Nausea and vomiting

When you feel sick and vomit, your body is telling you something is wrong. There can be many causes, but a common explanation is stomach disorders. In this case, the nausea is often accompanied by diarrhea and usually disappears within a few days.


Sometimes nausea can be a symptom of migraine, peptic ulcer or a more serious disease that needs to be investigated.


Vomiting is an uncontrollable reflex that we cannot control. It is the body’s way of getting rid of something it cannot tolerate.


Stomach diseases and food poisoning are common causes of nausea and vomiting, often accompanied by diarrhea. The symptoms can be caused by viruses or bacteria in contaminated food or water. Babies may vomit because of viral or bacterial infections or feeding problems.


If you experience nausea and vomiting for no apparent reason, it may be due to stress or an upset stomach.


Common causes of nausea and vomiting:


  • infections – viruses and bacteria
  • gastrointestinal problems – for example, IBS, gastritis and peptic ulcer 
  • migraine or high fever 
  • food allergy
  • medicines – for example, anti-inflammatory drugs
  • pregnancy – the most common is nausea in the morning.


Nausea and vomiting in combination with other symptoms are sometimes signs of more serious illnesses, such as appendicitis or meningitis. After getting trauma, a concussion can make you feel sick. It is also common to feel sick during ongoing cancer treatment. Serious infectious diseases with rapid progression can also cause sudden nausea and vomiting, often in conjunction with fever and sometimes a rash.


Nausea and vomiting are obvious symptoms in themselves. Many people also experience abdominal pain, others feel weak and shaky. Diarrhea and fever are also common symptoms. In most cases, these problems pass without treatment, but pay attention to your general state and signs of fluid deficiency – vomiting and diarrhea cause disruptions in the body’s salt balance. Children suffer from dehydration faster and more severely than adults.


Symptoms of dehydration:


  • decreased urination
  • dark urine
  • increased heart rate 
  • dry lips
  • dry skin
  • increased thirst.

Prevention and protection

When you vomit, it is easy for the body to become dehydrated. 


Therefore, you need to get enough fluid in small amounts at frequent intervals. Children are particularly sensitive to fluid deficiency, especially children under one year. Contact your healthcare provider if your baby is affected by nausea and vomiting.


Recipes for fluid replacement (adults and children over one year):


  • 1 liter of water
  • 6 teaspoons of powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 teaspoons of concentrated fruit juice or juice.


Boil the water, allow it to cool and mix sugar and salt.


Electrolyte replacement beverages are also available at pharmacies. There you will also find non-prescription medicines, but they should not be given to young children.


When vomiting has stopped, you can start eating again. Small-size portions and bland food such as broth, soup, rice and white bread are easy to digest. Don’t consume milk products until the stomach has recovered. 


If you are taking birth control pills, remember that severe diarrhea and vomiting can affect your contraceptive protection.


If you suspect that your nausea is caused by stomach disease or food poisoning, it is important to wash your hands and keep knives and cutting boards clean, especially if you first handle raw meat and then cut vegetables. Always defrost food properly and store it correctly.


Treatment depends entirely on what causes nausea and vomiting. In most cases, it usually disappears within a few days. In case of severe and prolonged vomiting, it is important to replace the fluid that the body has lost. If the nausea doesn’t pass and if you also experience other symptoms, a doctor should investigate what treatment is needed.

When to consult a doctor

If you or your child has vomited for more than 48 hours, you should consult your healthcare provider. In case of severe abdominal pain, high fever or if you feel sick, tired and weak you should also seek medical care. The same applies if you often vomit in the morning (but not if you are pregnant). Serious symptoms of fluid deficiency should also be followed up.


If you have bloody vomiting or a high heart rate and breathing difficulties, you should seek urgent care. If you experience vomiting with severe headaches, you should also seek urgent care. Babies with sudden vomiting, upset stomach, fever and general weakness may need emergency care.


If you suspect that you have ingested a toxic substance, you should contact an emergency department.

How APPOTEK can help

If you experience nausea and vomiting, APPOTEK can help you. During the initial consultation, a nurse or doctor will make an individual assessment based on your symptoms. You may then be prescribed medicine or referred for further treatment. A physical examination is often required if an upset stomach is accompanied by abdominal pain. If your child has a problem, he or she may need a physical examination.


Valeria Chernikova, Neurologist, M.D.