Nausea is the sensation that there is a need 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
- abdominal pain,
- a general feeling of being sick to one's stomach.
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.