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|Other names||Emesis, puking, barfing, heaving, throwing up|
|Miracle of Marco Spagnolo by Giorgio Bonola (Quadroni of St. Charles)|
Vomiting is the involuntary, forceful expulsion of the contents of one's stomach through the mouth and sometimes the nose.
The stomach is a muscular, hollow organ in the gastrointestinal tract of humans and many other animals, including several invertebrates. The stomach has a dilated structure and functions as a vital digestive organ. In the digestive system the stomach is involved in the second phase of digestion, following chewing. It performs a chemical breakdown due to enzymes and hydrochloric acid.
In animal anatomy, the mouth, also known as the oral cavity, buccal cavity, or in Latin cavum oris, is the opening through which many animals take in food and issue vocal sounds. It is also the cavity lying at the upper end of the alimentary canal, bounded on the outside by the lips and inside by the pharynx and containing in higher vertebrates the tongue and teeth. This cavity is also known as the buccal cavity, from the Latin bucca ("cheek").
The human nose is the most protruding part of the face that bears the nostrils and is the first organ of the respiratory system. The nose is also the principal organ in the olfactory system. The shape of the nose is determined by the nasal bones and the nasal cartilages, including the nasal septum which separates the nostrils and divides the nasal cavity into two. On average the nose of a male is larger than that of a female.
Vomiting can be caused by a wide variety of conditions; it may present as a specific response to ailments like gastritis or poisoning, or as a non-specific sequela of disorders ranging from brain tumors and elevated intracranial pressure to overexposure to ionizing radiation. The feeling that one is about to vomit is called nausea, which often precedes, but does not always lead to, vomiting. Antiemetics are sometimes necessary to suppress nausea and vomiting. In severe cases, where dehydration develops, intravenous fluid may be required. Self-induced vomiting can be a component of an eating disorder, such as bulimia nervosa, and is itself now an eating disorder on its own, purging disorder.
Gastritis is inflammation of the lining of the stomach. It may occur as a short episode or may be of a long duration. There may be no symptoms but, when symptoms are present, the most common is upper abdominal pain. Other possible symptoms include nausea and vomiting, bloating, loss of appetite and heartburn. Complications may include bleeding, stomach ulcers, and stomach tumors. When due to autoimmune problems, low red blood cells due to not enough vitamin B12 may occur, a condition known as pernicious anemia.
In biology, poisons are substances that cause disturbances in organisms, usually by chemical reaction or other activity on the molecular scale, when an organism absorbs a sufficient quantity.
A sequela is a pathological condition resulting from a disease, injury, therapy, or other trauma. Typically, a sequela is a chronic condition that is a complication which follows a more acute condition. It is different from, but is a consequence of, the first condition. Timewise, a sequela contrasts with a late effect, where there is a period, sometimes as long as several decades, between the resolution of the initial condition and the appearance of the late effect.
Vomiting is different from regurgitation, although the two terms are often used interchangeably. Regurgitation is the return of undigested food back up the esophagus to the mouth, without the force and displeasure associated with vomiting. The causes of vomiting and regurgitation are generally different.
Regurgitation is the expulsion of material from the pharynx, or esophagus, usually characterized by the presence of undigested food or blood.
The esophagus or oesophagus, commonly known as the food pipe or gullet, is an organ in vertebrates through which food passes, aided by peristaltic contractions, from the pharynx to the stomach. The esophagus is a fibromuscular tube, about 25 centimetres long in adults, which travels behind the trachea and heart, passes through the diaphragm and empties into the uppermost region of the stomach. During swallowing, the epiglottis tilts backwards to prevent food from going down the larynx and lungs. The word oesophagus is the Greek word οἰσοφάγος oisophagos, meaning "gullet".
Vomiting can be dangerous if the gastric content enters the respiratory tract. Under normal circumstances the gag reflex and coughing prevent this from occurring; however, these protective reflexes are compromised in persons under the influences of certain substances such as alcohol or anesthesia. The individual may choke and asphyxiate or suffer an aspiration pneumonia.[ citation needed ]
In humans, the respiratory tract is the part of the anatomy of the respiratory system involved with the process of respiration. Air is breathed in through the nose or the mouth. In the nasal cavity, a layer of mucous membrane acts as a filter and traps pollutants and other harmful substances found in the air. Next, air moves into the pharynx, a passage that contains the intersection between the oesophagus and the larynx. The opening of the larynx has a special flap of cartilage, the epiglottis, that opens to allow air to pass through but closes to prevent food from moving into the airway.
