Throwing up

  • #1
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For lack of a better term, how does your body know why to throw up. How does it detect and recognize something that shouldn't be in the stomach? For instance, how does it's know if food has gone bad?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Mentat
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Originally posted by Greg Bernhardt
For lack of a better term, how does your body know why to throw up. How does it detect and recognize something that shouldn't be in the stomach? For instance, how does it's know if food has gone bad?

Well, I should assume that the presence of micro-organisms would trigger a response from the immune system. But I too am in the dark, with regard to the "yuck" mechanism (so to speak); or whatever it is that causes us to be disgusted by certain things.
 
  • #3
Is the lining of the stomach not a sensory organ? The stomach probably responds to chemicals which are toxins or which signal the presence of pathogens.
 
  • #4
Hmmm... I believe the original sensing is done by receptors for specific chemicals (chemoreceptors) in the upper GI tract, like the stomach. There is an entire 'enteric nervous system' in charge of handling digestion and processing these sort of things (serotonin is the primary neurotransmitter it uses.) The signals are then sent to the brain, largely via the vagus nerve. There are also believed to be important chemoreceptors in the brain - the area prostrema is believed to play a role in this. Check out http://www.nauseaandvomiting.co.uk/NAVRES001-2-NandV-general.htm [Broken] .

None of my books mention which chemicals in the GI tract trigger nausea, though... hmm.

PS - The dignified-sounding medical word for throwing up is "emesis." God bless Latin.
 
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  • #5
Entropia
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I notice that I throw up if I eat a banana and a vitamin. (too much potassium makes my stomach rebel?)

I used to eat that for breakfast for a few days... and then I figured out the correlation and stopped.
 
  • #6
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Originally posted by Entropia
I notice that I throw up if I eat a banana and a vitamin. (too much potassium makes my stomach rebel?)

I used to eat that for breakfast for a few days... and then I figured out the correlation and stopped.

Try kiwi. It has more potassium than bananas, and will ascertain whether that is your problem or not.
 
  • #7
Jikx
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or try a half litre of vodka... :wink:
 

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