Nausea is most often traced to a viral infection or "stomach flu" that produces a queasy stomach, increased salivation, and sweating. When the nausea intensifies, you may begin to vomit. The condition can also be the result of medications, stress, food poisoning, or a head injury. Because nausea and vomiting can be connected with so many medical problems--some of them serious--it's important to watch your symptoms closely. The most dangerous threat posed by vomiting is dehydration which can occur relatively quickly in young children and even older adults. Severe dehydration can be life-threatening and symptoms should be carefully monitored especially for babies or young children who are not able to verbally express symptoms of dehydration.
Nausea or the state of having "dizzy spells", "uneasiness felt in the stomach", and "sick feeling" is usually felt before a person vomits. Being nauseous is also described as having the urge to vomit without actually doing so. There are variety of factors that contribute to nausea which include motion sickness, pregnancy, chronic pain, indigestion, foul odor, and stress; among others. Nausea is most commonly associated to vomiting or that which is referred to as the voluntary or involuntary throwing up or forcible emptying of "vomitus" or stomach contents up into the esophagus and that which exits through the mouth. It is wise to note that both nausea and vomiting is not a disease in itself but rather symptoms of certain illnesses that can go along the range of mild and harmless diseases up to serious or life-threatening range of medical conditions apparent in both young children and adults. The causes of nausea and vomiting usually vary in degree and intensity depending on age and associated illnesses contracted by the patients.
Common Causes or Trigger Factors of Nausea and Vomiting
Most expectant mothers feel that queasy feeling or discomfort especially during the first trimester which is more commonly known as "morning sickness". This is not much of an appropriate term though as pregnant women can be nauseous and vomit at any time of the day or night when some trigger factors are present such as an unpleasant odor or an unsavory taste change in the palate. There is not really much harm noted when a pregnant woman vomits during the early stages of the pregnancy just as long as she is able to keep food and fluids down and not throw up just about anything she eats or drinks. In fact, experts believe that nausea and vomiting in expectant moms signal that the pregnancy hormones - estrogen, thyroxine, and human chorionic gonadotropin (hcG) - are relatively amplified and all working in perfect balance and fruition during the entire course of the pregnancy. There are also varied factors that can trigger or aggravate nausea and vomiting in pregnancy such as fatigue and hunger, motion or travel sickness, expecting to have multiple births or twins and triplets, and gastrointestinal (GI) disorders; to name some. Having nausea and vomiting symptoms is pretty normal and usually starts at around the first 5 or 6 weeks of the pregnancy and may improve around the 16th week or so. This could also persist all throughout the duration of the pregnancy but is quite rare in occurrence. Experiencing nausea and vomiting while pregnant does not usually require any medical intervention except in severe cases of nausea and vomiting or when it is associated with other unusual symptoms such as fever, abdominal pain, or severe headache. If you notice that you are losing too much pregnancy weight and have become severely dehydrated due to constant bouts of vomiting then you could be suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum which could be very dangerous for you and your baby's health and warrants immediate medical help.
If you love to go places and see the world, motion sickness can be a huge challenge for you and your travel buddies. Motion sickness which is scientifically referred to as "kinetosis" is also commonly called as "travel sickness" whether you prefer to go around by air, sea, or land. Feeling sick during travel is observed to be more common in women and young children. Travel sickness is precipitated by the sensation of motion in itself which causes imbalance and mixed messages received by the brain or central nervous system coming from the inner ears and eyes as well as the sensory and motion receptors coming from the skin, joints, and muscle groups. This is characterized by feeling dizzy or nauseous during repeated motions while traveling which may or may not trigger vomiting. You can also get motion sickness in amusement park rides. Also, people suffering from constant migraine headaches are more at risk of suffering from travel sickness. If you drink too much alcoholic beverages or drink spicy foods before a trip then you will are more prone to experience motion sickness. Typical cases of travel sickness would usually go away when the motion stops or after a few hours when you have finally reached your destination. However, there are some cases wherein nausea and vomiting can persist even after a day or two but is relatively rare.
