There are a number of vomiting causes.
Vomiting is forcefully expelling what is in your stomach through your mouth.
Moreover, it is a way of getting rid of something that is harmful to the stomach and may also be a response to irritation in your gut.
However, vomiting is not a condition but rather a symptom of other conditions.
Some of these conditions can be serious while most are not a cause for concern.
It is important to note that vomiting can be a one-time event, especially when vomiting cause is eating or drinking something that does not settle in your stomach.
But it can repeatedly be a sign of an emergency or a seriuos underlying condition.
Keep on reading to learn more about vomiting causes in adults, babies, and pregnant women, how to treat it, and when to consider it an emergency.
Primary Vomiting Cause in Adults
It is important to note that vomiting can occur of various causes in adults, babies, and pregnant women.
Let’s learn about vomiting cause in adults.
The most common vomiting cause in adults are:
- foodborne illnesses or food poisoning
- bacterial or viral infections like viral gastroenteritis which is also known as a stomach bug
- medications like antibiotics, morphine, or anesthesia
- excessive alcohol consumption
- acid reflux or GERD
- exposure to toxins like lead
- Crohn’s disease
Moreover, motion sickness, chemotherapy, migraine headaches, gallstones, intense pain, concussion, food allergies, and irritable bowel syndrome, IBS can lead to vomiting.
Vomiting Cause in Babies
Common causes of vomiting in babies are:
Viral gastroenteritis, swallowing milk too quickly which can occur due to the hole in the bottle teat that is too large, food allergies, or milk intolerance.
Moreover, it can occur due to:
- other types of infections like urinary tract infections, UTIs, middle ear infections, pneumonia, or meningitis
- accidentally ingesting a poison
- congenital pyloric stenosis: a condition present at birth in which the passage from the stomach to the bowel is narrow so that the food is unable to pass through easily
- intussusception: when the bowel telescopes in on itself resulting in a blockage, which is a medical emergency
Causes in Pregnant Women and during Menstruation
Vomiting cause in pregnant women include:
Moning sickness, acid reflux, foodborne illnesses or food poisoning, and migraine headaches.
Moreover, sensitivity to certain smells or tastes and extreme morning sickness or hyperemesis gravidarum due to rising hormones can cause vomiting.
On the other hand, hormone changes during menstruation can also make you nauseous and make you throw up as a result.
Furthermore, some women can also experience migraine headaches during their periods which can also cause vomiting.
Treatment Options in Adults
Treatment for vomiting depends on the underlying cause.
Drinking plenty of water and sports drinks that contain electrolytes can help to prevent dehydration.
For adults, consider the following home remedies:
Eat small meals consisting of only light and plain foods like rice, bread, crackers, or the BRAT diet.
Sip clear liquids and rest and avoid physical activity.
The following medications can also be helpful:
Over-the-counter, OTC medications like Imodium and Pepto-Bismol can help suppress nausea and vomiting as you wait for your body to fight off the infection.
Your doctor can prescribe Antiemetic drugs like ondansetron or Zofran, granisetron, or promethazine, depending on the vomiting cause.
OTC Antacids or other prescription medications to help treat the symptoms of acid reflux.
Anti-anxiety Medications in case your vomiting is due to an anxiety condition.
Treating Vomiting in Babies
To treat vomiting in your baby, you can:
Keep your baby lying on their stomach or side to lessen the chances of inhaling the vomit.
Make sure that your baby is consuming extra fluids like water, sugar water, and oral rehydration solutions like Pedialyte, or gelatin.
However, if your baby is still breastfeeding, make sure to continue breastfeeding often.
Moreover, you should avoid giving them solid foods.
Make sure to see a doctor or seek medical advice if your baby refuses to eat or drink anything for more than a few hours.
If you are a pregnant woman with morning sickness or hyperemesis gravidarum, you may need to receive intravenous fluids in case you are unable to keep down any fluids.
However, if you have a more severe case of hyperemesis gravidarum, you may need total parenteral nutrition that your doctor will give through an IV.
