I have been experiencing a lot of nausea recently. I completely have no signs of any illness but I just feel irritated by the smell of food.
Nausea can be due to a wide variety of reasons depending on a person’s age, quantity and type of food consumed, intake of alcohol, intake of pain killers, caffeine and level of physical activity, among others.
Heavy meals, meals taken late in the night and overeating, are some of the commonest causes of nausea. If one does not pass stool regularly, nausea may occur. Some pain killers and drugs used to treat inflammation or corticoids can cause nausea as a side effect.
Nausea can occur after consuming ready-to-eat fast foods. Foods with high sugar content like chocolates and cakes tend to cause nausea in many people.
Infections of the intestine may cause no other symptom except nausea. Diseases like diabetes and hypothyroidism can weaken the digestive system, causing nausea as one of the manifestations. One can have nausea due to allergy to some foods or drinks. Nausea can occur due to disorders of the liver or kidney.
Among serious conditions, obstruction of the intestines and gastric outlet obstruction, are some of the conditions associated with nausea and vomiting.
Cancer of the stomach, pancreas, liver or visceral parts can cause nausea along with pain and loss of appetite.
It would be good if one took frequent small meals that should include green vegetables, fresh fruits and whole grains. The evening meal should be taken at least about two hours before sleeping, so the digestive system finds time to digest it well. Alcohol and excess tea/coffee should be avoided.
Unless the pain is severe, pain killers should be avoided. Drinking adequate amounts of water and regular physical activity help in boosting digestion, thus minimising the risk of nausea.
If the nausea persists, it is advisable to do investigations to know the cause for the right treatment.
Dr Rachna Pande is a specialist in internal medicine at Ruhengeri Hospital