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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Medical Symptoms > Vomiting


Alternate Names : Throwing UP, Emesis

Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

Vomiting is when the stomach contents are ejected through the mouth.

What is going on in the body?

Most people have vomited at least once in their lives. Though unpleasant, vomiting is often the body's way of trying to get rid of harmful toxins. There are many different causes of vomiting.

What are the causes and risks of the condition?

Any illness can cause vomiting, especially in infants. For instance, ear infections are a common cause of vomiting in infants. The flu can also cause vomiting. Other causes include:

  • stomach or intestinal infections, such as food poisoning or gastroenteritis
  • peptic ulcers or gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • inflammation in or around the gut, such as appendicitis, pancreatitis, hepatitis, or gastritis
  • blockage in the bowels, such as pyloric stenosis or duodenal atresia in infants, or small or large bowel obstruction at any age
  • food allergies or lactose intolerance
  • toxins or medications, such as alcohol, many antibiotics, or chemotherapy in cancer patients
  • kidney failure, such as acute renal failure
  • heart attack
  • pregnancy, which often causes morning sickness
  • tumors or cancer, which may be in the stomach, intestines, or in other parts of the body
  • increased pressure inside the skull, also called increased intracranial pressure
  • certain types of uncontrolled diabetes
  • extreme anxiety or a sense of disgust, such as from a foul odor
  • extreme overexertion or exercise
  • seasickness or motion sickness
  • migraine headaches
  • bulimia nervosa, an eating disorder with self-induced vomiting
  • Other causes are also possible. Sometimes, no cause can be found.


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    Vomiting: Symptoms & Signs

    Author: Adam Brochert, MD
    Reviewer: Gail Hendrickson, RN, BS
    Date Reviewed: 08/09/01

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