What is Projectile Vomiting and How to Treat it

Projectile Vomiting

by Mike Burns under CC BY-SA


Most everyone has had an upset stomach at some point. It is also likely that most have had an episode of vomiting as well. Reasons vary greatly for vomiting like the stomach flu, food poisoning, allergic reaction and even nervousness.

Although vomiting is considered a normal body function when the body is in distress of some sort, one type of vomiting goes beyond just the normal stomach flu symptoms. Projectile vomiting is when a person emits vomit very suddenly and with great force. Many times there are no other symptoms accompanying the vomiting and there may not even be any warning.

It can occur in any age of person, infant to adult. The reasons for this type of illness can vary from person to person. It is important that if you or someone you care for is having continuous projectile vomiting that you seek medical help. There could be an underlying reason for the vomiting that could be rectified.

In infants this condition often occurs when there is stomach or bowel obstruction. This can occur when there is a genetic medical issue that may need to be addressed, like pyloric stenosis. It can also happen if the child is not passing or digesting the food it is given. It could signify a possible allergy to the milk or formula it is ingesting.

Whatever the reason, it is vital to take a child with continuous vomiting of this nature to the doctor for evaluation. If an infant or young child would continue in this type of pattern for too long they will lose too much weight and it will greatly affect their health status. Infants and children can dehydrate very quickly causing multiple health concerns.

There have been cases with young children, mostly toddlers, where there is a small object that has been swallowed and is lodged in a place that can cause the vomiting. In this case, there will most likely need to be an x-ray taken to see where the item is lodged and when see what options there are for treatment. As with infants, toddlers can also react to allergens in food or their environment with this type of extreme vomiting.

In adults vomiting of this nature can result from various issues like gastric or duodenal polyps, gallstone obstruction or peptic ulcer disease. Other issues that may come into play are stomach or bowel obstruction and hiatal hernias. There are some adults that have also experienced projectile vomiting in response to an allergy of some sort, either to a food, product or environmental allergen.

As with a child, an adult who experiences this on an ongoing basis needs to be seen by a medical professional for evaluation. The reason needs to be confirmed and then treatment options considered. This type of vomiting can affect your overall health very quickly.

It is best for anyone who is suffering from projectile vomiting that occurs more than just a time or two to make an appointment with their doctor. There are occasions where this type of vomiting can occur with food poisoning and will resolve, but if it continues probably signifies a different problem. Proper evaluation is important.

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