Vomiting in children

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1] Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Adenike Eketunde

Synonyms and keywords: Vomiting in kids


Vomiting in children is common and can range from a benign condition to a life-threatening condition. Most cases of vomiting are gastrointestinal in origin, most commonly gastroesophageal reflux disease and gastroenteritis. Vomiting, also known as emesis, is the oral expulsion of gastrointestinal content from the mouth due to the gut and thoracoabdominal wall muscles' contraction. At the same time, nausea refers to the need to vomit. Retching is used to describe the muscular event of vomiting with the expulsion of vomitus.

Historical Perspective

There is limited information about the historical perspective of vomiting in children.


Vomiting in children may be classified according to the content of vomitus, motion, and duration into:



Common causes of vomiting in children include:

Differentiating [disease name] from other Diseases

Vomiting in children must be differentiated from other diseases that cause vomiting in children such as cyclic vomiting syndrome (CVS) [7], gastrointestinal disease (obstructive and inflammatory) [8], central nervous system (CNS) disease, pulmonary disease, renal disease, endocrine/metabolic disorders, drugs (either as side effects or in Overdose), or psychiatric disorders.

Epidemiology and Demographics

Vomiting in children is very common and there are no racial, gender, age, or race predispstions to vomiting in children.

Risk Factors

There are no established risk factors for vomiting in children.

Natural History, Complications and Prognosis


Diagnostic Criteria

  • The diagnosis of vomiting in children is made with both medical history and physical examination.


  • Symptoms of vomiting in children include the following:

Physical Examination

  • Physical examination may be remarkable for signs of dehydration:

Laboratory Findings

  • There are no specific laboratory findings associated with vomiting in children. However, blood and urine tests are helpful in diagnosis to check for infection and kidney function.


There are no ECG findings associated with vomiting in children.


There are no x-ray findings associated with vomiting in children.

Echocardiography or Ultrasound

There are no echocardiography/ultrasound findings associated with vomiting in children.

CT scan

There are no CT scan findings associated with vomiting in children.


There are no MRI findings associated with vomiting in children.

Other Imaging Findings

There are no other imaging findings associated with vomiting in children.

Other Diagnostic Studies

  • There are no other imaging findings associated with vomiting in children.


Medical Therapy


  • Surgical intervention is not recommended for the management of vomiting in children.


  • There are no primary preventive measures available for vomiting in children.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Andrade, Gabriela Bonente Herculano de; Marin, Barbara Said; Medeiros, Daniela Nasu Monteiro; Yamanari, Mauricio Gustavo Ieiri; Troster, Eduardo Juan (2020). "Vomiting in newborns as a result of a duodenal membrane: two case reports". Einstein (São Paulo). 18. doi:10.31744/einstein_journal/2020RC4641. ISSN 1679-4508.
  2. Galea R, Said E (2018). "Infantile Hypertrophic Pyloric Stenosis: An Epidemiological Review". Neonatal Netw. 37 (4): 197–204. doi:10.1891/0730-0832.37.4.197. PMID 30567916.
  3. Tomasik E, Ziółkowska E, Kołodziej M, Szajewska H (2016). "Systematic review with meta-analysis: ondansetron for vomiting in children with acute gastroenteritis". Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 44 (5): 438–46. doi:10.1111/apt.13728. PMID 27401959.
  4. Becker DE (2010). "Nausea, vomiting, and hiccups: a review of mechanisms and treatment". Anesth Prog. 57 (4): 150–6, quiz 157. doi:10.2344/0003-3006-57.4.150. PMC 3006663. PMID 21174569.
  5. Andrade GBH, Marin BS, Medeiros DNM, Yamanari MGI, Troster EJ (2020). "Vomiting in newborns as a result of a duodenal membrane: two case reports". Einstein (Sao Paulo). 18: eRC4641. doi:10.31744/einstein_journal/2020RC4641. PMC 7687917 Check |pmc= value (help). PMID 33263676 Check |pmid= value (help).
  6. https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/pediatrics/symptoms-in-infants-and-children/nausea-and-vomiting-in-infants-and-children
  7. Raucci U, Borrelli O, Di Nardo G, Tambucci R, Pavone P, Salvatore S; et al. (2020). "Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome in Children". Front Neurol. 11: 583425. doi:10.3389/fneur.2020.583425. PMC 7667239 Check |pmc= value (help). PMID 33224097 Check |pmid= value (help).
  8. Sullivan PB (2008). "Gastrointestinal disorders in children with neurodevelopmental disabilities". Dev Disabil Res Rev. 14 (2): 128–36. doi:10.1002/ddrr.18. PMID 18646021.
  9. Reust CE, Williams A (2016). "Acute Abdominal Pain in Children". Am Fam Physician. 93 (10): 830–6. PMID 27175718.
  10. Hoxha T, Xhelili L, Azemi M, Avdiu M, Ismaili-Jaha V, Efendija-Beqa U; et al. (2015). "Performance of clinical signs in the diagnosis of dehydration in children with acute gastroenteritis". Med Arch. 69 (1): 10–2. doi:10.5455/medarh.2015.69.10-12. PMC 4384849. PMID 25870468.
  11. Carter B, Seupaul RA (2012). "Update: antiemetics for vomiting associated with acute gastroenteritis in children". Ann Emerg Med. 60 (3): e5–6. doi:10.1016/j.annemergmed.2012.01.031. PMID 22424648.
  12. Singhi SC, Shah R, Bansal A, Jayashree M (2013). "Management of a child with vomiting". Indian J Pediatr. 80 (4): 318–25. doi:10.1007/s12098-012-0959-6. PMID 23340985.
  13. Roslund G, Hepps TS, McQuillen KK (2008). "The role of oral ondansetron in children with vomiting as a result of acute gastritis/gastroenteritis who have failed oral rehydration therapy: a randomized controlled trial". Ann Emerg Med. 52 (1): 22–29.e6. doi:10.1016/j.annemergmed.2007.09.010. PMID 18006189. Review in: Evid Based Med. 2009 Apr;14(2):44
  14. Lau Moon Lin M, Robinson PD, Flank J, Sung L, Dupuis LL (2016). "The Safety of Metoclopramide in Children: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis". Drug Saf. 39 (7): 675–87. doi:10.1007/s40264-016-0418-9. PMID 27003816.