What are Common Causes of Cough and Vomiting?

Daniel Liden

Cough and vomiting are two common symptoms of a variety of different sicknesses, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease or influenza. The conditions that cause these symptoms may be chronic, as in gastroesophageal reflux; relatively short-term, as in influenza; or acute, as in an allergic reaction. These symptoms are often accompanied by others, and it is often impossible to determine the specific cause without knowledge of these other symptoms. The most common illnesses that are accompanied by these symptoms should be taken seriously but tend not to require immediate, urgent medical attention. Some, however, such as severe allergic reactions or encephalitis, can be extremely harmful — if not deadly — if they are not treated with some urgency.

Coughing can be a symptom of a deeper medical problem.
Coughing can be a symptom of a deeper medical problem.

Several of the illnesses that can cause cough and vomiting are directly and specifically related to the digestive tract. Gastroesophageal reflux disease, for instance, occurs when stomach acids, and sometimes food debris, leak back into the esophagus, causing varying degrees of irritation. This illness is usually accompanied by, if not defined by, heartburn. Esophageal cancer, a cancer of the esophagus, can also cause coughing and vomiting. These symptoms are often accompanied by heartburn, difficulty swallowing, and chest pain; the vomit may be bloody as well.

Peppermint and chamomile teas can sooth upset stomachs.
Peppermint and chamomile teas can sooth upset stomachs.

Other illnesses that cause these symptoms may be more general in cause or place of origin. Influenza, for instance, is a common viral infection that primarily affects the nose, throat, and lungs and can cause a wide range of symptoms, including coughing, headache, body aches, a sore throat, nausea and vomiting, and a lack of energy. The H1N1 flu strain, commonly referred to as swine flu, is similar both in cause and in expression. Vomiting is not highly prevalent in either of these influenza variants, but it does occur on a regular basis.

Influenza can cause vomiting and cough.
Influenza can cause vomiting and cough.

Sometimes, the symptoms can appear rapidly and without warning in an acute attack. Most commonly, this occurs because of an allergic reaction, particularly when a person eats something to which he is allergic. Additionally, encephalitis, or swelling of the brain, can appear quite rapidly and can have a number of causes. Cough and vomiting caused by encephalitis may also be accompanied by fever, drowsiness, headache, confusion, and drowsiness. Both encephalitis and allergic attacks can be quite harmful if not treated immediately, so it is important for people to seek immediate medical attention if these symptoms come on suddenly.

Many conditions related to the digestive tract may cause cough and vomiting.
Many conditions related to the digestive tract may cause cough and vomiting.
Influenza may cause coughing, vomiting and sore throat.
Influenza may cause coughing, vomiting and sore throat.
An allergic reaction may cause coughing and vomiting.
An allergic reaction may cause coughing and vomiting.
Gastric reflux, when stomach acid leaks into the esophagus, is one possible cause of coughing and vomiting.
Gastric reflux, when stomach acid leaks into the esophagus, is one possible cause of coughing and vomiting.
Individuals who have been vomiting repeatedly over the course of a few days may experience dehydration.
Individuals who have been vomiting repeatedly over the course of a few days may experience dehydration.
The presence of gallstones may cause frequent vomiting.
The presence of gallstones may cause frequent vomiting.

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Discussion Comments

StarJo

I never thought of acid reflux as vomit. I suppose it technically is, since it comes up from the stomach into the mouth, though. My husband has this issue, and it does make him cough a lot after eating.

Oceana

I can understand someone coughing until vomiting. I've had coughs so persistent before that I felt like I would surely vomit if I kept coughing.

Sometimes, I would cough so deeply that I seemed to rock the bottom of my stomach! I got very nauseated, but I never actually vomited. I do think it would be possible, though.

seag47

@kylee07drg – No, those symptoms are caused by two different types of flu. The one that people usually get in the winter is the kind that makes you cough a lot.

The stomach flu is what makes someone vomit. It also causes diarrhea, and you can easily become dehydrated if you aren't careful.

Both types of flu are serious, but I've never heard of someone having all the symptoms of both kinds at once. I know I never have.

kylee07drg

Can you have both a severe cough and vomiting with the flu? I thought that you would have either one or the other.

My dad got the flu last month, and he only had the cough and fever. He didn't vomit once, but when I had the flu as a teenager, I vomited for days and had no cough.

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