Ethanol is a chemical compound, a simple alcohol with the chemical formula C
6O. Its formula can be also written as CH
2−OH or C
5OH, and is often abbreviated as EtOH. Ethanol is a volatile, flammable, colorless liquid with a slight characteristic odor. It is a psychoactive substance and is the principal type of alcohol found in alcoholic drinks.
Anesthesia or anaesthesia is a state of controlled, temporary loss of sensation or awareness that is induced for medical purposes. It may include analgesia, paralysis, amnesia, or unconsciousness. A patient under the effects of anesthetic drugs is referred to as being anesthetized.
Prolonged and excessive vomiting depletes the body of water (dehydration), and may alter the electrolyte status. Gastric vomiting leads to the loss of acid (protons) and chloride directly. Combined with the resulting alkaline tide, this leads to hypochloremic metabolic alkalosis (low chloride levels together with high HCO−
3 and CO
2 and increased blood pH) and often hypokalemia (potassium depletion). The hypokalemia is an indirect result of the kidney compensating for the loss of acid. With the loss of intake of food the individual may eventually become cachectic. A less frequent occurrence results from a vomiting of intestinal contents, including bile acids and HCO−
3, which can cause metabolic acidosis.[ citation needed ]
Alkaline tide refers to a condition, normally encountered after eating a meal, where during the production of hydrochloric acid by parietal cells in the stomach, the parietal cells secrete bicarbonate ions across their basolateral membranes and into the blood, causing a temporary increase in pH.
Hypochloremia is an electrolyte disturbance in which there is an abnormally low level of the chloride ion in the blood. The normal serum range for chloride is 97 to 107 mEq/L.
Metabolic alkalosis is a metabolic condition in which the pH of tissue is elevated beyond the normal range (7.35–7.45). This is the result of decreased hydrogen ion concentration, leading to increased bicarbonate, or alternatively a direct result of increased bicarbonate concentrations. The condition typically cannot last long if the kidneys are functioning properly.
Repeated or profuse vomiting may cause erosions to the esophagus or small tears in the esophageal mucosa (Mallory–Weiss tear). This may become apparent if fresh red blood is mixed with vomit after several episodes.[ citation needed ]
Mallory–Weiss syndrome or gastro-esophageal laceration syndrome refers to bleeding from a laceration in the mucosa at the junction of the stomach and esophagus. This is usually caused by severe vomiting because of alcoholism or bulimia, but can be caused by any conditions which causes violent vomiting and retching such as food poisoning. The syndrome presents with hematemesis. The laceration is sometimes referred to as a Mallory-Weiss tear.
Recurrent vomiting, such as observed in bulimia nervosa, may lead to destruction of the tooth enamel due to the acidity of the vomit. Digestive enzymes can also have a negative effect on oral health, by degrading the tissue of the gums.[ citation needed ]
Receptors on the floor of the fourth ventricle of the brain represent a chemoreceptor trigger zone, known as the area postrema, stimulation of which can lead to vomiting. The area postrema is a circumventricular organ and as such lies outside the blood–brain barrier; it can therefore be stimulated by blood-borne drugs that can stimulate vomiting or inhibit it.
