What is vomiting?


Know the basics

What is vomiting?

Vomiting is an uncontrollable reflex to force contents in the stomach out through the mouth. Nausea is a common symptom that usually occurs with vomiting. In some cases vomiting can be done on purpose to force poisonous content out of the body. There are many causes of vomiting. The best way to treat vomiting is to treat the cause.

How common is vomiting?

Vomiting is a very common symptom regardless of age or gender. Vomiting usually occurs with nausea. Vomiting most often occurs in pregnant women during the early stage, patients suffering from migraines or food poisoning. Vomiting is also a common side effect of chemotherapy in cancer patients.

Know the symptoms

What are the symptoms of vomiting?

Vomiting is a sign and symptom of many different conditions. Some signs and symptoms that can accompany vomiting include:

  • Nausea;
  • Abdominal pain;
  • Diarrhea;
  • Fever;
  • Lightheadedness;
  • Vertigo;
  • Rapid pulse,
  • Excessive sweating;
  • Dry mouth;
  • Decreased urination.

Some serious symptoms that can occur with vomiting include:

  • Chest pain;
  • Abdominal pain,;
  • Fainting;
  • Confusion,;
  • Excessive sleepiness;
  • And vomiting blood.

There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

When should I see my doctor?

Vomiting is common, it is often a sign of an underlying medical condition. It is important to contact your doctor or emergency center if your vomiting is accompanied by the following symptoms:

  • Chest pain;
  • Severe abdominal pain or cramps;
  • Blurred eyes;
  • Fainting;
  • confusion;
  • Chills, pale skin color;
  • High fever;
  • Stiff neck;
  • Have feces or stool odor while vomiting.

Know the causes

What causes vomiting?

There are many conditions and factors that can cause vomiting. Some common conditions and factors include:

  • Gastroenteritis: This is an inflammation (redness, swelling) of the stomach lining that can also cause vomiting. Bowel diseases such as intestinal obstruction, gallbladder attack, stomach ulcers, and appendicitis are more serious causes.
  • Drug-induced: Drugs such as chemotherapy drugs, codeine, morphine, and antibiotics commonly cause nausea and vomiting.
  • Stress-related psychological problems: This may include bulimia nervosa, an eating disorder. This occurs when a person induces vomiting to force out any consumed food. This is done to avoid unwanted weight gain.

Know the risk factors

What increases my risk for vomiting?

You might be at risk of vomiting if you are pregnant, especially during the first few months of pregnancy (morning sickness) or if you suffer from digestive and stomach condition. This may include food poisoning, indigestion and gallstone disease. Cancer patients are also more at risk for vomiting. It is a common side effect of chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Some people who experience motion sickness also have high risk for vomiting risk. Managing your risk factors and taking preventive treatment can easily minimizer your chance of  vomiting.

Understand the diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How is vomiting diagnosed?

The doctor will make a diagnosis by a physical examination and may require blood, urine tests and x-rays. Some doctors may examine your vomit sample to determine the cause.

How is vomiting treated?

Treatment for vomiting depends on the cause. The key is to stay hydrated by replacing fluids and electrolytes (special substances that control fluid balance in the body). Clear broth or special oral glucose-electrolyte solutions are used. Severe symptoms may require hospitalization and intravenous fluids. Antibiotics may help treat bacterial, but not viral, infections. Antacids, over-the-counter histamine-2 (H2) blockers, and proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) such as omeprazole control mild gastritis symptoms. Gallbladder attack, appendicitis, and intestinal obstruction usually need hospitalization and surgery. Please discuss with your doctor what the best treatment option is for you.

Lifestyle changes & home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage vomiting?

The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with vomiting :

  • Consume only liquids if you vomit repeatedly. Start a soft, bland diet if you can. Then slowly return to a normal diet.
  • Take your medicine as instructed by your doctor and pharmacist.
  • If you experience motion sickness, it may help to lie back in the seat and take slow deep breaths when you’re in a car, boat, or plane. Try to sit where there’s least motion.
  • Rest in bed near the bathroom or with the big bowl handy.
  • Contact the local health department if many people are sick after eating at the same event to help find the infection’s source.
  • Cook, handle and store foods properly.
  • Wash your hands after using the bathroom and when preparing foods. Keep cooking areas and utensils clean.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

msBahasa Malaysia


Review Date: May 30, 2016 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017

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