Vomiting: Overview

Vomiting, also called emesis, is a very common symptom. It is often related to nausea and commonly caused by a digestive disorder such as infectious gastroenteritis. Vomiting needs to be distinguished from regurgitation, reflux, and other similar symptoms.

There are various causes of vomiting that need to be diagnosed; see your doctor for a full diagnosis. Causes include gastrointestinal disorders, infections, chemical imbalances, endocrine disorders, balance disorders, liver disorders, and many others. Vomiting itself can cause serious complications such as aspiration of vomit (choking on vomit), dehydration and electrolyte imbalance.

   •   •   •

Back to: « Vomiting

   •   •   •

Vomiting is often caused by your body is trying to get rid of germs or some other toxin. Find self-care tips and learn when to see a doctor.

Source: New Zealand Health1

   •   •   •

If you or a family member is vomiting, it is often because your body is trying to get rid of germs or some other toxin. Vomiting can be one-off or can continue for a while.

Source: New Zealand Health2

   •   •   •

Vomiting in children and babies

It's normal for babies and children to vomit occasionally. In most cases, it will last no longer than one to two days and isn't a sign of anything serious.

The most common cause of vomiting in children and babies is gastroenteritis. This is an infection of the gut usually caused by a virus or bacteria, which also causes diarrhoea. The symptoms can be unpleasant but your child will usually start to feel better after a few days.

However, persistent vomiting can sometimes cause your child to become severely dehydrated and occasionally it can be a sign of something more serious, such as meningitis.

This page outlines what to do if your child keeps vomiting and describes some of the common causes of vomiting in children and babies.

If your child has a high temperature, you can also read a separate page about fever in children.

Source: NHS Choices UK3

   •   •   •

Nausea is an uneasy or unsettled feeling in the stomach together with an urge to vomit. Nausea and vomiting, or throwing up, are not diseases. They can be symptoms of many different conditions. These include morning sickness during pregnancy, infections, migraine headaches, motion sickness, food poisoning, cancer chemotherapy or other medicines.

For vomiting in children and adults, avoid solid foods until vomiting has stopped for at least six hours. Then work back to a normal diet. Drink small amounts of clear liquids to avoid dehydration.

Nausea and vomiting are common. Usually, they are not serious. You should see a doctor immediately if you suspect poisoning or if you have

Source: MedLinePlus (NIH)4

   •   •   •

Vomiting: Forceful ejection of the contents of the stomach through the mouth.5

   •   •   •

Vomiting: The forcible expulsion of the contents of the Stomach through the Mouth.6

   •   •   •

Vomiting: Forceful ejection of the contents of the stomach through the mouth by means of a series of involuntary spasmic contractions.7

   •   •   •

Vomiting is a digestive system symptom characterized by throwing up the stomach contents.8

   •   •   •


  1. Source: New Zealand Health: health.govt.nz/ your-health/ conditions-and-treatments/ diseases-and-illnesses
  2. Source: New Zealand Health: health.govt.nz/ your-health/ conditions-and-treatments/ diseases-and-illnesses/ vomiting
  3. Source: NHS Choices UK: nhs.uk/ conditions/ vomiting-children-babies/ 
  4. Source: MedLinePlus (NIH): medlineplus.gov/ nauseaandvomiting.html
  5. Source: NCI Thesaurus
  6. Source: MeSH (U.S. National Library of Medicine)
  7. Source: Human Phenotype Ontology
  8. Source: SYMP Ontology

   •   •   •

Note: This site is for informational purposes only and is not medical advice. See your doctor or other qualified medical professional for all your medical needs.