throwing up too often

mom2emallMarch 1, 2008

So the problem is my 9 yr old son throws up too often. The only medical problems we are aware of is asthma, which he takes singulair daily for and it has improved. About 2 years ago he started throwing up a lot, at first we thought it was a flu. But it lingered and we went to the dr. She did tests and said he was lactose intolerant, which was wierd because he has drank milk everyday. So we took him off all products that contained lactose. Symptoms improved. But he still goes through spurts where he will throw up after he eats for no reason. We will all eat the same food an be fine. And it is no particular food. We have kept food logs and the doctor had him on an acid reflux medication for a while. Then she took him off it and he was fine for a while. We did blood tests a few months ago and doctor said he was no longer lactose intolerant. So we began giving him lactose products again. Since then he has thrown up again after meals, so we took lactose products away again. He is still throwing up on occasion. His height and weight is good for his age, and he has not stopped growing. Still, I am worried!

He says it just happens, he does not really feel sick when it happens. Sometimes he says his stomach will begin to hurt and then he will get just a bit of vomit in his mouth. I had thought that maybe he was making himself throw up to get out of school or homework, so I talked to him about the harm in making yourself throw up and he promised me that he was not making himself do it.

The doctor recently wanted to put him back on acid reflux meds, but I told her I want to bring him to a specialist and make sure he is ok on the inside and there was not some other cause for this. Make sure his esophogus is okay from all this throwing up, so she gave us the referral and we got an appointment for a few weeks.

Has anyone ever had any experience with this type of situation or know what this could be? I am worried!!!

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How frightening for you! Of course you must be very worried.

Is your son particularly anxious? I used to throw up a lot as a child, about the same age, 7-10. I was a nervous wreck a lot and in the middle of the night I"d puke.

Does he talk a lot? If he's keeping stuff inside, this might be something to consider. Good thing to go to a stomach specialist too.

Sometimes people throw up while they are eating because their esophagus is too tight to accept starchy foods, or meat - but that doesn't sound like it fits with your son.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2008 at 5:13PM
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When you say doctor, do you mean specialist doctor ? Like a gastroenterologist ?

If it does not feel right to you, I would keep searching for answers. You should trust your instincts.

It's baffling isn't it ?


    Bookmark   March 2, 2008 at 5:26PM
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When I said doctor I was talking about his pediatrician. But we do have an appointment finally to see a GI specialist. So hopefully he will have more answers for us! I am just so nervous about it.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2008 at 10:15PM
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after many years of our doctor testing our son for vomiting episodes we finally found a gastroentogist who ran several tests and determined that he has Crohn's disease and found several ulcers in his digestive tract. He is doing great now but I wish we had found it four years earlier when it first started- I am not a firm believer in the value to seeking the opinions of specialists once it moves beyond the scope of a general physician.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2008 at 9:39PM
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I also advise to get a second and a third opinion if you are not satisfied. My Mom's MD was letting her die, he just blamed her problems on old age. She was so weak she could not walk without holding on to furniture. She went to my doctor, he listened to her heart and said she needed a pacemaker, 2 or 3 months later she was good as new.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2008 at 10:26PM
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Please, get him to a GOOD pediatric gastroenterologist--preferably one recommended to you by the best pediatric hospital in your area.

Tell you our story. DD was about that age when she started having bouts of vomiting. She'd vomit for hours--for apparently no reason (not food poisoning, not the virus) We kept taking her to the pediatrician. He kept saying it was nothing serious--even gave it a fake name. He refused to refer her to a specialist, refused to order any tests. She kept having bouts of vomiting. He kept treating the symptoms (which didn't make a scrap of difference, I might add--you'll see why in a bit). I kept begging for a referral.

Now mind you, this wasn't constant--only every month or so, and it was several months before we even realized there was a pattern (at first you do figure it was just something she ate, or something going around). After about a year or so, we discussed with our own dr. and he recommended we should forget the ped, and go to a pediatric gastroenterologist. He even recommended one, even though she wasn't his patient.

At the gastroenterologist's office, he diagnosed the problem within 10 minutes and also diagnosed me with the same thing--even though my symptoms are completely different. Even though he thought he knew what the problem was and prescribed the appropriate meds--he still ran extensive tests to rule out anything else. We were so impressed with him, that we took dd to him until she was too old to need a pediatrician (he was both a regular pediatrician and a gastro specialist--and a lovely man to boot). Oh, and the rest of the story? What was she suffering from? ABDOMINAL MIGRAINES.

Your son is about the right age for them to start. They aren't uncommon, although they are often misdiagnosed. They're basically a migraine without the headache. Standard stomach remedies don't work on them--they need to be prescribed regular migraine medicine, even though the kids who get this condition don't usually have any headache at all with it. DD's pediatrician didn't have a clue, though. I've read since that abdominal migraines are often misdiagnosed, because everyone jumps to the assumption that the problem is in the stomach, when it's really in the head. And of course, they go away anyway, after a bit, so it gets really tricky to get a correct diagnosis.

