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I Suffer From Cyclical Vomiting Syndrome

Cyclical Vomiting Syndrome Treatment

Cyclical Vomiting Syndrome (CVS) can be defined as episodes of severe vomiting followed by mostly complete symptom-free periods, hence the cyclical nature of the disorder. However, occasionally sufferers may experience mild symptoms between episodes. The episodes can last from one hour up to ten days.

CVS commonly affects children aged 3-7 most, and in some cases of CVS can occur in adults as well.

At the Sydney Headache and Migraine Clinic™, our headache experts have seen a large number of Cyclical Vomiting Syndrome patients. If you are suffering from CVS, and medication has given you no relief, then we believe that you should have an in-depth examination of your brainstem and receive treatment for your CVS.

Understanding Your Symptoms

Common Symptoms of Cyclical Vomiting Syndrome

CVS is often difficult to diagnose as the symptoms present similarly other disorders, specifically abdominal migraine. Patients will normally report vomiting at least 4 times per hour, which can often lead to severe dehydration. CVS episodes present similar in terms of duration, time of onset, intensity and type of symptoms as well.

The common signs and symptoms of CVS include:

  • recurring episodes of vomiting that can last up to a week
  • severe nausea
  • intense sweating

Accompanying features that may or may not be present with CVS include:

  • abdominal pain
  • diarrhoea
  • fever
  • dizziness


While CVS is considered to be a “migraine disorder”, it is rarely associated with headaches. This is due to attacks including headaches being classified as “classic” or “common” migraine.

A man experiencing a Migraine

Understanding CVS

What causes of Cyclical Vomiting Syndrome?

The exact mechanism of Cyclical Vomiting Syndrome is currently not known, however, some theories have proposed that chemicals like histamine and serotonin that are produced by the body have a role to play. Other possible causes include hormonal imbalances or genetic differences.

Patients that are suffering from CVS, and have no underlying disorder pathology that can be recognised, should have their brainstem examined.

A sensitised brainstem can perceive non-threatening stimuli such as consuming certain foods and create vomiting symptoms, where the sensory information was originally detected. This hyper-excitability of CVS symptoms is due to the heightened arousal and sensitive brainstem. A brainstem that is sensitised will relay the sensory information to the brain, but will heighten the signal of the sensation so that the brain perceives the information as painful.

About The Assessment Stage

What To Expect During The Assessment

1. Comprehensive and in-depth examination

We instigate an in-depth assessment to identify all possible related factors that could be causing your headaches or migraines. The upper cervical spine, in particular, is thoroughly examined to identify possible issues.

2. Ligamental stability and vertebral arterial tests

We undertake careful examination of neck ligaments and vertebral arteries, ensuring only the highest standards of patient safety and comfort.

3. Temporarily reproduce your headache and migraine symptoms

As a part of the treatment process, we apply gentle and selective stress to the upper cervical spine in order to reproduce headache symptoms, which subside after 20-30 seconds. This helps to identify and treat the cause of your headaches.

Cyclical Vomiting Syndrome vs Abdominal Migraine

What's the difference

Often mistaken for the same condition, Abdominal Migraine and Cyclical Vomiting Syndrome (CVS) have slight differences.

CVS refers to waves of intense vomiting, nausea, and other stomach problems for no obvious reason, and can last up to 10 days, compared to three days for abdominal migraine. Abdominal migraine is often experienced purely as abdominal pain without vomiting and nausea, rare in some cases.

In both cases, sufferers can experience pale skin and loss of appetite during an attack.

Diagnosing CVS in children

CVS is hard to diagnose in children as it may be  difficult to distinguish between stomach flu and an abdominal migraine. It is important to rule out conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, appendicitis, and gastroenteritis before diagnosing CVS.

It is more likely that they will children with CVS will experience migraines or headaches when they reach adulthood.

I’ve already tried everything. How can you help me with me Cyclical Vomiting Syndrome?

Cyclical Vomiting Syndrome Treatment

Here at the Sydney Headache and Migraine Clinic™, we have a special interest in treating headache and migraines. Therefore, we are dedicated to keep up to date with the most recent research to deliver the best treatment for all related conditions such as CVS.

Generally patients have tired a variety of different type of treatment interventions with no effect before seeing us. Despite all efforts patients still present with Cyclical Vomiting Syndrome Treatment as they have not found the root cause of their symptoms. If this is the case, have you had your neck and brainstem assessed to investigate whether the cause of your symptoms is originating from the brainstem itself?

At the Sydney Headache and Migraine Clinic, we compete a thorough examination of the upper cervical spine to determine the severity of your sensitised brainstem.

If the brainstem is identified as the likely trigger of your cyclical vomiting syndrome, treatment can begin immediately. Once treatment commences we expect an improvement to rapidly occur in 90% of our patients with your CVS. We expect to observe this within the first 3 weeks of treatment consultations.

We pride ourselves on our treatment being medication-free, surgery-free and invasive-free.

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