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What is Extreme Nausea?

By Tracey Parece
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Extreme nausea is an intense feeling of discomfort and uneasiness in the upper stomach often accompanied by the urge to vomit. Although nausea commonly precedes vomiting, a person experiencing this symptom does not necessarily vomit. There are many possible causes of extreme nausea including anxiety, excessive consumption of alcohol, and hyperemesis gravidarum (HD) which is excessive nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. Other common causes of extreme nausea are an adverse reaction to medication, an inflammation of the upper digestive tract, or parasites.

Alcohol and nausea are sometimes related. The ethanol contained in alcoholic beverages can cause extreme nausea either immediately after consumption or several hours later. Combined with a severe headache and dehydration, nausea is part of the condition commonly known as a hangover. Caffeine and nausea are also related because both caffeine intake and caffeine withdrawal have the potential to cause nausea. Abstaining from alcoholic or caffeinated beverages is a proven method to avoid nausea related to the consumption of either of these drinks.

Since there are so many causes of extreme nausea, it is important to consult a physician for diagnosis and treatment. Conditions causing extreme nausea can range from food poisoning to appendicitis to vertigo. Without a doctor's advice, it may be difficult to determine the proper course of treatment for relief of symptoms.

There are several different tests physicians use to diagnose the causes of extreme nausea. For example, an upper endoscopy may reveal whether the patient is suffering from an ulcer, an obstruction, or inflammation. There are other more specialized tests to diagnose conditions including dysmotility disorders like gastroparesis, the inability to efficiently empty the stomach even though no obstruction is present.

Physicians may prescribe a variety of treatments for extreme nausea. In some cases, it is necessary to correct or cure the underlying cause. Other situations may require medications or dietary changes such as the implementation of a special bland diet. For chronic nausea, surgery is sometimes used to implant a gastric pacemaker to help regulate the gastrointestinal system. When nausea is caused by a temporary condition like pregnancy, a stomach virus, or as a side effect of medication, the condition will generally disappear on its own.

Some patients may choose homeopathic, or alternative, methods of nausea treatment. Common natural remedies for nausea relief are drinking flat cola, lemon-lime soda, or ginger ale. Chewing cardamom seeds, using acupressure wristbands, and drinking fennel tea are other popular home remedies for nausea.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By Tomislav — On Aug 24, 2011

@saraq90 - I have read of quite a few strategies but since every pregnancy is different then I would tell them to just not give up.

One tip I liked was to eat smaller meals so that you are never feeling over full. This I liked because that means eating all day!

I have also heard the crackers thing that one of your friends is trying works, and I have heard to specifically try to eat the crackers in the morning.

This tip is kind of like the first one - drink in between meals rather than with meals so you do not feel over full.

This last tip my husband actually loves and swears by when he is feeling queasy - try peppermint. He loves the York Peppermint Patties, but I have also heard you can use peppermint oil in a reed diffuser or add it to hot water and simply smell the peppermint aroma.

By Saraq90 — On Aug 24, 2011

Now I have a few friends who are pregnant and they all have variations of morning sickness (one of them actually has night sickness at about 6pm each night). One friend told me she keeps saltines next to her bed to help with the nausea and sometimes hunger (it drives her husband crazy between the crinkling of the wrapper and the crumbs).

Are there any other natural cures for extreme pregnancy nausea? I would love to be able to pass it on to my friends!

By runner101 — On Aug 23, 2011

My case of extreme nausea came from excessive drinking while I was in college, and the good news is that the extreme nausea cured me of drinking in that sort of excess again. I remember lying on the cold bathroom floor (ick) because it felt good in my state of nausea.

I ate very bland foods the next day and while I did not feel great that day, I did feel better by the end of the day.

By Mykol — On Aug 23, 2011

I had a severe reaction to a bee sting and had to go to the emergency room. I was out mowing my yard and got stung in the back of the head by a bee.

My first symptoms were feeling light headed and nausea. I didn't realize that I was having such a bad reaction and tried to lay down at first. Then I began shivering all over and could not get warm.

By then I knew I needed to go to the hospital. Many times when someone has a reaction to a bee sting, their throat will start to swell and close up. I am glad this didn't happen to me, but I should have gone to the hospital sooner than I did.

This is the first time I had a reaction like this to a bee sting, and will know what to do if it happens again.

By andee — On Aug 22, 2011

The worst nausea I ever had was when my appendix burst and I went for several hours before going to the doctor.

This extreme nausea came on after eating lunch. At first I thought it was something I ate, or that I was getting the flu. When the symptoms continued to get worse, I went to the doctor.

Until they did surgery they still did not know what was wrong, but were pretty sure it was my appendix. My appendix had burst, but the infection was kept in a pocket by my colon, so it had not spread throughout my body.

Anytime you have extreme, severe nausea, your body is trying to tell you that something is wrong. Many times it can be hard to know if it is worth checking out, but if symptoms get worse and don't get better, I would not hesitate to see a doctor.

By seag47 — On Aug 22, 2011

Usually, if I feel extremely nauseated, then I am about to vomit. So, when I got that old sick feeling while I had a urinary tract infection, I knew it was coming.

