Vomiting is the involuntary expulsion or the forceful discharge of contents in your stomach through your mouth. It can either be a one-time event that occurred because you ate something unhealthy and that hasn’t settled right in your belly or it could be a symptom of an underlying ailment.
While vomiting isn’t a disease, there is every chance that you could end up being severely dehydrated if it happens continuously. Such a state of severe dehydration can take a turn for the worse if you leave it untreated.
Can Dehydration Really Cause Vomiting?
You can end up puking because of a number of reasons. The most common causes are stomach infection, motion sickness, food poisoning, and overeating. At times, vomiting may also point to the fact that you have serious medical issues like concussion, encephalitis, meningitis, bowel obstruction, appendicitis, migraine headache, or brain tumor.
However, dehydration isn’t one of them. There is no scientific evidence to prove that dehydration can lead to vomiting. On the contrary, you can actually end up being dehydrated because of vomiting.
When your body loses more liquid than what it takes in, you can get dehydrated. Vomiting, diarrhea, excess urination, profuse sweating, and lack of fluid intake are some of the major causes of dehydration.
When Can Vomiting Lead To Dehydration?
There are a host of medical conditions that have the potential to cause rapid and continued fluid loss eventually leading to dehydration. A prolonged bout of vomiting can surely cause you to get dehydrated.
Viral gastroenteritis, also known as stomach flu, often results in projectile vomiting and watery diarrhea. The cause for being so sick can be because of different viruses. When you persistently vomit, you lose plenty of fluids. As a result of this continuous fluid loss, dehydration may follow.1
In such a scenario, it is absolutely important that you drink more water to replenish all those body fluids that were lost before. By drinking more water than usual, you’ll replace the fluids lost because of vomiting and diarrhea. The best step forward would be to have any kind of soup or fruit juice.
Pregnant women need to be extra cautious when it comes to staying hydrated! Morning sickness can leave you feeling dehydrated for days. You can lose fluids and electrolytes when you puke. This often results in weight loss, electrolyte imbalance, and nutritional disturbances. At such a stage, you would need to be hospitalized.2
“Vomiting is a common experience during pregnancy, affecting 70–80% of all pregnant women. The feeling to puke is an unpleasant symptom of morning sickness, which leads to dehydration”
To avoid such complications during pregnancy, all you need to do is eat small meals and drink plenty of fluids, such as water. Ginger supplements are a good bet to reduce nausea and vomiting. You can also try your hand at acupressure! This form of alternative therapy releases certain chemicals that can reduce nausea and vomiting.
3. Migraine Headache
When you have a migraine headache, you’ll feel a throbbing pain on one side of your head. Depending on the severity of this headache, you can have great difficulty in carrying out your routine activities. The symptoms of migraine headaches include nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to sound or light around you. Such headaches can possibly last for a few hours or even days.3
If you have an unbearable migraine, it’s important that you lie down, are well-rested and avoid light, sounds, and general movements for a while. This way, you’ll be able to resist the feeling of vomiting. On the bright side, a good period of rest can help end migraine attacks effectively.
4. Ear Infection
Ear infections are often accompanied by vomiting, dizziness, and vertigo. Older children and adults mostly tend to puke because of severe stomach ache and need excess fluids to keep themselves well-hydrated. It is highly important that you visit the emergency department if you’re feeling lethargic or have been vomiting for more than 24 hours.4
A few prescribed antibiotics for ear infections can also cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. To avoid such a situation, opt for a smaller, daily dose of medicines or switch to natural remedies like clove essential oil, garlic, ginger, and tea tree oil to reduce symptoms.
5. Motion Sickness
Motion sickness, also known as travel sickness or car sickness, occurs when you’re traveling. It causes dizziness, nausea, as well as vomiting. It is prominent in pregnant women, people suffering from migraines, and in children aged 3-12 years old. In most instances, people grow out of the condition and feel better in a few hours.
It’s vital that you seek medical attention if you continue vomiting even after you stop traveling. This again can lead to you being dehydrated and extremely tired.
6. Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome
Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome, also referred to as CVS, is a rare disorder where you vomit for hours, or even days. This form of constantly throwing up can happen without any apparent cause.
When you have severe nausea and vomiting, you lose body fluids. IV fluids and medications can help prevent dehydration and treat its symptoms. If vomiting persists for days, nutrients can be administered intravenously.5
When Is The Right Time To Seek Medical Assistance?
It’s important that you seek emergency medical help as quickly as possible if you’re producing dark urine, feeling lethargic, experiencing dizziness, having seizures, suffering from chest or abdominal pain, finding it difficult to breathe, or feeling excessive thirst.
When left untreated, dehydration can cause serious health issues, and even lead to death. Severe dehydration is known to lead to several life-threatening conditions, including organ damage, shock, or coma.6
|↑1||Diarrhoea and vomiting (gastroenteritis). NHS choices.|
|↑2||Chan, Ronna L., Andrew F. Olshan, David A. Savitz, Amy H. Herring, Julie L. Daniels, Herbert B. Peterson, and Sandra L. Martin. “Maternal influences on nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy.” Maternal and child health journal 15, no. 1 (2011): 122-127.|
|↑3||Migraine. NHS Choices.|
|↑4||Ear infection – acute. Medline Plus.|
|↑5||Cyclical vomiting syndrome. NHS Choices.|
|↑6||Dehydration. Medline Plus.|