Vomit: A protection mechanism Vomit: A protection mechanism

The main function of nausea and vomiting is to protect the body by aiding in expelling harmful substances.

However, these symptoms may also occur as the result of an infectious disease or inflammatory condition in the body that is unrelated to having consumed a toxin. The American College of Gastroenterology lists some of the most common causes of nausea and vomiting:

  • Medications and some drugs are especially known to cause nausea and vomiting, such as chemotherapy for treating cancer and anesthetics
  • Infections of the digestive tract, which can be caused by viruses or bacteria. Some of these include gallbladder infections (cholecystitis), appendicitis, viral hepatitis and diverticulitis
  • Non-digestive tract infections can also cuase these symptoms such as pneumonia, bladder or kidney conditions, meningitis and ear conditions
  • Bacterial toxins in food (food poisoning)
  • Pregnancy
  • Motion sickness
  • Intoxication from alcohol
  • Inflammation of the organs in the abdomen, for example: pancreatitis, Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis
  • Migraines or headaches
  • Brain and nervous system disorders including brain tumors, seizures, brain trauma, and multiple sclerosis
  • Renal failure
  • Psychiatric disorders such as anxiety, anorexia nervosa and bulimia
  • Physical or emotional pain

The recommendation is to first assess and treat the negative side-effects of nausea and vomiting, such as dehydration and disruptions in the different elements of the blood (electrolyte imbalance), then, investigate what might have caused these symptoms; but if this is not possible, you should start to treat the condition.

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