Wall mural of 2 colourful fish with water pouring out of their mouths in a parody of projectile vomiting

What is Projectile Vomiting?

Vomiting means the expulsion of material from the stomach and bowels. It is not always a sign of illness – sometimes babies or older children may vomit after overfeeding.

However, Projectile vomiting should make us think otherwise.

Wall mural of 2 colourful fish with water pouring out of their mouths in a parody of projectile vomiting

What Is Projectile Vomiting?

Projectile vomiting describes the expulsion of vomit from the mouth in a very forceful manner.

Usually, in projectile vomiting, there is a large amount of vomitus thrown several feet away.

This is the usual description that most people give for the problem.

Projectile vomiting is a symptom that can happen in babies, young children or infants and adults.

Projectile Vomiting in Children

It is an important sign – in young babies, it may indicate a problem called Pyloric Stenosis.

It describes a problem with the child’s stomach. The exit from the stomach which opens into the first part of the small intestine is narrowed as a result of the muscle in the stomach getting thicker.

We do not know why it happens – but it ic usually seen around the age of 6 weeks – and more often in male babies.

The narrowing of the passage means there is a blockage preventing food from getting to the small intestine from the stomach.

Any feeds the child takes then gets backed up in the stomach and the food pipe.

The vomit usually appears yellow, having mixed with acid in the stomach.

As a result, food cannot digest, there is vomiting after feeds that becomes worse and more forceful over time and the child appears hungry all the time.

Other problems like weight loss or dehydration could occur.

Pyloric stenosis is rare in babies less than 3 months; and it can happen in adults – but is also very rare.

Other conditions with Projectile Vomiting

In older children and adults, projectile vomiting could happen in:

  • obstruction within the bowel, from overeating or
  • food poisoning.

Vomiting symptoms should be discussed with your health care provider.

This is especially when they happen frequently, appear unusual for example ‘projectile’ or the vomit itself appears an unusual colour.

Since there are different possible causes, careful examination and tests are necessary to treat the condition properly.

Read More:

Editing by AskAwayHealth Team


All AskAwayHealth articles are written by practising  Medical Practitioners on a wide range of health care conditions to provide evidence-based guidance and to help promote quality health care. The advice in our material is not meant to replace the management of your specific condition by a qualified health care practitioner.
To discuss your condition, please contact a health practitioner or reach us directly through info@askawayhealth.org

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