Moreover, your doctor can prescribe antiemetics like promethazine, metoclopramide, Reglan, droperidol, and Inapsine to prevent nausea and vomiting.
You can take these medications by mouth, IV, or suppository.
When to See a Doctor?
For Adults and Babies
It is important to note that adults and babies should see a doctor if they:
- are vomiting repeatedly for more than a day
- are unable to keep down the fluids
- have signs of severe dehydration like fatigue, dry mouth, excessive thirst, sunken eyes, fast heart rate, and little or no urine
- however, in babbies, signs of severe dehydration can include crying without producing tears and drowsiness
Moreover, having green-colored vomit or vomit that contains blood, loss of significant weight since vomiting bean, or vomiting off and on for over a month, should seek medical advice.
Pregnant women should see a docotr if their nausea and vomiting make it impossible to eat or drink and keep anything in the stomach.
It is important to note that vomiting along with the following symptoms should be treated as a medical emergency:
Severe chest pain, sudden and severe headache, shortness of breath, blurred vision, sudden stomach pain, stiff neck, and high fever, blood in the vomit.
While infant younger than 3 months of age with a rectal fever of 100.4ºF (38ºC) or higher with or without vomiting should see a doctor.
Prevention and Prediction of Vomiting Cause
Predicting when you may Vomit
Before you vomit, you may begin to feel nauseous and you can describe nausea as stomach discomfort and the sensation of your stomach churning.
However, young children may not be able to recognize nausea.
But they can complain of a stomachache before they vomit.
When you are feeling nauseous, there are a few steps you can take to potentially drop yourself from actually vomiting.
The following prevention tips can help you to prevent vomiting before it starts:
- take deep breaths
- drinking ginger tea or eating fresh or candied ginger
- take an OTC medication to stop vomiting like Pepto-Bismol
- in case you are prone to motion sickness, you can take OTC antihistamines like Dramamine
- suck on ice cubes
- in case you are prone to indigestion or acid reflux, make sure to avoid oily or spicy foods
- sit down or lie down when your head and back are propped up
Vomiting caused by certain conditions may not always be possible to prevent.
For instance, consuming enough alcohol to cause a toxic level in your bloodstream can result in vomiting as your body tries to return to a non-toxic level.
Care and Recovery after Vomiting
Make sure to drink plenty of water and other liquids to replenish lost fluids as it is important after a bout of vomiting.
Moreover, start by slowly sipping water or sucking on ice chips.
Then add in more clear liquids like sports drinks or juice.
You can also make your own rehydration solution using 1/2 teaspoon salt, 6 teaspoon sugar, and 1-liter water.
However, you should not have a big meal after you vomit.
Make sure, to begin with, saltine crackers or plain rice or bread.
Moreover, you should also avoid the following foods that are difficult to digest:
- fatty or fried food
- spicy food
After you vomit, make sure that you rinse your mouth with cool water to remove any stomach acid that can damage your teeth.
Also, make sure to avoid brushing your teeth right after vomiting as this can cause damage to the already weakened enamel.
Vomiting is a common symptom of a number of conditions. In most cases, vomiting in both adults and babies results due to an infection, i.e. gastroenteritis, indigestion, or food poisoning. However, there can be a number of other causes as well.
In the case of pregnant women, vomiting is often a sign of morning sickness.
It can be concerning if you show signs of severe dehydration or if it comes along with chest pain, sudden, and severe abdominal pain, a high fever, or a stiff neck. In case you have recently had a head injury or are vomiting blood, you should seek medical advice or see a doctor right away.
If you are experiencing vomiting, it is important to make sure to sip water and other clean fluids to prevent dehydration. Eating small meals when you are able to, consisting of plain foods like cereals, rice, and bread can help.
However, if the vomiting does not subside in a few days, make sure yo see a doctor. You can try home remedies like eating ginger, and ice chips, avoiding oily and spicy foods, sit or lay back down while propping your head and back can help.