Vomiting in children is common issue and the most frequently encountered cause among them is viral gastroenteritis. In majority of cases vomiting is preceded or followed with other set of symptoms such as diarrhea, fever, cough etc. However, sometimes vomiting may occur as a solitary symptom. It may be sudden in onset that repeats frequently without any apparent cause. Such episode may last for few hours or for many days.
After the episode, the child may return back to normal. This type of episode is clinically called cyclic vomiting syndrome. Although the condition can prevail at any age, it is more common in children between the ages of 3 to 8 years.Cyclic vomiting usually begins in the morning. Its time, frequency and severity remain the same throughout the episode.
Causes Of Vomiting In Child With No Other Symptoms
The cause of cyclic vomiting is unknown but scientists believe cellular mitochondria plays the role. Mitochondria are the basic structure of the cell. The nutrients absorbed are processed by the cellular mitochondria which provide energy to the cell. Abnormal changes in the mitochondrial function can take place but the exact reason is obscure.
However, cyclic vomiting is more often seen in children whose parents have migraine. Anxiety and emotional upset are the main triggers that are seen in majority cases of cyclic vomiting.
Certain other triggers may also cause such episodes such as:
- Certain type of foods such as chocolate, cheeses caffeine, etc.
- Hot weather.
- Motion sickness
- Influenza and sinusitis
- Overeating during bed time.
- Too much of physical exercise.
- Menstrual periods in adolescent girls.
Researchers have found strong connection between migraine headache and cyclic vomiting. Children who have cyclic vomiting have their mother or father suffering from migraine. In some children migraine may replace cyclic vomiting as they grow.
Phases Of Symptoms In Cyclic Vomiting Among Children
Vomiting without any other symptoms is more common in children between the ages 3 to 8years, although it can occur at any age. This disorder can have certain phases before, during and after vomiting. The child may complain of pain in stomach and retching before the onset of vomiting. The prodromal phase lasts for few minutes or hours.
Some children start vomiting without any warning sign. During the vomiting phase the child may have heaving, nausea, vomiting, drooling, headache, sensitivity to light and severe fatigue. During the recovery phase the child starts eating well and his energy returns back to normal. Between the episodes of vomiting, there is no stomach pain, vomiting or exhaustion.
Diagnosis And Treatment For Cyclic Vomiting In Children
Cyclic vomiting is usually diagnosed last after ruling out all other common probable causes of vomiting. This may include conditions such as volvulus, intestinal obstruction and blockage in the urinary system, pancreatitis, etc. The doctor will also focus upon family history of migraine and the pattern of episodes of vomiting. He may also order to do sonogram of abdomen, upper gastrointestinal tract endoscopy, blood and urine tests.
Normally doctors treat cyclic vomiting with the same medicines that alleviates an attack of migraine. However, some medicines cannot be used in children. The medicines that can be used are of two types. The first type helps to stop attack and reduces length and severity of vomiting episode.
Other is preventive medicine that may stop future attacks of cyclic vomiting. The child is often advised to take rest and sleep in dark and silent room. Future episodes can be prevented by avoiding triggers that may include offending food items, sinus infection or certain drugs.