Controlling Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome in Children and Adolescents

Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome

Cycles of intense nausea, vomiting, and tiredness that can last a few hours or a few days refers to cyclic vomiting syndrome. Despite the fact that the symptoms would not show up every day, the illness can endure a lifetime.

Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome

When you have cyclic vomiting syndrome (CVS), you frequently have abrupt, acute spells of nausea, vomiting, and tiredness. There is no obvious cause for these symptoms. A single incident may last anywhere from a few hours and several days. Attacks could be so severe that you end up in bed or need to visit the hospital or emergency department.

The symptoms frequently appear first thing in the morning. After an incident, you no longer experience symptoms, and your health returns to normal. Any age group and both sexes may be impacted. Months, years, or even decades may pass with CVS. But symptoms do not always show up. Attacks can happen up to once or twice a month, but they typically happen several times a year.

The symptoms you’re experiencing are not from cyclic vomiting syndrome if you have been experiencing them every day for a week or a month. Each episode of CVS often has the same symptoms, timing, frequency, intensity, and duration for any given person. These, though, could vary from person to person.

Who is Impacted by Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome?

Children are more likely than adults to have CVS. On average, 3 out of every 100,000 kids are identified as having CVS. Between the ages of 3 and 7, CVS typically starts showing symptoms in children. The illness, however, can start at any age, from infancy to old age.


There is no known cause of CVS, however, there is some evidence that suggests mitochondria in your cells may play a part. The mitochondria function as the cell’s engine, ingesting nutrients and subsequently metabolizing them to produce energy that the cells may use. Disease, a genetic disorder you received from your mother, exposure to certain medications or poisons, or even just being sick might cause your mitochondrial DNA to become aberrant.

Often, testing reveals minute abnormalities in mitochondrial activity, but no definitive diagnosis is made. Additionally, cyclic vomiting may be more frequent in someone whose parent suffers from migraines. The following factors may also affect cyclic vomiting syndrome:

  • Up to 80% of children with CVS experience migraine headaches and 25% of adults do as well.
  • Your autonomic nervous system may change or become unstable.
  • Problems with the brain-gut axis. This controls how your body’s neurological system and gastrointestinal tract respond.
  • Imbalances in hormones.


  • Episodes of extreme nausea, vomiting, and retching on a regular basis.
  • Gagging or dry-heaving.
  • Appetite deficit.
  • Light sensitivity.
  • An abdominal pain.
  • Your skin appears to be pale.
  • Severe exhaustion.
  • A terrible headache.
  • Unwillingness to speak.
  • Spitting or drooling.
  • Extremely thirsty.
  • Low-grade fever (maximum temperature of 101 °F, or 38.33 °C).
  • Diarrhea.


Abortive therapy and preventative therapy serve their purpose to treat CVS. Abortive therapy occurs when an episode is occurring and aims to decrease the severity of the attack or to stop (abort) it once it has begun. Preventive therapy works to either prevent attacks from occurring or to lessen their intensity, length (how long they last) or frequency (how frequently they occur).

Early in the attack, providers work to stop CVS. The stage determines the cyclic vomiting syndrome treatment. Healthcare professionals employ drugs to treat nausea, lessen stomach acid production, ease migraine symptoms, and treat abdominal pain during the prodrome (early symptom) phase of a CVS episode.

They employ medications to treat migraine pain, as well as to lessen anxiety and stomach acid, during the vomiting phase. It is important to see a doctor as soon as possible. It could be required to visit a hospital in cases of severe vomiting. To avoid dehydration, intravenous (IV) fluids may be necessary.

IV fluids and nourishment may be essential during multiple-day episodes. You continue to get IV fluids as necessary during the recovery stage. You may gradually start to eat and drink clear liquids as tolerated. Medications may be beneficial to stop recurrent attacks.

How is CVS (cyclic vomiting syndrome) Preventable?

  • Steer clear of known triggers like specific foods or food additives.
  • Make sure you get enough sleep.
  • Treat allergies and sinus issues right immediately.
  • Reduce your anxiety and stress.
  • As directed by your doctor, take your medications.

The Bottom Line

If your child experiences extremely frequent or severe episodes of cyclic vomiting syndrome that seem to make it difficult for them to go about their daily activities, asking your doctor to send your kid to a paediatric gastroenterologist, neurologist, psychologist, or metabolic specialist (if none of these have already been done) may be helpful.