Common Causes of Nausea and Vomiting

Ali Ghahary - Common Causes of Nausea and VomitingNausea and vomiting are two common symptoms in women who are pregnant. Frequently referred to as “morning sickness,” these symptoms can arise during any time of the day and usually occur between the 5th and 18th weeks of pregnancy, typically worsening around week 9. While there is no magic cure for nausea in pregnant women, there are some steps you can take to reduce these symptoms, such as avoiding anything that may act as a trigger. For example, certain smells such as perfumes, deodorants, soaps, household cleaners and other odors may induce the feeling of nausea. You may also want to make some dietary changes. Rather than eating large meals, switch to eating small but frequent snacks that are low in fat and high in protein – avoiding an empty stomach should help to reduce the feeling of nausea. Sipping on water, fruit juice and other clear fluids is also helpful in-between meals. Natural ginger is also another helpful remedy.

Along with pregnancy, there are other common causes of nausea and vomiting, as outlined below.

Nausea can manifest after eating too much at once. If our stomachs become full beyond capacity, the result of that is the feeling of nausea or wanting to vomit. If you overeat on a frequent basis, you are also putting yourself at risk of developing further health problems such as fatigue, weight gain, and even gastrointestinal problems. As recommended by Vancouver physician Dr. Ali Ghahary, patients should practice healthy eating habits by consuming diets that are low in carbohydrates, such as the Paleo diet or South Beach diet. More information on healthy eating can be found by clicking here.

Food Poisoning
This occurs as a result of ingesting food or water that is contaminated with bacteria. Diarrhea, abdominal pain, chills, fever, weakness and headache are all additional symptoms that may be signs of food poisoning. Symptoms of food poisoning usually appear within 2 to 6 hours of consuming food or beverage that is contaminated, and typically last for a few days. If you suspect that you have food poisoning, it is important to see a physician as soon as possible to get appropriate treatment. Dr. Ali Ghahary is available to see patients at Brentwood Medical Clinic, a walk-in clinic in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada.

Drinking alcoholic beverages can easily lead to nausea, vomiting, and a general feeling of sickness (commonly referred to as a hangover.) Symptoms from consuming too much alcohol also include dizziness, headache, fatigue and thirst. These symptoms can be relieved with sleep and by drinking water or fruit juice, as well as eating foods that are easier on the stomach such as saltine crackers or toast.

Stomach Flu
The stomach flu is a contagious infection that affects the gastrointestinal tract and is caused by a bacterial virus, with nausea and vomiting being the two common symptoms of this illness. While there is no magic cure for cases of the stomach flu, your doctor can recommend over-the-counter medication that will help mitigate the symptoms, and if necessary can also write a prescription for something stronger. It is important to note that the stomach flu should not be mistaken for influenza, which customarily occurs between November and April in Vancouver. Influenza is another bacterial infection that typically affects the lungs – and while it’s not uncommon to cause nausea and vomiting, there are also usually other symptoms present.

Migraine Headaches
While the affiliation between migraines and nausea/vomiting is unclear, the two commonly go hand in hand. Migraine headaches are the result of nerves in the brain firing off signals to the blood vessels, causing them to widen. On theory of migraines is thought to be low levels of serotonin, which is linked to nausea, and individuals with low serotonin levels are commonly found to be more likely to have migraines than those with higher serotonin levels. Other causes of migraines may include hormonal changes, and certain foods such as chocolate, dairy and caffeinated beverages have also been shown to act as triggers.

Certain prescription medications – antibiotics, especially – can cause nausea and vomiting. Many antibiotics are to be eaten with food in order to avoid this. However, if your symptoms are severe and persistent then you should speak with the prescribing doctor to discuss possibly changing the medication, or ways to lessen the feeling of nausea while taking medication.

If you struggle with any of the aforementioned conditions or are someone who suffers from nausea frequently, there are certain remedies that Dr. Ali Ghahary, a family physician in Vancouver, recommends patients try.

Ginger, a natural remedy, is commonly used to treat nausea. It can be found in tea and it is also available in capsules and tablets. There are also prescription and non-prescription medications available, with Gravol being a top choice as it comes in strengths for both adults and children.


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