There are various sources of input to the vomiting center:
The vomiting act encompasses three types of outputs initiated by the chemoreceptor trigger zone: Motor, parasympathetic nervous system (PNS), and sympathetic nervous system (SNS). They are as follows:[ citation needed ]
The neurotransmitters that regulate vomiting are poorly understood, but inhibitors of dopamine, histamine, and serotonin are all used to suppress vomiting, suggesting that these play a role in the initiation or maintenance of a vomiting cycle. Vasopressin and neurokinin may also participate.[ citation needed ]
The vomiting act has two phases. In the retching phase, the abdominal muscles undergo a few rounds of coordinated contractions together with the diaphragm and the muscles used in respiratory inspiration. For this reason, an individual may confuse this phase with an episode of violent hiccups. In this retching phase, nothing has yet been expelled. In the next phase, also termed the expulsive phase, intense pressure is formed in the stomach brought about by enormous shifts in both the diaphragm and the abdomen. These shifts are, in essence, vigorous contractions of these muscles that last for extended periods of time - much longer than a normal period of muscular contraction. The pressure is then suddenly released when the upper esophageal sphincter relaxes resulting in the expulsion of gastric contents. Individuals who do not regularly exercise their abdominal muscles may experience pain in those muscles for a few days. The relief of pressure and the release of endorphins into the bloodstream after the expulsion causes the vomiter to feel better.[ citation needed ]
Gastric secretions and likewise vomit are highly acidic. Recent food intake appears in the gastric vomit. Irrespective of the content, vomit tends to be malodorous.[ citation needed ]
The content of the vomitus (vomit) may be of medical interest. Fresh blood in the vomit is termed hematemesis ("blood vomiting"). Altered blood bears resemblance to coffee grounds (as the iron in the blood is oxidized) and, when this matter is identified, the term coffee-ground vomiting is used. Bile can enter the vomit during subsequent heaves due to duodenal contraction if the vomiting is severe. Fecal vomiting is often a consequence of intestinal obstruction or a gastrocolic fistula and is treated as a warning sign of this potentially serious problem (signum mali ominis).[ citation needed ]
If the vomiting reflex continues for an extended period with no appreciable vomitus, the condition is known as non-productive emesis or "dry heaves", which can be painful and debilitating.[ citation needed ]
Vomiting may be due to a large number of causes, and protracted vomiting has a long differential diagnosis.[ citation needed ]
Causes in the digestive tract
Causes in the sensory system:[ citation needed ]
Causes in the brain:[ citation needed ]
Metabolic disturbances (these may irritate both the stomach and the parts of the brain that coordinate vomiting):[ citation needed ]
Pregnancy:[ citation needed ]
Drug reaction (vomiting may occur as an acute somatic response to):[ citation needed ]
Illness (sometimes colloquially known as "stomach flu"—a broad name that refers to gastric inflammation caused by a range of viruses and bacteria):[ citation needed ]
An emetic, such as syrup of ipecac, is a substance that induces vomiting when administered orally or by injection. An emetic is used medically when a substance has been ingested and must be expelled from the body immediately (for this reason, many toxic and easily digestible products such as rat poison contain an emetic). Inducing vomiting can remove the substance before it is absorbed into the body. Ipecac abuse can cause detrimental health effects.[ citation needed ]
Salt water and mustard water have been used since ancient times as emetics.Care must be taken with salt, as excessive intake can potentially be harmful.
Copper sulfate was also used in the past as an emetic.It is now considered too toxic for this use.
Hydrogen peroxide is used as an emetic in veterinary practice.
It is quite common that, when one person vomits, others nearby become nauseated, particularly when smelling the vomit of others, often to the point of vomiting themselves. It is believed that this is an evolved trait among primates. Many primates in the wild tend to browse for food in small groups. Should one member of the party react adversely to some ingested food, it may be advantageous (in a survival sense) for other members of the party to also vomit. This tendency in human populations has been observed at drinking parties, where excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages may cause a number of party members to vomit nearly simultaneously, this being triggered by the initial vomiting of a single member of the party. This phenomenon has been touched on in popular culture: notorious instances appear in the films Monty Python's The Meaning of Life (1983) and Stand By Me (1986).
Intense vomiting in ayahuasca ceremonies is a common phenomenon. However, people who experience "la purga" after drinking ayahuasca, in general, regard the practice as both a physical and spiritual cleanse and often come to welcome it.It has been suggested that the consistent emetic effects of ayahuasca—in addition to its many other therapeutic properties—was of medicinal benefit to indigenous peoples of the Amazon, in helping to clear parasites from the gastrointestinal system.
There have also been documented cases of a single ill and vomiting individual inadvertently causing others to vomit, when they are especially fearful of also becoming ill, through a form of mass hysteria.[ citation needed ]
Most people try to contain their vomit by vomiting into a sink, toilet, or trash can, as vomit is difficult and unpleasant to clean. On airplanes and boats, special bags are supplied for sick passengers to vomit into. A special disposable bag (leakproof, puncture-resistant, odorless) containing absorbent material that solidifies the vomit quickly is also available, making it convenient and safe to store until there is an opportunity to dispose of it conveniently.[ citation needed ]
People who vomit chronically (e.g., as part of an eating disorder such as bulimia nervosa) may devise various ways to hide this disorder.[ citation needed ]
An online study of people's responses to "horrible sounds" found vomiting "the most disgusting". Professor Trevor Cox of the University of Salford's Acoustic Research Centre said that "We are pre-programmed to be repulsed by horrible things such as vomiting, as it is fundamental to staying alive to avoid nasty stuff." It is thought that disgust is triggered by the sound of vomiting to protect those nearby from possibly diseased food.
