By Dr_Trisha-Macnair Published 01/27/2016 13:15:00 | Views: 501

What is it?

Vomiting is being sick or forcefully ejecting something from inside the stomach, up the gullet and out of the mouth. 'Forcefully' is an important part of the definition because vomiting is different to posseting (which occurs in nearly all small babies and involves non-forcefully bringing back up small amounts of milk, often with swallowed air or 'wind'), or regurgitation (non-forcefully bringing up larger amounts from the stomach).


Usually, the cause is not very serious and occurs with feeding problems, dietary intolerance, gastroenteritis or travel sickness.

In babies and toddlers, vomiting may be caused by infections elsewhere in the body, such as the respiratory tract, ears or urine. When the vomiting is prolonged or repeated and the child is very ill, the cause may be more serious, such as an obstruction of the intestines (for example, from pyloric stenosis or intussusception), kidney failure, coeliac disease, or raised pressure inside the skull (intracranial pressure) because of a tumour or bleed.

Vomiting may be a childhood version of migraine. Some children vomit when they are upset, while in older children eating disorders can lead to intentional vomiting.

Who's affected?

Vomiting is common especially in small children, although typical causes vary with age.

The symptoms

Many children are sick just once and almost immediately announce that they are hungry. But the vomiting may be repeated and undigested food seen in the vomit. Worryingly, the vomit may be stained with yellow or green bile when it is severe or there's underlying obstruction of the intestines.

A serious symptom is blood in the vomit, which suggests damage to the delicate lining of the gullet or stomach. Extremely forceful vomiting (projectile vomiting) in the first few weeks of life is typical of pyloric stenosis.


It's important to establish why a child is vomiting and to treat the cause. The child should be gently supported, reassured and encouraged to drink small amounts of water or rehydrating fluid to keep hydrated. In more severe cases, antiemetic (anti-vomiting) drugs and intravenous fluids may be prescribed.

If the vomiting persists or if the child is generally unwell (for example, with fever, rash, diarrhoea, headache, abdominal pain or drowsiness), or seems dehydrated (for example, sunken eyes or fails to pass urine for more than six hours), medical advice should be sought.

By Dr_Trisha-Macnair 01/27/2016 13:15:00

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