Biology

Vomiting

Vomiting is not a type of disease but is a condition that arises due to the infection in the stomach, food poisoning, motion sickness, blockage in the intestine, over-eating, etc. This condition is not age-related. It can be understood in the way that if something does not get processed or settled in the stomach, the stomach reacts and throws it out forcefully from the mouth. Though it’s a one-time process stomach can repeat this process until unwanted material comes out completely. The happening of vomiting once a while does not matter of concern but if vomiting is coming repetitively then it should be referred to as a serious medical condition. Immediate medical treatment requires in this condition as frequent vomiting leads to dehydration which is alarming if not treated in time.

Vomiting

Causes of Vomiting

Vomiting is a common symptom of overeating or drinking too much alcohol. It is not a condition for any disease. Vomiting can be a symptom of several other diseases. Some of the conditions that cause vomiting include food poisoning, overeating, indigestion, bacterial or viral infections, motion sickness, headaches, pregnancy-related morning sickness, chemotherapy, some medications, etc.

Frequent vomiting is not a symptom for aforesaid conditions but if it is occurring then it is a symptom of cyclic vomiting syndrome. This may continue for up to 10 days accompanied by nausea and cause extreme lack of energy. If this condition is left untreated, it may repeat itself several times in a year and can affect the body and raise the symptoms like tooth decay, dehydration and tear in the oesophagus.

If vomiting continues for more than a day accompanied by severe pain in the abdomen or severe headache with a stiff neck, consult immediately with a doctor and start medications. Due to the vomiting, loss of nutrients occurs. Therefore malnutrition is another complication. Frequent vomiting loose nutrients and that may cause the patient to feel fatigued or weak.

If blood is also coming while vomiting then this condition is hematemesis. The other symptoms of hematemesis include

  1. Too much red blood through vomiting
  2. Coughing up dark blood and blood clotting

Other reasons for blood coming out due to vomiting are ulcers, stomach bleeding and ruptured blood vessels. This symptom may also cause some kind of cancer. In such a case, immediately consult with your doctor or move to the nearest emergency.

Dehydration comes with vomiting. If the patient is a child, contact a paediatrician immediately as he/she has a smaller body mass and fluid to sustain. So in the case of children, special care should be taken.

Symptoms of Vomiting and Risks involved

Vomiting is not a disease so it does not have symptoms as such. Vomiting is a condition that can arise as a symptom of other diseases. Before the vomiting, a patient may feel dry mouth, excess sweating, vertigo, rapid pulse, abdominal pain, headache and diarrhoea. These are some signs of vomiting.

Vomiting is one of the symptoms of Covod-19. One out of five patients of Covid-19 has felt belly pain, diarrhoea and vomiting.

Vomiting is not harmful until and unless it comes along with other diseases. One or two vomiting in a day is not a matter of concern but people have to check the patient for dehydration. Dehydration in adults has lower risk as they detect the symptoms of it such as dry mouth, feeling of thirst or dry lips. In the case of children, they cannot communicate the symptoms of dehydration (may be due to fear or hesitation), parents should check for this if children do vomiting frequently.

In the case of infants, utmost care is important because some usual signs or symptoms do not appear. Some of the signs in infants are decreased urination or sunken fontanelle (the soft part at the top of the baby’s head) along with dry lips or mouth.

In pregnancy, vomiting is a common condition. But if frequent vomiting occurs then this is a condition of hyperemesis gravidarum. In this, fluid and material imbalances may develop in the mother and that can harm the unborn baby.

In very rare cases, blood may come out in vomiting. This may be due to the rupturing of the lining of the oesophagus. In this condition, the patient needs to be run to the emergency immediately.

Prevention and Treatment of Vomiting

To prevent vomiting, try the following:

  1. Take a small amount of clear and sweet drinks like juices, simple sweet and salted (very little salt) water and avoid acidic liquids like orange or lemon juices. Eating ginger or taking ginger ale can also help to prevent vomiting. A person should take liquids that are basic but do not take any anti-acid medicines before consulting a medical practitioner.
  2. Avoid eating food. This may result in vomiting.
  3. Resting in a propped lying potion or a sitting position.
  4. In the case of children, avoid eating and playing at the same time.
  5. If a person has motion sickness, give him/her the seat so that he/she faces the front windshield.

Over-the-counter medicines like meclizine and dimenhydrinate are available to prevent motion sickness or seasickness. As vomiting does not hurt the body system but rather cleans the stomach from unwanted material or fluids so if this happens once in a while it should be taken as a normal routine life cycle.

Some home treatments and remedies are available to stop vomiting. Eating ginger or drinking ginger ale, avoid eating solid foods and use oral rehydration solutions to recover the minerals lost during vomiting.

In the stomach, there are different types of acids present to digest the food we eat. When vomiting happens these acids come into our mouth through the oesophagus hurting the tract. And due to frequent vomiting ruptures the oesophagus and also decays the enamel of teeth. So it is very necessary to treat vomiting if occurring frequently.

FAQs on Vomiting

Q.1: What are the reasons for vomiting?

Answer: A sudden vomiting is a repercussion action of the stomach when some unwanted material or fluids may harm the body. This is also due to drinking too much alcohol, overeating and eating disorders or as a reaction to certain smells or odours. Though vomiting is a condition it may become a symptom of other diseases like ulcers, certain types of cancers, brain tumours, bulimia or other psychological illnesses, food poisoning, etc. Vomiting in the early stages of pregnancy in women is very common.

Q.2: How reflux or vomiting can be stopped?

Answer: To stop or control vomiting, drink clear water or icy cold drinks in sips, eat a small amount of food (avoid oily, greasy or sweet foods) slowly and frequently and drink sweetened juices (avoid acidic juices like orange or grapefruit juices). Ginger juice, ginger tea or eating plain ginger can also control vomiting.

Q.3: What will happen if vomiting is ignored?

Answer: If vomiting happens one or two times a day after a certain period, this can be ignored. But if frequent vomiting happens consultation with a doctor becomes necessary. If this is left untreated, the condition of the patient becomes critical. After ignoring, if blood comes in the vomiting which may be due to ulcers, rupturing the lining of the oesophagus, certain forms of cancer etc. the patient has to be treated with utmost care.

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