Problems Associated With Excessive Vomiting

Vomiting is an unpleasant experience, and excessive vomiting is something we don't even want to think about. Whether it's called vomiting, throwing up, barfing, or one or two other commonly used terms, when we vomit we are expelling the contents of our stomach up through the esophagus, into the throat, and out our mouth and sometimes our nose.

Vomiting is often a good thing in that it may empty the stomach of a harmful poison or toxin that has been ingested. Since vomit usually contains a great deal of stomach acid, it is potentially harmful should it be aspirated into the lungs. This is one of the dangers of excessive vomiting. The more we vomit or the more often we vomit, the greater the chance is of getting a harmful substance into the lungs.

Airways Shut Down - Fortunately when we vomit, a number of things happen in the body somewhat automatically. Some muscles relax and others contract. Some openings, like the airway into the lungs, close down, until the contents of the vomit have safely passed by. The fact that the airways close automatically when we vomit usually protects us from respiratory problems. This is of particular importance as in the case where fecal matter from the intestines is present, not a common situation, but still possible. In such a case, vomit entering the lungs would contain a high concentration of bacteria which, while harmless in the intestines, could do a great deal of harm in the lungs. Excessive vomiting, when fecal matter has backed up into the stomach could give rise to a potentially dangerous situation.

Dehydration and Mineral Loss - The other possible danger presented by excessive vomiting is the loss of fluids and essential minerals. The situation is similar to that of suffering from excessive diarrhea. Not only can the body become dehydrated, but minerals, essential to the health of body tissues, are expelled before they can enter the bloodstream and from there enter cellular structures where they are needed. Of particular concern would be the loss of chlorides, potassium, and the depletion of electrolytes.

Excessive vomiting can sometimes damage the esophagus, by causing small tears, and can even affect dental health, as the acid in vomit is strong enough to destroy tooth enamel, and enzymes in the vomit can harm the tissues of the mouth and gums.

Various Causes - Although it sounds somewhat trite, those things that cause excessive vomiting can be an excessive or prolonged exposure to the same things that cause a single episode. Digestive tract disorders, such as gastritis and gastroenteritis, if not treated, can result in prolonged or excessive vomiting. Our senses sometimes contribute to vomiting, such as when we become excessively dizzy. Certain sensory stimulation, if prolonged, can cause repeated and excessive vomiting, seasickness of example. Adrenal insufficiencies, and both hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia can lead to bouts of excessive vomiting. Pregnant women are more apt to experience vomiting than are those who are not pregnant, though excessive vomiting is seldom the case.

Excessive? See Your Doctor - The list of possible causes of vomiting is so long in fact, it's a wonder we don't all suffer from excessive vomiting. Most of us experience such an episode maybe once every few years, or less once we've learned to control our drinking habits. Still, it's an experience we never look forward too, even though in nearly all instances, it's completely harmless. We even feel better when it's over and done with. Should you suddenly experience frequent or excessive vomiting however, make a bee line to your doctor. You'll need to know if there's an underlying condition that requires attention, and you certainly don't want excessive vomiting to create respiratory problems, dehydration, or a severe loss in minerals or electrolytes.