Nausea: Symptoms & Signs

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Nausea is the sensation of an urge to vomit. Nausea can be acute and short-lived, or it can be prolonged. When prolonged, it is a debilitating symptom. Nausea (and vomiting) can be psychological or physical in origin. It can originate from problems in the brain or organs of the upper gastrointestinal tract (esophagus, stomach, small intestine, liver, pancreas, and gallbladder). Nausea also may be caused by diseases of many organs outside of the gastrointestinal system. Therefore, the diagnosis of the cause of prolonged nausea may not be easy. All stimuli that cause nausea work via the vomiting center in the brain, which gives rise to the sensation of nausea and coordinates the physical act of vomiting.

Nausea symptoms are frequently difficult for people to describe. Nausea symptoms are not painful but very uncomfortable feelings that are felt in the chest, upper abdomen, or back of the throat. Nausea can also be associated with

Other causes of nausea include side effects from medications, pain, pregnancy and morning sickness, seasickness, viral infection, alcohol toxicity, and disease of the brain, esophagus, stomach, gallbladder, liver, pancreas, and intestine.

Related Symptoms & Signs

REFERENCE:

Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/28/2017
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