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

Nausea and vomiting associated with illness

  • Diabetes: Persons with diabetes may develop nausea because of gastroparesis, a condition in which the stomach fails to empty properly and is likely due to the generalized neuropathy (failure of the nerves in the body to send proper signals to and from the brain) that is a complication of the disease.

People with diabetes can also develop nausea and vomiting should their blood sugars become abnormally high or low (hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia) because the sugar and insulin balance is disturbed.

  • Diseases or illness: Many illnesses associated with the intra-abdominal organs can produce the symptoms of nausea and vomiting. These include digestive organ diseasessuch as:
  • Vomiting as an atypical symptom of another disease: Some illnesses will cause nausea and vomiting, even though there is no direct involvement of the stomach or gastrointestinal tract.
    • Heart attack victims may experience nausea and vomiting as an atypical symptom of angina, especially if the heart attack affects the inferior or lower part of the heart.
    • Lung infections, for example, pneumonia and bronchitis, may also cause nausea and vomiting, especially if the area of lung involved is near the diaphragm, the muscle that separates the chest form the abdomen.
  • Sepsis: An overwhelming body infection spread through the bloodstream may also be associated with nausea and vomiting.
  • Eating disorders: Patients with bulimia will have self-induced vomiting, purging as part of their psychiatric illness
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/22/2016
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