WHAT IS VOMITING?
Vomiting, or throwing up, is a forceful discharge of the stomach contents. It could be a one-time event linked to something that does not settle right in the stomach. Recurrent vomiting might be caused by underlying medical conditions.
Frequent vomiting might also lead to dehydration, which can be life-threatening if left untreated.
CAUSES OF VOMITING
Vomiting is common. Eating too much food or drinking too much alcohol could make a person throw up. This generally is not a cause for concern. Vomiting itself is not a condition. It is a symptom of other conditions. Some of these conditions are:
- Food poisoning
- Infections (related to bacterial and viral illnesses)
- Motion sickness
- Pregnancy-associated morning sickness
- Prescription medications
- Crohn’s disease
Frequent vomiting not related to any of these causes might be a symptom of cyclic vomiting syndrome. This condition is characterized by vomiting for up to ten days. It is generally coupled with nausea and an extreme lack of energy. It primarily occurs during childhood.
Cyclic vomiting syndrome generally affects children between the ages of 3 and 7. It happens in approximately 3 out of every 100,000 children, according to a 2012 study.
This condition could cause vomiting episodes several times throughout the year when left untreated. It can also have severe complications that include:
- Tooth decay
- A tear in the esophagus
Vomiting is a common symptom, but it could sometimes require emergency medical attention. You should consult your doctor immediately if you:
- Vomit for more than one day
- Suspect food poisoning
- Have a severe headache followed by a stiff neck
- Have severe abdominal pain
You should also seek emergency services if there is blood in the vomit, which is known as hematemesis. Hematemesis symptoms include:
- Vomiting large amounts of red blood
- Spitting up dark blood
- Coughing up a substance that appears like coffee grounds
Vomiting blood is usually caused by:
- Ruptured blood vessels
- Stomach bleeding
It could also be caused by some forms of cancer. This condition is often followed by dizziness. If you vomit blood, contact your doctor immediately or go to the nearest emergency department.
COMPLICATIONS OF VOMITING
Dehydration is the most frequent complication associated with vomiting. Vomiting causes your stomach to expel not only food but liquids, too. Dehydration could cause:
- Dry mouth
- Dark urine
- Decreased urination
Dehydration is particularly severe in infants and young children who vomit. Younger children have smaller body mass and therefore have less fluid to sustain themselves. Parents whose children show symptoms of dehydration should speak to their family pediatrician immediately.
Malnutrition is also a complication of vomiting. Failure to keep down solid foods results in your body losing nutrients. If you are experiencing excessive fatigue and weakness associated with frequent vomiting, seek medical attention.
The treatment for vomiting addresses the underlying cause.
It is not necessary for throwing up once in a while. However, hydration is important even if you only vomit once. Drinking clear liquids is suggested. Clear liquids containing electrolytes could help provide essential nutrients lost through vomiting.
Solid foods could irritate a sensitive stomach, which increases your chances of throwing up. It might be beneficial to avoid solid foods until clear liquids are tolerated.
Your doctor may prescribe antiemetic drugs for frequent vomiting. These medications help to lower episodes of throwing up.
Alternative remedies such as ingesting products that contain ginger, bergamot, and lemongrass oil may also help. Using alternative remedies might cause drug interactions. Speak to your doctor before starting any alternative remedies.
Dietary changes could also help with frequent vomiting. These are particularly helpful for morning sickness. Foods that help to alleviate vomiting are:
- Nongreasy foods
- Saltine crackers
- Ginger products such as ginger ale
- You may also try eating smaller meals throughout the day.
Treatment plans are the best course of action if your vomiting is due to a medical condition. Vomiting triggers could vary between people. These might include:
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Eating too much food
- Exercising after eating
- Hot or spicy foods
- Lack of sleep
Adopting healthier lifestyle habits could help prevent vomiting episodes. It is difficult to entirely avoid viruses that cause vomiting. However, you could reduce your chances of getting a virus by exercising good hygiene, like washing your hands regularly.
Knowing how to treat recurrent vomiting could help you avoid further complications.
If you or anyone you know is suffering from vomiting, our expert providers at Specialty Care Clinics will take care of your health and help you recover.