Now, that may or may not be the case with your son. You need to see a specialist, need to have him/her run the appropriate tests to make sure there's nothing else going on, and if the dr. is any good at all, they should be able to also diagnose migraines--if that is causing the problem.

And yes, I've had regular migraines all my life--I just didn't want to admit to it, until my daughter inherited them.

Good luck. Hope you find your answers quicker than we did, so your son doesn't have to suffer too long.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2008 at 9:07AM
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Have you gotten him to a specialist? And did you get any answers?

I've been checking this thread frequently, hoping to see an update, and that your son is doing better. Hope to see some good news.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2008 at 1:49PM
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We did get into the gastroenterologist. He examined my son and said physically he saw nothing wrong. The blood tests were all fine. He seems to think that it is stress related. My son is hyper and a perfectionist when it comes to some things, so that may be the problem. My son will cry over grades and get himself all worked up. And with his teacher being VERY hard on his class this year and the amount of homework he has that could all be stressing him out.

Since the appt. I have spoken to the school principal about my concerns with the work. I told her he is stressed because the amount of work he has each night is excessive and that he has homework each weekend. Also, the teacher gives tests and somehow when he only gets 1 or 2 answers wrong it is already a C. Just too much pressure for a 3rd grader! Also, the teacher was keeping my son in from recess to make corrections on assignments. I tried talking to the teacher, but she got very snotty. The principal was much nicer and said she will look into this.

So, hopefully everything will be ok.

Thanks so much for checking!
The dr. said when the vomiting starts again to get in right away and he will do some ultrasound and other tests just to be sure. So far no vomiting though.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2008 at 6:40PM
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Don't forget to inquire about the migraine situation, though. I did find, with my dd--before she was actually diagnosed, that periods of high-stress often seemed to bring on her episodes (even 'exciting' things she wanted to do--like going to a special birthday party). Of course, migraines can be related to stress. I know it's hard to tell a dr. what the problem is (they never like patients knowing more than they do--LOL), but perhaps you can find a dr. who is willing to prescribe a migraine med for you to try, just to see if it helps.

The more I read of your story, the more it sounds like my dd's case. And I hate knowing there's another child out there suffering unnecessarily, as she did. Of course, I'm no dr., and certainly don't know your child--I'm just relating our experience, and see some similarities with ours. According to one report my husband read, this condition is and has been common for many years, but many drs aren't familiar with it, so the poor kids don't get diagnosed.

A question--is there a history of migraines in your family? And did the dr. ASK that question when you saw him? He should have. What tests did he do? DD had to spend a day in the pediatric hospital, having a battery of tests, just to rule out anything else.

Hope you do finally get to the bottom of things and he's soon feeling better.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2008 at 9:57AM
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Azzalea - I was so glad to read your post about abdominal migraines as I'm pretty sure my son has these too! He gets these episodes - only about once per year, thankfully - where he will vomit every 30-60 minutes. No fever, no diarrhea, no 'under the weather' feeling before, no rash or other physical symptoms like you'd get with a cold, flu or other normal childhood illness. And DS was on a very controlled diet due to food sensitivities, so we were reasonably sure it wasn't anything he ate. The first time (age 3), he vomited so much he had to be hospitalized for dehydration! (I have infrequent complex migraines, and my father had occular migraines.)

Thankfully, I was able to spot the vomiting pattern quickly, and I was on some fabulous networks with parents of special needs kids. (DS has several neurological differences.) Anyway, another mother mentioned the A.M. possibility and as a compulsive internet researcher, I was able to find some great information. And with the help of our wonderful pediatrician (who did not diagnose abdominal migraines, but works with me anyway), we've been able to keep them in check.

What works well for us is Phenergan (a perscription anti-nausea med) suppositories. We just keep them in the fridge, and whenever DS starts vomiting repeatedly without any other symptoms, we just pop in a Phenergan and within 20 minutes, he's 'good as new' again. Seriously...

    Bookmark   March 23, 2008 at 12:47PM
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Oh, you're so very lucky the Phenergan works. In DD's case, that didn't do a thing--not the suppositories, nor the shots of it. That was actually one of the things that tipped off our pediatric gastroenterologist that she had abdominal migraines--none of those meds that were supposed to help stomach upset did a thing for her (because the root of the problem wasn't in her stomach, to start with.) Still, I'm sure there are various forms and even people with migraines don't get the same help from the various meds that are out there. From what I've seen, treating any migraines (be they head, optical, or abdominal) seems to be a very individual thing, with each person having to find their best help pretty much by trial and error.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2008 at 7:46AM
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my son also has asthma and took singulair. He was constantly complaining with a bellyache. I looked up side effects to singulair and guess what.........stomach aches!
I took him off singulair and treated the asthma with albuterol,pulmocort and zrytec and hes better!

    Bookmark   April 7, 2008 at 4:03PM
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