Nausea & Vomiting in Adults

Also known as: stomach sickness, puking, barfing

What are nausea and vomiting?

Nausea refers to the feeling of being sick to your stomach, while vomiting is the act of expelling your stomach contents through the mouth. The symptoms can occur together or separately in adults. They can have a number of different causes.

What might cause nausea and vomiting?

Nausea and vomiting in adults have a very long list of causes. They can include the following:
  • Gastroenteritis (stomach flu)
  • Pregnancy
  • Rotavirus
  • Motion sickness
  • Migraine
  • Intestinal obstruction
  • General anesthesia
  • Alcohol overuse
  • Chemotherapy
  • Liver failure
  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Bulimia nervosa
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Appendicitis
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Food poisoning
  • Ear infection
  • Fever
  • Gallstones
  • Heart attack and heart failure
  • Hepatitis
  • Hernia
  • Thyroid problems
  • Allergies
  • Pancreatitis
  • Radiation therapy
  • Medication side effects
  • Increase fluid buildup in the brain
  • Cyclic vomiting syndrome
  • Poor emptying of the stomach
  • Diabetic ketoacidosis

How can it be treated?

Some cases of nausea and vomiting are short-lived, self-inflicted or a normal symptom of pregnancy. In many of these instances, you can help yourself by staying hydrated, resting, avoiding triggers, eating bland food or taking over-the-counter medications.

When should you seek medical attention?

If vomiting lasts for more than two days or is accompanied by unexplained weight loss, schedule a doctor’s appointment. If it’s accompanied by chest pain, severe abdominal pain, confusion, high fever, rectal bleeding, confusion, blurred vision or fecal material in the vomit, blood or bilious (green) material in the vomit seek emergency medical attention.

Reviewed by: Shifra Koyfman, MD

This page was last updated on: September 08, 2020 10:21 AM

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