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Nausea and Vomiting


Nausea is a sensation of discomfort that typically leads to the urge to vomit. Vomiting involves coordinated muscle contractions of the abdominal muscles and the stomach, while regurgitation is the passive flow of stomach contents into the mouth without forceful expulsion. Unlike vomiting, regurgitation does not typically cause a sensation of nausea beforehand.

Nausea and Vomiting are natural body responses to any noxious or unpleasant stimuli. Due to the wide variety of stimuli, Nausea and Vomiting are fairly non-specific symptoms and can be associated with a variety of conditions. Nausea and Vomiting are often discussed together as the underlying causes are similar. The causes are more easily understood by dividing into Digestive system and Non-Digestive system causes.

Gastritis and Peptic Ulcer

Gastritis is an inflammation of the stomach lining and is commonly known as ‘gastric’. Typical symptoms include upper abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting. Peptic ulcer is an ulcer that develops in the stomach and is often a progression of worsening gastritis. The symptoms are similar to those of gastritis, with the addition of black stools due to bleeding from the ulcer.


Gallstones are small stones that can be found in the gallbladder. Sometimes they don’t cause any symptoms, but other times they can lead to nausea and vomiting, as well as pain in the upper middle and right side of the abdomen. If the symptoms are more severe, the individual may experience a fever and yellowing of the skin and eyes.

Acute appendicitis

Appendicitis is when the appendix becomes infected and inflamed. The appendix is a small organ attached to the colon on the right side of the body. Symptoms of appendicitis include feeling sick, having pain in the middle of the tummy, loss of appetite, vomiting, having a fever, and experiencing sharp pain on the right side of the lower abdomen.

Gastroenteritis (Food Poisoning)

Gastroenteritis, or Food Poisoning, is an infection in the digestive and gastrointestinal systems caused by viruses or bacteria. Symptoms include abdominal pain, cramps, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea. A variant of Food Poisoning is Gastric Flu. Gastric flu is actually a viral infection causing gastritis. It can be caused by a variety of viruses, the commonest being the cold and flu viruses.

Headaches and Migraines

Headaches and migraines can be accompanied by nausea and vomiting, as well as visual disturbances such as blurred vision, flashing lights, and sensitivity to light. It is important to note that headaches can sometimes indicate a serious underlying condition in the brain, such as a brain tumour or arterial aneurysm, or an arteriovenous malformation (AVM).

Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

Nausea and vomiting are common symptoms of Urinary Tract Infection (UTI), which is an infection of the urinary system. Back pain and pain during urination are also common symptoms of UTI.

Medications and Chemotherapy

Nausea and vomiting are common side effects of many medications. It is possible to manage these symptoms by taking the medications before bedtime, having a smaller meal, or taking anti-nausea medication. Chemotherapy drugs are also known to cause these symptoms, which may require the use of intravenous anti-nausea medication.

It is crucial to seek medical assistance promptly when experiencing persistent nausea and vomiting as they may indicate various medical conditions. Vomiting can cause dehydration, which can eventually lead to kidney failure. A wide range of investigations may be required to identify the underlying cause of nausea and vomiting. These investigations may include blood tests, ultrasounds, CT scans, and endoscopies. Additionally, it’s essential to consider potential causes beyond the digestive tract.