The most common causes of prolonged nausea are pregnancy, gastroesophageal reflux (GERD), stress, and certain medications. Most of these are entirely treatable and do not cause long-term health issues, although sometimes GERD can cause damage to the esophagus. Treatments may vary depending on the underlying cause.
Pregnancy is one common cause of prolonged nausea. Also known as “morning sickness,” nausea related to pregnancy generally begins at around the fifth or sixth week of gestation and lasts until 14 or so weeks gestation. The exact time frame for which morning sickness will last depends on the individual woman, with some women complaining of nausea and vomiting well into the third trimester. Others will not experience any sickness at all.
Treatments for nausea during pregnancy include eating smaller meals several times a day instead of three large meals, staying hydrated, and resting as often as possible. There are also commercial lozenges available which contain brown rice syrup to help with nausea. Sipping ginger ale or taking ginger supplements may also help. In some severe cases where dehydration due to vomiting is an issue, prescription medications may be given.
Another common cause of prolonged nausea is GERD. This is a condition caused by food contents of the stomach leaking into the esophagus. Nausea can be a common complaint for sufferers. Treatments for GERD can include eating smaller meals, taking over the counter antacids, avoiding foods that are spicy or acidic, and sometimes taking prescription medication.
Many patients also report prolonged nausea during times of stress. This is especially prevalent in children, as they often report stomachaches when having issues at school or at home. Treatment includes relaxation and sometimes anti-anxiety medication if stress becomes a chronic problem or is caused by a chemical imbalance. Prolonged stomach symptoms related to stress can eventually lead to an ulcer, so treatment should be sought.
There are also certain medications which may result in prolonged nausea. Chemotherapy in the treatment of cancer is one example. Treatment may include switching to an alternate medication or lowering the dosage. This is not always possible, however, and patients may have to deal with nausea until the medication can be stopped. Additional drugs may also be used to help free the patient from nausea and vomiting, and natural therapies can also be used such as ginger supplements and saltine crackers.
Bacterial and viral infections can also caused severe nausea and vomiting, but symptoms are generally short-lived and should not cause a long-term problem. If nausea continues with no known medical cause, sufferers should contact a doctor to figure out any underlying conditions. Nausea is a common symptom of various illnesses, although these are generally uncommon.