MadSci Network: General Biology

Re: What causes vomit when blood flows into the stomach ?

Date: Sat Mar 24 19:26:25 2001
Posted By: Robert Schier, M.D., Radiology, Pacific Imaging Consultants
Area of science: General Biology
ID: 980764210.Gb

Why does blood in the stomach cause vomiting? The answer one knows 
for sure. The best guess is that something about blood irritates the 
stomach. This is just about the same thing as saying, "We don't know." 
Though I am not certain about this, I suspect that the question has never 
been thoroughly studied. If it had been, a series of well-designed 
experiments could probably have isolated the substance or substances in 
blood that cause the reaction. There may be a Nobel Prize here somewhere.

On another level, it does seem very strange that such an integral part of 
our body as blood could cause such an adverse reaction when placed within 
the stomach. There are precedents for this kind of thing, though. 
Rattlesnakes, for example, are not immune to their own venom; if they are 
bitten by another rattlesnake -- or if they were to bite themselves -- 
they would die. 

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