Preparing for your appointment

You're likely to start by seeing your primary care doctor or your child's pediatrician. But you may be referred immediately to a digestive diseases specialist (gastroenterologist). If you or your child is in the middle of a severe vomiting episode, the doctor may recommend immediate medical care.

Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment and know what to expect from the doctor.

What you can do

  • Keep a record of any symptoms, including how often vomiting occurs and any typical triggers you may have noticed, such as food or activity.
  • Write down key medical information, including other diagnosed conditions.
  • Write down key personal information, including dietary habits and any major stresses or recent changes — both positive and negative — in your child's life or yours.
  • Bring a list of all medications, vitamins or supplements that you or your child takes.
  • Write down questions to ask the doctor.

Questions to ask the doctor

Some basic questions to ask the doctor include:

  • What's the most likely cause of these symptoms?
  • Are any tests needed?
  • Do you think this condition is temporary or long lasting?
  • What treatments do you recommend?
  • Is there a medication that can help?
  • Are there any dietary restrictions that can help?

Don't hesitate to ask other questions that occur to you during your appointment.

What to expect from the doctor

Be ready to answer questions your doctor may ask:

  • When did you or your child begin experiencing symptoms?
  • How often does an episode of severe vomiting occur, and how many times do you or does your child typically vomit?
  • How long do the episodes typically last?
  • Do you or does your child experience abdominal pain?
  • Have you noticed any warning signs that an episode is coming, such as loss of appetite or feeling unusually tired, or any common triggers, such as intense emotions, illness or menstruation?
  • Have you or has your child been diagnosed with any other medical problems, including mental health conditions?
  • What treatments, including over-the-counter medications and home remedies, are you or your child taking for other conditions?
  • Does anything seem to improve the symptoms or shorten the duration of an episode?
  • Do you or does your child have any history of severe headaches?
  • Does anyone in your family have a history of cyclic vomiting syndrome or of migraines?
  • Do you or your child use cannabis in any form? If so, how often?

What you can do in the meantime

The doctor will likely want to see you or your child immediately if an episode of severe vomiting is underway. But if the vomiting has passed, get plenty of rest, drink extra fluids and follow an easy-to-digest diet. It's also a good idea to avoid caffeinated beverages or foods containing caffeine, as these may trigger symptoms.