Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome

What is Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome?

Cyclic vomiting syndrome is a condition that involves unexplained episodes of severe vomiting. Vomiting episodes may last for several hours or even several days, with symptom-free periods between episodes.

Vomiting episodes tend to look alike, meaning each episode usually starts at the same time of day, involves the same symptoms, and lasts for the same amount of time. While cyclic vomiting syndrome is more common in children and tends to begin between ages 3 to 7, more and more adults are being diagnosed with the condition.

Symptoms of Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome

According to Mayo Clinic, symptoms of cyclic vomiting syndrome tend to appear in the morning. Vomiting episodes usually start with extreme nausea and sweating. Additional symptoms of an episode of cyclic vomiting syndrome include:

  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Light sensitivity
  • Diarrhea
  • Gagging

Cyclic vomiting syndrome is diagnosed when a person experiences three or more episodes of recurrent vomiting, with periods of normal health between episodes.

What are the complications of cyclic vomiting syndrome?

Cyclic vomiting syndrome can cause complications, as repeated vomiting can lead to dehydration. In some cases, dehydration can be severe and life-threatening. Signs of dehydration with cyclic vomiting syndrome are as follows:

  • Dry mouth
  • Extreme thirst
  • Dryness of the skin
  • Lack of energy
  • Crying without tears
  • Sunken in eyes or cheeks

A child who is showing any of the above symptoms should receive treatment from a doctor. It is also important to seek medical attention if there is blood in the vomit.

What is the cause of cyclic vomiting syndrome?

Experts are unsure of the exact cause of cyclic vomiting syndrome, but potential causes include genes and digestive problems. Hormonal imbalances and problems with the nervous system are other potential causes of cyclic vomiting syndrome.

Certain factors, including the following, may trigger a vomiting episode:

  • Allergies and colds
  • Stress or excitement, particularly in children
  • Anxiety and panic in adults
  • Consuming certain foods and drinks, such as alcohol, caffeine, cheese, and chocolate
  • Overeating or eating right before bed
  • Fasting
  • Excessive exercise or physical exhaustion
  • Hot temperatures
  • Motion sickness
  • Menstruating

How is cyclic vomiting syndrome treated?

Cyclic vomiting syndrome cannot be cured, but children tend to grow out of vomiting episodes by the time they reach adulthood. Treatment for cyclic vomiting syndrome focuses on alleviating symptoms of nausea and vomiting.

One of the following medications is typically used to treat cyclic vomiting syndrome:

  • Anti-nausea medications
  • Antidepressants
  • Pain relievers
  • Antacid drugs
  • Anti-seizure medications
  • Medications used to treat migraines

Cyclic vomiting syndrome can lead to complications, such as dehydration. In this case, a person may require treatment with intravenous fluids in a hospital setting.

Other Remedies for Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome
Beyond medical treatment, certain lifestyle modifications can make cyclic vomiting syndrome more manageable. Getting adequate sleep and staying in a quiet, dark room when a vomiting episode begins can be helpful.

It is also important to find ways to reduce stress, since vomiting episodes can be brought on by stress or excitement. Eating small meals and reducing fat intake can also reduce the occurrence of vomiting episodes.

What causes vomiting during cyclic vomiting syndrome?

While vomiting episodes tend to have no explanation, certain risk factors may trigger them. These include allergies, colds, triggering foods, overeating, fasting, motion sickness, menstruation, physical exhaustion, and hot temperatures. In children, stress and excitement can trigger an episode, whereas anxiety can lead to vomiting in adults.

Is there a treatment for cyclic vomiting syndrome?

A doctor may recommend nitroglycerin applied externally to relax the anal sphincter and There are treatments that can manage the symptoms of cyclic vomiting syndrome. The typical course of treatment is some sort of medication, such as anti-nausea drugs, antacids, or medication to treat migraines. In severe cases, a person may require intravenous fluids to treat dehydration from vomiting.

Can cyclic vomiting syndrome be cured?

While there is no established cure, most children do grow out of cyclic vomiting syndrome. This is why treatment focuses on alleviating symptoms.

Common Symptoms

  • “At the start of an episode, I feel extremely nauseous and start sweating soon after waking up in the morning.”
  • “I have flare ups where I will vomit without any apparent cause, but in between flare ups, I feel completely fine.”
  • “When my son suffers from a vomiting cycle, he says he feels dizzy, and he tends to get a headache.small bump near my anus, as well as a small crack in the skin around that area.”
  • “My daughter goes through periods of days where she vomits repeatedly, and she usually complains of stomach pain and diarrhea along with the vomiting.

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I’ve been a patient of Dr. Weber for almost a decade. My husband for more than & it was he who recommended Dr. Weber. He’s knowledgeable & well experienced in his field. Plus he’s an all around kind & nice guy. And you’d like how the office & tech staff are trained to run the operation of this practice. Efficient, patient and helpful! I’d feel very comfortable recommending this practice.

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I have been here several times and have always been treated great. The receptionist are so kind and the nurses are wonderful so is the anesthesia person are so kind and answers any concerns you might have. My Dr Bologna is awesome. This is the place to go if you need endoscopy or colonoscopy. Thank all the staff for being so kind

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Our Doctors

We’re proud of our team here at Digestive Health Institute. Our health care providers include some of the very best colorectal surgeons, gastroenterologists and physician assistants. To learn more about our qualified team of specialists, please visit our providers page.

Anezi E. Bakken MD, MS

Sante D. Bologna MD, FACP

M. Emin Donat MD, FRCPC

Freeha Khan MD

Partha S. Nandi

Leonard G. Quallich III MD

Jack Tocco DO

John R. Weber MD

Richard T. Wille MD

Tusar Desai MD

Aalia Saeed, MD


What happens during my first visit?
If you are a new patient, you can expect to have a complete physical exam. You will also be asked detailed questions about your current problems and your past medical history, your current medications, allergies, your family history and other pertinent medical information. If you are taking medications, please bring a completed medical history form with you to your appointment. Once the physician has reviewed your medical information and completed the physical examination, a plan of care will be developed. You may need to be seen again in the office, be referred back to your family physician for follow-up care, or require additional testing. If additional tests are needed, we will assist you in scheduling these tests.
What if I need to schedule an endoscopic procedure?

An endoscopic procedure allows the physician to visualize a part of your gastrointestinal tract with a special instrument called an endoscope. If your family physician has ordered testing, you will be contacted by telephone by one of our staff members. If a physician orders testing and you are in the office, the procedure can generally be scheduled during the course of your visit. You will be given a date, time, and location for the test, as well as written instructions telling you how to prepare for the test. If you have any questions about the procedure, please feel free to ask one of our staff members or the physician.

How do I get test results?

We ask that you wait 10 to 14 days before contacting us for results. Often results come from several different sources. This information needs to be compiled and reviewed by your physician before you can be appropriately advised. 

What insurances do you accept?

We accept payment from most insurance companies including Medicare, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Blue Care Network, Physicians Health Plan, Cofinity, Sparrow Professional Health Network, Medicaid, McLaren, Health Plus, and several others. Accepted insurances are subject to change at any time without notice.

If your insurance requires an authorization from your primary care physician, you may be asked to assist us in obtaining this authorization.

All patients are responsible for all copays and deductibles at the time of service.

If you have any questions regarding your benefits or insurance coverage, please contact our Billing Department at 248-844-9710.

What if I need to contact the doctor?

To contact your doctor during business hours please call our main number 248-844-9710. If you have an urgent need to speak with the doctor after hours, you will be rerouted to our after hours answering service, and your doctor will be paged. In the case of a medical emergency please proceed directly to the nearest hospital emergency room.

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