Nausea and/or vomiting in children

Nausea is the sensation of wanting to vomit or throw up. Vomiting refers to the actual forceful expulsion of stomach contents through the mouth.

What are the causes of nausea and vomiting?

Some of the more common causes include:

  1. Reflux

Reflux occurs when partially digested food in the stomach is brought back into the food pipe. The contents are usually acidic and lead to sensation of heart burn, nausea, bad or sour taste in the mouth or tummy pain. In young children or babies who are unable to speak, they may cry in distress when reflux occurs. Occasionally, children with reflux may start refusing feeds. In severe cases, vomiting of blood may occur.

  1. Stomach Flu or Gastroenteritis

Another common cause of nausea and vomiting is gastroenteritis. In most cases, gastroenteritis is caused by viruses or bacteria. It is important to ensure that the child does not get dehydrated. If he or she is vomiting frequently and unable to keep down any food or liquids, please seek medical attention. Your doctor may prescribe anti vomiting medications. Occasionally, replacement fluids given through the veins may be necessary for a few days until your child recovers from the illness.


There are many other causes for nausea and vomiting from the common to rare conditions. Your doctor may do further investigations depending on the history and physical examination. Possible investigations include blood tests and scans. In some cases, endoscopy (camera test of the digestive tract) is performed to make a diagnosis.

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