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Vomiting and Nausea

Vomiting and Nausea Overview

Vomiting and nausea are not illnesses but common symptoms that accompany many diseases and conditions. Problems with nausea and vomiting are related to the cause. Nausea and vomiting from motion sickness, seasickness, food poisoning, or cancer therapy can result in loss of water and electrolytes, which can lead to dehydration. Vomiting and nausea known as morning sickness may occur during pregnancy.

  • Nausea is an unpleasant, queasy feeling in the throat or stomach that may result in vomiting.
  • Vomiting is emptying the stomach as a result of strong gagging and retching that leads to throwing up. The stomach's contents are forcefully expelled through the mouth. Vomiting can come in waves as the natural movement (muscle contractions of the digestive system known as peristalses) is reversed, and involuntary contractions in the walls of the stomach and esophagus force the stomach contents out. Sometimes coughing or spitting up mucus from the lungs is confused with vomiting. Vomiting can only come from the stomach.
  • Retching is the reverse movement (peristalsis) of the stomach and esophagus without vomiting. Sometimes this is called the dry heaves.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/21/2013
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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome »

Cyclic vomiting syndrome (CVS) is a chronic functional disorder of unknown etiology that is characterized by paroxysmal, recurrent episodes of vomiting and was first described in children by Samuel Gee in 1882.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


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