Everybody knows and most of the individuals, if not all, have experienced “Vomitting” at some point of time, in their lives. When the content of one’s stomach gets expelled, spontaneously, through one’s mouth and sometimes through the nose, it is called vomitting. Vomitting is known as “Emesis” in medical term. Since “Nausea” is associated with vomiting, people often consider nausea and vomiting to be one and the same. Actually nausea is the feeling (a watery, bitter taste in the mouth and contractions of the stomach muscles) that one gets, just before the expulsion of the contents of one’s stomach, which does not lead to vomitting always. A wide variety of conditions cause vomiting. Sometimes, vomiting is due to some specific reasons, like poisoning or gastritis and sometimes due to some non-specific reasons, like brain tumour or exposure to ionizing radiation.
Some of the causes that lead to vomiting are given below –
b) Food allergies
c) Food poisoning
d) Milk allergy or lactose intolerance (in case of babies).
l) Bowel obstruction
m) Pyloric stenosis
n) Motion sickness
p) Cerebral hemorrhage
r) Brain tumour
The vomiting act has two phases. In the first phase, called the retching phase, the diaphragm and the muscles used in the respiratory system together with the abdominal muscles, undergo some rounds of harmonized contractions. Nothing from the stomach is expelled, in this phase. In the second phase, known as the expulsive phase, enormous shifts in the diaphragm and abdominal muscles, creating intense pressure in the stomach, are experienced. The shifts or contractions of the muscles extend to a longer period of time than the normal muscular contraction period. Then, due to the sudden release of pressure, the upper esophageal sphincter relaxes and the gastric contents come out forcefully.
While vomiting, if the gastric content enters the respiratory tract, it can be dangerous. Despite recurrent vomiting, if no care is taken, it may lead to dehydration and electrolyte imbalance, Mallory- Weiss tear and Dentistry.
Mallory-Weiss tear- Tear caused in the esophageal mucosa due to repeated vomiting.
Dentistry- Acid present in the vomit causes destruction of the tooth enamel
a) Vomit carrying bright red blood is an indication of bleeding in the esophagus
b) Dark red vomit is indication of profuse bleeding in the stomach.
c) Coffee ground-like blood indicates less severe bleeding in the stomach.
d) Yellow vomit indicates flow of bile from the duodenum into the stomach.
An antiemetic (a drug) can be given to check nausea and vomitting. A competent physician is to be consulted in case of repeated vomiting. Avoid dehydration at any cost. Since antiemetics are not considered safe for the children, oral rehydration therapy (ORT) is recommended for the children and should be take under the supervision of a competent authority. In case vomiting persists for long, children should be hospitalized to return to the body, fluids, by injecting fluids through the veins (IV).