Let’s discuss strange illnesses shall we?

Addie has one, its official name is cyclic vomiting syndrome, or CVS. And it’s exactly what it sounds like, she vomits, in cycles. She was sick today. And since I’m just sure there’s another mom out there that has a kid that vomits out of nowhere and isn’t sure why, I’m writing about it.

how we spent our morning.

It started last year. In March. We were in New Mexico. Addie slept in. Which is weird for her. And it wasn’t just kind of a sleep in. It was a SLEEP IN. (You know or will know what I’m talking about.) One moment she’s asleep, the next moment she bolted upright and barfed.

For the next few hours any tiny little bit of anything that went into her stomach came back out within fifteen minutes. She fell alseep in front of a movie several times, which also? Never happens.

sick little addie.

Then just like that it ended. The little kid was running around the house eating everything in sight. As if nothing had ever happened. She never had a fever, she never had anything but the barfs (which is what she calls her little sickness.)

It has happened several times since. And the one constant I’ve noticed (besides it coming and going by early afternoon) is that it attacks her when she’s either really tired (such after staying up late all weekend due to a little festivity known as fireworks.) or out of her element (trip to New Mexico or living in a hotel for example.)

So if your little kid has ever woken up, slept and barfed the morning away and then perked right up like a puppy come afternoon? There may be an explanation. If nothing else this little syndrome will prove just how resilient little kids are.

sick little addie.

So my advice, one mom to another? If you think your kid may have CVS? Don’t force them to eat anything. Just get some water in them so they have something to barf up. It only takes a tablespoon every hour to prevent dehydration. Sadly, they’re going to dry heave whether they have anything in their stomach or not. And as someone who spent nine months barfing?

Water hurts the least.

And take heart. It will be over before you know it, enjoy the little sleepy snuggles while you can.


  1. I want to kiss that foot.

  2. Wow. I never knew it had a name.

    That was me when I was a kid. Used to drive people nuts. And then I grew out of it. So, there’s hope that it will end eventually.

  3. Memphislis says:

    My daughter has identical symptoms since age 5 and was diagnosed with Gastritis. Half a Zantac 75 with a tiny bit of milk every morning worked. Now I only dose her when we will be out of her element, like you say. I send it on sleepovers and take it on trips,etc.

  4. Poor Moosh! And poor moms and dads who have to deal with it because puke? I don’t deal well with it. My gag reflex is too strong. I feel the twitching now in fact.

  5. I’ve never heard of this syndrome. Poor thing! It’s amazing just how resilient kids are. Wish I could say the same for myself!

  6. Oh my gosh, poor little Addie! I remember when she got sick and you guys were here! That was one of the reasons (besides the crappy weather) that we couldn’t meet up. I feel so bad. My stupid state cursed your pretty little baby.

  7. Ok, so @minipeg will be hugely embarrassed if she knew I was telling this.

    She used to do it deliberately. She would almost hyperventilate and then vomit when she wanted attention. As I was leaving her at the sitter, when I told her no.

    We actually would watch for the hyperventilation and stop that before she vomited.

  8. When my youngest was three (he’s nearly 22 now) he began experiencing the same symptoms. I’m sure you’re aware there is a CVS Association that’s been hard at work all these years to come up with answers to this. In many cases (as it turned out to be in ours) it’s often found in families with histories of migraines. My son’s vomiting cycles became migraines w/vomiting after two years of cyclic vomiting and continue to this day, although they are less frequent and better controlled when they do occur. I wish you and your beautiful Addie well and I’m glad for your sake the word is getting out about CVS because we didn’t know what was going on until a particularly savvy neurologist at A.I. DuPont Children’s hospital told us about CVS two years after my son first experienced symptoms…Two years that doctors tested him for every really scary thing imaginable, two years that we waited, panicky, for test results. Our pediatricians had never heard of CVS. I am so glad to hear the word is finally out…

    DeAnna Reply:


    I have had the same thing since I was little. I also have migraines with vomiting. I wonder if Addie also has constipation/diarrhea with these spells. Lack of sleep is the #2 cause for Irritable Bowel Syndrome Problems, which can manifest as vomiting if your stomach is empty. For me, the best way to prevent it is never let your stomach get TOO empty (small meals/snacks all day) and ALWAYS get enough sleep. I’m 32 and still have symptoms, but they are much more managable with proper sleep and food. Also avoid dairy — increases nausea.

    Tina Reply:

    @DeAnna, My son also had some motility issues with his CVS. Dairy also turned out to be one of his major migraine triggers. Strangely, he could eat it cooked (cheese on pizza, etc), but a bowl of ice cream or a glass of milk and an hour later he’d be in agony. Tough on a little boy.)He adored broccoli as a little thing which we thought was really strange until we learned it’s a good source of calcium.

  9. Bless her little heart! Hopefully she grows out of it, for the sake of you both!!

  10. Poor baby girl. My sister in law has this. I never knew it had a name.

  11. that stinks so bad, and I’m praying she grows out of it soon.

    Check my post today, indecently you and the barfs might have been mentioned.

  12. I’ve never seen such a beautiful photograph of a puke bucket.

  13. I’ve heard about this before and it sounds terrible. I hope your little one finds some relief somehow. I would hate to have to go through this.

