Common Causes Of Vomiting—What’s Making You Sick?

Common Causes of VomitingVomiting, technically known as emesis, is one of the more common signs of illness within the body. Your body throws up in order to rid itself of something that is harmful, or irritating. Vomiting is not a disease or illness, instead it’s your body’s natural reaction to infection, motion sickness, food poisoning, overeating, and a number of other things.

In more serious cases, vomiting can also be a sign of kidney disorders, liver disorders, central nervous system disorders, a blocked intestine, heart attack, and some types of cancer.  In most cases though, vomiting is nothing to worry about. Here we detail the most common causes of vomiting and when you need to visit your local Urgent Medical Center for help.

Who Is Impacted Most Often By Nausea And Vomiting?

Nausea is the uneasy feeling you get in your stomach prior to vomiting, but you don’t always vomit when you feel nauseous. Still, the two often go hand in hand.

Everyone, young and old, is at risk for becoming nauseous and vomiting. Some people have an increased risk for experiencing nausea, including those undergoing harsh cancer treatments and women who are in the early stages of pregnancy. In fact, approximately 50-90% of pregnant women become nauseous and 25-55% also experience vomiting.

The Most Common Causes Of Vomiting

Nausea and vomiting are most often associated with:

  • The stomach flu
  • Severe migraine
  • Motion sickness
  • Morning sickness in pregnant women
  • Rotavirus
  • Food poisoning
  • Intestinal obstruction
  • Gastroparesis (a condition that causes the muscles lining the stomach wall to stop functioning properly and interfere with digestion)
  • Vestibular neuritis (Learn More)
  • Alcohol, binge drinking
  • Anorexia and bulimia
  • Appendicitis
  • Head injury (including moderate concussions to more severe head injuries)
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Dizziness
  • Ear infection
  • Pancreatitis
  • Allergies to certain foods or medications
  • Liver damage
  • Chemotherapy and radiation therapy
  • Severe pain

There are a number of other ailments that can lead to vomiting; the list above simply represents some of the more commonly associated reasons.

When Should You Visit Your Doctor Due to Vomiting?

There are so many different causes of vomiting, ranging from mild to very serious. If you are vomiting how do you know if you are dealing with something minute or more serious?

There are a few key signs that indicate your nausea and vomiting require immediate medical care. Signs you should visit the doctor include:

Infants and children under six years old should visit the doctor for vomiting if:

  • Vomiting continues to persist for more than a few hours
  • Vomiting is accompanied by diarrhea
  • Child is showing signs of dehydration
  • Child has not urinated in over six hours (this is a sign of serious dehydration)
  • Child has a fever of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or more

Children six years or older should visit the doctor for vomiting if:

  • The vomiting continues for more than one day
  • Vomiting is accompanied by diarrhea, both of which extend longer than one day
  • Child is showing signs of dehydration
  • Child has a fever of 102 degrees Fahrenheit or higher

Adults should visit a doctor for vomiting if:

  • There is blood present in vomit
  • Vomiting is accompanied by a stiff neck or debilitating headache
  • Feeling lethargic or confused
  • Extreme stomach pain
  • Fever that exceeds 101 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Experiencing rapid pulse rate or breathing

Prevent Dehydration Due To Vomiting

While vomiting is not always a huge concern, it can lead to dehydration especially in young children. If are vomiting for more than 24-hours a serious rehydration plan needs to be put into place in order to prevent dehydration. Dehydration can cause the body to become very sick, without water you can’t survive, let alone recover from an illness.

If you are vomiting you are loosing great deal of fluids, and as a result need to be taking in adequate fluids to compensate. Adults generally recognize the signs of dehydration, such as dry lips and mouth, and as a result drink more fluids. Children cannot always communicate their thirst, and so it is the responsibility of their caretaker to provide enough water.

How To Help Relieve Symptoms Of Nausea and Vomiting

You can help relieve and control nausea and vomiting by:

  • Drinking plenty of clear liquids (preferably water).
  • If you are able to eat, eat small and frequent meals.
  • Eat bland, easily digestible foods, and avoid anything fried, or greasy.
  • Avoid eating hot and cold foods at the same time. You might want to avoid hot foods all together; the smell of hot meals can lead to increased nausea and vomiting.
  • Do not eat any food until the vomiting stage has passed.
  • Avoid oral medications, which can irritate the stomach and make vomiting worse.
  • Get plenty of rest so the body has a chance to heal.

If you are feeling nauseas and want to try and prevent vomiting you can consume clear liquids that contain sugar, such as soda pop, popsicles, or fruit juices that do not contain too much acid. Sugary liquids can actually help calm the stomach. You also want to rest sitting or lying down, as activity can worsen nausea and provoke vomiting.

If nothing seems to help and you or your child continues to suffer from vomiting and nausea you should visit your local Urgent Medical Center right away.

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