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Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome

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Definitions & Facts

Cyclic vomiting syndrome, or CVS, is a disorder that causes sudden, repeated attacks—called episodes—of severe nausea and vomiting. Episodes can last from a few hours to several days. Episodes alternate with longer periods of no symptoms.

Symptoms & Causes

The main symptoms of cyclic vomiting syndrome are sudden, repeated attacks—called episodes—of severe nausea and vomiting. Episodes can last from a few hours to several days. Experts aren’t sure what causes cyclic vomiting syndrome.

Diagnosis

Doctors diagnose cyclic vomiting syndrome based on family and medical history, a physical exam, medical tests, and the pattern or cycle of symptoms. Medical tests can rule out other diseases and conditions that cause cyclic vomiting symptoms.

Treatment

How doctors treat cyclic vomiting syndrome depends on the phase. Your doctor may prescribe medicines to treat episodes, or to help prevent episodes or reduce their frequency. Your doctor may recommend ways to avoid or manage conditions and events that trigger episodes.

Eating, Diet, & Nutrition

You can help prevent cyclic vomiting episodes by avoiding foods that may trigger them. Your diet will not help relieve episodes but will help you recover and keep you healthy. You should eat well-balanced and nutritious meals between episodes.

Clinical Trials

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) and other components of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) conduct and support research into many diseases and conditions.

Related Diagnostic Tests

Your Digestive System and How it Works

The digestive system is made up of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract-also called the digestive tract-and the liver, pancreas, and the gallbladder. The GI tract is a series of hollow organs joined in a long, twisting tube from the mouth to the anus.

Related Research

This content is provided as a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), part of the National Institutes of Health. The NIDDK translates and disseminates research findings to increase knowledge and understanding about health and disease among patients, health professionals, and the public. Content produced by the NIDDK is carefully reviewed by NIDDK scientists and other experts.

The NIDDK would like to thank:
Thangam Venkatesan, M.D., Medical College of Wisconsin