Nausea and Vomiting (cont.)

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Central causes of nausea and vomiting

  • Headache: especially migraine, is commonly associated with nausea and vomiting.
  • Inner ear: Motion sickness, labyrinthitis, benign positional vertigo, or Meniere's disease
  • Increased intracranial pressure: Any illness or injury that increases the pressure within the skull can cause vomiting.
    • Brain swelling due to trauma (includes bleeding within the brain)
    • Infection (meningitis or encephalitis)
    • Tumors (benign or malignant)
    • Abnormal electrolyte concentrations in the bloodstream and associated water imbalance
    • Concussion, patients with head injuries do not have to have detectable bleeding in the brain or brain swelling to have symptoms of brain irritation, which can include headache, nausea, vomiting, changes in vision, confusion, difficulty concentrating, difficulty sleeping, among other symptoms.
  • Noxious stimulus: Certain smells or sounds can cause centrally mediated nausea and vomiting that originates in the brain. Whether it is the pain of a broken bone or the emotional shock of observing an event, vasovagal events can cause significant symptoms. In a vasovagal episode, the vagus nerve (one of the nerves that helps control basic body functions like heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure) is overly stimulated can cause the heart rate to slow and blood vessels to dilate. This decreases the blood flow to the brain and can cause fainting, known as a syncopal episode.
  • Heat related illness: For example heat exhaustion, extreme sunburn, or dehydration
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/9/2014

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