Nausea and vomiting in adults

Nausea is a sick or queasy feeling. You may have this with or without vomiting. Vomiting (or throwing up) is when you cannot keep food, or anything else in your stomach.

Causes of nausea and vomiting

There are lots of reasons for nausea and vomiting. Common causes include:

  • tummy bug (gastroenteritis)
  • motion sickness
  • pregnancy
  • flu or COVID-19 infection.

Nausea and vomiting can be caused by a serious health problem. Seek medical help if you have nausea and vomiting and are unsure of the reason.

Self care for nausea and vomiting

Have regular sips of water (or any fluid you like) rather than drinking a lot at a time. If you are vomiting, you may want to use oral rehydration fluids.

If you vomit, wait for 5 to 10 minutes to start drinking then take a sip of water every 2 to 3 minutes.

When you are able, eat small amounts throughout the day, avoiding fried, greasy or fatty foods. Some people find ginger helpful in drinks, food or tablets.

Treating nausea and vomiting

There are several medicines that each work to treat different causes of nausea and vomiting. Your healthcare provider will consider which one will work best for you.

Options include cyclizine, prochlorperazine or metoclopramide and ondansetron.

You may also need treatment for the condition that is causing your symptoms.

Clinical review

This content was written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. It has been adapted for Health Information and Services.

Clinical advisers — HealthInfo (external link)