Nausea, vomiting, or both can occur with migraine, motion sickness, gastrointestinal infections, medication use, and other factors. Treatment will depend on the cause, but some over-the-counter drugs can help manage symptoms.

Nausea and vomiting are not a stand-alone condition. There are many possible causes of these symptoms, including infections, food poisoning, gallbladder disease, intense pain, surgery, pregnancy, indigestion, and emotional stress.

Vomiting in young children is common. Causes include conditions that may resolve on their own, such as reflux. However, this symptom can also indicate a more severe problem, such as an intestinal obstruction or meningitis.

This article explains some potential causes of nausea and vomiting and what to do if they happen.

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There are many possible causes of nausea and vomiting, including the following:


Nausea and vomiting are common during pregnancy, affecting as many as 70% of pregnant people. People often call this morning sickness, although it can happen at any time of the day.

The symptoms usually start within the first nine weeks of pregnancy and disappear by week 14. However, they may persist throughout the pregnancy.

Severe nausea and vomiting, called hyperemesis gravidarum, affects 0.3% to 10.8% of pregnant people. If there is a risk of dehydration, people may require medical treatment and time in the hospital.

Learn some tips to minimize morning sickness.

Neurologic disorders

According to a 2022 review, the following neurologic conditions may cause nausea and vomiting:

Ear problems

Similarly, conditions that affect the inner ear can cause nausea and vomiting, including:

Gastrointestinal (GI) irritants

Certain health conditions can affect the GI tract, leading to symptoms such as nausea and vomiting. Examples include:

Mental health conditions

Psychiatric conditions that can induce nausea include:


Some types of cancer and cancer treatments can cause nausea and vomiting, including:

Antiemetic medication can help manage nausea in people with cancer.

Cyclical vomiting syndrome

This rare condition usually occurs in children but can also affect adults. The individual will have episodes of nausea and vomiting for no apparent reason. They will then feel well but may have another episode, perhaps a month later.

The cause is unclear, but there may be a link with migraine. Potential triggers of vomiting include:

In children

Potential causes of vomiting in children include:

  • reflux
  • minor intestinal infections
  • lung, urine, or other infections
  • a food allergy or intolerance
  • food poisoning
  • some serious conditions, such as meningitis and appendicitis

Nausea and vomiting can be temporary symptoms that go away on their own. However, they can sometimes indicate a more serious condition.

People should seek immediate medical help if the following symptoms occur:

Young children

Vomiting is common in infants and young children, and it is not always a cause for concern.

However, parents or caregivers should seek medical attention if vomiting continues for more than two days or if the following symptoms are present:

  • signs of dehydration, such as dry lips, sunken eyes, and infrequent urination
  • frequent and forceful vomiting
  • green or greenish-yellow vomit
  • blood in vomit or stools
  • refusing to feed or inability to keep food down
  • any other concerning symptoms

Before taking any treatments for nausea and vomiting, people should speak with a doctor.

The treatment for nausea and vomiting will depend on the cause, but some medications — called antiemetics — can help people manage the symptoms.

There are several classes of antiemetics, which each target different causes, including the following:

Some options are available over the counter. However, if these are not effective, a doctor may prescribe a stronger drug.

If a healthcare professional knows the cause of a person’s nausea and vomiting, they may also prescribe treatment to address the underlying cause. For example, they may suggest immunotherapy for nausea due to autoimmune conditions.

It is not always possible to avoid nausea and vomiting. However, the following tips may help people prevent or manage symptoms:

  • drink plenty of water, taking sips, if necessary, to prevent vomiting
  • drink ginger or peppermint tea
  • eat regular meals and avoid heavy, greasy food
  • let in some fresh, cool air
  • sit upright after eating to avoid reflux
  • avoid tight clothing
  • eat slowly
  • wash the hands frequently to reduce the risk of infections
  • see a doctor if nausea and vomiting are frequent and unexplained

Get more tips on avoiding nausea.

What helps stop vomiting?

People may be able to manage vomiting by getting plenty of rest and taking small sips of water to stay hydrated. Antiemetic medication may also help to relieve nausea.

If vomiting does not stop within two days, people should contact a doctor.

What should someone do after throwing up?

After being sick, a person should wash their hands and get plenty of rest. People should also drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.

What is the main cause of vomiting?

Gastrointestinal infections are a common cause of vomiting. However, there are a wide range of potential causes. Other potential causes include pregnancy, migraine, and medication side effects.

People can speak with a doctor to determine the underlying cause if vomiting does not resolve after two days.

How can a person help someone who is throwing up?

If someone is being sick, a person can help them by ensuring they have plenty of fluids and rest and disinfecting surfaces they have touched or vomited on.

They can also speak with a pharmacist to purchase any appropriate medication for the affected person.

Nausea and vomiting are common symptoms of many diseases and conditions. These symptoms often go away without treatment, but various options can help prevent or manage them.

Doctors may recommend antiemetic medication, such as antihistamines, or suggest lifestyle changes to manage symptoms, such as eating slowly and drinking ginger tea.

Anyone with nausea and vomiting that are severe, persistent, cause dehydration, or occur alongside additional symptoms should see a doctor.