Severe nausea occurs when a person feels extremely sick to his stomach. It is typically a symptom of a problem, such as an illness, and is not an illness in and of itself. The nausea often feels intolerable and is persistent. At times, it may appear with no warning, depending on the cause of the nausea.
Sudden, persistent nausea that appears without warning is often referred to as acute nausea. Food poisoning, appendicitis and motion sickness are some of the reasons for acute severe nausea. Allergic reactions to food may also result in nausea that is classified as severe.
There are several reasons why a person may experience severe nausea. It may come from the type of medication the person is taking, from an illness, alcohol or a digestive disorder. Anesthesia that is given to a person during surgery can sometimes leave a person feeling nauseous when he wakes up.
Pregnancy is a common reason for women to experience nausea. While not all women experience nausea that is severe during pregnancy, some do. Abnormalities in a woman’s pregnancy can make nausea worse. Being pregnant with more than one baby can often cause a woman to have stronger feelings of nausea, as well.
A rare disorder known as hyperemesis gravidarum can occur during pregnancy and is often associated with severe nausea. Doctors believe this occurs because of the amount of hormones in a woman’s body. There are certain risk factors that can make it more likely for a woman to develop this disorder, such as being overweight, having experienced the disorder before, or becoming a mom for the first time.
Other symptoms may occur with severe nausea, some requiring medical attention. A person may experience fever, headaches, cramping or abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea and dizziness. Dehydration may occur if the person cannot keep any food or drink down. If the nausea produces vomiting, the person may experience loss of weight. Some other symptoms may also be present, depending on the severity and reason for the nausea.
Severe nausea usually is not a serious health concern. However, if dehydration or extreme vomiting occur, a person may need to see a doctor. Anti-nausea medicine can be prescribed, or a doctor can recommend intravenous fluids to aid in rehydration. Some serious medical conditions that have nausea as a symptom, such as appendicitis, will require immediate medical attention. Depending on the condition that is causing the severe nausea, a person may need to have surgery.