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):
  • Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome
  • Heartburn
  • Low Carbohydrate Diet Consequences
  • Stomach Ulcers
  • West Nile Virus
  • Hepatitis
  • Gastroenteritis
  • Gastritis

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:
pain between shoulder blades
gastritis
recent onset nausea
pale stools
frequent unexplained nausea
high coffee consumption
high cigarette smoke sensitivity
disturbed sleep
having asthma
very frequent stools
regular bicarbonate use
constant bowel movement changes
... 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
Gastritis 94% Confirm
Low Carbohydrate Diet Consequences 22% Unlikely
Hepatitis 14% Unlikely
Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome 1% Ruled out
Heartburn 1% Ruled out
Stomach Ulcers 0% Ruled out
West Nile Virus 0% Ruled out
Gastroenteritis 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.

Ovarian Cysts

There are three different ways in which ovarian cysts can cause vomiting: 1) When an ovarian cyst ruptures, fluid and sometimes blood are released into the ovary or surrounding tissues; 2) In some women the cause can be severe pain from a cyst; 3) Irritation of tissues in the abdomen.

Concerned or curious about your health?  Try The Analyst™
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