Do you remember the last time you had the stomach flu? If the exact time or date isn’t precise in your mind, the feeling you had in the pit of your stomach is most likely clear as a bell. You may have had that same feeling if you’ve ever been on a small boat in a large sea, or even an enormous boat in an ocean. I recently got back from a cruise along the Mexican Riviera and had a queasy feeling one night due to some choppy seas. It wasn’t exactly the most fun part of my vacation!
So what exactly is that icky feeling in your tummy? While I often refer to it as “that icky feeling in my tummy” the correct medical term is nausea (which by the way I can never spell correctly on the first try – thank goodness for spell check).
Ok, so now that we have a name for it – what’s causing that unsettling feeling in your stomach that’s making you think you might throw up? That troublesome, yucky feeling that always seems to come at inopportune times, like when you’re trying to sleep or need to get through your busy day – or you’re on vacation?
Well, read on for more information on this unpleasant condition . . .
What causes nausea?
Nausea can be caused by several different conditions. It could be brought on by a virus or bacteria, such as those found in spoiled or contaminated food, or it could be a symptom of the flu. Motion sickness can also lead to nausea, as can stress or the early stages of pregnancy. It can also be caused by a reaction to medications or treatments for illness, such as chemotherapy for cancer.
How can you make nausea go away?
If you feel nauseous at any time, try to like down for a moment and slowly drink clear fluids. Avoid tobacco products, alcohol, caffeine and aspirin. Fresh air can also help you feel better.
If motion or sea-sickness is the cause of your nausea, antihistamines may help. In addition to over-the-counter or prescribed pills and patches, try an herbal remedy, such as peppermint or spearmint oils and teas that have an aromatic, therapeutic effect. Acupuncture bands worn around the wrist can also prevent nausea.
Ginger has been shown to relieve nausea and prevent vomiting in controlled studies, especially among pregnant women and patients recovering from surgery. Good old-fashioned ginger ale can do the trick, ask can ginger tea, candied ginger, or ginger supplements. Vitamin B6 is also regularly used to treat nausea related to morning sickness.
Saltine crackers are a favorite folk remedy. Fiber-rich foods can help to flush out the system, rushing the process of digesting and expelling substances that may be causing your nausea.
Also, avoid food triggers whenever possible. Foods that can lead to nausea included fried and fatty foods, sweets, and anything prepared in unsanitary or otherwise questionable conditions.
If your nausea leads to vomiting that lasts longer than 24 hours, contact your doctor immediately.
While you can’t completely eradicate nausea from your life, at least now you have some ways to make it less debilitating! Oh, and FYI - the acupuncture bands do work – I can attest to that after my recent trip down the coast!