Children

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Caring for children with nausea and vomiting

Learn how our Gastroenterology, Liver and Nutrition Program cares for children with nausea and vomiting.

Related tests and treatments:

Our approach to nausea and vomiting

There are many different factors that can cause nausea and vomiting in children, ranging from short-lived gastrointestinal viruses to chronic GI disorders. While a typical “stomach bug” can often be managed at home or through a visit to your pediatrician’s office, it’s a good idea to consult a pediatric gastroenterologist if your child is experiencing reoccurring nausea and/or vomiting. The experts at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin can determine what might be causing your child’s symptoms and work with you to reduce the impact of these unpleasant symptoms on your child’s life.

Children’s Hospital is a leading center for treating disorders that can cause chronic nausea and/or vomiting, including motility disorders, autonomic disorders and cyclic vomiting syndrome. Our Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome Program is the first and largest program of its kind.

Our neurogastroenterologists are committed to researching nausea and vomiting in children, and we offer advanced testing and treatment options, including autonomic testing and gastric pacing, when medically necessary. Our team approach allows us to deliver exceptional, family-centered care.

Nausea and vomiting services we offer

The services we offer include:

Diagnosing and treating nausea and vomiting

Treatment depends on the cause of your child’s symptoms. With vomiting, the most important thing is to prevent dehydration. Encourage your child to drink small amounts of clear liquids frequently, and see a medical provider immediately if your child is showing signs of dehydration, such as extreme thirst, exhaustion, decreased urination, paleness and listlessness. Limit your child to small quantities of bland food until he or she can eat without vomiting. A child with a gastrointestinal virus should feel better within a few days.

If your child frequently experiences nausea and vomiting, your child’s doctor might recommend tests to determine the underlying cause. Tests vary depending on your child’s other symptoms and medical history, but they could include:

The treatment plan also varies depending on your child’s diagnosis and the severity of your child’s symptoms, and it could include a combination of medication and lifestyle modifications. Gastric pacing is sometimes used to treat the chronic nausea associated with autonomic disorders, motility disorders and gastroparesis. The severe vomiting episodes associated with cyclic vomiting syndrome may require sedation and IV hydration. Cognitive behavior therapy can also help children cope with the stress of chronic nausea and vomiting.

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