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Underlying causes of vomiting

2-minute read

Common causes of vomiting

Gastroenteritis

One of the most common causes of vomiting in adults is gastroenteritis. This is an infection of the gut usually caused by bacteria or a virus, such as a norovirus. Gastroenteritis also causes diarrhoea. Your immune system will usually fight off the infection after a few days.

Pregnancy

Pregnancy can cause vomiting. Pregnant women are especially likely to vomit from about the sixth to the 14th week. If your morning sickness is worrying you, talk to your doctor or midwife.

Motion sickness

Some people vomit when they are in a moving vehicle. There are many ways you can prevent motion sickness.

Migraine

If you have a migraine, vomiting usually begins at the same time as the throbbing headache and disappears once the headache eases. Your doctor will be able to prescribe medication to help relieve this.

Appendicitis

Appendicitis is a medical emergency. It can cause vomiting, you may also have severe pain in your abdomen and your appendix will need to be removed.

If you are concerned you may have appendicitis you should go immediately to see your doctor or to the emergency department or call an ambulance on triple zero (000).

Labyrinthitis

Labyrinthitis is an inner ear disorder that also causes dizziness and a feeling of spinning.

Your doctor may prescribe medication to relieve your symptoms until it resolves, which may take several weeks.

Other causes of vomiting in adults

The following can also cause vomiting in adults:

Not sure what to do next?

If you are still concerned about your vomiting, check your symptoms with healthdirect’s Symptom Checker to get advice on when to seek medical attention.

The Symptom Checker guides you to the next appropriate healthcare steps, whether it’s self care, talking to a health professional, going to a hospital or calling triple zero (000).

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: July 2019


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