13 answers

Daughter Throwing up in Her Sleep

I don't even know what to do right about now, My daughter has always been a sleep talker/walker but lately she does the most bizarre thing. She has developed this habit of coughing uncontrolabley, the coughs become gagging, the gagging-vomit. She is not sick besides having a sore throat in the morning because of all the vomiting. She is 5 years old and does not lie about much so i believe her when she says she does not remember what happened during the night, it has happened at least 3 times in the past week, but every night she has at least gagged if not thrown up. I think it scares her intensely that she has no control over herself during her night's hours. She has been fighting sleep. There are a few changes in her life right now, I am pregnant, and we are packing to move, but she is more than excited about both changes. Has anyone ever had this problem.
side note- the cough is neither indicative of croup or bronchitus, and disappears during her waking hours.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

turns out she just had a stubborn cough and was sensitive to the gag reflex (trying to pull up the phlem), she has always done stuff and forgets it it her sleep, the combination of these three was just worrying me

Featured Answers

Definitely get her to a doctor because she could aspirate the vomit while sleeping. There is a reason for this - be deligent to find out why. Good luck.

More Answers

Definitely get her to a doctor because she could aspirate the vomit while sleeping. There is a reason for this - be deligent to find out why. Good luck.


I would take her to the pediatrician. Something is causing this and it sounds like she could have a sleep disorder of some sort.

Good luck,

Okay A.,

This sounds funny but I was watching an episode of Medical Mysteries and a little girl had the exact same problem. Coughing and throwing up she went to a lot of doctors they all said it was a bad habit however the little girl never remembered either, so the mom demanded to have her tested in her sleep and they found out she suffered from sezures in her sleep. They out her on medication and now she is a happy little girl Like I siad it sounds funny but that mom was very stressed because the girl had done it for so long and was not getting the proper sleep for school so check that out hope all gets better.


I watched a mystery diagnosis show where a girl did the exact same thing. Threw up while sleeping. She had epilepsy, she is one of the few people that her seizures manifested themselves into a vomiting episode....weirdest thing. If it is not reflux then this is a possibility. Good luck!!!

I would definitely get her to the doctor as soon as possible. There is absolutely no reason to speculate why she might be doing this and this is not something to hope will go away on its own. There is something going on that needs to be addressed immediately by a doctor. This could cause some serious issues like being afraid to go to sleep at night or breathing complications from vomit not being completely expelled from her throat due to her being asleep. Hope you get this figured out quickly for your daughters sake.

It could possibly be allergies. My daughter will be fine during the day but as soon as she gets into bed she start to cough and sometimes gaggs. Her sinuses drain in the back of her throat and that causes the coughing. Benadryl helps her for the most part.

You were given some excellent advice. Acid reflux is a possiblity and so are seizures. Does she only get sick or does she wet the bed too? With some seizures you can lose your bowls and urine. How does she feel the next day? Is she sore or achy? Seizure activity can cause that too.

I suggest you take your daughter to a pediatrician though. That is the absolute best advice you can take.

Good luck!

Hi A.,
Regardless of what is going on, she needs to be seen ASAP. The concern I have for her is to make sure she does not aspirate in her sleep. Until you get some advice from her pedi. I would use some type of roll pillow that will support her body in a side lying position, so if she where to have a problem as mention above, it will come up, instead of backing up into her lungs. You also want to make sure she does not get dehydrated. These are just some suggestion until she see's her pedi. and if it is reflux they will tell you how she should be sleeping at night, such as elevating her head, but until you know, try the side lying position and confirm via telephone with the pedi. nurse that this is okay. Blessings!

I would talk to her doctor ASAP. It sounds like it could be allegies & asthma (you could try an allergy friendly/ dust mite proof pillow case and see if that helps) or GERD/acid reflux.

Regardless, it does sound scary and if it were my kiddo I would make a doctor's appointment for today.

Let us know what the doctor says.

Hi A.-

I agree with K. about the acid reflux, but if that's not it I was wondering about her tonsils/adenoids. Does she snore? My son had huge tonsils which caused him to snore loudly and disrupted his sleep. We had them removed in May and he is now sleeping much more soundly. He did not throw up at night, but I'm thinking if her tonsils are causing breathing difficulties she might cough, gag and vomit as a result. Maybe a trip to an ENT would help?

Good Luck,

Hi A.~

Have you ever had your daughter checked out for acid reflux? I had a friend whose daughter is 6 and she was throwing up at night on her pillow. She ended up having acid reflux.

My 11 year old son had the same problem. He was a sleep walker and he snored tremendously. He has a chronic cough and would often hit himself in the throat. He stated that it felt like something was in his throat. The hitting became a terrible habit. The coughing damaged his vocal cords and he stayed hoarse most of the time. Whenever he would sleep, he would cough and gag and the next morning would have thrown up everything he had the night before bed. He also complained of heartburn. I finally took him to an Ear Nose and Throat specialist. He was diagnosed with Severe sleep Apnea, and has GERD. He had to have his tonsils and adenoids removed, and is on prevacid for his acid reflux. Now we are in the process of seeing a pediatric allergy specialist to assist with the chronic cough. Before, they thought his cough was related to his asthma, but his asthma is not a problem. Maybe you should start with an ENT doctor and see if they can help. Good Luck to you!!

Angela is on the right track...it wasnt Medical Mysteries, however, it was Mystery Diagnosis. Go to Discovery Health website and try and find that episode. That child had a form of epilepsy and that was causing seizures, hence, the throwing up. You are describing exactly what happened on that program. Also, according to the Mom on that episode, it started out slow, but progressed into a nightly problem.
If I were you, I would go to the doctor. Ask about the possibility of seizures. Doesnt hurt to ask.

Hope everything works out well for you and your family,

Your daughter has acid reflux or GERD. When she lies down, acid creeps up into her throat and makes her cough which in turn makes a child throw up. Prevacid (15 mg) nightly will elimate your problem. She will need to remain on Prevacid to eliminate her symptoms. Keep in mind, that untreated, GERD will cause esophogial damage which will lead to a much bigger problem later.

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