Nausea and Vomiting

  • Medical Author:
    Benjamin Wedro, MD, FACEP, FAAEM

    Dr. Ben Wedro practices emergency medicine at Gundersen Clinic, a regional trauma center in La Crosse, Wisconsin. His background includes undergraduate and medical studies at the University of Alberta, a Family Practice internship at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario and residency training in Emergency Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

woman with abdominal pain

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, and difficulty sleeping.
  • Noxious stimulae: 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 and 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 2/22/2016
Tummy Trouble Quiz: Test Your IQ of Digestive Diseases

Subscribe to MedicineNet's Newsletters

Get the latest health and medical information delivered direct to your inbox!

By clicking Submit, I agree to the MedicineNet's Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet's subscriptions at any time.

VIEW PATIENT COMMENTS
  • Nausea And Vomiting - Experience

    Please describe your experience with nausea and vomiting.

    Post View 29 Comments
  • Nausea and Vomiting - Causes

    What was the cause of your nausea and vomiting?

    Post View 16 Comments
  • Nausea and Vomiting - Medical Treatments

    What were your treatments of nausea and vomiting?

    Post View 3 Comments

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors