Vomiting

Vomiting

Vomiting is a common symptom that goes along with many diseases and disorders. In nearly all cases, it is accompanied by a feeling of nausea. The causes of vomiting are numerous and range from mild to severe regarding severity. People of all ages and populations are prone to vomiting. Depending upon the reason, it may be a recurrent problem, or it may develop and disappear suddenly. When it is associated with head injury or other symptoms like dizziness or weakness are present, it may be a sign of a serious problem. In these situations or when an individual is vomiting blood, it is important to seek prompt medical attention.

Cause

The potential causes of vomiting are nearly endless. Some of the most common causes, however, include viral infections like the flu, motion sickness, and food poisoning. Vomiting may also occur as the result of appendicitis, diverticulitis, food intolerances, gastritis, gallstones, inflammatory bowel disease, gastroesophageal reflux disease, intestinal obstruction, liver disease, pancreatitis, peptic ulcers, or overeating. In addition to disorders of the digestive tract, vomiting may also be caused by brain tumors, eating disorders, cancer, concussion, exposure to toxic substances, anesthesia, kidney stones, migraines, pregnancy, vertigo, and certain medications.

Seek Medical Attention

In rare cases, the cause of vomiting can be life-threatening. Severe problems that can cause nausea or vomiting include heart attack, brain hemorrhage, heat exhaustion, brain swelling, liver failure, kidney failure, infection in the abdominal cavity, and poisoning. If any of these causes are suspected, it is essential to seek emergency medical treatment.

Diagnosing

When determining the exact cause for vomiting, doctors often rely on diagnostic imaging tests in addition to physical examinations and the patient's medical history. Ultrasounds are commonly used to see the internal organs and detect problems. X-rays and endoscopic procedures may also be utilized.

Treatment Options

In most situations, vomiting occurs as the result of a condition that is not life-threatening. In these cases, patients may be given an anti-nausea medication or told to rest until the vomiting subsides. When a severe underlying condition causes it, additional measures must be taken. Some problems may be treated with medications while others require surgical intervention. Lifestyle changes may be needed when vomiting is caused by indigestion, GERD, food intolerance, or exposure to toxic substances.

Vomiting is not life-threatening in itself, but underlying conditions may be. When left untreated, chronic vomiting may lead to dehydration, gum disease, tooth decay, and poor nutrition.


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