- Vomiting is the forceful expulsion of gastric contents through the mouth.
- A prominent feature of many disorders of infancy and childhood
- Often the only presenting symptom
- Regurgitation is defined as small, effortless mouthfuls of food or stomach contents.
- Retching is contraction of the abdominal musculature against a closed glottis, restricting expulsion of stomach contents (also referred to as “dry heaves”).
Vomiting may be indicative of a number of different physiologic pathways, including as:
- A defense mechanism to expel ingested toxins
- An abnormality of, or damage to, the postrema area of the brain (a.k.a. the chemoreceptor trigger zone or vomiting center), which is located at the base of the 4th ventricle
- A result of intestinal obstruction leading to bowel dilation
- A reaction to chronic gastrointestinal mucosal disease
- A result of a generalized metabolic disease
- A sequela of increased intracranial pressure
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