Difference Between Vomiting and Regurgitation

Vomiting and regurgitation are both acts which refer to the someone throwing up. Now this is the manner that a layman perceives these two terms. However, this is not the case, since the two mean two completely different things when you consider them in a much more scientific/ or medical manner. If we look at the basic mechanism and process of the two, we can easily go on and differentiate them and avoid having any more confusions over the two ever again.

Regurgitation is the process where the contents of a vessel are pushed back through the path from where they came. Now this can be considered to be back flow of the blood, or just about anything else, such as the food eaten by someone.
On the other hand, the act of vomiting means to have the vomit center located in the medulla oblongata getting triggered.

This is generally done by the process of stimuli traveling to the brain and giving the brain signals to produce vomit. This ends up resulting in the bowel contents of a person being emptied out via their mouth and their nose. More than often vomiting ends up resulting in people getting dehydrated and it also causes ion imbalances.

So to simplify this even further, we can simply look at the difference between the two once again. Vomiting is a process with is unique to the gastrointestinal system, while regurgitation can occur in the blood and the lymph vessels in our bodies as well.

Vomiting is often linked with nausea, and it causes dehydration and the loss of ions in the body. On the other hand regurgitation does not lead to this.

When someone ends up vomiting there are forceful contractions in their abdominal muscles, however, regurgitation does not result in this happening. When you regurgitate something, you can potentially swallow it again, however, if you vomit something, you can’t swallow it again.


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    This is the process where things end up flowing backwards, after they have gone forward. Now this can happen with digested food, or with blood or lymph in the body. It is generally believed that once you regurgitate something, you can re-swallow it.
    - Image Courtesy: cloudfront.net

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    This is when the vomit center in the medulla is triggered. This results in the abdominal muscles contracting and pushing out food through the mouth and the nose. Normally, vomiting is followed with and associated with dehydration and nausea. .
    - Image Courtesy: photoshelter.com

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