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Reasons for Vomiting

by Ron Kurtus

The act of vomiting or throwing up is an uncomfortable—but amazing—process to help protect a person from serious injury or even death. It typically happens when a person eats or drinks something that the body deems as poisonous.

Sometimes it is a result of toxins created by an illness or disease. There are also situations where vomiting is an unnecessary side-effect to another condition, such as "morning sickness" for a pregnant woman.

Questions you may have include:

This lesson will answer those questions. Health Disclaimer


If poisonous or harmful in your stomach, that material sends warning signals to your brain. The defense mechanism is to immediately eject that poisonous material from the body. This is done through the act of vomiting.

Muscles around the stomach start to contract violently, forcing the poisonous contents up and out. Any other food in the stomach is also ejected. Some may even pass through your nose during the vomiting process. Even if everything in the stomach has been ejected, the vomiting process may still continue. This is called "dry heaves" by some people.

Although it is extremely uncomfortable to throw up, you often feel much better afterwards, especially if you have felt the symptoms of a illness. It is an amazing process to protect your body from harm.

Poison in the stomach

Poison or toxic material may get into the stomach from spoiled food, drinking poison or acid, drinking too much alcohol, allergic reaction, or through an illness.

Spoiled food

Spoiled food may have bacteria that produce harmful toxins. Usually throwing up will rid the body of such toxins. In some cases, toxins from the e coli bacteria get into the system so quickly that the vomiting reaction isn't sufficient to protect against death.

Drinking poison

Certainly drinking some poisonous material can cause serious damage or death. In some cases vomiting helps to rid the body of the poison. In the case of drinking an acid or some caustic liquid, it is better to provide a buffer the neutralize the material than to have the person vomit, which might cause even more damage.


When so much alcohol is consumed that the body cannot process it, the person may start to vomit. Otherwise the person may pass out and could even die from alcohol poisoning.

Allergic reaction

A person who is allergic to certain types of food may throw up, as a result of ingesting that food. One example is if a person is lactic intolerant and drinks some milk or eats some ice cream. That person may then vomit to rid the body of the undesirable material.


A person may become ill or contract a disease in various ways. Some diseases result in toxins within the stomach. In such a case, the person may throw up to help rid the body of those toxins.

Other reasons

There are times when a person will throw up for reasons other than to rid the stomach of poisons or toxins.

One example is when some pregnant women suffer from morning sickness, causing them to throw up upon waking up in the morning. It is typically caused by the pressure of the pregnancy on the stomach, especially when laying down at night. It is not a beneficial reaction and can make the pregnancy very uncomfortable for the women affected by this malady.


Vomiting or throwing up is usually a beneficial process to help protect a person from serious injury or even death. The body reacts quickly and violently to rid the stomach of any harmful material. In some cases, like morning sickness, it is an unfortunate side effect that is not beneficial.

Your body is amazing

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