Vomiting in Adults

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Vomiting can be the body’s reaction to an irritant or harmful substance.

Gastroenteritis is one of the leading causes of adult vomiting. It is an infection in the gut, usually caused by a virus or bacteria. It will usually improve in a few days.

Vomiting is sometimes a sign that something more serious has occurred, like appendicitis.

There is an entirely separate page about vomiting among children and infants.

Check your symptoms with our self-help guide and learn what to do.


Please read this guide before using it.

Please make sure that the person you are asking for is:

  • Conscious and alert
  • You can expect a typical response from us.

If you do not have an ambulance, call 999.

Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Read our guide to coronavirus if you are worried.

Start guide

Call 999 immediately or visit A&E in the following situations:

You have:

  • Sudden, severe abdominal pain
  • and severe chest pain
  • Blood in your vomit or coffee granules?
  • Have green or yellow-green vomit.
  • A stiff neck with a high temperature (fever).
  • A sudden, severe migraine unlike any other headache you have ever experienced
  • You may have swallowed poisonous substances or suspect that you might have
  • Have a stiff neck or pain in the neck when you look at bright lights.

Advice that is not urgent: Speak to your GP if you:

  • You’ve vomited repeatedly for longer than two days.
  • You’re constantly vomiting and are unable to drink any liquids.
  • You have symptoms of dehydration, such as confusion or a rapid pulse, sunken eyelids, and little or no urine.
  • You’ve lost weight since becoming ill.
  • You experience frequent episodes of vomiting.
  • You’re feeling unwell and worried about your vomiting.
  • You have Diabetes if you are vomiting a lot. This is especially true if you use insulin, which can impact your blood sugar levels.

Common causes of vomiting among adults


You may have gastroenteritis if you also have diarrhea. This is the most common cause of vomiting among adults.

This is often the cause of the following:

  • A virus such as a norovirus
  • Food poisoning is caused by bacteria found in contaminated foods.

After a few days, your immune system should be able to fight the infection.


During the early stages, pregnant women are prone to nausea and vomiting. It is sometimes called morning sickness but can occur at any time.


You may have migraines if you experience recurrent vomiting and intense throbbing headaches lasting from a few minutes to days.

f or ibuprofen can help to control pain. Your GP can prescribe anti-sickness medication to prevent vomiting.


You may also have an inner-ear infection known as labyrinthitis if you feel dizzy or spinning (vertigo).

Labyrinthitis usually gets better within a few weeks. If needed, your GP may prescribe medication to help reduce symptoms.

Motion sickness

Motion sickness can cause nausea and vomiting.

You can try the following:

  • Looking at the Horizon
  • Listening to music can be a great way to distract yourself.


Appendicitis may also cause severe abdominal pain. If you feel pain in your abdomen suddenly worsening and spreading, call 999. You may be experiencing signs of an appendix rupture.

Appendicitis is often treated with surgery.

Adults who vomit may also have other causes.

Adults can vomit for a variety of reasons, including.

  • Certain medicines, including antibiotics
  • Too much alcohol consumption
  • kidney stone, kidney infection
  • A hernia or Gallstones may cause a blockage of the bowel.
  • chemotherapy, or radiotherapy
  • Acute cholecystitis is an inflammation of the gallbladder.

Looking after yourself at home

You can do most of the work at home to get better.

You can do this by clicking on the link below.

  • Take frequent small sips to avoid becoming dehydrated.
  • Replace lost sugar with a sweet beverage, such as fruit or vegetable juice, unless you feel sick.
  • Eat salty snacks such as crisps to replace salt loss.
  • Ginger (in biscuits, tea or supplements) is a great way to boost your immune system. But check with your pharmacist before taking ginger supplements.