3 Year Old Daughter W/ Frequent & Severe Vomiting

Updated on April 26, 2008
M.D. asks from Muncie, IN
44 answers

I was wondering if someone out there can help me. My daughter is 3 years old, and ever since this time last year has been in perfect health. She got a stomach virus around April of last year and had severe vomiting that lasted for about a day and then she was fine in a few days. Well, she got sick like this maybe 2 or 3 times by Christmas of last year. Well, out of nowhere on December 23, she got sick again and spent her whole Christmas vomiting, but this time the vomiting lasted for 2 days. We thought it was just like any other time, so when she was fine we didn't think anything of it.

She got sick again 2 weeks after that, and that time the vomiting lasted for 3 days. Everytime she gets sick, the vomiting gets worse. On March 10, she was sick again (and our baby had it this time too) but it was so bad that she had severe dehydration and was hospitalized for two days. She is sick again now, and this makes the third time since her hospital stay, and the second time in a week and a half.

We have taken her to see several doctors, and have gotten several different answers. Basically, they have said that she is just a kid and kids get sick and that it's normal for children to be sick like this once or twice a month. My oldest daughter is the ONLY one that keeps getting sick like this; my husband, youngest daughter, and myself don't get this, so I know that this isn't contagious like they think. This makes the seventh time since Christmas that this has happened. Has anyone else out there experienced this type of illness in their children? I'm no doctor, but I don't think it's normal AT ALL for my 3 year old daughter to be dehydrated and puking out her body weight twice a month. I need some advice, because no one seems to take us seriously, they just send us home (that's how my daughter ended up being admitted to the hospital the first time) and tell us it's normal. I'm just sick of seeing my little girl miserable...she looks like she's wasting away, last time she was so weak she didn't fight the nurses when they started her IV. Please PLEASE email me...I don't know what to do!

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So What Happened?

I want to thank you all for your advice...it's nice to know that there are other mothers out there that will help when you need it. As of right now, my daughter is completely healthy, and has been for two months. It turns out my doctor thought the same thing I did and we were both right...she has Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome. It sounds scary, but it's alot better than the alternative, and I have been able to keep this under control. She has been doing much better, and the only problem we have to look forward to is that these vomiting episodes will turn to migraines once she hits adolescence. Thank you all again so much for your advice and support...I could not have dealt with all of this without you all!

Featured Answers

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J.D.

answers from Columbus on

my daughter did that also, so I took her to Children's and they ran test and found that she has Gasterial Paresis (can't spell) it is when she eats or drinks and it goes to her stomach her stomach then becomes paralyzed and that's what caused the vomiting b/c the food and no other place to go. She had to be put on somekind of powder and that worked. The doctors said she would probably out grow it and that she did. She's 5 now and no problems.

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K.B.

answers from Toledo on

You may have already done this but have you considered getting a referral to go see a GI doctor? Thay may be better able to tell you what might be the cause.

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K.W.

answers from Indianapolis on

I'd keep going to drs. until you find someone who can give you some real answers. Being dehydrated and vomiting is NOT normal. Keep track of her bouts with it and just keep going to different ones until you find one who will take you seriously.

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H.C.

answers from Steubenville on

I read your "So what happened" update and just thought that I'd pass on just a little bit more info for you, too. If you can't find a dr. that is willing to or able to diagnose her with cyclic vomitting syndrome, you can always check out the NIH (National Institutes of Health). They are in Bethesda, MD and do case studies of rare diseases/syndromes to learn more about it and help you or your child get better or at least cope with it.
My youngest son, Jeremiah, 5, goes there for his disease. It's called ALPS (Autoimmune LymphoProliferative Syndrome). While there, I've met several parents with cyclic fever disorders, which sounds some what similar to the cyclic vomiting syndrome.
If you are more interested and want more details, feel free to contact me.
Good luck and, please, keep me updated. I'm curious to see what happens with you all. Thanks.

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C.S.

answers from Cleveland on

I am a 53 year old widow with a 16 year old adopted daughter.
I would certainly be persistent with the emergency room In the meantime, logging each time that she throws up may help them to see how serious it is, but since this has been going on for some time, it doesn't sound like waiting too long is a good idea. I am no doctor either, but I raised an adopted daughter who had multiple medical problems, and I had to be persistent with the staff at our hospital whenever she had a problem. Have you gotten her any pedialite? If she won't drink the liquid, they do have the push up pops that you freeze. My daughter liked those. It helped replase the electrolytes that she was losing, and eventually she got better, but I had to get her to a doctor pronto. One time the doctor said that my daughter had the worse case of Mononeucleosis that she had ever seen and along with other treatment at home, she also suggested the pedialite pops. I wish you the best. No matter what anyone says, A doctor needs to decide what to do. I hope that she will be doing better soon
Best wishes,
C.

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J.E.

answers from Indianapolis on

I would take her to the children's hospital and tell them what is going on. I am the mother of 4 children and have NEVER had a child that sick. My children range in age from 15years to 2 years. It is true that some children get sick more than others.....especially if they are in any type of daycare environment. TRUST your instincts and get her checked out by a different doctor and/or specialist. She could just be having a really rough year or there could be something that they are missing.....like an obstruction. Pray for God to put the right people in your path to help you and your daughter. God bless you and your family!

