Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome (CVS)

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Cyclic vomiting syndrome (CVS) is a condition that occurs most commonly in young children but can occur at any age. This condition involves repeated vomiting, or cycles of vomiting, and there may be periods in between these “cycles” in which you are completely symptom-free. During a vomiting episode, you may experience intense vomiting that may repeat anywhere between six and twenty times before ending. CVS may affect as much as 2% of school-aged children and can be difficult to diagnose because of the connection of vomiting to many other GI disorders. The syndrome may be mistaken for a stomach bug or food poisoning. If you or your child is exhibiting symptoms of CVS, contact your nearest GI Alliance clinic location today.

Vomiting attacks are commonly very similar to previous episodes, wherein they begin at the same time of day, involve the same severity, have similar symptoms, and last about the same length of time. Most patients complain of the following symptoms:

  • Abnormal drowsiness or lethargy (91%)
  • Paleness or pallor (87%)
  • Abdominal pain (80%)
  • Headache (40%)
  • Diarrhea (36%)
  • Occasional fever (29%)

Once the vomiting attack has subsided, the patient may be tired and want to sleep, but once awake may appear to be back to normal health and want to eat and resume normal activities.

It can be difficult to determine a singular cause of an individual’s cyclic vomiting syndrome. Vomiting is a fairly common symptom of various GI diseases, and CVS, in particular, has many different factors that could contribute to its cause.

CVS may be caused by personal behaviors, external influences, bodily imbalances, mental state, or internal changes. Specific CVS episodes may be caused by things such as:

  • Hot weather
  • Menstruation
  • Sicknesses - such as colds
  • Allergies or sinus problems
  • Overeating
  • Eating certain foods -alcohol, caffeine, chocolate, or cheese
  • Physical exhaustion
  • Motion sickness
  • Anxiety or panic attacks
  • Emotional stress or excitement

If you feel your episodes are triggered by any of the above or you require help identifying your triggers, contact your local GI Alliance.

Common treatments for cyclic vomiting syndrome may consist of three main goals:

  1. End the vomiting episode: attempt to stop an attack after it starts
  2. Rescue therapy: attempt to keep the patient as comfortable as possible if the attack cannot be stopped
  3. Prophylactic medicine: attempt to prevent future attacks

Treatment will vary between different individuals and different cases of cyclic vomiting syndrome. You should speak with your doctor/your child’s doctor about the best treatment options for you/your child.

What are the complications of CVS?

If cyclic vomiting syndrome (CVS) is left untreated, possible complications may include:

  • Dehydration
  • Malnutrition
  • Injury to the esophagus, the main food pipe connecting the mouth to the stomach
  • Loss of dental enamel from stomach acid that enters the mouth in the vomit

If you or your child are experiencing symptoms, it's important to seek treatment through GI Alliance as soon as possible.

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If you or your child has been afflicted with troubling GI symptoms like the ones above, then cyclic vomiting syndrome may be to blame. Complications of CVS can put your overall health at serious risk and prompt treatment may be needed to ensure your optimal health. In order to receive expert help and the latest in innovative treatments, contact GI Alliance to speak with a gastroenterologist near you.

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