Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome

In cyclic vomiting syndrome (CVS), people experience bouts or cycles of severe nausea and vomiting that last for hours or even days and alternate with longer periods of no symptoms.

Quick Facts

Symptoms:

  • Severe vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Retching (gagging)
  • Episodes usually begin at night or first thing in the morning and may include vomiting or retching up to five or six times an hour during the worst of the episode.
  • Episodes usually last anywhere from 1 to 4 days, though they can last for up to 10 days.

Common Causes:

  • The most common trigger is an infection
  • Emotional stress
  • Colds, allergies, sinus problems and the flu can also set off episodes in some people
  • Certain foods such as chocolate or cheese
  • Eating too much
  • Eating just before bed
  • Hot weather
  • Physical exhaustion
  • Menstruation
  • Motion sickness

 Diagnosis:

  • Medical history review and review of symptoms
  • CVS is hard to diagnose since no clear tests exist to identify it. Your doctor must diagnose CVS by reviewing your symptoms and medical history and excluding more common diseases and disorders that can also cause nausea and vomiting.
  • Diagnosis takes time because doctors need to identify a pattern or cycle to the vomiting.

Common Treatments:

  • CVS cannot be cured.
  • Treatment varies, but people with CVS are generally advised to get plenty of rest, sleep and take medications to prevent a vomiting episode, to stop or alleviate one that has already started, or relieve other symptoms.

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