Self-management

Lifestyle and home remedies

Lifestyle changes can help control the signs and symptoms of cyclic vomiting syndrome. People with cyclic vomiting syndrome generally need to get adequate sleep. Once vomiting begins, it may help to stay in bed and sleep in a dark, quiet room.

When the vomiting phase has stopped, it's very important to drink fluids, such as an oral electrolyte solution (Pedialyte) or a sports drink (Gatorade, Powerade, others) diluted with 1 ounce of water for every ounce of sports drink. Some people may feel well enough to begin eating a normal diet soon after they stop vomiting. But if you don't or your child doesn't feel like eating right away, you might start with clear liquids and then gradually add solid food.

If vomiting episodes are triggered by stress or excitement, try during a symptom-free interval to find ways to reduce stress and stay calm. Eating small meals and small carbohydrate-containing snacks daily, instead of three large meals, also may help.

Coping and support

Because you never know when the next episode might occur, cyclic vomiting syndrome can be difficult for the whole family. Children may be especially concerned, and may worry constantly that they'll be with other children when an episode happens.

You or your child may benefit from connecting with others who understand what it's like to live with the uncertainty of cyclic vomiting syndrome. Ask your doctor about support groups in your area.

Prevention

Many people know what triggers their cyclic vomiting episodes. Avoiding those triggers can reduce the frequency of episodes. While you may feel well between episodes, it's very important to take medications as prescribed by your doctor.

If episodes occur more than once a month or require hospitalization, your doctor may recommend preventive medicine, such as amitriptyline, propranolol (Inderal), cyproheptadine and topiramate. Lifestyle changes also may help, including:

  • Getting adequate sleep
  • Downplaying the importance of upcoming events because excitement can be a trigger
  • Avoiding trigger foods, such as caffeine, cheese and chocolate
  • Eating small meals and small carbohydrate-containing snacks daily at regular times