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Most causes of vomiting foam are not serious, and they may include air coming back up with the food, throwing up stomach bile, or even vomiting swallowed saliva. Other times, vomiting foam can be a sign of a serious medical condition such as pancreatitis or heart conditions. In dogs, foamy vomit can be the sign of bloat, a life threatening medical condition.
In the majority of cases, vomiting foam will be nothing to worry about. Many times it simply means that there wasn't much food left in the stomach at the time, so stomach bile or even previously swallowed saliva comes up instead. Liquid vomit can also come up mixed with air, giving it a foamy appearance. This may be more likely in those who have been throwing up a lot previously or who have felt nauseated for a long period of time, since this means that an empty stomach is more likely.
Vomiting foam can also be caused by throwing up stomach bile. In some cases this could be indicative of a more serious health condition, such as liver failure, but much of the time it is caused by drinking too much alcohol or having a empty stomach. When someone throws up all of their stomach contents and doesn't replenish them, that person may have to vomit again but have nothing to come up. Eventually, the gagging associated with vomiting can bring bile up instead.
In some cases, vomiting foam can be caused for concern. It can be the sign of certain digestive disorders of the pancreas or liver, especially if the foam is persistent or if vomiting only results in the regurgitation of foam rather than food. In many cases, there will be other symptoms present along with the vomiting. These can include abdominal pain, cramping, and in the case of liver problems, a discoloration of the skin.
Many times, vomiting foam is associated with dogs and cats. In animals, this could be the sign of a serious medical conditions known as bloat. Bloat is a flipping of the stomach, and it is most common in large breed dogs. Cats may also have foamy vomit with some health conditions, including heart problems.
Anyone with vomit containing foam should seek medical attention, especially if other symptoms are present and vomiting is persistent. If an animal is throwing up, emergency vet care may be needed. If bloat is to blame, it can kill an animal fairly quickly so immediate treatment is required.
Throwing Up White Foam
There are a wide variety of reasons that you may be throwing up white foam. Most of the reasons for throwing up foam are uncomfortable but nothing to be concerned about.
Drinking Too Much Alcohol
If you had a little too much fun at the house party, chances are your stomach isn't feeling so great. Drinking alcohol in excess can cause irritation to your digestive system and lead to indigestion, pain, and vomiting. If you continue to vomit after the alcohol and food are out of your system, you may vomit stomach acid, which looks like white foam.
Eating Acidic Foods
Overeating can cause vomiting and that is especially true if the foods you indulged in were highly acidic and your stomach was otherwise empty. Typically, acidic foods include junk foods, such as potato chips as well as carbonated drinks like Coca-Cola or Sprite.
Medication Side Effects
Sometimes, the medication you take has vomiting as a side effect. If it causes an upset stomach too often, you may vomit before you've eaten, causing stomach bile to come up as white foam. This is especially true of controlled substances such as morphine but is also possible with some over-the-counter medications, including ibuprofen.
Pregnancy makes the body have major changes in hormone levels, which can often lead to an upset stomach known as morning sickness. Despite its moniker, morning sickness can affect a pregnant person at any time of the day or night. If pregnancy causes you to vomit at night or before you've eaten in the morning, you may find that you vomit foam.
If you have food poisoning or an influenza strain, you have a bacterial or viral stomach infection. These types of infections often leave you dealing with constipation, vomiting, or diarrhea for much longer than you have food in the system. When you continue to vomit after your stomach is empty, you will throw up white foam.
Medical Conditions That Cause You To Vomit Foam
There are some more serious medical conditions that may cause you to vomit white foam and that need a doctor's diagnosis and treatment to fix. These include candidiasis, hiatal hernias, and gastroesophageal reflux disease (commonly referred to as GERD).
Candidiasis is an infection caused by the candida fungus, which can affect the vagina, the esophagus, and other parts of the body. When the yeast spreads to the stomach area, it can cause you to vomit white foam or have other symptoms. You are more likely to get a yeast infection if you eat a lot of sugar, have diabetes, or have a weakened immune system. Treatment includes pain medication and antifungal medication.
Sometimes, the top of your stomach starts to push into your chest through a gap in your diaphragm. This is known as a hiatal hernia and may cause stomach acid to reach into the esophagus. If you have a hiatal hernia, you might burp often, have heartburn, feel short of breath, feel a burning in your chest, or have a bad taste in your mouth. Typically, a hiatal hernia requires surgical treatment that tightens the diaphragm and stitches your stomach into its proper place.
Perhaps one of the most common medical causes of throwing up white foam is gastroesophageal reflux disease. GERD is a digestive disorder that weakens the ring between your esophagus and stomach. When that ring is weak, it makes it easier for food to be pushed up into your esophagus. People who have GERD often have heartburn or indigestion, may cough a lot, and may vomit foam. Treatment typically includes antacid tablets and an H2 blocker to reduce the amount of acid in the stomach.
Treatment To Try First
Naturally, throwing up white foam is uncomfortable. If you'd like to stop the problem from occurring, it is important to watch what you eat and drink and to get plenty of exercise and sleep. Cut down on alcohol if you drink more than a couple of times per week, and avoid food and drink known to cause heartburn. This includes chocolate, caffeine, tomato products, citrus products, fried foods, and even ice cream.
How you eat matters as well. Chew and swallow slowly to avoid trapping air that can cause uncomfortable heartburn. Avoid large meals in favor of eating small meals throughout the day. Finally, wear loose clothing that doesn't constrict your stomach or chest. If these treatment options do not help the problem, visit your family doctor. He or she may be able to prescribe medication or recommend other treatment options.