FEEL LIKE THROWING UP? Find Out What Caused it Right Here!


‘Unless you puke, faint or die, keep going!’ Yep, throwing up can catch you off guard and weaken you in the moment, so much so that it’s likened to losing consciousness or death. Well, the three do have something in common; they emerge out of nowhere and end just as abruptly too.

Also known as emesis, vomiting refers to the process of involuntary and forceful expulsion of gastric (stomach) contents through the mouth and sometimes nose. Sometimes you ‘don’t feel too good’ or ‘feel like vomiting, but nothing comes out’ before you actually throw up, a symptom strongly associated with vomiting known as nausea.

Vomiting is a symptom that is common to most illnesses and occurs in various conditions such as, pregnancy and migraines. It should not be confused with regurgitation or acid reflux (as it often is) in which there is a backflow of undigested food from the stomach, up the esophagus and into the mouth minus the force and discomfort associated with vomiting.

Self-induced vomiting is exercised by individuals that suffer from eating disorders such as, anorexia nervosa and bulimia.

Why do we vomit and what causes it?

Some experts say that vomiting is a protective mechanism of the body. It is a reflex that is prompted by various stimuli that trigger the vomiting center of the brain. The brain then sends signals back to the organs that set the reflex in action. There are chemicals in the brain known as neurotransmitters such as dopamine, histamine and serotonin that regulate the vomiting cycle.

A recent study suggests that nausea and vomiting may have protective effects during pregnancy against adverse fetal outcomes. The effects of nausea and vomiting of pregnancy (NVP) was examined on rates of miscarriage, intrauterine growth restriction, congenital malformations, prematurity and developmental achievements. It was concluded that the protective effect of NVP was more prominent in women with mild or moderate vomiting, compared to those with little or none.

However, throwing up isn’t always this good-natured. Here are other possible causes of vomiting:

Gastroenteritis (Tops the list as one of the most common causes in adults, usually associated with abdominal cramps and diarrhea)

  • Indigestion
  • Overeating
  • Motion sickness i.e. nausea and vomiting associated with travelling
  • Migraines/severe headaches
  • Labyrinthitis or inner ear infection causes dizziness, nausea and vomiting
  • Postoperative nausea and vomiting (PONV) (The side effect of anesthesia)
  • Chemotherapy and radiotherapy
  • Antibiotics
  • Opioid painkillers
  • kidney stones and kidney infections
  • Gallstones
  • Pancreatitis
  • Excessive alcohol consumption (alcoholism)
  • Appendicitis
  • Brain tumors
  • Milk allergies
  • IBS

And the list goes on!

What causes green vomit?

When your vomit is green, it is usually suggestive of throwing up bile. Bile is a green colored, digestive fluid that is produced by the liver and stored in the gall bladder. Bile may occur in vomitus on an empty stomach or in bile reflux. Bile reflux may cause abdominal pain, frequent heartburn, vomiting, nausea and an infrequent cough, hence often confuse the condition with ‘heartburn’. Vomiting bile can damage and cause distress to the lining of the stomach and oesophagus. Bile reflux can also cause yellow vomit as well.

Can vomiting be dangerous?

Vomiting can sometimes require an emergency medical attention, particularly in case of:

  • Excessive and frequent vomiting i.e. more than 3-4 episodes per day
  • Voluminous vomiting (in large amounts)
  • Lingering illness such as gastroenteritis and food poisoning

Blood in vomit also known as ‘hematamesis’ may be caused by stomach ulcers, ruptured blood vessels or can indicate a form of cancer as well.

Complications of vomiting:

The most obvious complication of vomiting is dehydration. Vomiting doesn’t only expel food but fluids as well and signs of dehydration become evident in individuals who suffer from persistent vomiting:

  • Dry mouth
  • Sunken eyes
  • Dry skin
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue

Malnutrition is also a complication of vomiting that results from the inability to keep down solid food causing the body to lose out on nutrients. Prolonged illnesses and pre-existing conditions can lead to this state. Such cases may require hospital admission and administration of nutrients via intravenous injections.

If you feel like your condition is not improving and you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, contact your primary health care physician or talk to one online and share your concerns. Visit iMEDHealth for more information and learn how to access one our panel of top Physicians online.

How do you treat vomiting?

The first step of management depends on the underlying cause. Occasional vomiting requires little or no intervention, except hydration of course. Whatever the cause, staying hydrated is the most important element of treatment. Other treatment strategies include:

  • Avoid solid foods. Go for clear liquids and semi-solid lighter food options so the stomach can tolerate
  • Avoid greasy and fatty foods
  • Consume oral rehydration salts and electrolyte replacement beverages
  • Anti-nausea and anti-emetics prescribed by your doctor can help you reduce vomiting episodes
  • Herbal teas and warm beverages may provide a soothing effect

Rest as much as possible

What triggers vomiting?

The nature, duration and intensity of vomiting really depend on the cause and associated medical conditions. However certain triggers of vomiting can be avoided by adopting a healthier lifestyle. Examples of such stimuli are:

  • Exercise right after eating
  • Over eating
  • Lying down right after eating
  • Stress
  • Spicy food
  • Lack of sleep
  • Migraines
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Unfamiliar smells/odors

Is there any way to prevent vomiting?

  • Make small changes in your everyday life like:
  • Daily walks
  • Portioned meals
  • Increased water intake can help with most of the triggers
  • Catch a quick power nap during the day
  • Go to bed early at night to ensure you have received the recommended 8-10 hours of sleep
  • Avoid binging on junk food and alcohol
  • Go for healthier and lighter food choices like veggies with your choice of dip and natural juices
  • Alcohol can be consumed in moderation

Anything in excess can disturb the natural equilibrium of your body. ‘Health is the real wealth’ and most would agree. It’s only after something is lost that you wish you had done things differently. So be mindful of your body and take care of it. It’s the only place you have to live!


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