Nausea is feeling like vomiting. A variety of medications are available to treat nausea, including antiemetics and antihistamines. Eating different foods or changing other eating habits can also help relieve nausea.
Nausea has many possible causes, including viruses, pregnancy, and anxiety. The most effective treatment for nausea depends on its cause.
This article describes medications and home remedies for nausea.
Antiemetics are drugs that treat nausea or vomiting. The type of antiemetic that you should use depends on the cause of these symptoms.
Several broad classes of antiemetics are useful for treating nausea:
Different eating habits and certain foods can help relieve nausea.
If someone feels nauseous on a regular basis, they can use some of the following eating habits to reduce nausea:
- eat small, regular meals
- Holding on to food with a cold or warm temperature
- Rinse mouth before and after eating
- Sit upright for at least an hour after eating
- Eat in a cool room
- stick with dry foods
- Eating poultry or soy-based foods
- Avoid spicy, fatty, or fried foods
- Sticking to mild, soft foods like a poached egg on toast
- Avoid strong smelling foods
Some diets can also help reduce nausea.
For example, the foods that make up the BRAT diet could help relieve nausea because they are easily digested. These foods that give the diet its name are:
Find out more about the BRAT diet here.
However, due to the restrictive nature of the BRAT diet, a person should be careful about the number of nutrients they are consuming. This diet is not a long-term solution and people should only follow it when they feel nauseous.
If nausea persists for more than a few days while following the BRAT diet, they should see a doctor.
Some herbs can also help relieve nausea. A 2015 study suggested that ginger might be a promising treatment for nausea and vomiting. However, the researchers note that more research is needed to support these results.
Nausea and vomiting are common during pregnancy. However, some pregnant people have a serious illness known as hyperemesis gravidarum. Those who find the disease interfering with their daily lives and causing concern may need treatment.
People need to be careful with most treatments during pregnancy, including if they feel sick, as side effects can harm them or the fetus. For example, ondansetron may prevent nausea, but researchers aren’t sure if it affects the fetus.
Metoclopramide is an initial treatment option for pregnant people. Antihistamines such as doxylamine are also an effective drug for treating pregnancy-related nausea and do not harm the fetus.
Learn more about morning sickness and pregnancy here.
In aromatherapy, essential oils can be diffused into the air to create aromas that a person then inhales. Aromatherapy advocates suggest that it can reduce nausea.
A small 2016 study of 123 participants found that inhaling peppermint oil can reduce the feeling of nausea after surgery.
However, a 2018 comprehensive review found that there wasn’t enough quality research to confirm aromatherapy as an effective remedy for nausea.
The research examining the antinausea properties of aromatherapy is mixed, and researchers need to conduct more robust studies to understand whether and how essential oils exert these effects.
However, some people may want to try using aromatherapy along with nausea medication to see if it makes them feel better.
Learn more about aromatherapy here.
Acupuncture is a form of traditional Chinese medicine. Needles are used to apply pressure to specific parts of the body to relieve pain and relax muscles.
Acupressure is similar, but instead of using needles to stimulate points on the body, a person only applies pressure with their fingers or thumbs.
Some research suggests that acupuncture can relieve nausea. For example, a 2013 report found that acupuncture can treat nausea and vomiting after surgery. The review found that pressure point 6 stimulation (P6 or Nei Guan) was particularly effective in reducing nausea.
If a person wants to try acupressure, they can find P6 under the wrist on the inner arm. Applying pressure with your thumb or fingers for 2-3 minutes may make someone feel less nauseous.
However, a 2015 review found that the evidence on the effectiveness of P6 stimulation in relieving nausea is weak and that more robust studies are needed.
Therefore, it is advisable to try antinausea medications or diet changes before trying this method.
Find out more about acupuncture here.
Nausea is a common problem with many possible causes. Antiemetics are drugs that can help prevent nausea.
The most suitable type of medication will depend on what is causing the nausea. For example, during pregnancy, people are limited to drugs that health professionals consider safe for the fetus.
People can also try different home remedies to see if they help reduce nausea. These include eating and avoiding certain foods, adjusting the frequency of meals, aromatherapy, and acupressure.