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Throwing Up Yellow Bile: What are the Causes and How to Stop It?

Throwing Up Yellow Bile: What are the Causes and How to Stop It?

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Vomiting yellow bile is not an indication of something serious in most cases; however, you must not ignore it. Throwing up or vomiting by itself means that something is not right with your system. Vomiting can also can lead to pain, dizziness and severe dehydration. In this guide, we will cover some important causes of vomiting yellow bile and also some remedies to prevent it.

What are common causes of vomiting yellow bile?

To understand the common reasons behind vomiting yellow bile, let us first study what bile is.

The bile is an important digestive juice secreted in the gut to digest the food pulp in the small intestine. It is secreted by the liver which is the largest gland in the body, situated in the upper right hand side of the abdomen. Bile is yellowish green in color and is secreted along with other digestive juices from the pancreas through small ducts that open out into the intestine. Along with other pancreatic juices, the bile work on fats, oils and starches in our food helping the stomach digest them.

A small sphincter prevents the bile and other digestive juices from entering the stomach. However, in some cases, this sphincter opens up causing these digestive juices to mix up with food bits and enter the esophagus in a backward flow. When this occurs, you experience nausea and subsequent vomiting. If you have been vomiting yellow bile for several days, it is important to seek immediate medical help and failure to do so can lead to terrible complication.

Here are some of the most common reasons for throwing up yellow bile:

1.  Certain drugs

Several drugs especially those used for treating cancer as well as aesthetics administered during surgery can lead to severe nausea and ejaculation of stomach contents. The vomit may be brown in the beginning, but repeated vomiting can cause the bile to flow out leading to pale or dark yellow colored vomit.

2.  Infections

Infections inside and outside the gastrointestinal tract (GI tract) can all cause vomiting yellow bile. Such infections are usually caused by viruses or bacteria. Cholecystitis (infection of the gall bladder), appendicitis, viral hepatitis, jaundice and diverticulitis are some examples of infections inside the GI tract. Likewise, infections outside the GI tract such as pneumonia, urinary tract infections, kidney infections, and meningitis or ear infections can also cause throwing up with bile. In such cases, the vomiting stops once the infection is treated.

3.  Bowel or intestinal obstruction or blockage

A bowel or intestinal blockage or obstruction hampers the natural digestion processes. This leads to gas, bloating and pain along with throwing up yellow bile and food bits. There are many diseases and conditions responsible for intestinal obstruction including autoimmune disorders, spine fractures, pancreatitis, abscess, sickle cell disease, certain cancers and Crohn’s disease etc.

4.  Bile reflux gastritis

Bile reflux gastritis is also called duodenal gastric reflux and may arise after surgical procedures such as gall stone removal as well as from peptic ulcers. Patients could throw up yellow bile and may also suffer from severe heartburn, nausea, discomfort and abdominal pain. Lack of appetite can also result which leads to unhealthy weight loss. It is very important to seek immediate medical help if you have been experiencing yellow bile vomiting and these symptoms.

5.  Head and neck related issues

Migraines, headaches, brain and nervous system related disorders, tumor in brain, seizures, head trauma or injuries and multiple sclerosis can all cause yellow bile vomiting.

6.  Smoking, drugs and alcohol intake

Excess alcohol, drugs and nicotine can cause accumulation of acetaldehyde in the stomach which leads to symptoms like facial flushing, severe nausea and vomiting yellow bile. Many of these substances also interact with each other leading to undesirable side effects.

7.  Food poisoning

Bacterial toxins in food lead to inability of digesting the food. As a result, the person may experience severe nausea and vomiting yellow bile until all of the toxins are eliminated from the body. It is very important to keep yourself hydrated when this occurs. If symptoms persist for over 24 hours, seek medical help.

8.  Psychiatric issues

Many psychological issues like stress, depression, anxiety or panic attacks as well as anorexia bulimia or bulimia nervosa can cause vomiting in patients. Some anorexic patients force themselves to vomit over and over after eating in order to prevent weight gain. This type of vomiting usually brings up the bile.

