Vomiting is the forcible voluntary or involuntary emptying of the contents in the stomach through the mouth. It is colloquially known as throwing up, puking, and retching. It can be a one-time event when something doesn’t settle right in the stomach or occur recurrently which may be caused by underlying medical conditions.
Typically, one with nausea will experience the uneasiness sensation that vomiting might occur. Other signs include gagging, involuntary stomach reflexes, the need to bend over, and the mouth filling with saliva (in order to protect the teeth from stomach acid).
What Causes Nausea Or Vomiting?
Sometimes the causes of nausea or vomiting are obvious.
Chemotherapy, for instance, is well known to be able to cause nausea and vomiting. There are many medications that can cause nausea and vomiting. Reading the drug insert (the piece of paper that comes with the packaging) would give you the information. Many people that have trouble swallowing tablets would tell you that they vomit while attempting to take any tablet.
When a women of reproductive age has nausea and vomiting, the obvious question to ask is: is she pregnant?
Food poisoning and gastroenteritis is also easy to diagnose: Food poisoning occurs shortly after eating contaminated food. Before long, all those who ate the same food would have abdominal pain and vomiting and various amount of diarrhoea. Gastroenteritis refers to infection of the gut by a bacterial or a virus that causes abdominal pain, vomiting, fever and diarrhoea.
Some nausea and vomiting are normal reaction to something disgusting and distressing. This is easy to recognize and do not indicate any underlying disease.
Motion sickness is another common cause of nausea and vomiting.
If you drink too much alcohol, you will vomit. If you eat too much, you will also feel like vomiting. Again, everyone knows that.
Not So Obvious Causes
It takes detective’s mind to find the cause of nausea and vomiting at times. In these instances, you will need an experienced doctor to help.
The clues can often be found in the accompanying symptoms:
If the nausea and vomiting is accompanied by a headache, this will point towards a problem in the brain, be it migraine, a brain tumour or other problem that cause a rise in pressure in the skull.
Those associated with severe giddiness can be caused by an ear, a brain or cervical spine problem.
If you have concomitant eye pain or blurring of vision, the nausea is most likely caused by problems in the eye.
Those with severe pain from any causes will have nausea and vomiting. Any form of severe infection can also cause nausea and vomiting. It is very common to have nausea and vomiting from urinary tract infection in the elderly, for instance.
What If There Is No Other Symptoms?
Vomiting after every single meal points towards obstruction of the digestive system. Obstruction, even if partial, would also result in weight lost over time. A common cause of obstruction of the digestive system is cancer. Investigation is important.
Gastroparesis, a condition where the movement of the stomach is impaired, would also cause vomiting after almost every meal as well. Commonly this occurs in diabetes patient.
Cyclic vomiting syndrome is the condition where a person suffer from recurrent episodes of severe vomiting. Each episode can last a few hours to a few days. Vomiting can be as many as 20 times an hour. Most of the episodes are very similar to other episodes. The person suffering from this condition often goes without a correct diagnosis for many years.
When Should You Seek Specialist Help?
You should seek specialist help when your symptoms persist more than a week and the cause of the symptoms is not obvious. The specialist of the digestive tract is called gastroenterologist.
What Are The Investigations For Nausea And Vomiting?
It depends on the possible causes after the assessment. Some of the more common investigations are gastroscopy, barium study, barium meal and CT scan of the abdomen and MRI of the brain.
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