All children will occasionally become ill, experiencing acute nausea and vomiting when exposed to certain viruses or bacteria. However, some children suffer with chronic or frequent vomiting and nausea not caused by an acute illness. Episodes of nausea and vomiting can be severe at times and often occur without explanation. These children require the attention of a pediatric gastroenterologist to determine the cause of the vomiting and find an effective mode of treatment.
Did you know…
that many children with frequent vomiting and nausea suffer from a condition called ‘cyclic vomiting syndrome’? The condition is relatively rare, occurring in just 3 out of every 100,000 children. It can occur at nearly any age, though the average diagnosis is approximately 5 years old. Though the cause of cyclic vomiting syndrome is unknown, the National Institutes of Health reports that it is more likely to occur in children with a family history of migraines or in those with pre-existing GI health problems.
Often, vomiting and nausea are caused by infectious illnesses, such as adenovirus, food-borne toxins, and rotavirus. Many gastrointestinal issues can also cause vomiting and nausea in children and adolescents, including gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). anatomical anomalies, bowel obstruction, inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome and pancreatic and liver diseases.
Often, minor cases of gastroenteritis will last only a short period of time, with most children recovering on their own at home when kept hydrated. If, however, your child experiences frequent episodes of vomiting or complains of nausea on a chronic basis, talk to your child’s primary care provider about a referral to a pediatric gastroenterologist. If your child experiences severe stomach pain, an abdomen that is swollen or hard to the touch, or is vomiting blood or bile, seek emergency medical attention right away.
Nausea and vomiting are unpleasant physiological responses to underlying disorders. While we always aim to improve the quality of life of our patients, our primary focus is to identify and treat the cause or illness responsible for the symptoms. Because there are many different conditions that may cause chronic vomiting and nausea in our patients, treatments will vary.