Read below about vomiting, including causes and common questions. Or get a personalized analysis of your vomiting from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

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10 Potential Vomiting Causes

Disclaimer: The article does not replace an evaluation by a physician. Information on this page is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes.

  1. 1.Viral (Norovirus) Infection

    Noroviruses are a group of related viruses that leads to nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and cramps. These viruses cause gastroenteritis, an inflammation of the stomach and intestines. When the diarrhea and/or vomiting is severe, dehydration can occur. Symptoms of dehydration include a dry mouth, dizziness, urinating less frequently and dark urine.

    Usually resolves within 2-3 days.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    diarrhea, vomiting or nausea, fatigue, nausea, abdominal pain (stomach ache), headache
    Symptoms that always occur with viral (norovirus) infection:
    diarrhea, vomiting or nausea
    Symptoms that never occur with viral (norovirus) infection:
    severe abdominal pain, throbbing headache, severe headache, tarry stool, vaginal bleeding, alertness level change
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  2. 2.Indigestion (Dyspepsia)

    Indigestion, also known as dyspepsia, is a condition that causes pain or discomfort in the stomach after eating. In some cases, indigestion also causes heartburn, burping, and nausea. Indigestion or dyspepsia is a very common complaint. Every year, about 1 in every 4 people will experience an episode of dyspepsia, of which most cases do not have a serious underlying cause.

    These symptoms are likely to resolve, if they persist you should discuss this with your primary care physician.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    nausea, stomach bloating, dyspeptic symptoms, bloating after meals, vomiting
    Symptoms that always occur with indigestion (dyspepsia):
    dyspeptic symptoms
    Symptoms that never occur with indigestion (dyspepsia):
    vomiting (old) blood or passing tarry stools, rectal bleeding, bloody diarrhea, fever
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  3. 3.Non - Specific Nausea and Vomiting

    Nausea and vomiting with no recognizable cause.

    1 day

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    nausea, vomiting
    Symptoms that always occur with non-specific nausea and vomiting:
    nausea, vomiting
    Symptoms that never occur with non-specific nausea and vomiting:
    diarrhea, fever, headache
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  4. 4.Functional Dyspepsia / Indigestion

    Indigestion, also known as dyspepsia, is a condition that causes pain or discomfort in the stomach after eating. In some cases, indigestion also causes heartburn, burping, and nausea. Indigestion or dyspepsia is a very common complaint and in most cases there is no serious underlying cause. This is when doctors call it 'functional'.

    Symptoms of indigestion often come and go and may be chronic. Usually treatment includes medicines that neutralize or diminish stomach acid production or medicines that relief nausea.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    stomach bloating, nausea, dyspeptic symptoms, bloating after meals, vomiting
    Symptoms that always occur with functional dyspepsia/indigestion:
    dyspeptic symptoms
    Symptoms that never occur with functional dyspepsia/indigestion:
    vomiting (old) blood or passing tarry stools, rectal bleeding, bloody diarrhea, fever
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  5. 5.Traveler's Diarrhea

    Traveler's diarrhea is a digestive tract disorder that commonly causes loose stools and abdominal cramps. It's caused by eating contaminated food or drinking contaminated water.

    Usually resolves within 3 to 5 days without antibiotics.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    diarrhea, nausea, abdominal pain (stomach ache), fever, stomach bloating
    Symptoms that always occur with traveler's diarrhea:
    diarrhea
    Symptoms that never occur with traveler's diarrhea:
    anxiety
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment

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  6. 6.Food Poisoning

    Food poisoning is a common ailment that causes gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. It is caused by improperly handled or unrefrigerated food.

    1-3 days

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    nausea, abdominal pain (stomach ache), headache, abdominal cramps (stomach cramps), dizziness
    Symptoms that never occur with food poisoning:
    severe fever, being severely ill, bloody diarrhea
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  7. 7.Side - Effect(s) of Chemotherapy

    Unfortunately, chemotherapy has many side-effects, ranging from hair loss to fatigue to nausea. This occurs because the treatment affects not only diseased cells but also healthy cells.

