What Is a Vomit Color Chart?
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Vomit Color Chart: Its interpretations and Indications

Published on Mar 07, 2023   -  5 min read


Vomiting can be a symptom of various conditions, and the different colors suggest various illnesses. Read the article to know more.

What Does the Vomit Color Chart Indicate?

The vomit color chart indicates various medical conditions that change the color of vomiting. This change in vomit color is mainly due to the varying ranges and progression in stages of an underlying medical condition causing vomit. Vomiting usually lasts less than two to three days and is not considered serious. It mainly occurs due to irritation in the gut because of some reactions and getting harmful things out of the stomach. Mild vomiting may be due to food poisoning, and regular episodes of vomiting every month may also indicate chronic illness.

What Are the Different Colors of Vomiting, and What Do They Indicate?

Different vomit colors indicate different underlying conditions that may cause vomit. These are as follows:

1. Clear Vomit

Clear vomit occurs when a person has already had vomiting, throwing out everything in the stomach (food content also), making the stomach empty. Clear vomit can occur due to the following conditions:

  • Morning flu.

  • Food poisoning.

  • Morning sickness.

  • migraine.

  • Cyclic vomiting disorder.

Sometimes the body even throws out bile from the stomach in clear vomit, which may appear green or yellow.

Clear vomit occurs due to the following reasons:

  • Head Injury: Clear vomit indicates brain damage in head injury cases. A person experiences frequent and severe clear vomiting during a head injury.

  • Gastric Outlet Obstruction: This condition arises from an obstruction caused by an ulcer or tumor. In this condition, a person cannot eat or during, as nothing gets through their gut, including water and saliva.

2. White or Foamy Vomit

Foamy or white vomit usually appears if a person has consumed milk or ice cream. The vomit appears white or foamy due to acid buildup in the stomach. Therefore, a person should consult the doctor if the condition lasts more than one or two days.

The gas in the stomach is caused due to the following reasons:

  • Gastritis: The inflammation of the stomach’s inner lining is called gastritis. The condition may occur due to excessive alcohol consumption or long-term use of pain relievers. In addition, other symptoms can be nausea, indigestion, and abdominal fullness after eating.

  • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) or Acid Reflux: The condition occurs when the acids from the stomach flow back into the esophagus. It causes symptoms such aschest and throat pain and trouble swallowing.

3. Green or Yellow Vomit

The vomit appears green or yellow due to the fluid called bile that is produced in the liver and stored in the gallbladder. Sometimes clear vomit due to an empty stomach may also bring up bile due to morning sickness and stomach flu-like conditions. Therefore, the green or yellow color does not always indicate some serious illness.

The reasons that cause green or yellow vomit include:

  • Food poisoning.

  • Intestinal obstruction.

  • bile reflux.

  • Vomiting on an empty stomach.

4. Orange Vomit

The orange color of vomiting is due to the partially digested food in the stomach. The color appears orange during the initial few hours of the disease. The vomiting usually appears orange if a person continues eating between the episodes. Orange-colored vomit is usually not worrisome if it appears only for a day or two.

Various causes of orange vomit include:

  • Flu or Influenza: It causes symptoms similar to the common cold, such as sore throat and runny nose. The condition further progresses and causes chills, fever, fatigue, and headache.

  • Stomach Flu or Gastroenteritis: The condition occurs due to contact with an infected person. The virus is acquired from contaminated food and water, and the symptoms caused in a person include abdominal pain, muscle aches, and low-grade fever.

  • Morning Sickness (During Pregnancy): The hormone buildup in the body during pregnancy can cause nausea and vomiting. This is usually experienced by almost 70 percent of pregnant women, and vomiting can occur anytime during this period.

  • Migraine: Migraine attacks are severe and may last a few hours to days and make a person feel like vomiting due to persistent pain and episodes of migraine attacks.

  • Food Poisoning (Due to Contaminated Food): It can cause vomiting and other symptoms such as fever, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps.

Orange vomit is also caused by some other reasons, such as:

  • Chemotherapy.

  • appendicitis.

  • Certain medications.

  • Inner ear infections.

  • Motion sickness.

5. Red or Pink Vomit

Red or bloody vomiting is also called hematemesis. It usually appears pink to bright red, and in some cases, it may also look dark brown or black. A person should immediately consult a doctor if they experience pink, red, or bloody vomit.

Various causes of bloody vomiting in children include:

  • Blood clotting disorders.

  • Dietary intolerance to milk.

  • Structural birth irregularities.

  • Swallowed blood from injury to the mouth.

Various causes of bloody vomiting in adults include:

  • Liver Failure: It usually occurs in people who already have pre-existing liver disease. The symptoms include white eyes, yellowish skin, pain in the upper right abdomen, swelling of the abdomen, confusion, and feeling sleepy.

  • Peptic Ulcers: It leads to bleeding in the upper gastrointestinal tract, which includes the mouth, esophagus, stomach, and upper intestines.

  • Damage to Mouth, Throat, or Gums From Vomiting or Coughing: Significant amounts of blood is not alarming. However, if such episodes are frequent, a person should consult the doctor immediately as it may be due to some serious underlying medical condition.

  • Amyloidosis: This occurs due to protein build-up in vital organs. A person can experience bloating, vomiting, and diarrhea during this condition.

  • Mallory-Weiss Tear: This is a tear in the esophagus caused by frequent episodes of forceful vomiting.

6. Black Vomit

The vomit can be black, thus indicating blood in the vomit, which resembles dark coffee grounds. The acids in the stomach oxidize the vomit, and it appears black. The iron present in the blood changes from brown to black and no longer appears red, indicating stoppage of bleeding or bleeding in small amounts. Therefore, a person should consult the doctor immediately if they experience these episodes of black vomit.

Various other causes of black vomit include:

  • Fungal infections.

  • Peptic ulcers.

  • Liver failure.

  • Damage or injury to mouth, throat, and gums.

  • Stomach cancer.

  • Severe constipation.

7. Brown Vomit

Brown vomiting is also an indication of bloody vomit and appears like light coffee grounds. It can occur due to various underlying conditions, such as amyloidosis, peptic ulcers, etc. Brown vomiting also occurs due to severe constipation, causing hindrance in digestion. This vomit often smells like fecal matter and causes severe abdominal pain and bloating.

When Should a Person Consult the Doctor?

  • If a vomit has lasted for more than 48 hours.

  • If symptoms of dehydration, such as headaches and dizziness, are experienced.

  • If a person is unable to take down fluids.

  • In case a person has diabetes, vomiting can fluctuate blood sugar levels.

  • If a person experiences weight loss due to vomiting.

  • Severe chest pain due to vomiting may indicate a heart attack.


The vomit appears not only different in color due to underlying conditions but also in texture, depending on the content in the stomach. The consistency and texture also change with repeated episodes of vomiting, initially throwing out food content followed by clear vomiting containing bile and acids in the stomach. The changes in vomit are usually not a problem, but if anything unusual is experienced, a person should consult the doctor immediately.

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Last reviewed at:
07 Mar 2023  -  5 min read




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