22 answers

Nocturnal Vomiting in Children

My 4 year old son suffers from periodic nocturnal vomiting, which simply means that after he is asleep for 4-5 hours, he awakes and becomes violently ill. He will continue to throw up throughout the night, but wake up famished and feeling okay, ready to play all day. He went through a period of 3 months of this vomiting several times a week when he was 2; none of the docs we saw at that time could figure out the problem. MRIs and other tests showed nothing. And then, it went away. Well, here we are two years later and it has started again. I can find very little online about this, but was wondering if anyone else out there has experienced this with their child?

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Hi. You didn't mention this, but if he is coughing at all, it may be asthma. My son does the same thing, but he coughs first. You might want to see an allergist. Good luck.

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my sister, now 27, threw up all the time as a kid...dont know if docs ever figured out why, but I remember hearing something about how when lying down, her uvula or tonsils or something would trigger the gag reflex and cause her to vomit. She was always fine during the day, it was not illness related, and she apparently outgrew it. Try letting him sleep elevated, or a variety of sleeping positions, and think about anything in his sleeping environment that might have changed to trigger the gag reflex again. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

A neurological problem when he gets into REM sleep?

Hi S.,

My twin son was waking up with puke on his sheets for a few weeks nearly every night and the drs all thought it was the stomach bug. I kinda came to the conclusion it was him choking on his own phlegm at night and just vomiting everything up. I think he had post nasal drip. I'm not sure if this helps but good luck! N.

I have the exact same situation. The doc has told me the same thing. I'm getting scared now that I have seen your post. This has to have a discription. I wish doctors know everything about the human body. If you hear anything different call me. ###-###-####. That goes for anyone who can diagnose my daughter.

Hi S.,
I'll bet this is scary for you. I can't imagine. I have no real concrete advice for you, but, as a mom, if YOU feel you need to see more docs, tests, etc, then you should do it. Go with your gut feeling on that. The idea of elevating his top half seems to make sense. You can fold up a blanket/quilt and put it under the top half of his mattress- or you can put blocks under the top legs of the bed. Good luck to you! God Bless. D.

Go to discoveryhealth.com now!!! This is serious, and could be fatal, if it is the same disease as the child on a t.v. show called mystery diagnosis. The disease is called epilepsy, and this type of seizure is very rare, so almost no doctors think to look for it. What they did is do an EEG at night wile your child is sleeping. They need to get the throwing up on the EEG, so a sleep study is normal for this. The girl on the show was diagnoses with epilepsy two days afterward. Yes, some people with this form of epilepsy only do this at night in there sleep, and is the rarest type of seizures there is, which is the throwing up only at night time in the sleep. Mostly the vomiting starts as the child is asleep and sometimes they don't remember it all. Please if you get this in a timely manner, as I have no idea when you posted your question, seek professional help, if your PCP will not listen to you. This is very important that you see a doctor very soon and have them check for this problem, it will get worse as time goes on, if no help is found! Please up date this and let me know if you receive this, if he spends the night with someone who doesn't know how to deal with this happening then it could prove to be fatal for him.

My daughter is almost five now but when she was turning three she started with similar symptoms. She was diagnosed with abdominal migraines which just means the migraine causes vomitting. I had started with them at the same age. The doctor told me to give her motrin when she started with them and it did help. She tends to get them first thing in the morning or at night. We started to notice her eyes get red all around the rims when one is starting. Hope you find out what it is soon. Good luck.

A little about me:

I'm a SAHM of a 4 1/2 year old girl and 3 year old boy.


Try going on the Discovery Health Channel Site. I watch that channel alot and one episode of Mystery Diagnosis or Diagnosis X they had a little girl on there doing the exact same thing as your son. (these are real shows). I believe they did a sleep study because CTs and MRIs didn't show anything. It ended up being something in her brain that caused the throwing up, that they only could see during an episode of the throwing up. It is treatable. I dont know if this will help but do some research on sleep studies.

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