of a particular case can be a challenge.

Common Causes of Nausea

Some of the most common causes of nausea include infectious diseases such as the flu, acute gastritis, medications, and bowel obstruction. Other common reasons include food poisoning, food intolerance, and motion sickness. Pregnant women are also prone to feelings of nausea. The feelings of nausea may develop quickly or slowly over time, and often they are severe enough to cause vomiting.

Serious Causes of Nausea

Feelings of nausea may also be caused by problems like gastroesophageal reflux disease, viral infections, ulcers, or issues of the nervous system. Irritants like smoking and certain medications are also known to cause nausea. Nervous system-related causes of nausea include a headache, vertigo, head injury, certain smells, sounds, or sensations, and heat exhaustion. Nausea is common in individuals with diabetes, gallbladder disease, hepatitis, pancreatitis, kidney diseases, inflammatory bowel disease, and some types of cancer. Patients may also experience it as part of a lung infection or during a heart attack.

Diagnosing and Treating Nausea

Various tests and examinations may be needed to determine the cause of nausea. In many cases, the underlying cause can be treated. When an underlying cause cannot be diagnosed or quickly treated, patients may be given anti-nausea medications. Nausea in itself is not a disease, so its prognosis varies depending upon the underlying condition. In many cases, it does not have lasting effects. Occasionally, however, it may lead to lasting complications, especially when left untreated. While many of the causes of nausea are minor, some are severe and can be potentially life-threatening.

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