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Vomiting: Introduction

Vomiting is a symptom of a wide variety of mild to serious diseases, disorders and conditions. Vomiting, frequently called throwing up, can result from infection, malignancy, inflammation, trauma, obstruction and other abnormal processes.

Vomiting can occur in any age group or population. Vomiting can be due to a mild condition, such as indigestion or a moderate condition, disorder or disease, such as gallstones, or a side effect of medication. Vomiting can also occur in serious, even life-threatening conditions, including bleeding peptic ulcer, intestinal obstruction or meningitis.

Depending on the cause, vomiting can be short-term and disappear quickly, such as when vomiting occurs after a single episode of alcohol intoxication or from gastroenteritis. Vomiting can also be recurring over a longer period of time, such as when vomiting is due to stomach cancer, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or anorexia nervosa.

Vomiting can be the result of a wide variety of gastrointestinal or digestive conditions. These include irritable bowel syndrome, food poisoning, hepatitis and cirrhosis of the liver. Vomiting can also be a symptom of a wide variety of diseases, disorders and conditions of other body systems, such as the nervous system. These include head trauma, motion sickness, subdural hematoma, altitude sickness, pregnancy, Meniere's disease, type 1 diabetes and alcohol dependence.

Vomiting generally occurs in conjunction with other symptoms, which vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. Other common symptoms may include nausea, diarrhea and abdominal pain. Complications of vomiting can occur from the irritation of acidic gastric contents on the esophagus and mouth. Vomiting can also lead to dehydration. The underlying disorder, disease or condition that is causing vomiting can also cause complications. For more details about symptoms and complications, see symptoms of vomiting.

Diagnosing vomiting and its root cause begins with taking a thorough personal and family medical history, including symptoms, and completing a physical examination. Diagnosis may also include a complete blood count, which can help to determine if an infectious process, such as food poisoning is present. A chemistry panel is a blood test that can evaluate if vomiting has lead to the complication of dehydration. An urinanalysis can also help to determine dehydration and if urinary tract infection may be causing or aggravating vomiting. Blood glucose testing can diagnose if diabetes is at the root of vomiting.

Making a diagnosis may also include performing a variety of other tests to help to diagnose other potential underlying diseases, conditions or disorders, such as stomach cancer, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), irritable bowel syndrome, hepatitis, gallstones and cirrhosis of the liver. Depending on the suspected cause, tests can include additional blood tests and imaging tests such as X-ray, CT scan, nuclear scans, MRI, or endoscopy.

In an endoscopy procedure, a special lighted instrument is inserted into the area or areas of the gastrointestinal system that are suspected to be the cause of the vomiting and other symptoms. This instrument, called an endoscope, takes pictures of the digestive tract and/or sends images to a computer monitor.

A diagnosis of vomiting and its cause can easily be delayed or missed because vomiting may be intermittent and for other reasons. For information on misdiagnosis, refer to misdiagnosis of vomiting.

Treatment of vomiting involves diagnosing and treating the underlying disease, disorder or condition that is causing it. Some conditions can be easily and successfully treated and cured, while others may require more intensive treatment and may not have an optimal prognosis. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of vomiting. ...more »

Vomiting: Symptoms

Vomiting can be experienced and described in a variety of ways that often includes the sensation of nausea prior to the vomiting. This includes feelings of wooziness, queasiness, retching, sea-sickness, car-sickness, an upset stomach, vertigo, and feeling green around the gills. Not all people will always experience nausea before or with vomiting.

Other symptoms that ...more symptoms »

Vomiting: Treatments

Treatment plans for vomiting are individualized depending on the underlying cause, the presence of coexisting diseases, the age and medical history of the patient, and other factors. Treatment generally involves a multifaceted plan that addresses the cause, minimizes the discomfort of vomiting and decreases the risk of developing serious complications, such as ...more treatments »

Vomiting: Misdiagnosis

Diagnosing vomiting and its cause may be delayed or missed because in some cases, vomiting may not be severe enough or last long enough for a person to seek medical care. This can happen with intermittent but recurring vomiting that is due to such diseases as hepatitis. Vomiting is a symptom of many different conditions, some potentially life ...more misdiagnosis »

Symptoms of Vomiting

Treatments for Vomiting

Home Diagnostic Testing

Home medical testing related to Vomiting:

Wrongly Diagnosed with Vomiting?

Vomiting: Deaths

Read more about Deaths and Vomiting.

Alternative Treatments for Vomiting

Alternative treatments or home remedies that have been listed in various sources as possibly beneficial for Vomiting may include:

Vomiting: Complications

Read more about complications of Vomiting.

Causes of Vomiting

Read more about causes of Vomiting.

More information about causes of Vomiting:

Vomiting: Undiagnosed Conditions

Commonly undiagnosed diseases in related medical categories:

Misdiagnosis and Vomiting

Chronic digestive conditions often misdiagnosed: When diagnosing chronic symptoms of the digestive tract, there are a variety of conditions that may be misdiagnosed. The best known, irritable bowel more »

Intestinal bacteria disorder may be hidden cause: One of the lesser known causes of diarrhea is an imbalance of bacterial in the gut, sometimes called intestinal more »

Antibiotics often causes diarrhea: The use of antibiotics are very likely to cause some level of diarrhea in patients. The reason is that antibiotics kill off not only "bad" more »

Food poisoning may actually be an infectious disease: Many people who come down with "stomach symptoms" like diarrhea assume that it's "something I ate" (i.e. more »

Mesenteric adenitis misdiagnosed as appendicitis in children: Because appendicitis is one of the more feared conditions for a child with abdominal pain, it can be over-diagnosed more »

Celiac disease often fails to be diagnosed cause of chronic digestive symptoms: One of the most common chronic digestive conditions is celiac disease, a malabsorption disorder with a variety more »

Chronic digestive diseases hard to diagnose: There is an inherent difficulty in diagnosing the various types of chronic digestive diseases. Some of the better more »

Vomiting: Research Doctors & Specialists

Research related physicians and medical specialists:

Other doctor, physician and specialist research services:

Hospitals & Clinics: Vomiting

Research quality ratings and patient safety measures for medical facilities in specialties related to Vomiting:

Choosing the Best Hospital: More general information, not necessarily in relation to Vomiting, on hospital performance and surgical care quality:

Vomiting: Rare Types

Rare types of diseases and disorders in related medical categories:

Vomiting: Animations

Research about Vomiting

Visit our research pages for current research about Vomiting treatments.

Clinical Trials for Vomiting

The US based website lists information on both federally and privately supported clinical trials using human volunteers.

Some of the clinical trials listed on for Vomiting include:

User Interactive Forums

Read about other experiences, ask a question about Vomiting, or answer someone else's question, on our message boards:


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