9.  Viral Gastroenteritis

Viral gastroenteritis or stomach flu causes millions of people to suffer from throwing up yellow bile, diarrhea and a host of other symptoms. It is essential to drink plenty of fluids to replace the lost ones.

10.  Food intolerances and allergies

Many food groups like wheat, gluten, dairy and peanuts can lead to food intolerances and allergies, which means that the stomach is just not able to digest them. If someone with a food allergy eats food which his stomach is sensitive to, it triggers the immune system to throw out the offending food. This can cause excess vomiting with yellow bile.

11.  Heart attack

Heart attack can sometimes manifest as gas, belching, bloating, nausea and vomiting. If, at this point, the stomach is empty, then the yellow green bile can come out during the vomiting episode. Seek immediate medical assistance if this type of vomiting is accompanied by chest pains, difficulty in breathing, tightness in the shoulders or jaw etc.

12.  Cyclic vomiting syndrome

Cyclic vomiting leads to episodes of vomiting which can last for few hours or several days. The person suffering from this syndrome vomits repeatedly until there is greenish yellow bile coming out. Doctors do not know the exact triggers for cyclic vomiting syndrome or CVS.

13.  Hormonal factors

Your hormones can sometimes make you very sick. Hormonal disorders including overactive thyroid, diabetes, and underactive thyroid glands or Addison’s disease can also lead to throwing up repeatedly with presence of yellow bile.

14.  Other causes

Repeated fasting with empty stomach, pregnancy related morning sickness, slow intestinal movement or gastroparesis, radiation therapy, kidney problems, physical pain, motion sickness, etc are some other factors that may cause throwing up yellow bile. Obesity is also a little-known cause behind throwing up yellow bile. It helps to lose weight in such cases.

How to stop throwing up yellow bile?

Identify the cause of vomiting

This is the first thing to do in order to stop vomiting yellow bile. If, for example, smoking and alcohol intake is the cause, then you must take steps to quit these habits immediately. For patients with food intolerances or sensitivities, it helps to keep a food journal or diary. This can guide you in identifying the exact food group that may be triggering the nausea and vomiting. Once you have identified the cause, take all precautions to avoid these foods.

Eat small meals and stay hydrated

Empty stomach, excess fasting as well as over indulgence in food are also factors that lead to throwing up yellow bile. It is essential to eat 4-6 small, frequent meals in order to avoid this. Keep an eye on what you eat and avoid spicy, oily and sugary foods. Also stay away from caffeinated drinks, sodas and alcoholic beverages. Drink plenty of water to make up for fluid loss. If your stomach is queasy, eat a few crackers and take small sips of water. You can also take stews, soups or broths.

Herbal remedies for preventing vomiting

Many herbs can prevent vomiting including ginger, cinnamon, mint etc while herbs like yellowdock prevent over-production of bile and calm the stomach. You can steep these into a tea or take a bit of the dried powder mixed with cool water and sip it every few hours. Take plenty of bed rest. If motion sickness is a cause of throwing up yellow bile, suck on some ginger candy during travel.

Medicines for vomiting

Patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy may be given medications (phenothiazines or antihistamines) to prevent symptoms of nausea and vomiting. These may be taken before therapy or right after surgery. In pregnant women, taking vitamin B6 supplements can suppress morning sickness related nausea and vomiting. For people with severe motion sickness, it helps to take anti-emetic medications before travel to prevent symptoms.


Hypnosis is a proven therapy for treating vomiting, the fear of vomiting as well as severe nausea stemming from psychological issues, anxiety disorders, anorexia bulimia or bulimia nervosa. This therapy aims to relax the patient and has been known to successfully treat patients with psychogenic nausea.


Vomiting is unpleasant and throwing up yellow bile repeatedly can sometimes be serious.  We hope this guide helps you identify the cause of vomiting yellow bile so you can correct the same and get much needed relief.