(redirected from vomitus)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Wikipedia.
Related to vomitus: emesis, emetic


ejection of food and other matter from the stomach through the mouth, often preceded by nauseanausea,
sensation of discomfort, or queasiness, in the stomach. It may be caused by irritation of the stomach by food or drugs, unpleasant odors, overeating, fright, or psychological stress. It is usually relieved by vomiting.
..... Click the link for more information.
. The process is initiated by stimulation of the vomiting center of the brain by nerve impulses from the gastrointestinal tract or other part of the body. The vomiting center then sends out nerve impulses that precipitate spasmodic muscular contractions of the stomach wall and downward spasms of the diaphragm. The pressure generated then forces up the contents of the stomach. The vomiting mechanism may be in response to local irritation (diseases or disorders of the gastrointestinal tract, overburdening of the capacity and digestive capabilities of the stomach, ingestion of harmful foods or substances) or result from a metabolic disturbance (as in pregnancy) or from disorders or stimulation of the nervous system (e.g., migraine, motion sickness, infectious disease, brain tumor or injury, disagreeable odors). Vomiting may also be a reflex action to other spasmodic conditions (whooping cough, gagging).



a complex reflex action, during which the stomach contents are involuntarily expulsed through the mouth as a result of the excitation of the vomiting center, located in the medulla oblongata.

During vomiting, the pylorus undergoes a spasm and the cardia of the stomach opens. As a result of antiperistaltic contractions, food travels from the stomach to the esophagus and is expulsed to the outside by the spasmodic and jerky contraction of the respiratory musculature and muscles of the anterior abdominal wall. At the same time, the larynx rises and the epiglottis falls, which causes the glottis to close, thus preventing the vomit from entering the respiratory tract. The vomit is hindered from entering the nasal cavity by the raised soft palate.

Vomiting may be provoked by irritants acting on gastric mucosa, by the direct effect of toxins on the vomiting center, and by the stimulation of receptors, for example, in diseases of the abdominal organs, the brain, and meninges. Psychogenic and conditioned-reflex vomiting is also possible.

Vomiting is generally a defensive act because it helps remove harmful substances from the stomach. However, frequent vomiting, for example, the indomitable vomiting that occurs during pyloristenosis, may result in dehydration and disturbances of mineral metabolism and acid-base equilibrium.

Vomiting is dangerous during alcoholic intoxication and coma and when a patient is recovering from general anesthesia; atony of the epiglottis and soft palate may permit vomit to enter the nasal cavity and upper respiratory tract, which can cause asphyxia.

Vomiting is a specific symptom of many pathological conditions in such animals as carnivores, omnivores, and ruminants.


References in periodicals archive ?
In addition, the administration of muscle relaxants during anesthesia will lessen or defeat the body's natural protective reflexes and allow vomitus to enter the trachea.
Consider surgical causes of vomiting, especially if blood or bile is present in vomitus or stool
vomitus, blood, mucus, or other secretions) or obstructions present in or around the baby's mouth or nostrils.
Often, stomach contents, stools, sputa, vomitus, exudates, and fluids obtained by puncture were also examined (7).
7) GERD patients present with heartburn, regurgitation, dysphagia, and vomitus.
On related topics, CDC now says that Universal Precautions do not apply to feces, nasal secretions, sputum, sweat, tears, urine, or vomitus unless they contain visible blood.
Outbreaks of norovirus infection are considered laboratory confirmed if stool or vomitus specimens from [greater than or equal to] 2 ill persons are positive for norovirus by reverse transcription PCR, enzyme immunoassay, or electron microscopy (6).
Secondary transmission is common, often via aerosols of vomitus, leading to extensive outbreaks in closed settings such as hospitals, hotels, cruise ships and child-care centres.
Most foodborne norovirus outbreaks are the result of direct contamination of food with vomitus or feces or by an ill food handler, immediately following service and consumption (American Medical Association et al.
However, it is now known that normal infants do not choke on their vomitus while sleeping on their backs.