This medical condition is popularly referred to as "stomach flu" which is very common in young children and characterized by an irritation or inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract which may result to nausea, vomiting, bloating or gassy feeling in the stomach, low-grade fever, and diarrhea in patients. Bouts of stomach flu can be caused by contaminated food or drinks which could be bacterial, viral, or parasitic in origin. This can also be spread from person to person by sharing contaminated items at home or in public places such as in schools, malls, or hospitals. Drinking water can also be contaminated by heavy metals such as lead which can result to gastroenteritis in children and even in adults. Other common culprits for gastroenteritis would include drinking too much caffeine, having food allergies, as well as taking laxatives, antibiotics, aspirin, and steroids. Parents should watch out for more serious or worsening symptoms such as an unusually high fever, abdominal pain and bloating, extended or prolonged hours of vomiting with no improvement, severe dehydration, and presence of blood in the stool or urine.
Weakened cardiac muscles or blocked arteries can precipitate myocardial infarction or what is commonly known as "heart attack". Many people perceive myocardial infarction as sudden, vicious, and unpredictable when in fact it can be prevented as the early signs and symptoms act as a red flag that warns people of an impending heart attack months before it is bound to happen. Heart attack are said to be most common to women sufferers than men. Patients who are in danger of a heart attack usually suffer from angina pectoris symptoms which consist of a crushing pain felt in the chest, upper abdomen, right or left arm, in between the shoulders, back, neck, and the jaw region. This is most often associated with other symptoms such as indigestion, dyspnea or difficulty of breathing, nausea, vomiting, blurring of vision, sleeping problems, fatigue, sweating, cold and clammy hands, fainting, abdominal pain, and irregular or rapid heartbeat (ventricular tachycardia); among others. Some patients though can have very few symptoms that they do not even notice that they are already having a heart attack. Heart attack happens when there is constricted oxygenated blood flow into the heart and to the different parts of the body which is brought about by hereditary and lifestyle factors as well as certain diseases that can aggravate your heart condition. This usually begins from congestive heart disease and atherosclerosis mainly due to plaque buildup that clogs blood flow in the arteries. Blood clot then forms which can enlarge and block the flow of blood into the heart chambers. Scar tissue formation or dead heart muscles will then replace healthy cardiac tissues. The horrific fact with angina attacks is that even the first attack could be fatal. You could experience angina symptoms while doing strenuous activities or even routine ones which you can usually perform without undue strain or fatigue. The most alarming angina attack could happen even when you are sleeping or in a resting position because this only means that little or no activity can in fact get your heart all pumped and stretched out to its maximum capacity up to the point of having a heart attack.
This refers to contamination of ingested food and water which is particularly common in dry or summer months. Food and water contamination is relatively high in very hot seasons because bacteria, viruses, and other harmful pathogens rapidly multiply at these times which makes food left out of the fridge prone to spoilage. Proper sanitation, handling, preparation and storage of food is important to ensure the safety of your family and the community. You can easily conclude that your child or family member is a victim of food poisoning if there are other people in the group who are experiencing the same symptoms like a group of classmates who ate the same snacks in the school cafeteria. Common warning signs and symptoms of food poisoning would include nausea, severe abdominal cramps, excessive salivation, vomiting, profuse sweating, malaise, headache, fever, chills, extreme sleepiness, and diarrhea. In severe cases of food poisoning, there is an increased risk of dehydration especially with continuous vomiting and diarrhea which needs immediate medical attention especially in infants and young children.
Thus condition is commonly observed in young children especially when they tend to be overfed and spoiled with food. There are infants and kids who develop certain food allergies or even intolerance for certain food especially babies because their digestive systems are still developing and immature to handle large amount of food and even drinks. Some kids' tummies cannot tolerate handling huge amounts of fruits, sweets, greasy food, or even dairy. You should be very careful when feeding your infant and young children as there are certain food types that are very hard to digest such as fatty- and sugar-rich foods and beverages. Older kids too tend to have indigestion coupled with nausea and vomiting because of consuming too much food or eating at a hurried rate. You should also be very careful in feeding postoperative patients as their digestive systems are still recovering.