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H.S.

answers from Columbus on

I am a labor and delivery nurse with experience with not only surgical patients but also my own 3 children. It sounds like your daughter may be having intermittent bowel obstructions or malrotations. Where she is fine, then becomes very violently ill when her bowel does not allow food and fluids to pass...therefore vomiting ensues. I am sorry this is happening to her, it is very scary, my youngest had an ileus (the bowel just shuts down) at 2 weeks of age and after lots of doctors, tests, and misdiagnosis she just got better. The next time your daughter is sick I would fight to be sent to the local children's hospital for abdominal xrays, barium enema, etc. to work up her condition. She may also need a nasogastric tube to suction to rest her belly better!

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A.R.

answers from Mansfield on

I would demand the doctor to do some testing-any kind they can think of. Request that you be sent to a specialist that deals with ear-nose-throat and maybe someone who specializes in stomach problems. If they don't, find another doctor until one listens. I agree that something is going on and this is not normal. If she continues doing this, she will loose too much weight and get dehydrated too much. Maybe she is allergic to something she is eating or something in her body just isn't right. Good luck! Eventually, someone will listen. Stick to your guns and be firm! Parents are children's best protectors.

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S.P.

answers from Indianapolis on

This is NOT normal.
Write down the dates of her sick times and the details as best as you remember them.
Insist on an appointment for consultation with a pediatric gastro-enterologist, and take your dates and observations with you.
If you have a pediatric, a University affiliated hospital or a medical school near you get an appointment there for a consultation.
Do NOT let them tell you that this is normal.
Has her weight been affected by all this?
Where is she on the growth chart?
Her pediatrician should be concerned about this!

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T.M.

answers from Cleveland on

M.,
I'm not sure what it could be but when a friend of mine took her daughter to the ER with vomiting they were able to give her a childes dose of Zofran and she felt better quickly and was soon able to eat and drink again (I took this for morning sickness when I was pregnant with both my kids) It is a medicine they use for cancer patients going through chemo. It is great and really helps when you feel sick. Ask your childs doctor if she can try it since she gets sick so much. Maybe, it will help her not get dehydrated and feel so bad.
Good luck to you and your daughter!
I will pray for her and your family.
T.

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R.T.

answers from Cincinnati on

M.,
Sorry to hear about your liitle one!!:(
It sounds like you need to find a pediatric gastroenterologist who specializes in disorders of the intestinal tract. She's either not over the "bug" or she has other issues with her stomach. Maybe she has a small opening leading out of her stomach and what can't pass through-comes back up. There is medication available to help that. It may just be too much acid in her stomach, but I definately wouldn't let anyone think your being impossible or difficult. She's your child and sounds like you have a legitimate concern.
Hope this helps!
R.

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R.K.

answers from Cincinnati on

Have they tested your daughter poop to see if she has stomach bacteria that might be causing this? A few years ago Cincinnati Children's Hospital was testing every child who came in with an RSV infection but that might have been just part of a study.

It's an easy test to do, worth checking into.

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G.L.

answers from Indianapolis on

So I am a nursing student and I have this WONDERFUL instructor. She told us that if we ever have clients who are having life threatening issues that can't be explained refer them to the Mayo Clinic. They will work with you at little to no charge to figure this out, your cost is for transportation and lodging; and what is that when it comes to peace of mind? Again this is from an instructor, I have not checked into it but I thought I would pass this on and you can look into it yourself. I hope this helps some, and remember to breath! Dealing with a sick child takes over your world so be sure to ask for some help so you, your other daughter, and husband can have some fun time. You have to take care of you too or else you can't take care of your little ones. Good luck, best wishes and keep us updated.
Sky

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B.K.

answers from Indianapolis on

Our neighbor's two-and-ahalf year old grandson did the same thing, except his was five to six times a week, but did not appear ill after the vomiting. They treated it as CDIF(?), which is a gastrointestinal infection not common in kids.
After two bouts of antibiotics and no improvement, I suggested they talk with their child's doctor about celiac
sprue. My brother and his wife have two kids with this condition, and the symptoms are varied from person to person.
Here are some questions to ask yourself concerning your little girl.
Is she fever free during these episodes?
Has this affected her growth ?
Has she lost weight or not gained in what would be
a normal growth pattern for her?
Does she experience Diarrhia or "sandy" type stools?
Does her stomach appear distended, like pictures
you see of starving little Ethiopian children?
Does she seem to have a weakened immune system
lately, i.e. she catches every little thing going
around?

If you have answered yes to even two of these questions, talk to your doctor about the possibility of celiac sprue.
A simple blood test will tell you if she is a candidate. This can also run in families, so your youngest will also be at risk. For more info, look on the web.

