When food is thrown out of the stomach involuntarily or voluntarily through the mouth it is called vomiting. Vomiting happens for a wide variety of reasons like – motion sickness/ sea sickness, first trimester of pregnancy, emotional stress, gall bladder disease, infections, heart attack, overeating, brain tumour, cancers, ulcers, bulimia, and ingestion of toxins or excess alcohol.
Vomiting can be different at different ages. Children suffer from vomiting due to viral infections, milk allergy, overeating, feeding, coughing, blocked intestines or illness which has high fever. In infants vomiting is caused due to blocked intestines. Intestinal blockage may be caused due to tumours, hernia or gallstones.
In adults is very rare. Vomiting may be due to pregnancy, excessive alcohol consumption, ulcer, food poisoning, bulimia, or food poisoning. There may be some underlying causes is vomiting is followed by headache or fever.
Some diseases like Crohn’s syndrome or irritable bowel syndrome can also cause vomiting. Crohn’s syndrome is an autoimmune disease when the body attacks healthy gut tissues of the stomach. Irritable bowel syndrome is when parts of the gut start to overreact. Bulimia is a disorder that causes forced vomiting when a person is anxious about his body image.
Vomiting may be a symptom of serious health issues like brain tumour, migraine attacks, appendicitis, concussion in the head, meningitis.
Hyperemesis gravidarum is a condition suffered during pregnancy, when the mother has recurring vomiting. This is a grave condition when the mother loses lots of fluids and minerals. This may endanger the life of both mother and child.
Excessive vomiting can result in tearing up of the oesophagus. This condition is called Mallory-Weiss tear and the condition is called Boerhaave's syndrome. It is a medical emergency.
Self treatment of vomiting is possible by controlling some factors that cause it. Avoiding excessive alcohol consumption and medications that cause vomiting can give relief. Drinking large amounts of fluids and avoiding solid foods till vomiting subsides also helps. Plenty of rest is required for the person to recover.
A person who has vomiting can consult a doctor to overcome the condition. Medications like Phenergran, Benadryl and Tigan can overcome the condition.
The main risk in vomiting is dehydration. When children have vomiting, they cannot express dehydration symptoms, so checking the symptoms like sunken eyes, dry lips and mouth can enable parents to understand that the child is dehydrated. Oral electrolytes can overcome dehydration. In adults, drinking plenty of fluids and rest can overcome dehydration. In infants the parents should check for symptoms like dry diapers to understand that the baby is dehydrated and give proper fluids.