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Must Know Facts When Dealing with Nausea

written by: Genevieve Van Wyden • edited by: lrohner • updated: 5/12/2011

Your stomach isn’t just the recipient of the food you’ve just eaten -- it’s a pump that moves food to your small intestine before beginning the process of digestion. Learn more about coping with chronic nausea and the variety of treatments available.

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    Chronic nausea doesn’t happen without a reason or a diagnosis, and coping with chronic nausea takes some skill and knowledge. Many people think of eating something that disagrees with you, a transient stomach illness, pregnancy or food poisoning when they think of nausea. In these cases, the symptom is transient, with a specific cause and finite end rather than a chronic symptom that does not go away.

    The American College of Gastroenterology defines chronic nausea as a condition where the nausea lasts for more than one month. Doctors discussing this symptom with patients should ask if an occult gastro esophageal reflux disease and gallbladder disease been considered; is the patient experiencing abdominal pain; have disorders like hypothyroidism, diabetes and Addison’s disease been excluded; has the patient’s drug history been covered and are neurological symptoms present? The doctor should also ask if a central nervous system disorder been checked out. When all other causes of chronic nausea have been excluded, the gastric neuromuscular disorders should be looked at.

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    Tachygastria

    Your stomach is a pump with a pacemaker, according to Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. When the pacemaker works too quickly, the doctor says this is an electrical dysrhythmia that leads to constant nausea and feeling like you need to vomit.

    Drugs.com defines tachygastria as an “increased rate of electrical pacemaker activity in the stomach.” Drugs.com goes on to say that this condition is associated with such conditions as gastroparesis, irritable bowel syndrome, nausea and functional dyspepsia.

    Doctors can correct this condition with a gastric pacemaker, which operates like the more well-known cardiac pacemaker, reestablishing a normal pacemaker rhythm to the stomach, allowing patients to return to a more normal eating and digestion pattern.

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    Bradygastria

    The second cause of chronic nausea, bradygastria is a “decreased rate of electrical pacemaker activity in the stomach.” As with tachygastria, this condition is linked to irritable bowel syndrome, gastroparesis, functional dyspepsia and nausea, according to Drugs.com.

    WFUBMS describes bradygastria as a condition where the stomach’s pacemaker operates too slowly. Bradygastria can be corrected with a gastric pacemaker.

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    Gastroparesis

    Gastroparesis takes place when the vagus nerve’s function is disrupted, not allowing the stomach to empty its contents into the small intestine, according to MedlinePlus. Risk factors for this condition include a surgical procedure called gastrectomy, diabetes and systemic sclerosis.

    WFUBMS characterizes gastroparesis as a “paralysis” of the stomach.

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    Gastritis

    Gastritis is one of the more common causes of chronic nausea. This condition is an inflammation of the stomach, which can last for as little as a week or as long as two months, according to Everyday Health.

    Some patients diagnosed with gastritis are infected with Helicopylori, which is a bacteria known to be another cause of chronic nausea.

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    GERD

    GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease, is a chronic condition that causes the contents of the stomach to back up into the esophagus. Symptoms such as pain in the center of the abdomen, a bad taste in the mouth after meals and nausea are present, according to Everyday Health.

    When the GERD patient doesn’t modify lifestyle or diet, chronic nausea can result. Lifestyle change include eating smaller, more frequent meals, not eating fatty foods, reducing alcohol intake and stopping smoking and not lying down for at least 20 minutes after a meal.

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    Resources

    Unexplained Chronic Nausea - Wake Forest

    Cause of Chronic Nausea - EveryDay Health

    Gastroparesis - U.S. National Library of Medicine - Medline Health