Vomiting: Causes And Treatment

By: Dr. Behrouz Hashim

Vomiting is one health problem where advice for children and adults is completely different. If you are an adult with vomiting, you have a much lower risk of dehydration, and usually can tell by thirst and other symptoms when you are becoming dehydrated. Adults are also better at noticing signs in themselves that some other illness is causing the vomiting. But children dehydrate quickly (especially if they have diarrhea too). And they often can tell you about other symptoms they might be having. Causes of vomiting also differ based on age.

Vomiting, commonly known as “throwing up” may result from many causes, ranging from gastritis or poisoning to brain tumors, or elevated intracranial pressure. The feeling that one is about to vomit is called nausea. It usually precedes but does not always lead to vomiting.

Most people think vomiting is controlled by the stomach, but a special area of your brain called the “ vomiting center” is really in charge of throwing up.


You can tell what triggers vomiting by where the vomiting center gets its information:

  • Stomach and intestines (infections, injury, or food irritation)
  • Inner ear (dizziness, motion sickness).
  • Brain (head injury, brain infections or tumors, migraine).

Variable Causes Of Vomiting

Nausea and vomiting can be triggered by many factors, including:


This inflammation of the lining of the stomach and intestines is typically caused by a viral infection of bacteria from contaminated food or water. in addition to nausea and vomiting, you may have watery diarrhea and abdominal cramps.

Headache Or Inner-ear Disturbance

An intense headache, such as a migraine can cause nausea and vomiting. An inner ear disturbance, such as motion sickness, also can make you queasy. A rare cause of headache and nausea with vomiting is a brain tumor.

Medical Treatment

Vomiting is often associated with anti-cancer drugs and radiation therapy.


High levels of toxins in your blood including alcohol, nicotine, and drugs such as antibiotics can cause nausea and vomiting.


The hormonal changes of early pregnancy can make you nauseated and lead to vomiting, as can the surges in hormones that often occur in periods of intense stress. Problems with the thyroid gland producing either too much thyroid hormone or not enough also can result in nausea.


diabetes can also cause nausea, especially if it’s poorly controlled. If you have diabetes for a long time, it can lead to a condition of the stomach called gastroparesis, which also can cause nausea and difficulty in eating. Peptic ulcers are open sores that develop on the lining of your stomach, upper small intestine. The classic symptom is burning pain anywhere from your navel to your breastbone, but peptic ulcers may cause nausea and vomiting as well.

Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease

Stomach acid in the lower esophagus can also trigger nausea and regurgitation of food. It can also be associated with vomiting.


Gallstones are solid deposits of cholesterol or calcium salts that form in the gall bladder or nearby bile ducts. Sometimes, gallstones cause nausea, vomiting indigestion, and abdominal pain.

Liver Disease

If your liver becomes inflamed which may be related to a virus or medication, you may experience nausea and vomiting. If your liver starts to fail, waste products are not removed effectively and nausea and vomiting may result.

Kidney Failure

If your kidneys fail, you lose the ability to filter toxins and this can lead to nausea and vomiting.

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