I ran to the bathroom, and within seconds, my hands started to tingle. I began shaking, and I got really hot. Then, my stomach gave up its contents.

I had never vomited from a urinary tract infection before, so I went to my doctor. He told me that it had progressed to my kidneys, infecting them. This was more serious.

I had to take antibiotics, and he gave me some strong anti-nausea medicine, which made me fall asleep. I think that is how it relieves you of the feeling. When you are passed out, you are unaware of your nausea.

By shell4life — On Aug 21, 2011

The most extreme nausea I have ever experienced came after two fruity mixed drinks and a meal of seafood. I was out with three friends at a restaurant, and I ended up hanging my head over the toilet.

I ate some coconut shrimp and fries. I ordered my first drink before the food arrived. I know it had peach schnapps in it, but it tasted so good that I guzzled it like fruit juice.

I ordered another one to go with my food. I don’t know if it was the combination of the alcohol and the shrimp or just the fact that I don’t drink often enough to have a tolerance for it, but I became green with nausea.

I honestly thought I was going to vomit. I stayed in the restroom for a long time, but nothing would come up. I kind of wished that it would so I could get the sickness over with, but eventually, the feeling passed.

By wavy58 — On Aug 20, 2011

I experienced extreme nausea for about a month after starting my new job. My coworker was a handful, and the pressure was getting to me. I was determined not to quit, though, even if it killed me.

I would get so sick that it was hard to concentrate. I just felt like folding over and putting my head down on my desk.

I found some anti-nausea medicine. The red syrup tasted awful, and at first, it had the opposite effect, but after awhile, it started to ease the nausea. I took it to work with me and used it whenever the nausea returned.

By OeKc05 — On Aug 20, 2011

@drtroubles - My parents always told me to eat saltines when I felt nauseated. As long as I could keep them down, they helped.

Saltines and flat cola would always be the first thing I tried to eat after a spell of vomiting. Once I felt sure that I was through throwing up, I would eat a couple of them, and they usually soothed my stomach, which was growling and churning because it was so empty.

Maybe the blandness of the crackers keeps them from causing further nausea. For whatever reason, I am always thrilled when I am able to keep them in my stomach.

By cupcake15 — On Aug 19, 2011

Drtroubles – Believe it or not eating can actually help prevent nausea. This is why in many cruise ships they have buffets and food all over the place because you are less likely to suffer from seasickness when you have something in your stomach.

I know that there are people like my mother in law that develops a form of dizziness with their nausea symptoms. My mother in law suffers from vertigo and recently had to leave a cruise and catch a plane to go home because she could not stop vomiting.

Apparently she went on a cruise to the Caribbean in December when the seas are traditionally rockier. She takes medication for her vertigo but she even has to be careful when she rides in a car. She has to sit in the front seat because if not she gets sick.

It must be awful to have this condition because I could not imagine not being able to go on a cruise or participate in rides at the amusement park.

By tigers88 — On Aug 18, 2011

I once suffered through an extreme case of nausea. The weird part though was that even though I really desperately wanted to throw up, I could never actually get anything to come out of my body. I was sure I need to vomit but I would stand over the toilet endlessly while nothing happened.

I don't know what was worse, the nausea or the frustration of not being able to do anything about it? It went away after a few hours and I've never felt anything like that since. Still that was one of the most uncomfortable moments of my life and something of a minor medical mystery. Lets hope it never repeats.

By summing — On Aug 17, 2011

I once suffered from a case of extreme nausea as a result of food poisoning. I had eaten some bad Chinese food and by the end of that evening I was doubled over in my living room with some of the worst pain I had ever felt.

I ended up going to the hospital it got so bad. I will spare you some of the grosser details but suffice it to say that I threw up until there was nothing left to get out.

At the hospital they put me on a temporary course of medication and had me stay overnight. My doctor told me that my case was not the worst he has ever seen, but it was close. I can't ever remember feeling worse.

By drtroubles — On Aug 17, 2011

My wife suffered from extreme nausea during her pregnancy and we pretty much tried everything in order to settle her stomach down. We found that if she sucked on ice chips it really helped to ease her stomach issues. If that failed, she would sip ginger ale which often helped to settle her stomach.

One technique that her mother recommended for my wife was to eat a few saltines before bed, and again when she woke up in the morning. My wife really didn't like the idea of eating as soon as she got up, but the crackers did help with her nausea in the morning, so I guess there was something to having small snacks even if you aren't hungry.

By manykitties2 — On Aug 17, 2011

My extreme nausea was brought on by panic attacks when I was younger. No matter what I did I couldn't stop my stomach from doing flips when I felt anxious. The only thing that helped me was treating the source of my problem.

For my anxiety I learned some meditative techniques and tried aromatherapy at my doctor's request. He seemed to think that if I could learn to tackle my anxiety without prescribed medication I would be better off.

I found that carrying a vial with a blend of essential oils in it was very helpful. My aromatherapist mixed a special scent that was supposed to help me overcome my anxiety. It was amazing how well this worked, though I think it just gave me something specific to focus on.

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