Symptoms and Triggers of Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome

Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome, a.k.a. CVS, is where children and some adults have ongoing cycles of severe nausea and then vomiting that can last from hours to even days. It has no cause and each attack is very similar to previous attacks. There can be prolonged periods of no symptoms and then sufferers can experience a severe bout that seems “to come out of nowhere”.

Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome can seriously affect its sufferers by having them bedridden unable to work or attend school. There is no known number of sufferers of Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome but some researchers believe that as many as 1 in 50 children are affected. Most sufferers are diagnosed with a different disorder as vomiting and nausea are symptoms of many other illnesses.

Symptoms of CVS include severe vomiting, gagging, exhaustion, paleness, listlessness, sensitivity to light, fever, stomach pain, diarrhea, dizziness, headaches, and nausea. The attack will generally manifest in the early morning or very late at night, with retching 6-12 times an hour during its most serious portion of the episode. The episodes can last 1-5 days with the most serious attacks lasting up to 10 days. This continual vomiting may trigger a bout of dehydration.

Triggers of this condition can be anything and most sufferers get very good at being able to tell what set them off. Generally it is usually an infection, but it can be stress, excitement, colds, allergies, flu, some foods, hot weather, exhaustion, menstruation, motion sickness, or eating too close to bedtime. There does seem to be a brief connection between CVS and migraines.

Complications include:
dehydration – Dehydration from where the body is expelling more water than it is taking in
loss of electrolytes – excess vomiting makes the body expel much needed salts that it requires to keep working properly
peptic esophagitis – where the esophagus is injured due to the vomiting up of stomach acids
hematemesis – where the esophagus is irritated and bleeding, so there is blood in the vomit
Mallory-Weiss tear – a tearing of the esophagus or the bruising of the stomach from the gagging
tooth decay – where stomach acid coming up in the vomit eats away at the tooth enamel

For More Information

Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome Association
3585 Cedar Hill Road, NW.
Canal Winchester, OH 43110
Phone: 614-837-2586
Fax: 614-837-2586

National Organization for Rare Disorders Inc. (NORD)
55 Kenosia Avenue
P.O. Box 1968
Danbury, CT 06813-1968
Phone: 1-800-999-6673 or 203-744-0100
Fax: 203-798-2291

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