    This is likely to last the duration of your treatment; however, symptoms can be managed with other medications.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, loss of appetite, arthralgias or myalgias, dizziness, sore throat
    Symptoms that never occur with side-effect(s) of chemotherapy:
    headache resulting from a head injury
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  8. 8.Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

    Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an infection of the female genital structures like the uterus, fallopian tube, ovary, and the surrounding abdominal wall. It is typically caused by N. Gonorrhoeae or C. Trachomatis.

    Prognosis after treatment within 3 days of symptom onset is great (88%-100%). Those that are hospitalized, older, or have had gynecological surgery have a worse time with this infection.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    fever, abdominal pain or unusual vaginal discharge, vaginal discharge, nausea or vomiting, vaginal bleeding, pelvis pain
    Symptoms that always occur with pelvic inflammatory disease:
    fever, abdominal pain or unusual vaginal discharge
    Urgency:
    In-person visit
  9. 9.Recurrent Depression

    Depression, once diagnosed, can often recur with new episodes. Sometimes these episodes can be similar to ones in the past, sometimes the symptoms can be different. It's good to be aware off the fact that people who had a depression before, remain vulnerable.

    Depression's course is highly variable, and it may last weeks, months, or years.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, abdominal pain (stomach ache), nausea, headache, stomach bloating
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  10. 10.Spontaneous Bacterial Peritonitis

    Peritonitis is a bacterial infection of the abdomen often seen in patients with end-stage liver disease. The liver disease causes fluid to back up in the abdomen, which can get infected.

    Indefinite

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    abdominal pain (stomach ache), diarrhea, vomiting, being severely ill, fever
    Urgency:
    Hospital emergency room

FAQs About Vomiting

Here are some frequently asked questions about vomiting.

Can vomiting cause dehydration?

Yes vomiting can cause dehydration due to loss of both fluids and electrolytes in gastric contents and inability to take in additional fluids. In severe cases vomiting can cause changes in mental status and can affect kidney function.

What foods are good for nausea?

Generally, bland foods are good for nausea. Start by trying simply water, then clear broth and possibly Jell-O, followed by non-clear broth, then salt-less crackers or white bread, and then more complex bread and foods.

When should you seek medical attention for vomiting?

You should seek medical attention if there is a brown, coffee ground-like substance in your vomit, if there is blood in your vomit, if you feel weak for a prolonged period of time, if you are unable to stand or sit up, and if you are alone while undergoing an ordeal of intense vomiting.

Why do I feel like vomiting but then nothing comes out?

Vomiting can be caused by nausea independent of what is or is not in one's stomach. Sometimes, when one has to vomit, the stomach is empty — in which case, one feels the undulations of an upset stomach (wretching)— so no food exits the body.

Why do I keep vomiting in the morning?

Vomiting in the morning can be a sign of many things. Most notable and dangerously, a tumor placing pressure on the brain can cause a morning headache and vomiting in the morning. This is a more common presentation of a brain tumor within children. It can also be a sign of pregnancy.

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Vomiting

  • Q.Any fever today or during the last week?
  • Q.Have you lost your appetite recently?
  • Q.Have you been feeling more tired than usual, lethargic or fatigued despite sleeping a normal amount?
  • Q.Are you experiencing a headache?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, try our vomiting symptom checker to find out more.

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Vomiting Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced vomiting have also experienced:

    • 16% Abdominal Pain (Stomach Ache)
    • 10% Nausea
    • 6% Diarrhea
  • People who have experienced vomiting had symptoms persist for:

    • 66% Less Than a Day
    • 21% Less Than a Week
    • 5% Over a Month
  • People who have experienced vomiting were most often matched with:

    • 31% Viral (Norovirus) Infection
    • 9% Indigestion (Dyspepsia)
    • 1% Non - Specific Nausea and Vomiting
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

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