Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome Definition

Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome – episodes of uncontrolled vomiting and nausea, sometimes called abdominal migraine, that occur in cycles of symptoms and relief.

Each episode may last hours and often repeats over a period of time after which there is an extended period without symptoms. Many people experience prodrome, a short period of time during which they have nausea, abdominal pain, a sense of the impending episode, or other symptoms that consistently occur before an episode. During an active episode, the person has persistent nausea and repeated vomiting that can last for hours to days.

Researchers believe the physiologic mechanisms of cyclic vomiting syndrome are similar to those of migraine headaches. Episode triggers may include infections and other physiologic stress, emotional stress, and certain foods such as chocolate. There are no conclusive diagnostic markers or tests for cyclic vomiting syndrome, making diagnosis a challenge. Generally the gastroenterologist strives to rule out other conditions that could cause the symptoms, resulting in diagnosis by exclusion.

Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome Treatment

Treatment targets symptom relief to the extent possible, which for many people is minimal, and supportive measures such as drinking plenty of fluids to replace those lost through vomiting. Some people experience relief with medications intended to head off migraine headache.

Though some people can avert active episodes with medications or by altering their activities during the prodrome stage, there are no certain methods for preventing episodes.

There is no known cure for cyclic vomiting syndrome, though episodes often diminish with aging. Cyclic vomiting syndrome is more common in children than adults, and can manifest in children as young as two or three years old.


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