Does your stomach feel queasy sometimes? Nausea is a common symptom with many causes. It’s usually just a brief and unpleasant experience, but sometimes it can be chronic and serious.
Stomach viruses are a major culprit, but other causes can range from motion sickness to emotional stress. In most cases, you’ll recover on your own within a few hours. Other times, you may need to see your doctor or go to an emergency room.
Understanding the basic facts can help you figure out what to do when you or someone close to you has an upset stomach. Take a look at these tips for preventing and treating nausea.
Tips for Preventing Nausea
The urge to vomit can take you by surprise, but sometimes you can head it off.
Try these techniques for settling your stomach:
- Eat light. Choose bland foods like crackers and bananas. Skip anything greasy or spicy. It may also help to eat smaller and more frequent meals and snacks.
- Drink water. Stay hydrated with clear fluids including plain water or diluted broth and juice. Take a break from caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea, and colas.
- Limit alcohol. Drinking too much irritates your stomach lining and causes acids to build up. If you find it difficult to use alcohol in moderation, talk with your doctor or call a helpline to find out what resources are available in your area.
- Avoid strong smells. You may be sensitive to certain odors, especially if you’re pregnant. For relief, try cold foods and fresh air.
- Rinse your mouth. What if you’ve already eaten something that doesn’t agree with you? Take a sip of cold water and swish it around to wash away the residue.
- Slow down. Any movement can make you feel more uncomfortable when your stomach is uneasy, so be quiet and sit still. Eating and drinking at a more leisurely pace can help prevent nausea too.
- Prepare for travel. You’re less likely to experience motion sickness if you face forward during car rides or book a cabin in the middle of a ship. Keep your eyes straight ahead instead of looking at a screen or a book.
Tips for Treating Nausea
Depending on the cause of your nausea, you can wait it out or seek medical care if other issues are involved. Keep in mind that you may or may not actually vomit, and it’s usually harmless for a healthy adult to empty their stomach.
Keep these strategies in mind:
- Seek urgent care. There are times when nausea requires a trip to the emergency room. That includes symptoms that appear after head injuries or in combination with severe abdominal pain or a stiff neck.
- Maintain prenatal care. Morning sickness is very common during pregnancy. Let your doctor know if you’re trying to conceive or you may be pregnant.
- Change medications. Drugs can play a big role in causing and treating nausea. Check the side effects of over the counter and prescription remedies and follow your doctor’s recommendations.
- Try complementary medicine. If you’re struggling with chronic nausea due to chemotherapy or other procedures, you may want to explore alternatives including relaxation techniques. Check with your doctor for additional relief and your health insurance to see what’s covered.
- Talk with your doctor. There are many more potential causes of nausea, so consult your doctor about your individual needs. A correct diagnosis will help you to get prompt and effective care.
See your doctor if nausea lasts for more than a few days or you have any additional symptoms that you’re concerned about. Otherwise, you can minimize nausea by identifying your own personal triggers and consuming bland foods or clear liquids when you start to feel uncomfortable.