• Car Sickness, Motion Sickness, Sea Sickness
• Various Forms of Nausea:
• Morning Sickness:
• Post-surgical Nausea:
• Morning Sickness: Low-Fat Diet,
Nausea can be caused by many factors, including stomach flu, viral infections of the inner ear (labyrinthitis), motion sickness,
The sensation of nausea can originate in either the nervous system or the digestive tract itself. Most conventional treatments for nausea, such as Dramamine and Compazine, act on the nervous system, but products like Pepto-Bismol soothe the digestive tract directly.
Principal Proposed Natural Treatments
The herb ginger has become a widely accepted treatment for nausea of various types. Vitamin B 6 may be helpful for the nausea of pregnancy.
For information on treatments to reduce nausea during chemotherapy, read the article Cancer Treatment Support
Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy
For example, a
One study of 138 women and another of 291 women found ginger as effective for morning sickness as vitamin B
Note : Ginger has not been proven safe for pregnant women.
A double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 79 Swedish naval cadets found that 1 g of ginger could decrease vomiting and cold sweating without significantly decreasing nausea and vertigo.
In addition, a double-blind comparative study that followed 1,489 individuals aboard a ship found ginger to be equally effective as various medications (cinnarizine, cinnarizine with domperidone, cyclizine, dimehydrinate with caffeine, meclizine with caffeine, and scopolamine).
However, a 1984 study funded by NASA found that ginger was not any more effective than placebo at reducing the symptoms of nausea caused by a vigorous nausea-provoking method.
Put all together, these studies paint a picture of a treatment that is somewhat effective for motion sickness but cannot overcome severe nausea.
A British double-blind study compared the effects of ginger, placebo, and the drug metoclopramide in the treatment of nausea following gynecological surgery.
A similar British study followed 120 women receiving gynecological surgery.
However, 3 other studies enrolling a total of about 400 people failed to find ginger more effective than placebo.
A 2004 article that reviewed all this evidence concluded that, on balance, evidence suggests that ginger is
effective for post-surgical nausea.
Warning : Do not use ginger either before or immediately after surgery or labor and delivery without a physician's approval. Not only is it important to have an empty stomach before undergoing anesthesia, there are theoretical concerns that ginger may affect bleeding.
For more information, including additional dosage and safety issues, see the full
A single acupuncture point—P6—has traditionally been thought to be helpful for relief of various forms of nausea and vomiting. This point is located on the inside of the forearm, about 2 inches above the wrist crease. Most studies have investigated the effects of pressure on this point (acupressure) rather than needling. The most common methods involve a wristband with a pearl-sized bead in it situated over P6. The band exerts pressure on the bead while it is worn, and the user can press on the bead for extra stimulation.
Although the research record is mixed, on balance it appears that P6 stimulation offers benefits for various types of nausea. This approach has been studied in anesthesia-induced nausea, the nausea and vomiting of pregnancy, and other forms of nausea.
General anesthetics and other medications used for
At least 8 controlled studies enrolling a total of more than 750 women undergoing gynecologic surgery found that P6 stimulation reduced post-surgical nausea as compared to placebo.
On the negative side, a double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 410 women undergoing gynecological surgery failed to find P6 acupressure more effective than fake acupressure. (Both were more effective than no treatment).
Studies of acupuncture or acupressure in other forms of surgery have produced about as many negative results as positive ones.
Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy
Several controlled studies have evaluated the benefits of acupressure or acupuncture for
For example, a double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 97 women found evidence that wristband acupressure may work.
However, one large trial of
instead of acupressure failed to find benefit. This single-blind, placebo-controlled study of 593 pregnant women with morning sickness compared the effects of traditional acupuncture, acupuncture at P6 only, acupuncture at “wrong” points (sham acupuncture), and no treatment.
Other Proposed Natural Treatments
Preliminary studies suggest peppermint
On the basis of studies conducted in the 1950s, a combination of
8. Stott JR, Hubble MP, Spencer MB. A double-blind comparative trial of powdered ginger root, hyosine hydrobromide, and cinnarizine in the prophylaxis of motion sickness induced by cross coupled stimulation. AGARD Conf Proc . 1985;1-6.
10. Bone ME, Wilkinson DJ, Young JR, et al. Ginger root—a new antiemetic. The effect of ginger root on postoperative nausea and vomiting after major gynaecological surgery. Anaesthesia. 1990;45:669-671.
13. Visalyaputra S, Petchpaisit N, Somcharoen K, et al. The efficacy of ginger root in the prevention of postoperative nausea and vomiting after outpatient gynaecological laparoscopy. Anaesthesia . 1998;53:506-510.
23. Ho CM, Hseu SS, Tsai SK, et al. Effect of P-6 acupressure on prevention of nausea and vomiting after epidural morphine for post-cesarean section pain relief. Acta Anaesthesiol Scand. 1996;40:372-375.
46. Chu YC, Lin SM, Hsieh YC, et al. Effect of BL-10 (tianzhu), BL-11 (dazhu) and GB-34 (yanglinquan) acuplaster for prevention of vomiting after strabismus surgery in children. Acta Anaesthesiol Sin. 1998;36:11-16.
49. Czeizel AE, Dudas I, Fritz G, et al. The effect of periconceptional multivitamin-mineral supplementation on vertigo, nausea and vomiting in the first trimester of pregnancy. Arch Gynecol Obstet. 1992;251:181-185
50. Ussher JM, Dewberry C, Malson H, et al. The relationship between health related quality of life and dietary supplementation in British middle managers: a double blind placebo controlled study. Psychol Health. 1995;10:97-111.
62. Gan TJ, Jiao KR, Zenn M, et al. A randomized controlled comparison of electro-acupoint stimulation or ondansetron versus placebo for the prevention of postoperative nausea and vomiting. Anesth Analg . 2004;99:1070-1075.
68. Habib AS, Itchon-Ramos N, Phillips-Bute BG, et al. Transcutaneous Acupoint Electrical Stimulation with the ReliefBand(R) for the Prevention of Nausea and Vomiting During and After Cesarean Delivery Under Spinal Anesthesia. Anesth Analg . 2006;102:581-584.
71. Hsu E, Pei V, Shofer FS, et al. A prospective randomized controlled trial of acupressure vs. sham for pregnancy-related nausea and vomiting in the emergency department. Acad Emerg Med . 2003;10:437.
73. Roscoe JA, Matteson SE, Morrow GR, et al. Acustimulation wrist bands are not effective for the control of chemotherapy-induced nausea in women with breast cancer. J Pain Symptom Manage . 2005;29:376-384.
Last reviewed April 2009 by EBSCO CAM Medical Review Board
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