Why is my child vomiting at night?

Is your child alright during the day but throws up in the middle of the night? Here are some causes of your child vomiting at night.
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Know the causes of your child vomiting at night. Image courtesy: Freepik
Natalia Ningthoujam Published: 17 Jan 2024, 06:15 pm IST
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Vomiting can be due to multiple reasons, and is seen as a common sign of various health problems. Sometimes, children seem to be okay during the day, but end up vomiting at night. There are a few illnesses or health issues that take some time to cause symptoms such as vomiting. In such cases, vomiting might occur during the night. Read on to know more about the causes behind your child vomiting at night.

What are the causes of child vomiting at night?

Vomiting, which is a forceful discharge of stomach’s contents, can occur at any time of the day. But there are times when it happens only in the middle of the night.

Child holding her tummy
Food poisoning might be one of the reasons behind your child vomiting at night. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

Here are most common causes of vomiting at night in children:

1. Food poisoning

Food poisoning happens due to the consumption of contaminated food or drink, says paediatrician Dr Chigullapalli Shravanthi. This causes vomiting, fever, chills, stomach distress and diarrhea. It can take hours after consuming germs such as salmonella for the symptoms to show up. So, the symptoms, including vomiting, might happen at night.

2. Acid reflux

While resting, the horizontal position of the body can produce acid reflux, which is a condition in which stomach acid rises. This might emerge as unpleasant symptoms such as heartburn, shortness of breath, and dyspnoea, which can finally lead to midnight vomiting.

3. Asthma

Asthma can cause kids to cough often, which can lead to vomiting particularly at night when the airways are most sensitive. This can result in intense coughing and sometimes vomiting.

4. Infections

Infections such as urinary tract infection, meningitis and appendicitis can cause vomiting. The body’s nocturnal immunological response and sensitivity might cause this symptom, says the expert.

5. Sleep apnea

It’s not just adults, but also children who can have a snoring problem. If your child takes significant pauses in breathing while snoring, your little one might have sleep apnea. In this case, your child might have to breathe through their mouth, especially during night-time. This can make the throat dry and lead to coughing and vomiting.

Treatment for child vomiting at night

The treatment depends on the cause of vomiting and associated symptoms. Children need a thorough assessment and evaluation to determine the cause of throwing up at night, says Dr Shravanthi.

If your child experiences one or two episodes of vomiting and no other symptoms and looks well, you can go for home remedies like giving fluids or rehydration solution. To make your own rehydration solution, mix four cups of water, four teaspoons of sugar and half a teaspoon of salt. As you monitor fluids intake, don’t forget to check urine output. Your doctor might suggest you to give OTC anti-vomiting medications too.

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Child drinking water
Give fluids or rehydration solution to your child after vomiting. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

When to see a doctor?

Go to the hospital if the vomiting happens repeatedly and your child cannot hold down fluids, says the expert. It is important for immediate expert consultation when the child:

• Vomits for more than one or two days
• Shows signs of dehydration
• Vomits more than three times within 24 hours
• Shows signs of infection, such as fever and irritability
• Has sudden and severe abdominal pain
• Is unresponsive or less responsive
• Has a stiff neck, headache and rash
• Has sensitivity to bright lights

The colour of the vomit is also important. If it turns yellow-green or green or brown or there is blood in the vomit, you should immediately go to a doctor.

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About the Author

Natalia Ningthoujam has written on various subjects - from music to films and fashion to lifestyle - as a journalist in her career that started in 2010. After getting stories from the crime scene, police headquarters, and conducting interviews with celebrities, she is now writing on health and wellness which has become her focus area. ...Read More

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