Nausea and vomiting - adults


Nausea is the feeling of having an urge to vomit. It is often called being sick to your stomach.

Vomiting or throwing up is forcing the contents of the stomach up through the esophagus and out of the mouth.

Alternative Names

Emesis; Vomiting; Stomach upset; Upset stomach


 Many common problems may cause nausea and vomiting:

Nausea and vomiting may also be early warning signs of more serious medical problems, such as:

Home Care

Once you and your doctor find the cause, you will want to know how to treat your nausea or vomiting. You may be asked to take medicine, change your diet, or try other things to make you feel better.

It is very important to keep enough fluids in your body. Try drinking frequent, small amounts of clear liquids.

If you have morning sickness during pregnancy, ask your doctor about the many possible treatments.

The following may help treat motion sickness:

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call 911 or go to an emergency room if:

Call a health care provider right away or seek medical care if you or another person has:

Signs of dehydration include:

What to Expect at Your Office Visit

Your health care provider will perform a physical examination, and will look for signs of dehydration.

Your health care provider will ask questions about your symptoms, such as:

Other questions you may be asked include:

The diagnostic tests may be performed:

Depending on the cause and how much extra fluids you need, you may have to stay in the hospital or clinic for a period of time. You may need fluids given through your veins (intravenous or IV).


Malagelada J-R, Malagelada C. Nausea and vomiting. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger & Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2010:chap 14.

Mcquaid K. Approach to the patient with gastrointestinal disease. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 134.

This article uses information by permission from Alan Greene, M.D., © Greene Ink, Inc.

Review Date: 11/9/2011
Reviewed By: George F. Longstreth, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program, San Diego, California. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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