Duration Of Current Nausea Episodes

What Causes Chronic Nausea?

Chronic nausea can have various causes, ranging in severity from 'minor' to 'generally fatal'.  Finding the true cause means ruling out or confirming each possibility – in other words, diagnosis.

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Diagnosis is usually a complex process due to the sheer number of possible causes and related symptoms.  In order to diagnose chronic nausea, we could:

  • Research the topic
  • Find a doctor with the time
  • Use a diagnostic computer system.
The process is the same, whichever method is used.

Step 1: List all Possible Causes

We begin by identifying the disease conditions which have "chronic nausea" as a symptom.  Here are eight of many possibilities (more below):
  • Fluorosis
  • Chronic Renal Insufficiency
  • Intestinal Obstruction
  • Diabetes II
  • Pyroluria
  • Increased Intestinal Permeability
  • Gallbladder Disease
  • Congestive Heart Failure

Step 2: Build a Symptom Checklist

We then identify all possible symptoms and risk factors of each possible cause, and check the ones that apply:
blue/bluish fingernails
congestive heart failure
having foamy urine
edema of the ankles/lower legs
vision disturbances
high sensitivity to bright light
numb/burning/tingling extremities
specific muscle weakness
being a recovered alcoholic
pain medication use
occasional rotten egg burps
nails turning white towards the ends
... and more than 130 others

Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause

A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of chronic nausea:
Cause Probability Status
Increased Intestinal Permeability 97% Confirm
Chronic Renal Insufficiency 26% Unlikely
Pyroluria 14% Unlikely
Congestive Heart Failure 2% Ruled out
Fluorosis 0% Ruled out
Diabetes II 0% Ruled out
Intestinal Obstruction 0% Ruled out
Gallbladder Disease 0% Ruled out
* This is a simple example to illustrate the process

Arriving at a Correct Diagnosis

The Analyst™ is our online diagnosis tool that learns all about you through a straightforward process of multi-level questioning, providing diagnosis at the end.

In the Gastrointestinal Symptoms section of the questionnaire, The Analyst™ will ask the following question about duration of current nausea episodes:
If you suffer significantly from unexplained nausea (at least once per week), for how long has this been a problem?
Possible responses:
→ It is not a problem / don't know
→ It started within the last week
→ It started within the last month
→ I've had it for 1 to 3 months
→ I've had it for over 3 months
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate no significant nausea, recent onset nausea, nausea for 1-3 months or chronic nausea, The Analyst™ will consider possibilities such as:

When dehydration limits the proper functioning of the stomach, it can cause nausea.

Delayed Gastric Emptying (Gastroparesis)

Approximately 50% of patients with chronic idiopathic nausea and vomiting evaluated in referral centers have gastroparesis.  A viral etiology was suggested in these patients and in other series when there was an acute onset of nausea and vomiting with other features of a viral illness (fever, myalgia, diarrhea, fatigue, or abdominal cramping).

IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)

Ongoing IBS can lead to chronic nausea in various ways:

  • IBS commonly causes indigestion and subsequent acid reflux, which can cause nausea
  • Feeling stressed or anxious as a result of IBS can cause nausea
  • The abdominal pain often present in IBS may result in nausea
  • IBS can cause constipation, which can put stress on the liver, and liver problems can cause nausea

Most cases of acute pancreatitis resolve within a week; chronic pancreatitis does not resolve itself and results in a slow destruction of the pancreas.

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