Nausea / Vomiting


Nausea and vomiting are symptoms of an underlying disease and not a specific illness. Nausea is the sensation that the stomach wants to empty itself, while vomiting (emesis) or throwing up, is the act of forcible emptying of the stomach.

Vomiting is a violent act in which the stomach has to overcome the pressures that are normally in place to keep food and secretions within the stomach. The stomach almost turns itself inside out – forcing itself into the lower portion of the esophagus (the tube that connects the mouth to the stomach) during a vomiting episode.

There are numerous causes of nausea and vomiting. These symptoms may be due to the following:

If the symptoms last for more than 24 hours, if the diagnosis is uncertain, if there is concern about dehydration, or if the patient has underlying medical conditions that make them more fragile, medical care should be accessed sooner, rather than later.

Infants and children are more susceptible to dehydration and may not have as much reserve as an adult. If there is concern about dehydration or the inability to tolerate fluids, a healthcare provider should be contacted.

If nausea and vomiting are associated with pain, fever, vomiting blood, or having bloody or black, tarry bowel movements, medical care should be sought immediately.

Vomiting is a symptom of an illness and is not a disease in itself. If the symptom persists for more than 24-48 hours, it may be wise to contact a medical care provider.