What is Nausea?
Nausea is a subjective sensation of uneasiness which we experience when we are about to throw up. The words “feeling sick” or an “unsettled stomach” are often used to describe this feeling. Nausea is an unpleasant feeling which tends to interfere with our daily routine.
There are plenty of diseases associated with nausea. A careful history taking with a physical examination is necessary to reach a diagnosis.
What are the Causes of Nausea?
Nausea is a symptom and not a disease in itself. It is also non-specific, which means that it can occur due to multiple reasons.
The table below will help you understand which disease conditions can cause nausea.
|Gastrointestinal||Obstruction – intussusceptions, volvulus, small bowel obstruction
Functional – gastro-paralysis, irritable bowel syndrome, functional dyspepsia
Ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease
|Endocrine||Addison’s disease, diabetic ketoacidosis, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, uremia and hypo-parathyroidism.|
|Medications||NSAIDs, aspirin, antibiotics, oral hypoglycemic agents (OHA for diabetes), chemotherapy drugs, radiation therapy, painkillers and oral contraceptives.|
|Infection||Gastroenteritis, appendicitis, cholecystitis, gastritis, hepatitis, pancreatitis, peritonitis|
|Neurological||Epilepsy, raised intracranial pressure, intracranial hemorrhage, Meniere’s disease, meningitis|
|Other||Gallstones, peptic ulcers, cancers, pregnancy, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), cyclic vomiting syndrome, depression, anxiety, alcohol and drug abuse, eating disorders, malnutrition, intense pain, heart attack and heart failure, hypertension and low blood pressure, middle ear infections.|
With this endless list of medical conditions, it would be convenient to say that every person may have experienced nausea at some time.
The centre for vomiting is located in the medulla of the brain. It receives nerves from various parts of the brain, vestibular system and stomach. This shows that multiple factors can work in triggering nausea and even vomiting.
Maximum cases of nausea are generally self limiting and quite often the cause is gastroenteritis.
How to Manage Nausea?
There are plenty of ways to deal with nausea before resorting to medications. Our kitchen has the best ingredients to help you relieve nausea in the most natural way possible.
Presentation of nausea may be different in different individuals. Certain symptoms associated with nausea may point to a specific disease. Therefore, in order to manage nausea, treating the cause of nausea is more important than focusing simply on nausea.
Some Home Remedies to Help you Deal with Nausea are:
- Ginger – Eating a slice of it or consuming it as a decoction helps to relieve nausea.
- Citrus fruits like lemon help to reduce nausea, especially during pregnancy.
- Chewing on cinnamon (dal chini), cardamom (elaichi) cloves (laung) and cumin (jeera) help in relieving nausea related to menstrual troubles, constipation or diarrhea.
- Vitamin B6 is known to reduce nausea associated with pregnancy.
- Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) relieves nausea associated with pregnancy a well as infections.
- Bananas enhance mucus production lining the stomach mucosa. This reduces symptoms of heart burn and nausea.
- Seek fresh air.
- Having water reduces the feeling of nausea and also maintains hydration if vomiting is present.
- Have fresh watery fruits and freshly prepared juice instead of canned juices.
- Having sugar or sugar syrup can reduce nausea.
- Lemon and sugar with water and a 1/4th spoon of baking soda is an effective home remedy to manage nausea.
- Preference should be given to toasts and biscuits.
- Essential oils – peppermint and lemon or lemongrass, lavender and spearmint are useful with breathing exercises to control nausea in pregnancy.
- Acupuncture and reflexology can be resorted to if you seek some relaxation. The pressure points release neurotransmitters which help to reduce the feeling of nausea.
- The most important measure is to give rest to your stomach and yourself.
Apart from treatment options, certain things need to be avoided to achieve better results from all these home remedies.
Nausea – What to Avoid?
- Avoid caffeine, tea and alcohol.
- Avoid fatty, fried and processed food.
- Avoid food having strong odors.
- Avoid over-eating. Eat small portions of the meal at a time.
- Avoid hot and spicy food. Prefer a bland diet. Your stomach needs to rest.
- Avoid food high in proteins like fish and egg yolk as they tend to increase hyperacidity.
What are Tums?
Tums are antacids containing calcium carbonate and sugar. Tums are available over the counter medications, known to provide relief from complaints of hyperacidity including heart burn and indigestion.
The tums are available in a tablet or chewable forms and in plenty of different flavors. Some variety is also sugar free meant especially for diabetics.
What are Tums Used for?
- Heart burn
- Water brash
- Gastric reflux
In general, Tums can be consumed for a sour or an upset stomach associated with the above symptoms. It is advisable not to exceed an intake of more than 10 tablets in 24 hours.
Special care needs to be exercised in pregnant women, children and those having pre-existing illnesses. This is because the contents may interfere with the action of other medications. However, even after use of Tums for about 2 weeks, if the symptoms persist or increase, it is mandatory to seek proper medical consultation.
Do Tums Help with Nausea?
People who have an upset stomach or indigestion usually experience nausea along with their presenting complaints. Tums can be used to relieve symptoms due to such conditions.
On the other hand, an information leaflet which comes along with your pack of Tums clearly mentions that patients may or may not experience constipation, belching, flatulence and nausea as potential side effects.
This means that the role of Tums in dealing with nausea only is doubtful. There is an additional limitation for use of Tums to deal with a hangover after alcohol since nausea can be a side effect of the antacid itself. Another limitation of Tums is that it is not curative. Symptoms may return after you stop taking Tums.
Who Should Take Tums?
1. People with kidney diseases
2. People allergic to calcium carbonate
3. People with parathyroid gland disease
4. People having high levels of calcium in the blood.
5. People who have an intolerance to sugar
6. Patients with diabetes mellitus
7. Patients on diuretic medications
It is advisable for the above selective group of patients to undergo proper consultation before taking Tums. It does not mean that Tums are inhibited but its usage needs to be monitored.