woman with nausea holding her stomach and mouthNausea and vomiting are common symptoms with a wide range of potential causes. In children and adults alike, they are rarely cause for concern and can—more often than not—be treated through some combination of bedrest and over-the-counter medication. However, prolonged periods of illness and unusually persistent symptoms can sometimes signal a more serious problem.

Core Medicine of Idaho believes that all of our Canyon County neighbors deserve better than uncertainty. If you or a family member are struggling to overcome nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, or other concerning symptoms, our experienced team of caregivers could help you investigate your illness, diagnose your condition, and provide an individualized treatment plan that accommodates your medical needs and suits your unique lifestyle. 

Read on to learn more about how nausea and vomiting affect the body and what these symptoms could say about your health.

Understanding the Body’s Response to Illness

Waking up to an upset stomach is never a pleasant way to start the day. However, illness is an unavoidable part of ordinary life, even for adults with healthy habits and strong immune systems. Most Americans come down with a stomach bug at least once per year, with some people more prone to infection than others.

Most stomach bugs pose little risk of long-term complication, but nausea and vomiting can be physically painful and emotionally distressing, making it difficult to determine whether your illness is more serious than a run-of-the-mill bug. That’s why it’s important to gain a complete understanding of your symptoms.

Common Causes of Nausea and Vomiting

Nausea and vomiting most often emerge in response to either illness or acute infection.

However, nausea is a very vague term that can encompass many different feelings, signs, and symptoms. It is sometimes described as being “sick to one’s stomach” but may also include or be accompanied by the following symptoms:

  • Excess saliva
  • Sweating
  • Weakness

Nausea typically precedes bouts of vomiting or diarrhea, although it can occur independently and in the absence of other symptoms. In some cases, nausea without vomiting or fever can simply indicate an intense stress response to anxiety or hardship. Even psychological distress—like stage fright or bad nerves before a big presentation—can cause an upset stomach.

Taken together, though, nausea and vomiting may point to a more significant underlying problem. The most common causes of these symptoms include the following.

Food Poisoning

Food poisoning, or foodborne illness, is transmitted through contaminated food or drink. It is caused by a litany of different bacteria, viruses, parasites, and mold, which can wreak havoc on the immune system.

Common symptoms of food poisoning include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Headache

The onset of a response like vomiting after food poisoning is usually pretty quick after eating the offending food and resolves in less than a week, but symptoms can come back with a vengeance, sometimes more than once.

Stomach Flu

The stomach flu is the non-medical name for viral gastroenteritis, an intestinal infection that can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Although viral gastroenteritis is not caused by the same virus as the common flu, it is contagious and can spread between people or through contact with contaminated food or water.

Medication Side-Effects

Many different types of prescription and non-prescription medication can cause nausea and vomiting, even when patients take the correct dose and follow their health provider’s instructions. The most common classes of drugs associated with nausea and vomiting include:

  • Antibiotics
  • Antidepressants
  • Over-the-counter medications like aspirin and ibuprofen

Some vitamins and mineral supplements, like iron, can also upset the stomach.


Appendicitis is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition involving the inflammation of the appendix, a finger-shaped organ attached to the colon. It can cause extreme pain in the lower right abdomen, which may worsen with time.

Other symptoms of appendicitis include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Pain that worsens with coughing, walking, and other movement
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fever
  • Abdominal bloating and gas

Appendicitis is a medical emergency. If you or a loved one are experiencing noticeable abdominal pain alongside nausea and vomiting, you should seek immediate treatment.

Malignant Illness

Different types of cancer and cancer treatment can cause nausea and vomiting. This is especially true of cancers of the brain and abdomen. Symptoms are sometimes accompanied by other noticeable problems, including inexplicable weight loss and unusual lumps or masses underneath the skin.

However, even though cancer can provoke nausea and vomiting, these symptoms typically have other non-malignant causes.

Recognizing Signs of a Serious Condition

Nausea and vomiting can appear and subside with very little warning. Typically, and under most circumstances, neither symptom should be cause for concern. Staying hydrated, keeping calm, and using over-the-counter medications often go a long way in calming an upset stomach.

However, you may need to consider getting help if your symptoms last for more than 48 hours, especially if you have noticed any of the following: 

  • Blood in your vomit
  • High fever or chills
  • Cognitive impairment, including confusion or delirium
  • Intense and uncontrolled diarrhea
  • Non-stop or unusually violent vomiting
  • Signs of dehydration, especially in infants and children

If you visit Core Medicine of Idaho for nausea or vomiting, detail your symptoms to the reception, and we may be able to place you in a triage room while awaiting care.

How Core Medicine of Idaho Can Help You Overcome Illness

Core Medicine of Idaho is a community-focused clinic that is committed to meeting the needs of our friends, family, and neighbors across Canyon County. If you have concerns about nausea, vomiting, or other problematic symptoms preventing you from living life to its fullest, our experienced team of health care providers could help you in the following ways.

Mitigate Symptoms

Nausea and vomiting are not illnesses in and of themselves but rather symptoms of an underlying condition. In many cases, simply treating these symptoms is enough to return patients to good health.

Diagnose Your Illness

Diagnosing an illness is often a necessary first step on the road to recovery. Core Medicine of Idaho offers a wide range of diagnostic services, including:

  • Laboratory testing
  • X-ray facilities
  • Professional-grade diagnostic devices

In many cases, Core Medicine of Idaho can return laboratory test results faster than larger hospitals, making our clinic a convenient and affordable alternative to crowded waiting rooms. 

Obtain Effective Treatment

Core Medicine of Idaho could help you identify medical solutions that work to both alleviate your symptoms and eliminate their underlying cause. This could include the use of prescription medication, as well as individualized advice on eliminating risk factors and improving personal comfort.