As unpleasant as vomiting is, it is how your body attempts to help you get rid of toxins. It may also be a reaction to something that irritated your gut. Even if vomiting is a reaction and a way for your body to protect itself, it is still a horrifying process. But did you ever wonder why you salivate before you vomit?
Your body protects your teeth from incoming stomach acid by salivating before vomiting.
Why Do We Vomit?
The most common reason for vomiting is to eliminate something your body believes is harmful to you. It could be a dangerous virus or a chemical the body is concerned about. Instead of allowing those items to pass through your entire body, your body works much faster to remove them.
If you feel dizzy, you can also vomit. Scientists have different theories about why motion causes nausea. What is clear is that motion sickness occurs when your brain perceives motion or non-motion while your eyes perceive otherwise. Put another way, this happens when your body is relatively motionless, but your surroundings are moving.
This sends conflicting signals to the brain. But what makes you feel sick to your stomach? The leading theory is that the mixed signals inform your brain that something is wrong, which could be caused by a poison of some kind, and it instructs your stomach to begin the vomiting sequence. (Source: Columbia Tribune)
The Process of Vomiting
Your stomach is lined with special sensory cells communicating with your nervous system via a serotonin chemical. When your stomach sensors detect a problem, they send a signal to your nervous system, which then sends a signal to your brain.
The command to vomit comes from your brain, not your stomach. When the brain receives enough signals, it will send a return signal to your stomach, triggering the vomiting process.
When you get the vomiting signal, your stomach muscles all contract at once, squeezing everything and increasing the pressure. Then, all of a sudden, the “cover” on your stomach relaxes, allowing the contents of your stomach to erupt.
As bad as it is, your body does contribute to making things a little better. First, your brain will usually give you that sick feeling to warn you that something bad is about to happen. Second, your body produces extra saliva just before throwing up, which helps protect your teeth from the strong acid. Third, vomiting causes your body to release chemicals that make you feel better. So that I feel better feeling after vomiting isn’t your imagination; it’s your biology at work. (Source: Columbia Tribune)
Is Vomiting Contagious?
It is thought that contagious vomiting originated in primates. To forage for food, primates stayed in groups. So, if one primate begins vomiting, it may be beneficial if this causes the others to vomit, as they were most likely eating the same food.
That trait was passed down through generations and is still present in some of us today. The trait is simply waiting for someone nearby to vomit because you may have also eaten spoiled or poisoned food. (Source: Columbia Tribune)
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