  14. Gretchen says:

    I am 33, and I have this suck-ass thing as well. I never outgrew it, and it usually happens in times of stress (like you said) – although as a single Mom of 3 kids with a job an hour from home…STRESS might as well be my middle name (in addition to dealing with awful depression). At this point I choose foods based on the least disgusting if/when they decided to travel backwards and resurface. Ewww!

    Your poor baby! I can totally sympathize. Crossing my fingers the little one outgrows it.

    And I totally agree – barfing water is the easiest!

  15. I HATE the barfs, they are the worst. I don’t deal well with the barfs from me or anyone. Sorry that she has to deal CVS, it sucks when your kids are sick. Hopefully she does grow out of it.

  16. Mom from Vernal says:

    Remember the time she stayed all night with us at Little America in Salt Lake City. I was up all night with her vomiting and we couldn’t figure out what she had eaten that caused it. I think it must have been CVS just starting. I love that sweet baby and hope that migraines are not in her future.

  17. charing says:

    My neice has CVS. She has suffered for years with it. She is 11 and she deals with it better than her Mom now. The Dr. described them as if it were a stomach migraine. She always knows when it will happen and some times lasts days.

  18. It’s funny, because you know how I have a fear of vomiting, it’s pretty much my least favorite thing ever.

    But reading that, as a mother’s perspective on her child’s struggle, I wasn’t disgusted, it didn’t freak me out.

    I’m sure it sounds silly, but that was perhaps the first time that having a vomiting child sounded…manageable, like something I wanted to be compassionate about. Well done, dude.

    Overflowing Brain (Katie) Reply:

    And of course, poor Addie, because I can only imagine how rough that must be for her (and you).

  19. Poor Addie! hope she is right as rain by this afternoon. Hang in there mom 🙂

  20. Oh man, like it wasn’t enough that you were nauseated all through your pregnancy, now Addie has to deal with CVS. Sorry you guys have to deal with this.

    This post reminds me of a case I read about where a girl vomited in her sleep every night. It turned out she had epilepsy which manifested itself as vomiting episodes. I’m not saying that’s what Addie has, I just wanted to let you know other people have had to deal with similar problems.

    Here’s to good health!

  21. Oh, no! Poor girl (and poor you!). I do not do well with vomit. I hope she does outgrow it. Good advice about the water, not just for this, but for those evil stomach viruses, too.

  22. Eek. Poor girl. Another good thing to barf is Gatorade. I found out pretty quickly that it tastes the exact same coming up as it did going down.

    PS that bowl is totally from the dollar store. I have two just like it. Holla Dolla Store!

  23. Total coincidence that this is the second cyclic kiddy barf blog post I’ve read in two days??


    Poor moosh. 🙁

  24. Sunshine says:

    We deal with asthma here, which is also the pits. I hate this for you and her.

  25. And it started when you were in New Mexico, no less. That’s where we live.

    I’m just crossing my fingers that as soon as this post and mine get spidered, parents who search for this will find us. I’d have done anything to talk to other moms whose kids were in the thick of this weird thing if I could have found them.

    Sounds like you’re on the front end of this thing while we’re mostly on the other side. I’m hoping hoping hoping for you that it’s time limited as it turned out to be for Carter!

    Oh, also? Our pediatrician gave the go-ahead to give Carter one regular strength Tums after each time he barfed. He wouldn’t always eat it and we never forced the issue, but it neutralizes everything in the stomach and not only does it mean the vomiting doesn’t hurt, but it protects the throat and teeth. All that acid exposure can take its toll after awhile.

    Hugs to you, and so glad someone pointed us to each other!

  26. Poor kiddo. 🙁

  27. (((((Addie)))) and to you too!!

  28. Ohhhh, that poor sweetheart! I wonder if it has anything to do with growth spurts? My sister would become uncharacteristically tired as a child when she would have a severe growth spurt. There was no barfing, but I wonder if that could be part of it too? Physically worn out from growing..

  29. How horrible! How do you know if it’s something that resides concern or if it’s the same old thing and you just need to wait it out?

  30. That was supposed to be “requires concern”, not resides. Dumb iPod auto-correct.

  31. Poor Addie! It’s interesting that some doctors think it’s related to migraines.

  32. um… you know jackson has CVS? that’s how my blog started. and i have had a ridiculous amount of ppl contact me about it but no one else has written me with this diagnosis… until i read here about addie.

    here’s to puke!

  33. Ashley Smith says:

    My daughter a few months back would wake up in the middle of the night, every night, for week s and puke. She is such a hard sleeper though that it rarely woke her up. Each morning we would find her and her bed coated. (sick). I wonder if it is this.

  34. hello! I just found your blog today and funny thing…my son has CVS. He would barf every three months for 2 weeks straight. It was horrible. Our GI doctor gave him a medicine called Periactin (it is an antihistimine) and he has been cycle free for over a year. I asked the doctor why an antihistimine would work for CVS and she said that no one really knows…they just figured out that it works. I might be something that you discuss with your daughter’s doctor. Good luck to you and her…I totally understand that it is just not fun…it sucks really.

  35. michelle chick says:

    hunh, i never knew there was an official diagnosis. my husband does this – i just called it ‘rav’: random acts of vomiting.

  36. Interesting. Stumbled across this surfing my laptop sitting in the chidrens hospital watching my daughter retch miserably. We are on day 3 of barfing 3 or 4 times an hour. This happened about a month ago and she went through it for about 6 days. No diagnosis then or now. I wonder if this is the same thing.

  37. my daughter has that. she also has migraines.


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