Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Complications


Episodes of severe vomiting without any apparent cause is what we call, cyclic vomiting syndrome. These episodes can last for as long as hours to days. Generally, these episodes are similar, which means that they start at the same time of the day and last with same time length and shows the same symptoms and occur with the same intensity.

This can occur in people of all age groups, but most often can be seen in children aged 3 to 7 years. This is more common in children but the cases in adults are increasing at a great pace as well. To be made noticeable, the syndrome is difficult to diagnose because there are a number of disorders that may lead to vomiting. There are a number of medications, including anti-nausea and migraine therapies can lessen the symptoms. Whereas, the treatment involves lifestyle changes that can help to prevent the vomiting episodes.

Read more: 11 Natural Remedies for Vomiting in Kids

All You Need to Know About Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome

cyclic vomiting syndrome


Although there is no underlying cause of cyclic vomiting syndrome,  genes, hormone imbalances, digestive difficulties and nervous system problems are some of the possible causes. There can be specific causes for specific bouts of vomiting:

  • Motion sickness
  • Anxiety attacks or panic attacks
  • Hot weather
  • Excessive exercising
  • Physical exhaustion
  • Foods including chocolate, caffeine or cheese
  • Emotional stress
  • Menstruation
  • Physical exhaustion
  • Overeating

In order to manage cyclic vomiting syndrome, it is essential to identify the underlying cause of it so that it becomes easier to manage and control it.


One can often notice the symptoms of cyclic vomiting syndrome right in the morning. Some of the signs and symptoms include:

  • Intense sweating
  • Nausea
  • Severe vomiting that continues for hours to days, but less than a week and occurs a number of times in an hour.
  • More than three episodes of vomiting without any apparent cause

A number of other signs and symptoms of cyclic vomiting syndrome include:

  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Abdominal pain
  • Retching
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Fatigue or exhaustion
  • Pale skin
  • Loss of appetite
  • Less urination
  • Thirst


People with cyclic vomiting syndrome are often made to notice their symptoms so as to manage and control them. They are advised to get plenty of sleep and rest and definitely medications that can help to prevent vomiting episodes and to quicken the recovery process.


Once the vomiting phase begins, the person is usually required to take complete bed rest and sleep in dark and a quiet room. However, if the vomiting is severe, it may require hospitalization and intravenous fluids that will help to prevent dehydration.

  • During the prodromal phase, it is sometimes possible to stop a vomiting episode from happening. People usually suffer from abdominal pain or nausea before an episode and at that particular time, they may ask their doctor taking ondansetron (Zofran) or lorazep0am (Ativan) for nausea or ibuprofen (Advil or profen) for pain.
  • During the recovery phase, it is extremely important to drink water and replace lost electrolytes. Though, symptoms during the recovery process can vary from person to person. Some people may notice their appetite getting normal immediately, whereas others may need to commence by drinking clear liquids and then moving ahead to solid food.
  • People with frequent and long-lasting episodes can be given the treatment during the symptom-free interval. They may be recommended to take medicines on a regular basis for a month or two to see if it helps.
  • One of the best time to eliminate anything that you know triggers the vomiting episode is the symptom-free phase. For instance, if you know that stress or excitement is what triggers your vomiting episodes, then you can use the symptom-free phase to find out ways to reduce stress.
  • For migraine, anti-migraine drugs may be prescribed by the doctor in order to reduce the symptoms of migraine headaches
  • In case, sinus problems or allergies are the cause of frequent episodes, those conditions should be treated immediately in order to prevent the chances of CVS attack.

Read more: 21 Effective Home Remedies for Migraine

Complications, if the condition is not treated:

In case the condition is not treated, attacks may occur, typically four to twelve times a year. Although, vomiting is absent and nausea is generally reduced between the episodes but a number of people experience symptoms during and between episodes which may include pain or digestive disorders.

Apart from this, complications of CVS may include dehydration, damage to the esophagus, electrolyte abnormalities and tooth decay because of the acid in vomit. People with cyclic vomiting syndrome are more likely to suffer from depression, anxiety and panic disorder as compared to other people.

Hope this article was of help for all our parents!! Please share your comments/queries/tips with us and help us create a world full of Happy and Healthy Babies!!