Do you sometimes feel that sickening knot in your stomach whenever you are faced with stressful situations in school or right at home? Stress actually pushes us towards stepping it up further to reach our goals. It gives people that exhilarating and invigorating adrenaline rush to conquer fear and prove everyone that it may be difficult but it can be done. Our emotions can ignite variety of bodily or physical responses such as when you feel nervous for a musical act and you feel like you have butterflies in your stomach, your heart beating really fast at some point it becomes deafening, your hands get really sweaty, you're having dizzy spells, feel like you want to throw up, or just completely out of breath. All of these symptoms portray an individual having anxiety spells or a gripping stage fright. It's not just stress that make people feel lightheaded and want to vomit. Depression, fear, anxiety, and even sheer excitement can also cause disturbances in your different body functioning such as the digestive system which causes stomach trouble, nausea, and vomiting especially during stressful events. Some people also experience bloating or passing gas, constipation, diarrhea, or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Anxiety can be categorized into performance anxiety which pertains to any participation or presentation to a big event like a ballgame or even a company meeting; and social anxiety which refers to any event that involve social interaction like your first day at school or attending a social gathering. Fear or worries may involve different things such as thinking of how to pay for mortgage or getting out of huge pile of debts. On the lighter side, even positive emotions such as excitement can trigger onset of nausea and vomiting. Excitement and anticipation of moving to another country, holidays, or weddings can also create the same physiological responses. There are some individuals who develop a condition called cyclic vomiting syndrome which is described as vomiting in a routine manner like in the same hours on a daily hubbub. If you do not see any physical causes to the sickness then it might really be triggered by psychological factors such as stress especially in young children and teens.
Eating disorders such as bulimia or anorexia nervosa is often accompanied by worsening symptoms of binge eating, purging, or nausea and vomiting. Although the notion that nausea and induced vomiting is directly connected to varied eating disorders especially when one is under a strict diet and rigorous exercise regimen in the effort to lose the extra pounds.; one must also rule out other underlying medical conditions that can possibly trigger continuous bouts of nausea and vomiting. Bulimia and other eating disorders are said to be more prevalent in women than men. Not every patients suffering from an eating disorder is obese, most of them have become really thin because of the harmful methods they use to lose weight and keep it off. Individuals who have eating disorders usually have a poor self image and low self-confidence. They could also be suffering from depression, anxiety, guilt, and ashamed of their own bodies. There are some who have actually developed distorted images of themselves wherein even though they have become dangerously thin, they still see themselves as obese and want to trim down some more. Sufferers of bulimia or anorexia nervosa binge eat usually at night when everyone else is asleep. They tend to eat more than anyone could every down in such a limited time. Like eating too much in a matter of 2 hours. Afterwards, they would feel guilty and feel they have gained a pound or so and start to induce vomiting to get rid of the excess food taken. Consuming too much food at a relatively short span of time can get your digestive system on overdrive. Such digestive abnormalities can results to varied gastrointestinal troubles such as feeling bloated or having dyspepsia, abdominal discomfort, followed by nausea and the urge to vomit to get rid of the sick feeling and the excessive intake of food. People with bulimia may also take laxatives, diet pills, or edema and do extreme exercises as well as crash diet tricks just to drop the weight. Other warning signals that a person could be bulimic include having dry or flaky skin texture, halitosis or bad breath, yellow or stained teeth, mouth sores, sore throat, difficulty in focusing or concentration, dizzy spells, dehydration, insomnia or difficulty sleeping, and inflamed cheeks; to name some.
Nausea and vomiting is most prominent especially in the advanced stages of cancer. Relatively more than half of cancer patients experience nausea and emesis during the course of cancer which may be due to different factors such as the effects of the cancer in itself, slowing down of bowel movement or "paresis", constipation, electrolyte imbalance in the bloodstream, "anticipatory vomiting" or expecting to vomit at certain times due to past experiences of emesis, motion sickness, effects of medications, cardiac ailments, gastrointestinal bleeding, chemotherapy or radiation treatment effects, depression or anxiety, and other underlying medical conditions or infections that can aggravate nausea and vomiting in cancer patients. Experts also found out that women patients who are younger than 50 experience nausea and retching more often than men. Cancer that has metastasized to the brain are also found to trigger nausea and vomiting in patients. Emesis that is induced by chemotherapy drugs or radiation treatments usually happen within 24 hours of cancer treatment but may also be felt 2 to 3 days after. Palliative or supportive care in the management of cancer symptoms specifically nausea and vomiting is important to maintain a positive and strong hurdle against cancer.