An antiemetic is a drug that is effective against vomiting and nausea. Antiemetics are typically used to treat motion sickness and the side effects of medications such as opioids and chemotherapy.[ citation needed ]
Antiemetics act by inhibiting the receptor sites associated with emesis. Hence, anticholinergics, antihistamines, dopamine antagonists, serotonin antagonists, and cannabinoids are used as antiemetics.
Evidence to support the use of antiemetics for nausea and vomiting among adults in the emergency department is poor.It is unclear if any medication is better than another or better than no active treatment.
Nausea and/or vomiting are the main complaints in 1.6% of visits to family physicians in Australia.
Herodotus, writing on the culture of the ancient Persians and highlighting the differences with those of the Greeks, notes that to vomit in the presence of others is prohibited among Persians.
An antiemetic is a drug that is effective against vomiting and nausea. Antiemetics are typically used to treat motion sickness and the side effects of opioid analgesics, general anaesthetics, and chemotherapy directed against cancer. They may be used for severe cases of gastroenteritis, especially if the patient is dehydrated.
Bulimia nervosa, also known as simply bulimia, is an eating disorder characterized by binge eating followed by purging. Binge eating refers to eating a large amount of food in a short amount of time. Purging refers to the attempts to get rid of the food consumed. This may be done by vomiting or taking laxatives. Other efforts to lose weight may include the use of diuretics, stimulants, water fasting, or excessive exercise. Most people with bulimia are at a normal weight. The forcing of vomiting may result in thickened skin on the knuckles and breakdown of the teeth. Bulimia is frequently associated with other mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, and problems with drugs or alcohol. There is also a higher risk of suicide and self-harm.
Esophagitis is a disease characterized by inflammation of the esophagus. The esophagus is a tube composed of a mucosal lining, and longitudinal and circular smooth muscle fibers. It connects the pharynx to the stomach; swallowed food and liquids normally pass through it.
Perphenazine is a typical antipsychotic drug. Chemically, it is classified as a piperazinyl phenothiazine. Originally marketed in the US as Trilafon, it has been in clinical use for decades.
Metoclopramide is a medication used mostly for stomach and esophageal problems. It is commonly used to treat and prevent nausea and vomiting, to help with emptying of the stomach in people with delayed stomach emptying, and to help with gastroesophageal reflux disease. It is also used to treat migraine headaches.
Syrup of ipecac, commonly referred to as ipecac, is a drug that was once widely used as an expectorant and a rapid-acting emetic. It is obtained from the dried rhizome and roots of Carapichea ipecacuanha from which it derives its name.
The chemoreceptor trigger zone (CTZ) is an area of the medulla oblongata that receives inputs from blood-borne drugs or hormones, and communicates with other structures in the vomiting center to initiate vomiting. The CTZ is located within the area postrema, which is on the floor of the fourth ventricle and is outside of the blood–brain barrier. It is also part of the vomiting center itself. The neurotransmitters implicated in the control of nausea and vomiting include acetylcholine, dopamine, histamine, substance P, and serotonin. There are also opioid receptors present, which may be involved in the mechanism by which opiates cause nausea and vomiting. The blood–brain barrier is not as developed here; therefore, drugs such as dopamine which cannot normally enter the CNS may still stimulate the CTZ.
Rumination syndrome, or Merycism, is an under-diagnosed chronic motility disorder characterized by effortless regurgitation of most meals following consumption, due to the involuntary contraction of the muscles around the abdomen. There is no retching, nausea, heartburn, odour, or abdominal pain associated with the regurgitation, as there is with typical vomiting. The disorder has been historically documented as affecting only infants, young children, and people with cognitive disabilities . Today it is being diagnosed in increasing numbers of otherwise healthy adolescents and adults, though there is a lack of awareness of the condition by doctors, patients and the general public.
