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):
  • Rapid Stomach Emptying
  • Stomach Ulcers
  • Low Carbohydrate Diet Consequences
  • Heartburn
  • Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma
  • Ectopic Pregnancy
  • Gastroenteritis
  • 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:
swollen axillary nodes
flatulence
history of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma
ovarian cysts
using NSAIDs
magnesium-based antacid use
vomiting for 1-3 months
recent onset vomiting
significant abdominal pain
significant meal-induced pain
abdominal pain reduced by eating
disturbed sleep
... and more than 80 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
Gastroenteritis 96% Confirm
Heartburn 25% Unlikely
Rapid Stomach Emptying 16% Unlikely
Low Carbohydrate Diet Consequences 0% Ruled out
Stomach Ulcers 0% Ruled out
Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma 0% Ruled out
Ovarian Cysts 0% Ruled out
Ectopic Pregnancy 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.

Concerned or curious about your health?  Try The Analyst™
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