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Causes of Persistent Nausea

written by: Veronica Sky • edited by: BStone • updated: 5/19/2011

There are many causes of persistent nausea. Learn about several conditions that may be causing your persistent nausea

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    Nausea, Nausea Go Away

    We have all been nauseous at some point of our lives. Nausea is that queasy feeling that takes over our stomach at times of stress or fear, but what happens when this uncomfortable feeling lasts for more than a few hours? There are many potential conditions that may be a cause of persistent nausea. In this article, we will discuss the most common of these causes.

    It is important to realize that nausea and vomiting do not always go hand in hand. Nausea can occur with or without vomiting and vice versa. Generally nausea is accompanied by sweating, salivation, dizziness or abdominal discomfort. Because there are so many possible causes, it is very important that you talk to your doctor about your symptoms if they last for more than a few days.

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    Stress

    Stress is one of the most common causes of nausea. Whether you are about to give a presentation or about to ride a roller coaster for the first time, nausea is often right there alongside you before a big moment. The problem occurs when this feeling of nausea won’t leave. If you are under constant stress that is causing you to feel queasy all the time, talk to your doctor about possibly taking an anti-anxiety medication. Healthy diet, exercise, and plenty of sleep have all been shown to reduce the physical symptoms caused by stress.

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    Cramping

    You may find that your persistent nausea is being caused by something as simple as cramping. Abdominal or intestinal cramping is often referred to as an "intestinal kink." It can be a cause of persistent nausea and can usually be treated with a few hours of rest.

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    Psychiatric Disorders

    Psychiatric disorders are another common cause of nausea. Conditions such as anxiety, depression, anorexia nervosa, and bulimia are all linked to persistent nausea. If you or someone you know exhibits signs of any of these conditions, specifically symptoms of negative self-image or disinterest in everyday life, be sure to talk to a doctor right away.

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    Inflammatory Bowel Disease

    Inflammatory bowel disease refers to two chronic diseases that cause inflammation of the intestines, ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory disease of the large intestine, or colon. On the other hand, Crohn's disease affects the last part of the small intestine, the terminal ileum, and parts of the large intestine. Although the most common symptoms of this condition are diarrhea and abdominal pain, other symptoms such as, persistent nausea, red eyes, joint pain and skin rashes can occur. Medications such as steroids or aminosalicylates are often prescribed to keep the symptoms at bay.

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    Gastroenteritis

    This condition is more commonly known as the stomach flu and is generally caused by a virus or by eating uncooked or spoiled food. The stomach flu occurs as the lining of the stomach or small intestine becomes inflamed. Symptoms include nausea, abdominal pain, cramping, diarrhea, fevers, and chills. Generally, symptoms diminish within 1 to 3 days. If you are suffering from the stomach flu it is vital that you drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration.

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    Pyelonephritis

    Pyelonephritis can be a cause of persistent nausea. It is an infection of the urinary tract and the kidneys. It generally begins in your urethra or bladder and travels up into your kidneys. Symptoms include, fever, nausea, abdominal pain, frequent urination, and pain while urinating. If you exhibit these signs, be sure to contact your doctor immediately as a kidney infection can permanently damage the kidneys and spread infection throughout the body.

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    Peptic Ulcer

    Peptic ulcers are open sores that develop on the inside lining of your esophagus, stomach and the upper portion of your small intestine. They can form due to bacteria or regular use of pain relievers. When the amount of mucus in the stomach is decreased and the amount of acid is increased, the acid begins to eat away at the stomach lining causing open sores to form. Symptoms include, pain, persistent nausea and unexplained weight loss.

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    Pregnancy

    Morning sickness as it is known is common during most pregnancies. However, persistent nausea during pregnancy is known as, hyperemesis gravidarum. This condition can be caused by hormones, gastrointestinal changes, stress and diet. Those who are obese, carrying a female child, or who have suffered from persistent nausea in past pregnancies are most at risk. If you are suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum, your doctor will have a plan of action for treating this condition.

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    Drug Side Effects

    Many times, a medication you are taking could be the cause of persistent nausea. Nausea and vomiting can result from almost any medication. There are certain medications such as those found in chemotherapy and radiation treatments that are particularly known for causing persistent nausea. Be sure to talk to your doctor about all of the possible side effects of a medication before you begin taking it.

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    Talking to your Doctor

    The causes of persistent nausea are far reaching, so it is important that you take time to monitor other symptoms you might be experiencing along with the nausea. The best thing you can do is talk to your doctor about what may be causing you to feel so terribly nauseous.

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    References:

    The American College of Gastroenterology: Nausea and Vomiting

    WebMD.com: Nausea and Vomiting

    MedicineNet.com: Nausea

    MayoClinic.com: Kidney Infection