As human beings, we’ve all had our fair share of experiencing unpleasant episodes of vomiting, and one thing that’s for sure is that we don’t ever want it to happen again. For people suffering from cyclic vomiting syndrome, frequent vomiting is an all too often occurrence that can wreak havoc in day-to-day life. Patients suffering from this condition experience frequent, intense bouts of nausea, stomach cramping, and vomiting that often last for days. Cyclic vomiting syndrome can occur in adults for a variety of reasons, and identifying any underlying causes may aid in treating this condition and getting patients back on track in their daily lives.
What is Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome?
Cyclic vomiting syndrome causes recurrent episodes of nausea and vomiting with intervening normal health between episodes. Although these episodes often happen sporadically over many months, they can be serious enough to warrant a trip to the emergency room for supportive care.
What Causes Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome?
Although the underlying cause of cyclic vomiting syndrome is still unknown, research has found that there are several potential associated factors for the condition. Patients suffering from this condition often experience episodes after eating certain foods, during periods of immense stress, with chronic cannabis use, when suffering from infections of the airway, migraines, or when spending a prolonged amount of time in hot weather. Additionally, women suffering from cyclic vomiting syndrome may have symptoms of the condition around the time of menstruation.
How is Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome Diagnosed?
Because this condition can often mimic many other illnesses, doctors may use a variety of tests to rule out other disorders and diagnose cyclic vomiting syndrome, including bloodwork, endoscopy, or other diagnostic imaging tools such as ultrasound, CT scan, or MRI. Blood and urine tests may be ordered to assess the function of the liver and kidneys, look for signs of dehydration, and check for anemia, infection, or inflammation. In some cases of cyclic vomiting syndrome, an upper GI endoscopy may be ordered to visualize the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum and rule out other causes of vomiting. Doctors use the following criteria to diagnose cyclic vomiting syndrome: stereotypical episodes of acute vomiting lasting less than 1 week; 3 or more episodes of vomiting in the last year, with 2 episodes in the past 6 months, with at least 1 week between each episode; and absence of vomiting between episodes.
Treatments for Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome
Treatments for cyclic vomiting syndrome typically include anti-nausea medications, antacids, or other medications to treat anxiety and migraines that may worsen the condition. Marijuana cessation is important. Good sleep hygiene and avoiding fasting or triggering foods can also help. The most important factor when dealing with cyclic vomiting syndrome bouts is staying hydrated. Patients suffering from a flare-up should ensure they drink plenty of water, get enough rest, and add electrolyte powders or drinks as needed.
Complications of Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome
Cyclic vomiting syndrome can lead to a variety of other complicating factors if left undiagnosed or untreated. Patients suffering from this condition are prone to developing secondary conditions such as esophagitis, stomach ulcers, nutrient malabsorption, and tooth decay.