18-09 Segment 2: Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome

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Vomiting is not a pleasurable experience for anybody, but most people do not suffer from it all that often. However, people with cyclic vomiting syndrome may experience this discomfort once or twice a month for 24 to 48 hours, and sometimes, even up to ten days. Kathleen Adams is the mother of a cyclic vomiting sufferer and the founder, President, and Research Liaison of Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome Association. She explains that her daughter began having episodes of vomiting as a baby that would last for two and a half to three days. She went undiagnosed for ten years, before finding a doctor who recognized her symptoms and was able to prescribe her medicine that helped decrease the severity of the episodes.

Due to the fact that this syndrome is not well known, many people do not know what to look for or how to prevent it. Dr. B Li, Professor of Pediatrics and Director of Cyclic Vomiting Program at the Medical College of Wisconsin, states that cyclic vomiting syndrome is defined as  recurrent spells of vomiting that can make individuals vomit to the point of dehydration, and even hinder their ability to walk and talk. She explains that these episodes can be triggered from stress, lack of sleep, prolonged fasting, and even exciting events. Although, it can sometimes be prevented if the patient or caregiver is able to identify the trigger that sets off an episode.

While there are ways to help prevent cyclic vomiting syndrome through medications and understanding what triggers an episode, it still remains difficult to treat. Dr. Li states that studies have sought to address how debilitating the syndrome is and it has been proven to impact the quality of life to the same degree as diseases such as Crohn’s disease. However, Dr. Katja Kovacic, pediatric gastroenterologist at the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, explains that most children eventually outgrow cyclic vomiting syndrome by adolescence. Unfortunately for many, it can evolve into other symptoms, such as migraine headaches. Despite being something a person may eventually outgrow, it is important to understand the impact the syndrome has on those who suffer from it as well as their caregivers.

Guests:

  • Kathleen Adams, mother of cyclic vomiting sufferer and the founder, President, and Research Liason of Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome Association
  • Dr. B Li, Professor of Pediatrics and Director of the Cyclic Vomiting Program at Medical College of Wisconsin
  • Dr. Katja Kovacic, pediatric gastroenterologist at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin

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