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Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome / Abdominal Migraine

I've been dealing with extreme nausea with severe vomiting and severe stomach pain for several months now. As a kid, I would just have extreme nausea and severe stomach pain when I was stressed, but the doctors always told me to just go home and take it easy, relax, and eventually I would feel better.

But for the past 2 years, and even more so since September 2012, I've been having the extreme nausea/severe vomiting/severe stomach pain every couple of weeks and at first I thought it was my gallbladder because the last few times I've just been vomiting bright green bile for 3 to 5 days at a time. I've been the ER twice for severe dehydration because of it and finally the 2nd time last night, once of the ER docs suggested that I might have CVS and to follow up with a specialist. I've been doing a little bit of research today and it seems like that's what I have, but everything I've been reading says it's more common children. I do have chronic migraines with auras almost daily for the past 4 years, I also have fibromyalgia and PKD (kidney disease).

Is CVS/Abdominal Migraines a common thing? Any advice, tips, comments would be appreciated, I'm not sure what I'm dealing with yet and I'm getting tired of being so sick all the time.

Thank you!

  1. Hi supertruestory,

    First let me say how sorry I am to have missed your post. Now, let me see what I can do to help you out.

    You are correct CVS or cyclic vomiting syndrome is an uncommon disorder often found in children but can also be found in adults who have a history of migraine. It can be hard to determine whether one has CVS or abdominal migraine because some of the symptoms are similar.

    There seems to be less pain in CVS and an attack may last from an hour to five days. On the other hand the pain of abdominal migraine may be more moderate and /or severe and can be quite debilitating. We have some information on CVS in this link;

    May I ask what kind of doctor treats your migraines? I wonder if it is time to consider seeing a migraine specialist, THE expert who is board certified in headache medicine.

    Let me know if I can do any more to help,

    1. From one of our readers: elizabethcroke

      Hi. I've had traditional migraines since I was ten. I've pretty much gotten used to those and deal with them accordingly. Now I've developed abdominal migraines . I'm finding these to be debilitating. Anyone else expiring these?

      1. I have been suffering from migraines for several years, and noticed that whenever I get a migraine (severe headache, sensitivity to light, etc...), I also get nauseous and experience diarrhea. I am pretty intuitive, and for some reason I kept getting the intuitive message to look up vagus nerve. After researching, I now realize how powerful that nerve is, and that it must be involved. It runs from the brain though the entire digestive system, the heart, and basically controls the entire parasympathetic system. I am going to try to learn more about how to take care of this nerve and keep it from being triggered. I think it will help reduce the frequency and severity of my migraines.

        1. I am needing some information. My daughter, 10 years old, has recently been having severe stomach pain around her naval, headaches, vomiting (once a day usually, some days none), and is pale with dark circles. She does not feel like eating either. This has been going on for a week. As a baby, she had reflux and has always complained of stomach pain off and on throughout the years. I have taken her to the dr. and was told she is constipated. He does not take things very seriously and is very quick to get in and out. Does anyone have any suggestions to what type of physician I need to take her to? Gastro or Neuro? I would appreciate any advice or information. Thank you.

          1. I get very pale and completely lose my appetite during an Abdominal Migraine.. I would suggest taking her to a neurologist, someone who specializes in headaches/migraines, they'll know right away if she's suffering from it too. I went to a gastroenterologist first and all they did was some lab work and told me to take prilosec, which never helped. It wasn't until I was hospitalized for the 4th time for severe dehydration from vomiting so much over several days that one of the ER docs said I probably had Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome, then I went to a neurologist who told me I had Abdominal Migraines.. once you figure out your daughter's triggers, they happen less often.

            I find that a heating pad on my stomach or lower back helps with the stomach pain, and ginger ale and crackers are best, I can usually keep those down better than other foods. After that, I stick to the BRAT diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast) until I feel ok enough to start eating normal foods. Ginger ale, ginger candies, and mint tea helps with the nausea too. OH, and if she feels well enough to eat, just let her eat until she's just about full, getting too full can trigger another Abdominal Migraine, it upsets the stomach muscles and start cramping up. I hope this helps, Abdominal Migraines are very painful, I find that I need a lot of rest when I get one. And don't let those doctors send you home without an answer, sometimes you have to fight them, don't let them tell you it's nothing but constipation, Abdominal Migraine is not "nothing".

          2. Tulip219,

            I lean toward taking her to a headache specialist rather than a general neurologist or gastroenterologist. All the symptoms you describe can be migraine-related. A headache/migraine specialist will know if migraine is the core issue (whereas a gastro may not) and understands that migraine has many gastrointestinal symptoms. Many children don’t even have head pain with their migraine attacks, which a headache specialist will understand and know how to treat. Here’s a list of specialists that treat children:


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