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IBS Glossary > Nausea

Nausea

Irritable Bowel Syndrome, as defined by the Rome diagnostic guidelines, often has nausea as one of its symptoms.

So what exactly is nausea?

Nausea is the sensation of having an urge to vomit. Vomiting is forcing the contents of the stomach up through the esophagus and out of the mouth. Nausea and vomiting are common symptoms of numerous conditions. Most of the time, they do not require urgent medical attention.

However, if these symptoms continue for days, if they are severe, and/or if you cannot keep down any food or fluids, they may be signs of a more serious condition.

Dehydration is the primary concern with most vomiting episodes. The rate with you become dehydrated depends on your size, the frequency of the vomiting, and whether you also have diarrhea.

Possible causes of vomiting in adults:
Viral infections
Medications
Seasickness or motion sickness
Migraine headaches
"Morning sickness" during pregnancy
Food poisoning
Food allergies
Chemotherapy in cancer patients
Bulimia
Alcoholism

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When the cause of nausea and vomiting is known, it is important to treat the underlying disorder.

Whatever the cause of the vomiting, you need to take in as much fluid as possible without further upsetting your stomach. Sip clear fluids such as water or herbal teas. Tea brewed from gingerroot is exceptionally helpful for nausea, as is a high volatile oil peppermint tea.

Call your health care provider if:
If you are vomiting blood or have severe abdominal pain, call your health care provider immediately. Some abdominal discomfort accompanies almost every case of vomiting, but severe pain is not common. You should also call if the following conditions apply:

Headache and stiff neck are also present
Lethargy or marked irritability in a young child
Signs of dehydration, especially decreased urine output in an infant or a child
A child is unable to retain any fluids for 8 hours or more or the vomiting is recurrent
An adult is unable to retain any fluids for 12 hours or more
Nausea persists for a prolonged period of time (in a person who is not pregnant)

Diagnostic tests that may be performed for nausea and vomiting include:
Blood tests (such as CBC with differential and basic electrolytes)
Urinalysis
X-rays of the abdomen

If dehydration is severe, you may need intravenous fluids. This may require hospitalization, although it can often be done in the doctor's office. The use of antivomiting drugs (anti-emetics) is controversial, and they should be used only in severe cases.

If you're confident that your nausea is a symptom of IBS, there are several key strategies to successfully managing the disorder: follow the explicit IBS diet guidelines and IBS safe recipes; try a yoga practice for IBS; and find the most helpful IBS supplements available.


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   Heather's IBS Diet Cheat Sheet     
        Excerpted from Eating for IBS.
Nausea information provided by the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse, NIH
   


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