Medical quality assurance by Dr. Albrecht Nonnenmacher, MD at December 6, 2015

We've all had that feeling at some point in the pit of our stomachs that something's just not right. Whether you feel like your last meal isn't settling properly or you are generally nauseated, there are a number of underlying factors behind the symptom. It's important to get a better understanding of why you're experiencing queasiness as a bigger problem may be to blame.


Definition & Facts

Nausea is the general feeling of sickness with the urge to vomit. It is an unpleasant experience, and it can sometimes be severe enough to become debilitating. It's not uncommon for the feeling to result in the expulsion of food from the stomach as the digestive system muscles involuntarily contract.

It's important to differentiate vomit from expelling mucus from the lungs as the two are different. Vomit can only stem from the stomach. Being aware of this fact can help you and your doctor more quickly get to the root of what your body is trying to tell you.


Queasiness is a tell-tale sign that something's amiss in the body, but getting to the root of that problem can be tricky as there are a variety of medical issues it can indicate. The general feeling is under the control of the part of the brain that's responsible for involuntary actions. This means that the muscles involves are engaged without you actively causing them to do so.

This can be frustrating since that means there is little you can do to make the feeling go away. There are so many triggers that can set off a feeling of queasiness, and these can range from smells, tastes and certain diseases to severe pain, infection, foods and more. Some of the common causes of this all-too-common feeling include:

When to see a doctor

The feeling of queasiness in some cases will go away with time and patience. For example, if it's a result of pregnancy, the symptoms often fade after the first trimester. However, sometimes it is necessary to seek professional help to overcome this symptom as it could be a persistent nagging of your body that there is something bigger at bay that needs attention.

If there is no apparent reason why you are experiencing queasiness with or without vomiting and the problem doesn't persist after a couple of days, it's a good idea to schedule an appointment with your doctor. They can help get to the root of the problem. Just a few of the serious issues you may be experiencing include:

You should also seek medical treatment if the queasiness has led to excessive vomiting as this could cause you to become dehydrated. This could be the case if you notice a decrease in urination or have dry lips and mouth.

Treatment & Therapy

Your doctor has a variety of treatment and therapy options to introduce, but it's first crucial to determine what's causing the symptoms in the first place. This allows for the proper medications and procedures to be chosen. In order to make this determination, your doctor may choose to administer a blood test, X-rays, a CT scan of the head to see if there is any trauma associated with the symptom, or urinalysis.

In severe cases, medications may be prescribed. However, there are likely other methods you can use to relieve the symptoms that your doctor may suggest. Just a few of the more common ones include:

  • Gradual intake of clear fluids. These are easy on the stomach and help reduce dehydration. Start out small, around five ounces for adults or one ounce for children.
  • If you are able to keep down the fluids, introduce other liquids with more substance such as soup broth or a sports drinks.
  • Stay away from the consumption of dairy products as they are commonly known to exaccerbate queasiness.
  • Once you have been successful in keeping down clear liquids for a period of at least 24 hours, slowly introduce soft foods such as oatmeal or gelatin.
  • If this is comfortable for the next 24 hours, start to introduce solid foods back into the diet. However, if you are unable to hold down soft or solid foods, it's a good idea to go back to the doctor to explore other options and possible medications to prevent malnutrition, especially if pregnant.

Prevention & Prophylaxis

In some cases, it's difficult to prevent queasiness. For example, if you and your partner want to start a family, you may simply be prone to morning sickness, in which case the only prevention is to avoid the pregnancy.

However, there are some circumstance in which prophylaxis is possible. The best place to start is at the dinner table. Avoid consuming foods that are difficult to digest. Some people get queasy when they eat hot food. If this describes you, allow your dinner to cool down before eating it. You should also avoid lying down after eating a meal.

If you must rest, make sure your head is elevated at a higher level than your feet. Furthermore, if you tend to feel queasy in the morning, eating a portion of lean meat prior to going to bed the night before can help as well as drinking at least eight cups of water per day.