There is no shortage of symptoms associated with Crohn’s disease and they can be difficult symptoms to control. One of the worst is nausea.
Everyone has been nauseous at some point in his or her life. It’s the feeling of an unsettled stomach, as if your intestines are twisting and twirling, antsy, excessive mouth-watering, and ultimately feeling you are about to throw up. Sometimes the feeling of being nauseated takes time and grows gradually, but other times nausea hits suddenly just before vomiting.
Nausea can occur because of many conditions, such as acid-reflux disease (GERD), Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis or viral infection. Other triggers of nausea are pregnancy, motion sickness or as a side effect of medications. These are just a few potential causes of nausea.
How to treat nausea
As a child, I had a lot of stomach problems, not from Crohn’s, but more from GERD (gastro-esophageal reflux disease). I had a hard time with stomach pain and nausea. My mom always used her “magic tricks” to make me feel better. Of course, it wasn’t magic, but the tricks certainly did help. For stomachaches she would have me lie on the kitchen tiles, so the coolness could help ease the pain and discomfort. For nausea, she would give me flat ginger ale or something with mint, such as peppermint or spearmint gum or candies.
Nowadays, having Crohn’s has led me to have nausea on a regular basis. There are both prescription and non-prescription routes to fight the feeling of sickness. When I’m trying to alleviate the nausea, I try natural remedies first before I go the over-the-counter route.
- Anything that contains ginger is known to help alleviate nausea, as well as other general stomach issues. Drinking small sips of ginger ale or ginger tea is a good option, as well as chewing bits of ginger. Carbonated sodas aren’t the best for treating nausea because the carbonation can irritate the stomach. It’s better to let ginger ale go flat.
- Positional remedies may help. Trying to minimize movement is best. Sitting up or in reclined positions are recommended. Laying down flat can add to the feeling of unsettledness and queasiness may worsen. Sometimes, adding a little heat to the abdomen can help.
- A small snack of bland foods can at times help settle an upset stomach. My personal go-to foods when I’m not feeling so well are either crackers or buttered toast. Once I can stomach those, I become more adventurous. What’s interesting is, as I was researching other options for treating nausea for this column, I came across the BRAT diet. It’s good for foods to try when your stomach is upset. Bananas, rice, applesauce and toast. Sounds about right!
When home remedies fail to work, doctors can prescribe medications for treating nausea and vomiting, called antiemetics. Antiemetics are used for stopping nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and more. The most common antiemetics prescribed are Phenergan or Zofran.
Zofran (ondansetron) usually is the first medication prescribed for patients because it is relatively mild and has few side effects. Zofran often is used to control nausea after surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation or other mild symptoms. Side effects of this medication can be constipation and mild headaches. This medication helps some people, but for many it’s not enough.
Phenergan (promethazine) is a much stronger medication than Zofran, treating nausea, vomiting, stomach pain and even motion sickness. This medication is known to be more effective than Zofran, but has some side effects such as excessive drowsiness. It’s not recommended for driving or operating machines.
Antihistamines, such as Benadryl (diphenhydramine) or Dramamine (dimenhydrinate), usually are taken in response to allergic reactions, but can be used for other reasons. Antihistamines also can be used for nausea and vomiting caused by motion sickness.
Throwing up excessively can lead to dehydration. It’s important to keep drinking fluids, such as water, clear soda or sports drinks such as Gatorade or Powerade. Drink as much as you can, just small sips! If symptoms become worse or are persistent for more than just a day or two, definitely call your doctor right away.
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