Symptoms of Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome

Patients with cyclic vomiting syndrome usually go through 4 stages.

Episodes of cyclic vomiting in children are triggered by infections like chronic sinusitis, stress, as well as excessive excitement during birthdays, holidays and family reunions. Common triggers in adults include menstrual periods, stress, pleasant excitement and fatigue.

A patient with cyclic vomiting syndrome goes through the following phases-

  • Prodrome phase: This is the phase that precedes the vomiting. The patient experiences symptoms of nausea, sweating, abdominal pain, irritability and loss of appetite. This phase may last up to 1 to 2 hours.
  • Emetic phase: In this phase, the patient suffers from severe nausea and vomiting, which often begins early in the morning. This phase may last for 1 to 3 days in children and 6 to 9 days in adults. The patient may suffer from anxiety, panic attacks, and may even go into a coma-like state where he may be unable to move or speak.
  • Recovery phase: In this stage, the nausea and vomiting stop and the patient returns to near-normal activity with a normal appetite.
  • Well-interval phase: This is the period where the patient is normal between attacks. It may last from 4 weeks to several months in children. Adults may have some episodes of nausea and vomiting during this period.

Other symptoms associated with cyclic vomiting syndrome include-

  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Severe headaches
  • Low-grade fever

The patent may suffer from the following complications-

  • Dehydration with electrolyte abnormalities
  • Low blood sugar levels
  • Bleeding from the digestive tract

Reference:

  1. Venkatasubramani N, Venkatesan T, Li BU K. Extreme Emesis: Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome. Practical Gastroenterology September 2007; 21-34.

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