- Take the Tummy Trouble Quiz
- Boost Digestive Health
- Digestive Distress Slideshow: Problem Foods to Avoid
- Patient Comments: Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome (CVS) - Symptoms and Signs
- Find a local Doctor in your town
- Cyclic vomiting syndrome (CVS) definition and facts
- What is cyclic vomiting syndrome (CVS)?
- 4 Phases of cyclic vomiting syndrome
- Cyclic vomiting syndrome symptoms and signs
- Causes, triggers, and risk factors
- Who gets cyclic vomiting syndrome?
- Is it genetic (inherited)?
- Which specialties of doctors or other health care professionals treat the condition?
- How do I know if I have CVS (diagnosis)?
- Is there a diet or natrual treatments for this syndrome?
- How is cyclic vomiting syndrome treated?
- What are the complications if the condition isn't treated?
- What is the relationship between cyclic vomiting syndrome and migraines?
- What other problems accompany this condition, and what is the prognosis?
- Is it possible to prevent this syndrome?
- What are the genetic changes related to this syndrome?
- What other names do people use for cyclic vomiting syndrome?
How is cyclic vomiting syndrome treated?
Treatment varies, but people with cyclic vomiting syndrome generally improve after learning to control their symptoms. People with cyclic vomiting syndrome are advised to get plenty of rest and sleep and to take medications that prevent a vomiting episode, stop one in progress, speed up recovery, or relieve associated symptoms.
Treatment of vomiting phase: Once a vomiting episode begins, treatment usually requires the person to stay in bed and sleep in a dark, quiet room. Severe nausea and vomiting may require hospitalization and intravenous fluids to prevent dehydration. Sedatives may help if the nausea continues.
Treatment during prodromal phase: Sometimes, during the prodromal phase, it is possible to stop an episode from happening. People with nausea or abdominal pain before an episode can ask their doctor about taking ondansetron (Zofran) or lorazepam (Ativan) for nausea or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) for pain. Other medications that may be helpful are ranitidine (Zantac) or omeprazole (Prilosec), which help calm the stomach by lowering the amount of acid it makes.
Treatment during recovery phase: During this phase it's very important to drink water and replace lost electrolytes. Electrolytes are salts the body needs to function and stay healthy. Symptoms during the recovery phase can vary. Some people find their appetite returns to normal immediately, while others need to begin by drinking clear liquids and then move slowly to solid food.
Frequent and long-lasting episode treatment: People whose episodes are frequent and long-lasting may be treated during the symptom-free intervals in an effort to prevent or ease future episodes. Medications that help people with migraine headaches, such as propranolol (Inderal), cyproheptadine (Periactin), and amitriptyline (Elavil), are sometimes used during this phase, but they do not work for everyone. Taking the medicine daily for one to two months may be necessary before one can tell if it helps.
Symptom-free phase: The symptom-free interval phase is a good time to eliminate anything known to trigger an episode. For example, if episodes are brought on by stress or excitement, a symptom-free interval phase is the time to find ways to reduce stress and stay calm. Behavioral therapy may help reduce attacks by reducing stress and anxiety.
Migraine treatment: During an episode, anti-migraine drugs such as sumatriptan (Imitrex) may be prescribed to stop symptoms of migraine headache. The safety and efficacy of these medications has not been established in children under 18 years of age.
What are the complications if the condition isn't treated?
If the condition is not treated, attacks typically occur four to 12 times per year. Between episodes, vomiting is absent, and nausea is either absent or much reduced. Many affected people experience other symptoms during and between episodes, including pain, digestive disorders such as gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and fainting spells (syncope). In addition, complications of CVS can also include dehydration, electrolyte abnormalities, damage to the esophagus, and tooth decay due to the acid in vomit. People with cyclic vomiting syndrome are also more likely than people without the disorder to experience depression, anxiety, and panic disorder. It is unclear how these health conditions are related to nausea and vomiting.