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Nausea and Vomiting : Symptoms, Causes, Home Remedies and Prevention Tips | Max Hospital

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Soothe Your Stomach Naturally: Top Home Remedies for Nausea and Vomiting

By Dr. Piyush Gupta in Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Endoscopy

Jun 20 , 2024 | 7 min read

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Nausea and vomiting can arise from various causes, such as foodborne illnesses, gastrointestinal infections, and even motion sickness. While many turn to over-the-counter medicines for quick relief, it's worth considering the benefits of natural remedies, which have been trusted for centuries to alleviate gastrointestinal distress. In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore time-tested ingredients and techniques to help soothe the stomach and mitigate nausea and vomiting symptoms. But before we delve into those solutions, let's take a moment to explore the underlying causes that may contribute to these distressing experiences.

The Causes of Nausea and Vomiting

Nausea and vomiting are often the body's way of signalling that something isn't quite right within the digestive system. Understanding the potential triggers behind these symptoms can help individuals better manage and prevent their occurrence. Let's delve into some of the common causes:

  • Foodborne illnesses: Consuming contaminated food or water can lead to gastrointestinal infections, resulting in symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, and abdominal pain. Bacteria, viruses, parasites, and toxins found in spoiled or improperly prepared food are the primary culprits behind foodborne illnesses.
  • Gastrointestinal infections: Viral or bacterial infections affecting the stomach and intestines can cause inflammation and irritation, leading to nausea and vomiting. Common pathogens responsible for gastrointestinal infections include norovirus, rotavirus, Salmonella, and E. coli.
  • Motion sickness: Sensory confusion resulting from motion, such as travelling in a car, boat, or aeroplane, can trigger motion sickness in susceptible individuals. The mismatch between visual and vestibular (inner ear) cues can disrupt the body's equilibrium, leading to symptoms like nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and sweating.
  • Acid reflux: Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) occurs when stomach acid flows back into the oesophagus, causing irritation and inflammation. Nausea and vomiting may occur as a result of acid reflux, especially when lying down or after consuming acidic or spicy foods.
  • Medications: Certain medications, such as antibiotics, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), opioids, chemotherapy drugs, and iron supplements, can irritate the stomach lining and trigger nausea and vomiting as side effects.
  • Pregnancy: Nausea and vomiting, commonly referred to as morning sickness, are common symptoms experienced by many pregnant women, particularly during the first trimester. Hormonal changes, increased levels of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), and heightened sensitivity to smells are believed to contribute to pregnancy-related nausea and vomiting.
  • Digestive disorders: Chronic conditions affecting the digestive system, such as gastritis, peptic ulcers, gastroenteritis, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and gastroparesis, can cause recurrent or persistent nausea and vomiting episodes.
  • Psychological factors: Stress, anxiety, and psychological disorders like panic disorder and generalised anxiety disorder can manifest physical symptoms, including nausea and vomiting. The gut-brain connection plays a significant role in how emotions and stress impact gastrointestinal function.

Understanding the specific cause of nausea and vomiting is essential for developing an effective treatment plan tailored to the individual's needs. In the next section, we'll explore natural remedies and strategies for alleviating these symptoms and promoting digestive wellness.

Natural Remedies for Relieving Nausea and Vomiting Symptoms

Here's a curated list of some of the most tried and tested natural remedies to help alleviate the discomfort of nausea and vomiting.

Ginger

Ginger has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for various digestive issues, including nausea and vomiting. Its active compounds, such as gingerol and shogaol, have anti-inflammatory and anti-nausea properties that can help soothe an upset stomach. To use ginger, you can brew fresh ginger tea by simmering sliced ginger in hot water for about 10 minutes. Alternatively, you can chew on a small piece of fresh ginger or take ginger supplements. Ginger ale, though not as potent as fresh ginger, may also provide some relief.

Peppermint

Peppermint is known for its ability to relax the muscles of the gastrointestinal tract, which can help alleviate nausea and vomiting. Peppermint tea is a popular option for easing digestive discomfort. You can either purchase peppermint tea bags or steep fresh peppermint leaves in hot water for a refreshing homemade remedy. Peppermint oil capsules are another option, but be cautious with their use, as high doses of peppermint oil may cause adverse effects in some individuals.

Lemon

The scent of lemon is known for its refreshing and invigorating qualities, which can help alleviate nausea. Simply inhaling the aroma of freshly cut lemon or adding a few drops of lemon essential oil to a diffuser may provide relief. Some people find that sucking on lemon candies or adding lemon slices to water can also help settle their stomach. Additionally, drinking warm lemon water can provide hydration and a gentle boost to digestion.

