Unexplained Vomiting

What Causes Unexplained Vomiting?

Unexplained vomiting can have various causes, ranging in severity from 'minor' to 'generally fatal'.  Finding the true cause means ruling out or confirming each possibility – in other words, diagnosis.

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Diagnosis is usually a complex process due to the sheer number of possible causes and related symptoms.  In order to diagnose unexplained vomiting, we could:

  • Research the topic
  • Find a doctor with the time
  • Use a diagnostic computer system.
The process is the same, whichever method is used.

Step 1: List all Possible Causes

We begin by identifying the disease conditions which have "unexplained vomiting" as a symptom.  Here are eight of many possibilities (more below):
  • Chronic Renal Insufficiency
  • Stomach Ulcers
  • Overconsumption
  • Zinc Toxicity
  • Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma
  • Food Poisoning
  • Hepatitis
  • Ovarian Cysts

Step 2: Build a Symptom Checklist

We then identify all possible symptoms and risk factors of each possible cause, and check the ones that apply:
frequent aspirin use
trace amounts of occult blood
history of herbicide exposure
regular postprandial somnolence
regular unexplained nausea
stomach ulcers
elevated eosinophil count
meals worsen epigastric pain
high cigarette smoke sensitivity
severe right iliac pain
pale fingernails
history of copper supplementation
... and more than 70 others

Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause

A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of unexplained vomiting:
Cause Probability Status
Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma 95% Confirm
Ovarian Cysts 28% Unlikely
Overconsumption 18% Unlikely
Chronic Renal Insufficiency 0% Ruled out
Stomach Ulcers 0% Ruled out
Food Poisoning 0% Ruled out
Hepatitis 0% Ruled out
Zinc Toxicity 0% Ruled out
* This is a simple example to illustrate the process

Arriving at a Correct Diagnosis

The Analyst™ is our online diagnosis tool that learns all about you through a straightforward process of multi-level questioning, providing diagnosis at the end.

In the Gastrointestinal Symptoms section of the questionnaire, The Analyst™ will ask the following question about unexplained vomiting:
Approximately how often do you suffer from unexplained vomiting? Do not include vomiting that has an obvious cause, for example overeating or drinking too much alcohol.
Possible responses:
→ Don't know
→ Never / very rarely
→ Occasionally - a few times per year
→ Regularly - a few times per month
→ Often - several times per week
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate no unexplained vomiting, occasional unexplained vomiting, regular unexplained vomiting or frequent unexplained vomiting, The Analyst™ will consider possibilities such as:
Gastric/Peptic/Duodenal Ulcers

Bleeding ulcers may cause nausea and vomiting of acidified blood resembling "coffee grounds" material.

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