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Remedies for Nausea (Upset Stomach)

Medically Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on November 14, 2020

Nausea or an upset stomach makes you feel uneasy, weak, and sweaty. The queasiness that comes from nausea may lead to vomiting, but it doesn’t always happen.

The feeling of nausea can be caused by numerous conditions, including: 

Nausea is not a disease but a common symptom of many conditions — from bacterial or viral infections to problems with internal organs, like the brain. Some medications list nausea as an adverse reaction or side effect.

Remedies and Treatments for Nausea

Most of the time nausea is not a cause for concern. However, there are actions you can take to minimize the unpleasant feeling.

Hydration

Because nausea upsets your stomach, eating food may temporarily make things worse. A diet of clear liquids can provide the sugar, salt, and some nutrients your body needs until you can eat solid food again. Clear liquids are easy to digest and don't put extra strain on your stomach or intestines. 

The best things to drink when you're nauseous are:

  • Clear broth
  • Clear juices
  • Clear sports drinks
  • Clear soft drinks such as ginger ale, lemon-lime soda, or club soda
  • Coffee or tea without milk
  • Plain popsicles
  • Water

You should avoid alcoholic beverages, dairy products, smoothies, and vegetable juice.

If your nausea causes frequent vomiting, doctors may give you oral rehydration therapy, which involves drinking a rehydration solution that replaces the minerals and body fluids you lost.

Peppermint Tea

Because peppermint tea contains a range of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, it is used for a variety of ailments. One of its most well-known traditional uses is to reduce nausea by soothing your stomach. In oil form and through aromatherapy, peppermint has been studied as a nausea remedy among pregnant people.

To make this kind of tea, steep 1 teaspoon of dried peppermint leaves in a cup of boiling water and strain it after ten or so minutes. When it becomes a safe temperature to drink, slowly sip the infusion and let the benefits take effect.

Ginger

Ginger is an herb that is widely used for its medicinal properties. One of the most common uses of ginger is as a remedy for nausea. Multiple studies show how taking ginger powder capsules or concentrated ginger syrup can reduce nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy.

Although some women report heartburn or reflux when taking ginger, it is considered a safe and effective treatment for pregnancy-related morning sickness. It can also help with digestion and the flow of saliva.

You can find fresh ginger root at your grocery store, or you can buy ginger supplements

When to See a Doctor

Although nausea often isn't serious, you should reach out to your doctor if your vomiting lasts more than two days for adults, more than 24 hours for children, or more than 12 hours for infants. You should also schedule an appointment if you've dealt with bouts of nausea for more than a month, or are experiencing unexplained weight loss in addition to nausea or vomiting. 

While you wait to speak with your doctor, make sure to stay hydrated, get plenty of rest, and eat bland foods. Keep track of your symptoms and watch for any signs of dehydration.

Emergency Care

If you experience nausea along with any of the following warning signs, you should call 911 or your primary doctor immediately — or go to the nearest urgent care facility or emergency room: 

  • Dark urine or infrequent urination
  • Dizziness or confusion
  • Dry mouth and other signs of dehydration
  • Extreme abdominal pain
  • Extreme headache
  • High fever
  • Multiple bouts of vomiting during a period lasting more than 24 hours
  • Reason to think that nausea and vomiting is due to food poisoning
  • Severe stiff neck
  • Some blood in your vomit
WebMD Medical Reference

Sources

SOURCES: 

Cedars-Sinai: “Clear Liquid Diet.”

Mayo Clinic: “Nausea and vomiting - Causes.”

Mayo Clinic: “Nausea and vomiting - When to see a doctor.”

Integrative Medicine Insights: “The Effectiveness of Ginger in the Prevention of Nausea and Vomiting during Pregnancy and Chemotherapy.”

Johns Hopkins Medicine: “Nausea.”

Journal of Reproduction & Infertility: “Effect of Aromatherapy with Peppermint Oil on the Severity of Nausea and Vomiting in Pregnancy: A Single-blind, Randomized, Placebo-controlled trial.”

Mount Sinai: “Peppermint.”

Stanford Health Care: “Chronic Nausea Treatments.”

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