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What is Vomiting?

Vomiting is the expulsion of stomach content through the esophagus and mouth. It isn't a disease but a result or one of the signs (symptoms) of a disease. It may be accompanied by abdominal pain, but it does not happen always.

Causes of Vomiting

The causes of vomiting are numerous. They are aligned in the following order by frequency: pregnancy, tainted food poisoning, acute alcohol intoxication, seasickness, the beginning of certain infectious diseases, pneumonia, malaria, various surgical interventions, nervous stomach, acute appendicitis, heart disorders, stomach ulcer, various mild stomach diseases, ileus, wedged hernia, stomach cancer, kidneys inflammation various brain disorders. Nausea and vomiting are side effects of taking some medications, such as: cytostatics, anesthetics, opioid analgesics, and antiparkinsonians dopaminergics (levodopa and bromocriptine).

Also, nausea and vomiting may occur as a consequence of radiotherapy (radiation treatment of tumor).

Symptoms of Vomiting

Vomiting is reflexive act, during which the contents of the stomach or small intestine returns through the mouth and eliminates to the external environment. The center for this reflex is localized in the extended marrow and is linked with other vegetative reticular formation centers (respiratory, vasomotor, etc.) which is important for coordinating the function of all structures that participate in the process of vomiting.

The symptoms that accompany vomiting include increased engagement of the vegetative nervous system. These are: rapid breathing, very abundant secretion of saliva, pupil expansion, sweating, sallow face, rapid heartbeat, etc.

If the whole process takes place quickly and abruptly, or if the person is unconscious or under the influence of alcohol and drugs, vomit content may enter the nose or lungs that can cause dangerous complications or even death and drowning.

The presence of undigested or half-digested food, especially if a vomit content in addition to the food contains alcoholic beverage, can help in determining the cause of vomiting or disease which has the vomiting as a symptom. However, the presence of blood, if it is determined that the blood is of stomach origin, is always a sign of serious illness, mostly ulcer or cancer. The presence of feces in vomit content is always the sign of difficult, often fatal diseases, such as the ileus, wedged hernia, bowel injury and so on.


The biggest problem caused by prolonged vomiting is dehydration of the body. A person who suffers from nausea and vomiting, has difficulties with absorbing the fluid, so it would be useful to take solution of electrolytes (minerals that are essential for the body - potassium, sodium). Liquids should be taken slowly and in small quantities, because a large quantity of fluid at once can lead to stomach stretching and generating the urge to vomit again. Several hours after the cessation of vomiting you should gradually start taking solid food. The most important thing about vomiting is rehydration.

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