What's Really Happening To Your Body When You Vomit

When you scarf down your favorite food, the last thing you want is for it to come back up again. Vomiting is nobody's idea of fun, but it is just your body's way of trying to protect you. Vomiting rids your body of poison before it can do any damage (per Cleveland Clinic).

Your body sends signals to your brain when something abnormal seems to be going on in your belly. After a certain amount of signals, your brain commands your body to start vomiting. You produce extra saliva to protect your teeth from being damaged by stomach acid, and your stomach muscles contract until the food comes back up. After you are finished, your brain releases chemicals to relax you, according to Columbia Tribune. You may notice that you're sweating and your heart is racing, which is your body's way of cooling down after this exertion (per Science Focus).

This is when to see a doctor for vomiting

By itself, a single bout of vomiting does not warrant a doctor's visit. Even a couple days worth of vomiting may be chalked up to a stomach virus, which feels horrible but is not necessarily an emergency.

Mayo Clinic advises setting up a doctor's appointment if you've been having episodes of nausea and vomiting for more than a month, if you've lost weight in addition to vomiting, or if your vomiting lasts longer than two days (or 24 hours for children under the age of 2, or 12 hours for infants). If you are feeling too sick to drive, this may be a perfect time to take advantage of telemedicine.

Mayo Clinic recommends getting someone to drive you to an emergency room or urgent care if you are having pain or a severe headache, if you are throwing up blood, or if your vomit is green or resembles coffee grounds. You should also get immediate medical attention if you are showing signs of dehydration such as excessive thirst, dry mouth, and dizziness.

Even more urgent symptoms are blurred vision, chest pain, severe abdominal pain, confusion, rectal bleeding, high fever, stiff neck, and fecal matter or odor in the vomit. If you have these symptoms, Mayo Clinic advises getting emergency medical assistance.