Cyclic vomiting syndrome occurs in all age groups, though it often begins in children around 3 to 7 years old. Although it’s more common in children, the number of cases diagnosed in adults is increasing.
The syndrome is difficult to diagnose because vomiting is a symptom of many disorders. Treatment often involves lifestyle changes to help prevent the events that can trigger vomiting episodes. Medications, including anti-nausea and migraine therapies, may help lessen symptoms.
The symptoms of cyclic vomiting syndrome often begin in the morning. Signs and symptoms include:
• Three or more recurrent episodes of vomiting that start around the same time and last for a similar length of time
• Varying intervals of generally normal health without nausea between episodes
• Intense nausea and sweating before an episode starts
Other signs and symptoms during a vomiting episode may include:
• Abdominal pain
• Sensitivity to light
• Retching or gagging
The underlying cause of cyclic vomiting syndrome is unknown. Some possible causes include genes, digestive difficulties, nervous system problems and hormone imbalances. Specific bouts of vomiting may be triggered by:
• Colds, allergies or sinus problems
• Emotional stress or excitement, especially in children
• Anxiety or panic attacks, especially in adults
• Certain foods and drinks, such as alcohol, caffeine, chocolate or cheese
• Overeating, eating right before going to bed or fasting
• Hot weather
• Physical exhaustion
• Exercising too much
• Motion sickness
• Identifying the triggers for vomiting episodes may help with managing cyclic vomiting syndrome.
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