Head injury or traumatic brain injury are also called head concussions which may be caused by a tremendous blow in the head from home or work-related accidents, falls, motor vehicular accidents, or direct physical assaults. Generally, all head injuries are considered as serious no matter what the circumstances are. The brain and the spinal cord are regarded to be a vital and delicate organ which can be severely damaged even with no obvious trauma or bleeding observed on the head or face. Brain injury can be classified into two - the closed-head trauma wherein there are no apparent penetrating injuries in the skull or head area but serious damage could be happening inside the skull area. The cerebrospinal fluid cushions the brain from any mild trauma but a hard blow on the head area can cause the brain to smash right into the skull. This condition is can cause swelling from inside the brain which may trigger intracranial pressure or hemorrhage. Open-head injuries are very apparent because of the presence of blood and an open or penetrating wound. It is important to note that the presence of both nausea and vomiting in head injuries usual signal a serious medical condition. Other common signs and symptoms of traumatic brain injury are throbbing or persistent headache, dizziness, changes in vision such as having a dimmed, blurry, or double vision; mental agitation or confusion, fainting or momentary loss of consciousness, seizures, bloodshot eyes and bruise around the ears which may indicate ruptured blood vessels on the surrounding areas of the brain, leakage of clear fluid coming from the eyes and nose which may indicate a serious skull fracture that precipitated cerebrospinal fluid leakage in the nose and eye regions; skull deformities which may signal serious nerve compression or skull fracture, changes in personality, lucid intervals, and coma.
Sudden bouts of migraine can be very distressing and can even disrupt a person's daily routine. This is said to be brought about by disruptions in the neurotransmitters in the brain.The throbbing pain or dull ache can usually be felt in either one side or coined to be bilateral or on both sides of the head. Migraine headaches can be very scary because its warning signals are actually similar to that of stroke. Migraine sufferers would usually have a so-called "aura" that mimic a blind spot or some kind of flashing lights. The aura would usually persist for a few minutes and would stop as the migraine headaches become more apparent. Nausea and vomiting are typically felt alongside migraine headaches which are said to be more prevalent in women than men Migraine can also be genetically passed on in the family genealogy. Certain factors can also trigger or aggravate migraine symptoms such as emotional stress, taking birth control pills (BCPs)or oral contraceptives, eating too much chocolate or dairy products, high amount of food preservatives found in meat and cheese, constant exposure to blaring lights, strong odors, or boisterous noises; to name a few. The most common signs and symptoms of migraine attacks would include nausea and vomiting, eye pain, dimness or blurring of vision, distinct sensitivity to light and sound or also scientifically referred to as "photophobia" and "phonophobia"; respectively.
Sunken fontanelle or soft spot on the baby's head.
Dry mouth and cracked lips.
Rapid heartbeat and breathing.
Less frequent urination for the last 8 hours or dark yellow urine.
Skin that is no longer elastic or reduced skin turgor when pinched.
No tears produced in the eyes.
Sudden weight loss.
Excessive sleepiness or difficulty waking up.
Signs of a More Serious Medical Condition
Coffee ground looking vomit.
Vomiting bright red blood.
Abdominal pain is severe or pain is localized in one area.
Vomiting is accompanied by headache and stiff neck which is a tell-tale sign for meningitis.
Some nausea and vomiting can be traced to food poisoning, which is often confused by viral stomach flu. Certain foods, when not stored or handled properly, are breeding grounds for bacteria that can readily inflame and irritate the intestines.
As symptoms improve, offer butter-less rice, potatoes, or noodles.
You can also try crackers or toast when symptoms improve.
It's important to be alert for serious and sudden complications.
Questions and Answers
I have been vomiting and I am 13 weeks pregnant?
This happens to some women even in their 13th week of pregnancy. Vomiting or known as the morning sickness would continue on the 12th up to the 14th week of pregnancy. This is known to be related to the hormonal changes occurring in the woman's body. For some, it can also be associated to lack of Vitamin B6 which causes nausea in pregnant women.
Having morning headaches accompanied with vomiting could pertain to morning sickness experienced by most expectant mothers. This is very common in pregnancy especially in the first trimester or within the first 4 weeks. If you missed your period and you experience tenderness of breasts, irritability, frequency in urination, and nausea then you could really be pregnant. Morning sickness is said to be triggered by some hormonal fluctuations and low blood sugar. Some food choices, fatigue, and emotional stress can exacerbate morning sickness in relatively most women. It is best to check with a pregnancy test and to consult your obstetrician-gynecologist to determine whether your headaches and vomiting are normal or could signal a more serious problem like hypertension and the like.
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