Vomiting is the body’s way of eliminating harmful substances. It’s not necessarily a sign of a serious problem and usually only lasts a day or two.
There are many possible causes of vomiting. Some common causes are food poisoning, morning sickness during pregnancy, motion sickness, and gastroenteritis.
However, vomiting is sometimes a symptom of more serious problems.
It could indicate a problem like appendicitis that requires medical attention. If a person is vomiting for more than 24 hours, has blood in their vomit, or believes they have ingested poison, they should see a doctor.
Read about the causes of vomiting, how to treat it, how to prevent it, and more.
There are a variety of possible common causes of vomiting, including the following.
Gastroenteritis, commonly known as stomach flu, is inflammation of the bowel. It is usually due to a virus, bacteria, or parasite created by ingesting contaminated food or water.
Symptoms of gastroenteritis include vomiting, diarrhea, headache, fever, and abdominal pain.
Learn more about gastroenteritis.
Morning sickness, also known as nausea and vomiting during pregnancy, affects up to 80% of people during pregnancy. Despite its name, it can cause vomiting at any time of the day.
Nausea and vomiting are early signs of pregnancy for many people. It usually resolves on its own.
Learn more about morning sickness during pregnancy.
Motion sickness causes nausea and dizziness when traveling. It can also cause vomiting.
Children and pregnant women are particularly often affected. It occurs when sensory signals from the inner ears, eyes, and muscles mismatch. However, people usually feel better when the trip is over.
Learn more about motion sickness.
A person can vomit because their bowels are blocked. This obstruction prevents food and fluids from passing through the digestive system, and vomiting occurs when food or fluids flow back in the stomach.
Learn more about intestinal obstruction.
Appendicitis is a condition in which the appendix acquires an infection and becomes inflamed. It usually causes severe pain in the lower right side of the abdomen.
In addition to pain, it can also cause nausea, vomiting, fever, diarrhea, or constipation. People with symptoms of appendicitis should see a doctor.
Learn more about appendicitis.
Pancreatitis occurs when the pancreas becomes inflamed, which usually results in sudden pain in the upper middle left of the abdomen, below the sternum.
Individuals may also have nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, fever, and rapid pulse. People with symptoms of pancreatitis need medical attention.
Learn more about pancreatitis.
Disorders of the brain and central nervous system
Some brain or central nervous system disorders activate the brain’s vomiting center.
These include infections such as meningitis or encephalitis and migraines. Conditions that cause increased pressure inside the skull, including head injuries, cerebral haemorrhage, and tumors, can also cause vomiting.
Ingestion of toxins or medication
Ingestion of toxins, such as those found in lead and certain plants and foods, can cause severe nausea and vomiting.
Various drugs can cause vomiting, including:
People who have ingested or suspected of ingesting a toxin or chemical should seek medical advice.
Cyclic vomiting syndrome
Cyclical vomiting syndrome is a rare condition that can cause people to vomit at varying intervals. This condition usually starts in childhood and can persist into adulthood.
Adults who develop cyclical vomiting syndrome may develop the disorder as a result of chronic marijuana use.
Learn more about cyclic vomiting syndrome.
Stress and anxiety can lead to nausea and vomiting. Other people, such as people with bulimia nervosa, can induce vomiting.
There are a variety of drugs used to treat vomiting – doctors often refer to them as antiemetics.
Some antiemetics work by preventing signals from reaching the vomiting center of the brain, while others speed up the movement of food through the intestines.
Some common anti-vomiting medications are as follows.
These include prochlorperazine, haloperidol, chlorpromazine, perphenazine, promethazine, and levomepromazine. They work by blocking the activity of a chemical in the brain called dopamine.
They can be effective against vomiting from some cancers and cancer treatments. People can also use them to treat nausea that opiate drugs can trigger.
Some antihistamines are promethazine, cyclizine, and cinnarizine. Experts believe they work by blocking receptors for histamine in the area of the brain that causes nausea and vomiting. People use these drugs to treat vomiting for a variety of reasons.
This medicine works by blocking the activity of a chemical in the brain called acetylcholine. People often use it to treat nausea due to motion sickness or inner ear problems.
Some serotonin-blocking drugs are palonosetron, granisetron, and ondansetron. These drugs block serotonin activity in the brain and intestines, which can cause nausea and vomiting.
People who vomit from chemotherapy can take these drugs.
This medicine acts directly on the intestines. It reduces feelings by stimulating gastrointestinal movement, helping the stomach to empty itself, and moving food through the intestines faster. It also blocks dopamine receptors in the brain.
People often use this drug when they vomit due to slow bowel problems or migraines.
Individuals could prevent vomiting by practicing good hygiene, especially around food.
This can help prevent people from accidentally consuming bacteria that can cause vomiting. To ensure that foods are safe to eat, a person can:
- Wash countertops, knives and cutlery that you use to prepare food
- wash hands often
- Wash fruits and vegetables
- Store food at the right temperature
- use a meat thermometer
- use different cutting boards for meat and vegetables
- Cook meat, poultry and fish properly and thoroughly
When a person experiences nausea, they can take steps to keep it from getting worse. Some preventive measures include:
- eat simple crackers as soon as they wake up
- Eat smaller meals throughout the day rather than three large meals
- Avoid spicy foods
- Drink small sips of plain fluids such as water or broth
- Avoiding acidic juices
- Try over-the-counter medications for vomiting relief
Vomiting will usually go away on its own in a day or two. However, this may take longer if an underlying medical condition is causing the vomiting.
Persistent vomiting can cause several complications, including:
Although it will likely go away on its own, vomiting may indicate a serious problem that requires medical attention.
People should see a doctor if:
- they cannot hold down liquids
- You vomit frequently
- her vomit is green, which could indicate a blockage in the intestines
- you vomit for more than 2 days
- they have lost significant weight since becoming ill
- You have signs of severe dehydration, such as a fast heart rate and little to no urine
A person should seek emergency help immediately if they ingest anything toxic or toxic. People also need urgent medical attention for vomiting if they experience:
- severe chest pain when vomiting
- sudden severe headache
- a high temperature and a stiff neck
- severe, sudden abdominal pain
- Blood or something that looks like coffee grounds in her vomit
A person can vomit for a variety of reasons. Some common causes include infection or irritation of the bowel, absorption of toxins, motion sickness, and morning sickness during pregnancy.
There are a variety of drugs used to treat vomiting – some block signals to the brain’s vomiting center, while others work to empty the bowels to relieve symptoms. Relaxation techniques and diet changes can also improve symptoms.
A person should contact a doctor or emergency medical services if their vomiting is severe. This includes when their vomit is green, has blood in it, occurs frequently, and has severe chest, head, or abdominal pain.