The most common causes of vomiting and/or diarrhea are viral infections, bacterial infections, like food poisoning, or side effects of medications. Some women may also experience vomiting during pregnancy, usually not accompanied by diarrhea.
The most serious complication with vomiting and diarrhea is dehydration from loss of fluids or the inability to keep fluids down. Symptoms of dehydration include weakness, dizziness, dry mouth, and decreased urination. IV fluids may be needed if dehydration is severe. Viral illnesses are usually self-limiting and will resolve in a few days, but following these suggestions will limit the risk of dehydration.
During the first day of illness, limit your diet to clear liquids. The most common clear liquids include:
Make sure to drink small amounts (l-2 ounces) every 15-30 minutes.
- clear juices (apple, cranberry, grape)
- clear sodas (such as 7-Up)
- herbal teas (no caffeine) with sugar or honey
After 24 hours, you may gradually increase your diet as you get better. Start with bland foods such as bananas, rice or other cooked cereals, plain potatoes, toast or bread or crackers, applesauce or canned fruit, and continue with clear fluids.
AVOID all dairy products, citrus fruits or juices, alcohol, spicy or seasoned foods, chocolate, and gas-producing vegetables, ie. cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and beans until you are completely better.
After 24-48 hours of eating bland foods you may resume a regular diet.
Sometimes medication is needed for nausea/vomiting if you are unable to keep any clear liquids down.
Medication is not usually needed for diarrhea and may prolong symptoms, but call the office if you have questions about symptoms and the need for medications.
WHEN TO CALL
- Progressive weakness, dizziness, or fainting
- Severe abdominal pains or blood in your stools
- Fever greater than 100.6 degrees F.
- Worsening of your symptoms or no improvement after several days
- Inability to keep any food or liquids down for 12 or more hours
- Development of other unusual symptoms