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Vomiting and Nausea (cont.)

Vomiting and Nausea Causes

Nausea and vomiting are controlled by the same parts of the brain that control involuntary bodily functions. Vomiting is actually a reflex triggered by a signal from the brain.

The signal to vomit can result from several stimuli such as smells, taste, various illnesses, emotions (such as fear), pain, injury, infection, food irritation, dizziness, motion, and other changes in the body, specifically these:

  • Eating disorders (anorexia and bulimia)
  • Food poisoning
  • Certain viral infections
  • Motion sickness (car sickness, seasickness)
  • Vertigo (the sensation that the room is spinning around)
  • Head injuries (such as a concussion or bleeding injury)
  • Gallbladder disease or appendicitis
  • Migraine (a severe form of headache)
  • Brain tumors
  • Brain infections (such as meningitis)
  • Hydrocephalus (too much fluid in the brain)

Nausea and vomiting are common side effects of some medications. Usually nausea is not an allergy (which is a severe reaction that can include skin rash or trouble breathing), but an unwanted side effect of the medicine. Some medicines such as those used in cancer treatment (chemotherapy) and strong pain killers are well known for causing nausea and vomiting.

The following are common causes of nausea and vomiting:

  • Side effects of anesthesia used for surgery
  • Stomach problems such as blockage (pyloric obstruction, a condition that causes forceful spitting up in infants)
  • Bleeding into the stomach from different causes
  • Infection, irritation, or blockage of the intestines
  • Low or high body chemicals and minerals
  • Presence of toxins in the body
  • Excessive alcohol intake
  • Alcohol from beer, wine, and liquor is turned into a chemical (acetaldehyde), which results in the sensation of nausea that is felt the next morning, known as a "hangover"
  • Nausea and vomiting occur frequently in pregnancy. Morning sickness usually happens in the first few months but sometimes can last throughout the pregnancy.
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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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