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Uncontrollable vomiting right after or during eating or drinking anything is fairly rare, but it may become a serious health concern. We'll address some of the conditions that may cause such an unpleasant disorder here.

Food Poisoning And Foodborne Illnesses

Food poisoning is a very common illness that occurs as a result of consuming contaminated food or water.

The food and beverages can contain harmful bacteria, viruses, and even certain parasites that produce harmful toxins, making the food unfit and dangerous for consumption. Contamination may occur at the handling, preparation, cooking or storing stage. Symptoms usually appear within hours, and include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea accompanied with abdominal discomfort.

In order to confirm whether the symptoms are a result of food poisoning, the doctor may ask for a detailed history: how long the symptoms have been occurring, their severity, foods eaten recently. A physical exam will follow. Blood tests and stool cultures will confirm the causative agent responsible for the illness for specifying treatment.

H. Pylori Infection

H. pylori infection is an infection of the stomach. It is caused by the bacterium Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), and is one of the primary causes of peptic ulcers. There are often no signs or symptoms and the infection remains unnoticed.

However, if symptoms do begin to appear, certain tests may be conducted to confirm H. pylori infection. A blood test is usually performed to reveal any existing or previous signs of such an infection.

A urease breath test is a more specific test in which a pill, liquid or pudding is swallowed that has been labeled with carbon molecules. In the presence of H. pylori, carbon is released from the breakdown of that substance in the body, and its presence in the breath can be determined using a special device. However, certain medicines and compounds may interfere with the outcome of this test.

To look for specific antigens produced by H. pylori a stool culture may be done. A more invasive approach is to perform a scope test; an endoscopy to view any irregularities in the upper digestive tract and to remove any suspicious tissues for biopsy.

Psychological Disorders

Apart from infections and toxins, vomiting may also be caused by direct effects on the vomiting center of the brain. This is why vomiting is often accompanied by severe headaches, and may occur as a result of inner ear infections and certain potent medications. Some of these conditions include:

  • Bulimia nervosa - a psychological disorder that involves binge eating and then intentionally making oneself sick enough to vomit (self-induced vomiting). Treatments include therapeutic interventions, medication and self-help measures.
  • Rumination disorder (Merycism) - often occurs in infants who have some degree of mental retardation. Previously eaten food is deliberately brought back into the mouth and spat out or re-swallowed.
  • Cyclic vomiting syndrome - includes conventional episodes of severe nausea and vomiting in otherwise healthy patients. Anti-migraine therapy and a low dose of tricyclic antidepressant treatment have been found to be effective in treating this condition.
  • Functional vomiting - usually rare and presents with more frequent episodes of vomiting. However, it should be distinguished from rumination disorder by taking a complete ad detailed medical history.

Severe Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

GERD is characterized as a chronic digestive disease. It involves the backwash or reflux of the stomach acids, and in some cases even its contents, into the esophagus. This causes severe irritation of the esophageal lining and may even cause nausea and vomiting.

Treatment for GERD depends on the severity of the symptoms. Tests include observing the amount of acid in the esophagus (ambulatory acid (pH) probe tests), an X-ray of the upper digestive tract, an endoscopy and esophageal motility testing (manometry) to record the movement and pressure in the esophagus.

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