Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome

What is Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome?

Cyclic vomiting syndrome or CVS is a condition that involves repeated or cyclic episodes of nausea and vomiting. This condition takes places or occurs for hours and unfortunately, even for days.

Remember that this condition is not particularly affecting a specific age group. In general, all of us are affected but it is noted to greatly affect the children. The prevalence of this condition is estimated about 4 to two thousand among 100, 000 children in the world. In order to diagnose the condition, there is a need for the medical practitioner to acquire the patient’s medical history and by assessing the patient’s physical status. Laboratory tests are only done to support the diagnosis, as changes in the electrolytes level would suggest problems of fluid balance.


There are four phases of cyclic vomiting syndrome. Here are the said phases:

  1. Symptom-free interval – The phase includes asymptomatic stage. The patient would manifest no symptoms at all.
  2. Prodrome – The stage would signal out that an impending episode of nausea and vomiting shall take place. The phase can even last for minutes to an hour of feeling nauseated. A simple remedy such as taking anti-emetics can alleviate the condition.
  3. Vomiting – This phase is where a person would start vomiting. They are unable to take foods per orem or by mouth. Because of this, they become weak and exhausted.
  4. Recovery – Simply, the patient attains recovery from the stress of vomiting persistently.


The symptoms of CVS or cyclic vomiting syndrome are long lasting. It can be chronic for it can at least last for three whole months. The patient would experience episodes of vomiting, reaching to 12 times in just an hour, which is also accompanied by nausea. Because of this, the affected may lose his or her energy, making them weak and lethargic. The patient would feel weaker because the main symptoms can last for hours and days. Aside from the presenting symptoms, here are the following symptoms of cyclic vomiting syndrome:

  • Pale skin (may be a sign of dehydration)
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache – These headaches can be varying in episode. This is sometime described as severe that it can cause nausea and eventually vomiting.
  • Photophobia


The following are the possible complications of cyclic vomiting syndrome:

  • Persistent vomiting can lead to dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. Body fluids can make a person lose most of the patient’s water in the body. This condition shouldn’t be taken lightly for its effects can be very demanding and could cause grave harm to the patient.
  • As the patient is persistently vomiting, he or she may develop peptic esophagitis. The esophagus can be irritated and injured from the stomach contents that are being taken out from the patient. The contents are composed of acid that is very corrosive to our mucous membranes.
  • The patient may later develop bleeding in the upper digestive tract. This is due to vomiting the gastric contents persistently, that would eventually damage the person’s upper digestive tract. Vomiting blood or coughing out blood is called hematemesis.
  • There is a possibility of tearing the patient’s lower end of the esophagus. This damage is called the Mallory-Weiss tear.
  • As one is persistently vomiting, this can also provide an effect to the patient’s set of teeth. High acidic content can lead to corrosion of the teeth enamel.


The direct cause of this condition is not made known today. But it has been determined that the condition is influenced by varying factors such as those believed to be contributory. It is also noted that cyclic vomiting syndrome is caused by migraine, as much as this is connected to the condition. Other studies suggest that the condition is caused by the genetic makeup that one person is basically composed of. Another collective study gained about cyclic vomiting syndrome, the condition is believed to be inherited. This has no clear significance, but it is thought of that those with related factors of medical history such as migraines running in the family to be a possible cause of the disease process.

The condition has a lot of triggering factors. An episode can be triggered by the following:

  • Stress
  • Infectious process
  • Anxiety
  • Allergies
  • Certain foods
  • Draft
  • Motion sickness


The exact cure for cyclic vomiting syndrome has not been identified but instead, a treatment has been provided for in order to resolve the presenting symptoms and support the client from preventing complications. These are the following ways to treat the client from cyclic vomiting syndrome:



The patient is needed to be hydrated as he or she is prone to develop dehydration. Hydration is done by providing oral fluid intakes, but not in or during episodes of nausea or vomiting. Oral hydration is provided in between episodes of vomiting. Severe dehydration is treated with intravenous hydration.


These drugs are very helpful in treating or relieving the patient from the grave effects of persistent vomiting. The drugs recommended for patients with cyclic vomiting syndrome are ondansetron, dronabinol and dextromethorphan. Plasil is also provided for patients.

Provide rest

Patients are expected to experience generalized weakness as the condition can be exhausting. Provide the client with complete bed rest in order to regain his or her strength.


As a patient is diagnosed with cyclic vomiting syndrome, he or she may be initially recommended to nothing per orem diet. This is to avoid triggering the patient from vomiting and feeling nausea. As the patient is in his or her recovery phase, the patient is provided or recommended with foods rich in minerals or components that a person is supposed to lack after CVS. As the laboratory results would suggest that a person lack certain electrolytes, they are advised to eat certain foods rich in those particular components.

Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome in Children

It has been noted in the past that a number of children are affected of cyclic vomiting syndrome. According to reports, children of ages 6 to 8 are diagnosed with the condition. Fortunately, these cases are not that severe for they gain resolution after weeks from suffering the condition. As the condition has become prevalent in children, it has been quoted as a common cause for children to miss there academics.

Infants are not spared from this disease process. Those as young as six days can be affected of the condition. In contrast to that, extremes of the age are also a factor. The old are also affected of the condition. Mortality cases for the condition are not well supported. The condition is only grave when it is not properly cared for, especially in children. Children are fragile people that need immediate care so to avoid the grave effects of cyclic vomiting syndrome. As a child is affected of the condition, it is important that prompt care is provided for. This can be more intense compared to adults, because their health is much stronger compared to children. Dehydration can really put the child’s life at risk. This can even result for the child to become undernourished, thus resulting to increased mortality.

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