Cyclical vomiting syndrome is a highly unusual condition characterized by frequent bouts of vomiting and a feeling of malaise. This is a condition that mostly affects children, but people of all ages may be affected. Cyclical vomiting syndrome doesn’t have a definite cause; however, factors such as age and overall physical condition are thought to influence the chances of developing it. In this article, we review five symptoms and five causes of cyclical vomiting syndrome.


The most typical symptom of cyclical vomiting syndrome is, by far, nausea. Nausea is the feeling of having to expel the contents of the stomach by vomiting. A special mechanism in the brain triggers nausea. People affected by this condition can experience sudden and intense feelings of nausea, which may interrupt daily activities. Over the counter medication and home remedies may help alleviate symptoms. Nausea usually leads to vomiting, but this isn’t always the case. Symptoms persist for some time, before slowly disappearing. If you experience nausea that continues for a long time, consult your doctor.




Vomiting is unsurprisingly a specific indication of cyclical vomiting syndrome. Frequently, an episode of cyclical vomiting syndrome repeats itself concerning intensity and duration. They tend to also start at the same time of the day. Many people report incidents that occur in the early hours of the morning, but each person experiences a different time frame. During an episode of severe vomiting, patients may experience drooling and shortness of breath. Likewise, a paler skin may appear as a result. Vomiting may occur continuously or a few times per hour. Vomiting subsides during the recovery phase.




The symptoms brought on by cyclical vomiting syndrome are physically tiring for the patient. Therefore, it is not unusual to feel tired or lethargic, especially if symptoms are particularly intense. Moreover, affected individuals may show reduced willingness towards social interaction, as well as headaches and irritability. Although cyclical vomiting syndrome is treatable, you should contact your doctor if your episode lasts for more than a few hours. Likewise, if you can’t keep in food or liquids for long periods of time, it’s a good idea to consult your doctor. Over the counter or prescription medication can help treat cyclic vomiting syndrome.



Abdominal Pain

One of the most frequent symptoms of cyclical vomiting syndrome is abdominal pain. Episodes of cyclical vomiting syndrome take place in different stages. During the prodrome phase - the first out of four - patients are likely to experience nausea and sweating. This is often accompanied by pain in the abdomen, which may come in waves. The skin can also turn to a paler color. After the episode subsides, pain usually disappears. Avoid heavy foods to reduce the severity of symptoms. To help treat dehydration or dry mouth, consuming small sips of water may help. Be sure not to drink water during the vomiting phase as this can lead to difficulty swallowing.




Even though cyclical vomiting syndrome mostly causes people to vomit, some patients may also experience diarrhea. Because diarrhea also appears in a host of other conditions, it may be initially difficult to diagnose patients correctly. It’s not unusual for diarrhea to be followed by a fever; these symptoms mimic those of gastroenteritis. It is crucial to drink plenty of water during bouts of diarrhea, as the body is highly prone to dehydration due to a loss of water. Also, try to consume bland starchy foods like crackers and white rice. Avoid spicy food as well as foods rich in fat.





It is thought that one of the most predominant causes of cyclical vomiting syndrome is genetics. A range of inherited conditions ranging from migraines to other similar conditions is associated with cyclical vomiting syndrome. If you have a family history of such circumstances, your chances of suffering from cyclical vomiting syndrome are higher. Therefore, it can help to undergo an extensive physical examination, including genetically, to determine what steps can be taken to help prevent symptoms from becoming too pronounced.



Common Cold

Specific ailments such as the common cold may contribute to a worsening of symptoms. The common cold, which mainly affects the respiratory system, can trigger intense symptoms in some people. Moreover, seasonal allergies, as well as problems of the sinus, are often reported to cause cyclical vomiting syndrome. If you are allergic to pollen, you should avoid exposure to outside air during periods of high pollen levels. Likewise, people who are allergic to dust should keep their homes as clear as possible from dust. Over the counter medications for the nose may help ease symptoms, but you should consult your doctor before using them.




Besides the many physical causes of cyclical vomiting syndrome, some psychological factors may also contribute to the development of symptoms. One of them is stress, which is a contributing factor to this condition. In children, mood changes can significantly influence the onset of symptoms such as nausea and abdominal pain. Other emotional sensations such as excitement may also induce symptoms. In adults, the most common culprit of cyclical vomiting syndrome is anxiety or panic attacks. If you experience an intense episode, remember to drink water afterward to ensure proper hydration.



Certain Foods

Numerous individuals affected by cyclical vomiting syndrome find that their symptoms worsen after consuming certain foods. The smell, texture, taste, and physical effects of food can all cause an episode of vomiting. Some of the most common foods that cause increased symptoms include caffeine, chocolate, and cheese. Spicy foods or other foods that contain lactose may also provoke symptoms. Flare-ups may also occur if eating shortly before going to bed on an empty stomach. Chronic use of cannabis sativa use is also known to cause symptoms, although some people have used this as a treatment for their condition.



Physical Exhaustion

Among the many causes of cyclical vomiting syndrome is physical exhaustion. Even though scientists haven’t quite figured out what exactly leads to this condition, it is thought that extensive physical movement can trigger cyclic vomiting syndrome symptoms. That’s why people - and especially children - that are physically active show more symptoms during and after exercise. If you notice symptoms developing, contact your doctor to rule out other conditions. At the same time, it’s a good idea to cut back on heavy exercises during a certain period of time. Certain movements may make symptoms worse.



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