Nausea is a diffuse sensation of unease and discomfort, often perceived as an urge to vomit. While not painful, it can be a debilitating symptom if prolonged and has been described as placing discomfort on the chest, upper abdomen, or back of the throat.
Over 30 definitions of nausea were proposed in a 2011 book on the topic.
Nausea is a non-specific symptom, which means that it has many possible causes. Some common causes of nausea are gastroenteritis and other gastrointestinal disorders, food poisoning, motion sickness, dizziness, migraine, fainting, low blood sugar and lack of sleep. Nausea is a side effect of many medications including chemotherapy, or morning sickness in early pregnancy. Nausea may also be caused by disgust and depression.
Medications taken to prevent and treat nausea and vomiting are called antiemetics. The most commonly prescribed antiemetics in the US are promethazine, metoclopramide and the newer ondansetron. The word nausea is from Latin nausea, from Greek ναυσία – nausia, "ναυτία" – nautia, motion sickness, "feeling sick or queasy".