Cyclic vomiting syndrome (CVS) is a condition characterized by recurring periods of severe nausea and vomiting. Read along for a review of the condition.
Causes and Risk Factors for Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome
Cyclic vomiting syndrome is an uncommon syndrome that can affect a variety of groups of people. In many cases, it begins when children are between the ages of 3 and 7. While it tends to be more common in children, it is actually becoming more common in adults. Doctors don’t know exactly what causes cyclical vomiting syndrome. It could be a result of genetic, hormonal, or other factors. An episode of vomiting can sometimes be triggered by external conditions as well. These can be things like menstruation, seasonal allergies, a cold, hot weather, physical exertion, and eating certain foods. There is also evidence that cyclical vomiting could be linked to migraines- most children with this syndrome have a family history of migraines. In fact, this syndrome may be a migraine variant.
There are a number of symptoms associated with this syndrome. The condition creates recurring periods of severe nausea and vomiting. These episodes can last anywhere from a few hours to days. Between episodes, people with the condition do not typically experience symptoms, or experience milder symptoms. Episodes tend to be very similar for each individual as well. The episodes often start around the same time, last a similar period of time, and have the same symptoms. Your episodes may start with nausea and sweating at first. You may become so nauseated or experience such severe vomiting that you become incapacitated as well. Other symptoms can include dizziness, headaches, abdominal pain, diarrhea, gagging, sensitivity to light, and a lack of energy. Some children who have cyclical vomiting syndrome outgrow it as they age, but may develop migraines.
Diagnosing Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome
Doctors diagnose CVS with a combination of an exam, talking through your medical history, and some testing. They will want to know details about your episodes like the symptoms involved and patterns in the episodes to gather information. Your doctors may also perform imaging testing like an endoscopy or a CT scan to visualize your gastrointestinal tract and identify any blockages or other conditions. They can also pursue motility testing to evaluate the movement of food through your body and find any possible digestive disorders. Overall, doctors will use a variety of methods to rule out other potential issues or disorders before diagnosing cyclical vomiting syndrome.
Complications and Treatment
CVS can cause dehydration, since the body loses fluids due to vomiting. Additionally, the acid from vomit can cause tooth decay. This condition can also cause inflammation in the esophagus due to recurring damage.
Treating this condition involves a combination of managing symptoms and preventing episodes by identifying and avoiding triggers. Your doctor may prescribe anti-nausea medication, stomach acid suppressants, pain relief drugs, or migraine medication to manage symptoms. Additionally, they will work with you to figure out what tends to trigger vomiting episodes. You should avoid the things that tend to cause an episode, whether it’s a particular food, stressor, or environmental factor. Long-term, having a strong support system and a plan for good preventative measures is key to managing CVS.
Our experienced team at GHP has years of experience treating patients with conditions like cyclical vomiting. We can help establish the best plan of care for your situation. Contact any of our office locations to learn about the options we offer and schedule an appointment today.