Stories about: cyclical vomiting syndrome


Playing Dr. Miranda Bailey on TV’s Grey’s Anatomy, actress Chandra Wilson has seen plenty of staged medical emergencies over the past six years. But Wilson recently faced a real-life medical drama that hit very close to home. Seemingly out of the blue, Wilson’s teenage daughter, Sarina, began having bouts of intense nausea and uncontrollable vomiting. Doctors ran a series of gastrointestinal tests to see what was attacking the girl’s stomach, but the root of her illness remained a mystery for months.

As it turns out, doctors couldn’t find a problem with Sarina’s stomach because there wasn’t one; her brain was likely to blame for her abdominal discomfort.

After much testing, doctors diagnosed Sarina with cyclical vomiting syndrome (CVS), a disorder that is believed to occur neurologically but trigger symptoms in the belly. Even though her stomach was probably perfectly healthy, Sarina’s brain was sending signals to her body that caused intense vomiting. The idea of a neurological disorder affecting the body like a stomach flu may seem odd to some, but it’s not unprecedented in medicine.

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