Understanding nausea and vomiting: a mechanical reflex due to various causes

Nausea and vomiting are most often related to benign and transient illnesses (gastroenteritis, migraine, medication, transport sickness…) When accompanied by other symptoms, more serious illnesses may be involved (meningitis, intestinal occlusion…)

What do you call nausea and vomiting?
Nausea is an unpleasant sensation in the stomach and throat corresponding to a craving for vomiting. We often talk about “heart ache “, of “stomach feeling smeared “, of “high Heart”.

Vomiting is the rejection of stomach contents through the mouth. It corresponds to a mechanical defense reflex of the body intended to empty the stomach. It is possible to vomit food, bile or much more rarely, blood.

Nausea and vomiting are sometimes accompanied by:

  • A slightly accelerated heart rate,
  • of cold sweats,
  • of Pallor,
  • Hypersalivation (excess saliva in the mouth),
  • From a feeling of discomfort,
  • Abdominal pain,
  • Diarrhea.

Vomiting that repeats for more than 7 days is referred to as “Chronicles”.

The mechanism of vomiting
Vomiting takes place in several phases:

  • Closure of the pyloric (orifice that communicates the stomach and duodenum);
  • contraction of the stomach;
  • Contraction of the diaphragm and abdominal muscles;
  • Opening of the Cardia (orifice communicating the esophagus and stomach);
  • Violent evacuation of gastric fluid.

The coordination of vomiting is controlled by a nerve center that is located in the brain.

CAUSES of nausea and vomiting
The causes of nausea and vomiting are multiple and mostly benign.

Occasional nausea and vomiting
Nausea and vomiting can occur in several cases:

  • During gastroenteritis: This is the most common cause in adults and children. If people around you are vomiting or an epidemic is in progress, you or your child will likely have viral gastroenteritis or food poisoning;
  • In the course of a medicated treatment;
  • After a significant consumption of alcohol: It is the “hangover” with a heavy head sensation on awakening, headaches and nausea, due to the dehydration by excessive water removal, the toxicity of certain components of alcohol and the disturbance of the Sleep Cycle
  • After an excess of food is responsible for indigestion;
  • During a vagal discomfort;
  • During a trip in a vehicle: it is the sickness of transport…

Nausea or vomiting is possible:

  • During an episode of migraine;
  • A liver colic crisis;
  • In the event of a food allergy;
  • In association with dizziness in Meniere’s disease;
  • After the administration of anesthetic products, on awakening of a surgical procedure…

Vomiting can be a symptom of a disease requiring urgent care:

  • Appendicitis;
  • an acute cholecystitis;
  • a pyelonephritis;
  • Oral poisoning
  • myocardial infarction;
  • meningitis;
  • Intestinal occlusion…

Vomiting is then accompanied by other symptoms. It is important to know how to recognize the signs of gravity to consult quickly.

Nausea and vomiting that last and repeat
Repeated vomiting may be related to:

  • Pregnancy: This is the main cause of chronic vomiting: nearly 50% of pregnant women vomit during the first trimester;
  • Anorexia and bulimia: in this case, vomiting is caused;
  • Anxiety can trigger vomiting;
  • Chronic lead poisoning or saturating;
  • Food intolerance and in particular lactose.

When vomiting is accompanied by other symptoms, more rare causes are sought: digestive tract stenosis, chronic disease, cancer…


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