The area postrema is a structure in the medulla oblongata in the brainstem that controls vomiting. Its location in the brain also allows it to play a vital role in the control of autonomic functions by the central nervous system. It is one of the circumventricular organs, enabling the dual role of being a sensor for circulating chemical messengers in the blood, as well as integrating neural inputs in the brainstem.
The consumption of grapes and raisins presents a potential health threat to dogs. Their toxicity to dogs can cause the animal to develop acute kidney injury with anuria. The phenomenon was first identified by the Animal Poison Control Center (APCC), run by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). Approximately 140 cases were seen by the APCC in the one year from April 2003 to April 2004, with 50 developing symptoms and seven dying.
The 5-HT3 antagonists, informally known as "setrons", are a class of drugs that act as receptor antagonists at the 5-HT3 receptor, a subtype of serotonin receptor found in terminals of the vagus nerve and in certain areas of the brain. With the notable exceptions of alosetron and cilansetron, which are used in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome, all 5-HT3 antagonists are antiemetics, used in the prevention and treatment of nausea and vomiting. They are particularly effective in controlling the nausea and vomiting produced by cancer chemotherapy and are considered the gold standard for this purpose.
Retching is the reverse movement (retroperistalsis) of the stomach and esophagus without vomiting. It can be caused by bad smell or choking, or by withdrawal from some medications after vomiting stops. Retching can also occur as a result of an emotional response or from stress, which produces the same physical reaction. The function is thought to be mixing gastric contents with intestinal refluxate in order to buffer the former and give it momentum in preparation of vomiting. Treatments include medication and correction of the fluid and electrolyte balance.
Gastroparesis, also called delayed gastric emptying, is a medical disorder consisting of weak muscular contractions (peristalsis) of the stomach, resulting in food and liquid remaining in the stomach for a prolonged period of time. Stomach contents thus exit more slowly into the duodenum of the digestive tract.
Biliary reflux, bile reflux or duodenogastric reflux is a condition that occurs when bile flows upward (refluxes) from the duodenum into the stomach and esophagus.
Stomach diseases include gastritis, gastroparesis, diarrhea, Crohn's disease and various cancers.
Nausea is an unpleasant, diffuse sensation of unease and discomfort, often perceived as an urge to vomit. While not painful, it can be a debilitating symptom if prolonged, and has been described as placing discomfort on the chest, upper abdomen, or back of the throat.
Dazopride (AHR-5531) is an antiemetic and gastroprokinetic agent of the benzamide class which was never marketed. It acts as a 5-HT3 receptor antagonist and 5-HT4 receptor agonist. In addition to its gastrointestinal effects, dazopride facilitates learning and memory in mice.
Chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV) is a common side-effect of many cancer treatments. Nausea and vomiting are two of the most feared cancer treatment-related side effects for cancer patients and their families. In 1983, Coates et al. found that patients receiving chemotherapy ranked nausea and vomiting as the first and second most severe side effects, respectively. Up to 20% of patients receiving highly emetogenic agents in this era postponed, or even refused, potentially curative treatments. Since the 1990s, several novel classes of antiemetics have been developed and commercialized, becoming a nearly universal standard in chemotherapy regimens, and helping to better manage these symptoms in a large portion of patients. Efficient mediation of these unpleasant and sometimes crippling symptoms results in increased quality of life for the patient, and better overall health of the patient, and, due to better patient tolerance, more effective treatment cycles.
Cancer and nausea are associated in about fifty percent of people affected by cancer. This may be as a result of the cancer itself, or as an effect of the treatment such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or other medication such as opiates used for pain relief. About 70 to 80% of people undergoing chemotherapy experience nausea or vomiting. Nausea and vomiting may also occur in people not receiving treatment, often as a result of the disease involving the gastrointestinal tract, electrolyte imbalance, or as a result of anxiety. Nausea and vomiting may be experienced as the most unpleasant side effects of cytotoxic drugs and may result in patients delaying or refusing further radiotherapy or chemotherapy.
A lower proportion of NCG/WS patients (from 30% to 50%) complain of upper gastrointestinal tract manifestations, e.g. vomiting, nausea, gastroesophageal reflux disease, aerophagia and aphthous stomatitis. (NCG/WS: Non-coeliac gluten/wheat sensitivity)
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