What Causes Nausea and Vomiting?
Nausea is a feeling which precedes vomiting, and vomiting happens when the contents of the stomach are forced out of the body through the mouth and nose. Vomiting should not be confused with regurgitation which is the movement of the undigested food from the esophagus to the mouth.
Vomiting centers in the brain control the action of vomiting. It happens due to a series of muscle contractions moving the food from the small intestine up towards the stomach and esophagus and finally out through he mouth.
The Vomiting centers in the brain get the signal for vomiting from:
- The inner ear due to motion sickness or inner ear infections
- The mouth, stomach, and small and large intestines
- The blood which may carry medicines or infections
- The brain itself as a reaction to certain sights, smells, or thoughts
- Other conditions like migraines to kidney stones, fear and anxiety or drugs.
- It may also be triggered when you see another person vomiting.
Vomiting is caused by:
- Migraine headaches
- Viral infections
- Seasickness or motion sickness
- Morning sickness during pregnancy
- Medications or drugs
- Food allergies
- Food poisoning
- Chemotherapy in cancer patients
- Brain tumors
- Peptic stomach ulcer
- Alcoholism or excessive alcohol consumption
Various illnesses can also result in Vomiting. This includes:
- Migraine Headaches
- Brain injury or Concussion
- Brain infection (meningitis or encephalitis)
- Inner Ear Infection
- Brain tumors
- Intestinal blockage
Vomiting may be a very uncomfortable condition but is not such a serious problem medically. Complications due to Vomiting may include dehydration, especially in case of infants and young children. They are often unable to explain the symptoms properly and thus end up losing their bodily fluids more quickly than adults. Thus Vomiting should not be ignored in children, and it becomes vital to keep them hydrated all the time.
Products that you can take to help with Vomiting & Nausea
Ask you pharmacist for products that can help treat Vomiting and nausea.
DigestAssist – these products reduces inflammation and soothes the stomach, thus decreasing nausea.
Emetrol or Phosporylated Carbohydrate Syrup also soothes the stomach and provides relief if the Vomiting is caused due to irritation in the stomach. This product can also be used in case of a bout of indigestion.
CanTravel or Dramamine is prescribed in case person experiences motion sickness during travel by road, sea travel or by flight.
Kaolectrolyte or carbohydrate and electrolyte powder packets are essential to hydrate the body, as a result of Vomiting.
Treatment for Vomiting and Nausea
Although medications may help, there are a few tips you can keep in mind if you are experiencing vomiting or Nausea.
- Stay hydrated and prefer drinking clear liquids.
- Take light food after a bout of Vomiting and avoid solid food.
- Take ample rest. Excess exertion can cause further aggravation of symptoms.
- Take medications only after consulting the Doctor. Some medications may be part of the problem.
Complications may result if:
- Vomiting is accompanied by diarrhea resulting in more fluid loss.
- Vomiting is accompanied by fever over 101degrees
- Vomiting prolongs for 12 hours or more in young children or infants
- Vomiting continues for 24 hours or more in older children and adults.
- Other signs of dehydration accompany Vomiting such as dry lips and dry mouth, sunken eyes or hyperventilation or rapid pulse.
Oral rehydrating solutions (ORS) are highly recommended in case of severe dehydration. This solution provides the necessary salts that the body loses during Vomiting. This is recommended for individuals of all ages who are experiencing vomiting and diarrhea.
Preventing Vomiting and Nausea
Since Vomiting is a symptom that the body uses and is often indicative of other conditions, it is hard to prevent Vomiting. However, there may be ways to relieve the feeling of nausea.
- Try drinking small amounts of liquid at regular intervals. Sugared water and drinks like citrus juices, cool aid, and soda are better than plain water.
- Give your body time to recover. Exerting your body may result in aggravation of Vomiting. Once the body gets 1-2 days of rest, you can resume your daily activities.
- Motion sickness cannot be avoided so make sure you carry medications for it while travelling. Also, make sure your children face forward and the car is well ventilated if travelling by road.
- If vomiting is caused due to coughing, take over the counter medications for it before it gets aggravated.
- Overeating junk food, candy or carbonated drinks and rough playing can also make children vomit. Keep a set time for eating and playing, and be strict about these timings at home.
- Sudden Vomiting bouts cannot be predicted or helped. If certain food cause vomiting in children make sure you keep them hydrated and make them take adequate rest. If the Vomiting is triggered by motion sickness, then be prepared when you are travelling. You can take the following measures to be prepared for Vomiting bouts in children:
When to see a Doctor for Vomiting and Nausea
In case your infant or children is having nausea and Vomiting it is advisable to consult a doctor immediately. The main concern is that they might get dehydrated, for adults; also Vomiting can lead to dehydration as well, especially if it is accompanied by diarrhea. It is a cause for worry if:
See a doctor when Vomiting lasts more than a few hours, especially in the case of infants or children.
See a doctor when Vomiting lasts more than one day in case of children over 6 years and adults.
Consult a doctor immediately if Vomiting is accompanied with or if there is no urination for 6 hours to 12 hours.
Also it is cuase for concern if there is:
- Blood in Vomit
- Severe headache
- Stiff neck
- Severe abdominal pain.
- Lethargy, listlessness, confusion.