Herbal teas

Chamomile and peppermint teas are both known for their soothing properties on the digestive system. Chamomile tea, in particular, contains compounds that may help relax the muscles of the digestive tract, reducing nausea and discomfort. Peppermint tea, on the other hand, can help alleviate gas and bloating, which are common symptoms associated with indigestion and nausea. To brew these teas, simply steep a tea bag or dried herbs in hot water for several minutes, then strain and enjoy.

BRAT diet

The BRAT diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast) is a bland diet often recommended for individuals experiencing gastrointestinal upset, including nausea and vomiting. These foods are easy to digest and unlikely to irritate the stomach further. Bananas are rich in potassium, which can help replenish electrolytes lost through vomiting or diarrhoea. Rice and toast provide bland carbohydrates that can settle the stomach, while applesauce offers gentle fibre and hydration.

Hydration

Staying hydrated is essential when experiencing nausea and vomiting, as these symptoms can lead to dehydration. Sip on clear fluids throughout the day, such as water, herbal teas, or electrolyte-rich beverages like coconut water. Avoid caffeinated or sugary drinks, as they may exacerbate dehydration and worsen symptoms. If you're unable to keep fluids down, try taking small, frequent sips or sucking on ice chips to stay hydrated.

Rest

Rest is crucial for allowing your body to recover from illness and regain its strength. When experiencing nausea and vomiting, lie down in a comfortable position and try to relax your body and mind. Avoid strenuous activities or movements that may worsen your symptoms. If possible, take short naps throughout the day to conserve energy and promote healing.

Essential oils

Certain essential oils, such as lavender, chamomile, or ginger, are known for their calming and soothing properties. You can add a few drops of essential oil to a diffuser and inhale the aromatic vapours to promote relaxation and alleviate nausea. Alternatively, you can dilute essential oils with a carrier oil, such as coconut or almond oil, and apply them topically to pulse points or the abdomen for targeted relief.

Deep breathing

Deep breathing exercises can help calm the nervous system and reduce feelings of nausea and anxiety. Practise diaphragmatic breathing by inhaling deeply through your nose, allowing your abdomen to expand fully, and then exhaling slowly through your mouth. Focus on each breath as it enters and exits your body, and try to release tension with each exhale. Deep breathing can be done anywhere, anytime, making it a convenient and effective tool for managing nausea and promoting relaxation.

Acupressure

Acupressure wristbands work by applying pressure to specific points on the wrist believed to relieve nausea and vomiting symptoms. These bands, which are often used by individuals prone to motion sickness or undergoing chemotherapy, can be purchased at pharmacies or online. To use them, simply wear the wristbands according to the manufacturer's instructions, ensuring that the plastic stud applies gentle pressure to the P6 or Nei-Kuan acupressure point.

When Home Remedies May Not Be Enough

While natural remedies can be very effective for mild nausea and vomiting, there are times when they may not provide enough relief. Here are some signs that it's time to seek medical attention:

  • Persistent symptoms: If your nausea and vomiting last for more than 24 hours (adults) or 4 hours (children), it's crucial to see a doctor. Prolonged vomiting can lead to dehydration and electrolyte imbalance.
  • Bloody vomit: The presence of blood in your vomit can indicate a serious underlying condition. Seek immediate medical attention.
  • Severe abdominal Pain: Severe or persistent abdominal pain alongside nausea and vomiting could be a sign of appendicitis, ulcers, or other complications. Don't hesitate to see a doctor.
  • High fever: A high fever (above 102°F) combined with nausea and vomiting can indicate an infection that requires medical attention.
  • Dehydration: If you're unable to keep fluids down or experience signs of dehydration like dizziness, weakness, or infrequent urination, seek medical help to prevent further complications.
  • Underlying medical conditions: If you have a pre-existing medical condition, such as diabetes or kidney disease, and experience nausea and vomiting, consult your doctor to rule out any complications.

Remember: If your symptoms are severe, persistent, or causing you significant concern, seek professional medical advice. Early diagnosis and treatment are instrumental to a faster recovery and prevent potential complications.

Final words

If you or a loved one has been grappling with persistent nausea and vomiting symptoms, it's crucial not to overlook the importance of seeking medical guidance, especially if your symptoms are severe or long-lasting. At Max Healthcare, our team of experienced gastroenterologists and digestive health specialists is committed to offering holistic healthcare solutions that prioritise your well-being. Whether you're exploring natural remedies or considering medical intervention, our experts are here to provide personalised guidance and support every step of the way. Your health matters, and we're here to ensure you receive the care and attention you deserve. Trust Max Healthcare to help you find relief and regain control over your digestive health naturally.