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Vomiting Syndrome

Vomiting Syndrome, Vomiting also known as emesis, is the forceful expulsion of stomach contents through the mouth and is a common symptom associated with various underlying conditions. It’s often the body’s way of getting rid of harmful substances, toxins, or irritants from the stomach.

Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome:

Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome (CVS) is a rare disorder characterized by recurrent episodes of severe vomiting, often accompanied by nausea and abdominal pain. These episodes can last for hours to days and can be so intense that individuals may require hospitalization. The condition is called “cyclic” because the vomiting episodes tend to occur in a pattern, with symptom-free periods in between.

  1. Episodic Nature: CVS is marked by distinct episodes of vomiting separated by periods of normal health. The frequency of episodes varies among individuals, with some experiencing them several times a month and others less frequently.
  2. Symptoms: In addition to vomiting, individuals with CVS often experience other symptoms during episodes, such as nausea, abdominal pain, and sensitivity to light and sound.
  3. Triggers: Certain factors or triggers can precipitate a CVS episode. Common triggers include emotional stress, infections, certain foods, lack of sleep, and hormonal changes.
  4. Age of Onset: CVS often begins in childhood, but it can also start in adolescence or adulthood.
  5. Duration of Episodes: Vomiting episodes can last from a few hours to several days. Between episodes, individuals usually return to their normal state of health.
  6. Impact on Daily Life: CVS can significantly impact an individual’s quality of life, as the unpredictable nature of the episodes can disrupt daily activities, education, and work.

The exact cause of Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome is not well understood, and it may involve a combination of genetic, environmental, and neurological factors. Diagnosis is typically based on a thorough medical history, physical examination, and the exclusion of other possible causes of recurrent vomiting.

Diagnosing the cause of vomiting involves several steps:

A healthcare provider typically starts by taking a detailed medical history asking about the frequency and duration of vomiting-associated symptoms, recent meals, medications travel history, and any other relevant factors.

A physical examination may be conducted to check for signs of dehydration, abdominal tenderness, or any other abnormalities that could suggest the underlying cause.

Blood tests may be ordered to assess electrolyte levels, CBC Test, Liver Function Test, Amylase and Lipase Test, Blood Gas Analysis, Serum pregnancy test, H.pyloric test, Urine Analysis, Stool Analysis, and Stool culture test.

Depending on the suspected cause, imaging tests like X-rays, ultrasounds, CT scans, or MRIs may be performed to visualize the abdominal organs, detect abnormalities, or rule out certain conditions.

In some cases, an endoscopy such as upper endoscopy or colonoscopy might be recommended to directly visualize the gastrointestinal tract and obtain biopsies if necessary.


The diagnosis of vomiting can vary greatly based on the underlying causes, which can range from gastrointestinal issues like gastroenteritis peptic ulcers, or food poisoning to systemic conditions like pregnancy, migraines, and inner ear problems leading to verti, go, or neurological disorders.


  1. What causes vomiting?
    • Vomiting can be caused by various factors, including infections, food poisoning, motion sickness, pregnancy, certain medications, gastrointestinal disorders, and more.
  2. When should I see a doctor for vomiting?
    • If vomiting persists for more than 24 hours, is accompanied by severe abdominal pain, dehydration, or blood in vomit, or if you suspect poisoning, it’s crucial to seek medical attention.
  3. What diagnostic tests are commonly used for vomiting?
    • Diagnostic tests may include:
      • Physical examination: The doctor will assess your overall health and look for signs of dehydration or other underlying issues.
      • Blood tests: These may help identify infections or electrolyte imbalances.
      • Imaging studies: X-rays, CT scans, or MRIs may be used to check for structural abnormalities.
      • Endoscopy: A flexible tube with a camera may be used to examine the digestive tract.
      • Stool tests: These can help identify infections or other gastrointestinal issues.
  4. How is dehydration assessed?
    • Dehydration can be assessed through physical examination, blood tests (checking electrolyte levels), and urine tests.
  5. Can vomiting be a sign of a serious medical condition?
    • Yes, persistent or severe vomiting can be a symptom of underlying medical conditions such as gastrointestinal disorders, infections, or even neurological issues.
  6. Are there specific tests for vomiting in pregnancy?
    • In pregnant women, the cause of vomiting may be related to morning sickness or a condition known as hyperemesis gravidarum. Diagnosis may involve a physical exam, blood tests, and sometimes ultrasound to ensure the well-being of both the mother and baby.
  7. What precautions should I take before diagnostic tests for vomiting?
    • Follow your doctor’s instructions, which may include fasting before certain tests. Inform your healthcare provider about any medications you are taking and provide a complete medical history.

By Mehfooz Ali

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