The involuntary emptying of stomach contents through mouth is known as vomiting. Voluntary (forced) vomiting may be opted for some medicinal reasons. But, here we are going to consider involuntary (that cannot be controlled) vomiting, especially after ingestion of food. Nausea along with headache can sometimes precede vomiting but it may not always lead to vomiting. Sometimes, no symptoms are exhibited and vomiting may occur suddenly. Several mild or serious disorders can lead to this situation. This is a type of eating disorder and finding out the exact underlying cause of the disorder helps determine the treatment.
Causes of Vomiting after Eating
- Common Causes: Inadequate sleep, high blood pressure, excessive exposure to heat, high altitude, motion sickness, sea sickness, indigestion, side effects of certain medicines, exposure to chemical toxins, emotional stress or fear, a reaction to certain smell or odor, fever, overeating, etc. may result in vomiting as soon as you consume food.
- Improper Eating Habits: Taking meals too frequently or starvation for a long period, long intervals between two meals, hastily eating and gulping of food, consuming too heavy, fatty meals, eating when not required, eating late at night, may lead to vomiting after meals.
- Life-threatening Causes: Dysfunction of any of the body systems may cause vomiting immediately after intake of food. So, you should consult your doctor immediately if you are vomiting again and again and experiencing constant intestinal pain after eating. Blocked intestine, gallbladder diseases, heart attack, brain injury, gluten intolerance, gastroparesis (delayed gastric emptying due to partial paralysis of the stomach), brain tumor, stomach flu, ulcers, meningitis, appendicitis, migraine headaches, dehydration are some of the causes of vomiting.
- Food Content: Certain ingredients or certain foods which do not suit your body, are not accepted by the digestive system. If such ingredients are present in your food, you are likely to puke after meals. If you are not used to spicy and hot food, consumption of such food can also cause you to throw up.
- Food Poisoning: There are various causes of food poisoning. Bacteria from the contaminated food, improper washing of hands or ingredients, poor hygiene can lead to vomiting.
- Food Allergy: Food allergies lead to discomfort, pain, queasy stomach and nausea after eating. Some people have lactose allergy, some have food-color allergy. Some are allergic to gluten.
- Side Effect of Therapies: People undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy may have to face the problem of vomiting as they consume beverages, snacks or meals during or after the treatment.
- Pregnancy: After having tea, coffee or milk in the morning, a pregnant woman often vomits. During the first trimester, she may often throw up after meals. Nausea, known as 'morning sickness' is the main cause of vomiting during pregnancy.
- Alcohol: Alcohol abuse often leads to vomiting.
Following preventive measures can help avoid frequent vomiting.
- Lemonade, fresh or pickled ginger root, cardamom and mint help get rid of nausea. Chewing any of them after consumption of food helps prevent vomiting.
- Avoid foods that you are allergic to.
- Avoid brushing your teeth, immediately after eating, as it may induce vomiting.
- Avoid congested rooms, riding vehicles, too much of exposure to heat as far as possible.
- Certain over-the-counter medicines are helpful in avoiding vomiting.
- Avoid eating processed food, junk food or food preserved in refrigerator for a long period.
- Eat fresh fruits and fresh vegetables, whole grain food as far as possible.
- Drink cold or ice-cold drinks.
- Do not mix hot and cold foods.
- Avoid fried, acidic, greasy, sweet and fatty foods.
- Eat smaller and more frequent meals.
- Eat slowly, avoid eating late at night.
- Drink beverages slowly.
- Avoid any stressful activity after eating.
- Eat light or bland food if required.
- Avoid solid food until vomiting subsides.
- Herbal tea, green tea can help prevent vomiting.
- Avoid alcohol and tobacco.
- Drink adequate water.
If there are no signs of relief, if you see blood in the vomit, if vomiting is followed by diarrhea, fever, dehydration, headache, confusion, stiff neck, increased heart rate, then you should consult your doctor immediately. As vomiting is not a disease, there cannot be a fixed treatment for vomiting. The doctor would like to know what triggers vomiting, the signs and symptoms, your lifestyle, eating and sleeping habits, etc. You may have to undergo certain tests to find out the exact underlying cause of the disorder. The treatment may vary from person to person, depending upon the cause and the symptoms. Dietary alterations and lifestyle modification can also be suggested by the doctor.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.