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K.W.

answers from Indianapolis on

Contact Riley Children's Hospital here in Indianapolis.
They are an amazing group of Dr.'s and I feel confident that they can help you and your child.
Please keep us posted.
*hugs*

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B.B.

answers from South Bend on

Try keeping a journal of what she is eating and see if it's the same thing causing this. She may have a food allergy. My nephew had this when he was small.

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K.L.

answers from Columbus on

My first thought was, find a new doctor - someone who is much more diagnostic and much less dismissive!! Have you thought about having her allergy tested? Maybe she's eating something she's allergic to? My daughter has allergies and they asked me if she vomits, in addition to all the usual signs (rash, hives, sneezing, etc.). When she was younger some things did make her vomit, especially dairy products.

Best wishes, M.!

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M.S.

answers from Elkhart on

Could your daughter have some kind of parasite? Health food stores would have things for that...I would recommend taking her to a clinic who treats naturally. Do you attend church somewhere? She needs to be annointed with oil & prayed over! I wish you the best...

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J.H.

answers from Indianapolis on

I don't have any advice on the subject of her sickness but it sounds like your doing the right thing by getting second opinions and I would keep going to see different doctors or specialist until you get the answers you need. Have you tried taking her to a specialized pediatric hospital?

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L.G.

answers from Lima on

FIND ANOTHER DOCTOR. That is first step.

I highly reccommend going to a children's hospital for one, since they deal with just children. I am not sure where you live, but of course there are children's hospitals in Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton (closest one to me), Cincinnati, and Indianapolis.
My pediatrician in Sidney, OH, have been more than will to send me for anything I want to Children's in Dayton.
If by chance she has another episode and you live close to Dayton (probably the other children's hospitals too) you can always take her to the emergency room there and NOT mess around with local hospital or doctor. That might be your "foot in the door" to see a children's specialist.

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L.G.

answers from Cleveland on

Keep seeing doctors until you get a diagnosis that fits and a way to stop this. I have a 3 1/3 year old and a 4 month old, as well as nieces, nephews, and friends's children around me. That does not sound normal.

My first instinct is that she has some type of allergy... food? something in the house?... and that is her body's response to getting it out of her system. Allergies often develop over time and sometimes even go away spontaneously. So even though she didn't have any allergies as an infant ot toddler, doesn't mean should can't have one now. My 35 year old brother just recently developed an allergy to peanuts and he ate peanuts and peanut butter is whole life.

Next time she has a spell, give her some Benadryl just to see what happens. If it stops then you have a good indication that it might be allergies. Benadryl can help with ALL allergies, nit just seasonal ones. Take her to allergist and get testing done.

Or, maybe see a pediatric gastroentrologist so they can do an upper GI scope to see if there are any physical abnormalities. Maybe it's a gall bladder issue...

However you start the process to dig deeper, please do not stop until you get the right answer. Good luck and I hope she gets relief soon!

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R.H.

answers from Cleveland on

Here is an option my sister went through.......Her daughter that is 7 just out of the blue keep getting sick and they finally pin pointed it to allergies to something she was eating. That is a thought and good luck. I hope you all figure it out.

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C.P.

answers from Kokomo on

Again, I speak as a nurse here...this is not normal. IF it is viral, and it COULD be BUT IF it is viral everyone, someone in the house would be getting sick also. So, I would keep after them. If the office won't see her, go to the ER for the immediate illness. IF the office won't do some blood work to see WHY she is repeatedly getting sick, then go to another pediatrician or ask for a referral to a GI specialist, preferably at St Vincent or Riley in Indy. As a mom, and former PICU nurse at Riley, I know that moms intuition is almost always right, you know your child best and this just doesn't sound ok. I say until you are convinced yourself it's nothing you keep taking her to be seen till you get answers.

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M.L.

answers from Cleveland on

I have two quick suggestions. Find a new pediatrician. It could be an allergic reaction to something. When I turned 11 or 12 I became allergic to milk and no one new it. It makes me sick and its not everytime, it depends on how much I have. Keep track of foods she eats and other things like that and anything that may be the same around the time she is sick could be the culprit.

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K.L.

answers from Fort Wayne on

M.,

I don't know where you live, but I would take my child to Riley Children's Hospital in Indianapolis, IN to see a specialist. Has anyone done an MRI or CAT scan yet? You are right, it isn't normal. I hope you are able to figure it out soon!

K.

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R.K.

answers from Cleveland on

I would go to the doctor and demand that some tests be run. It is NOT normal for a 3 year old to vomit that much. Doctors seem to think that they are gods and know it all and sometimes overlook things because they aren't right there to see it. I've seen too many cases where people have been sent home time and time again(my husband was having a stroke and they almost sent him home till I demanded another opinion in another town) and then something worse happens and the signs were all there the whole time.
Good luck and let us know what happens.
Rene' in Ohio

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N.B.

answers from Indianapolis on

This does not add up. I am with you. Have you had her check for siliac disease? I have a friend whose girls have it and throw up and get very sick when they have anything they are allergic to. Have you done any sort of tests? I would insist that she has some tests done although it won't be fun for her. That is probably why they haven't ordered them. I would go with your instinct. Maybe take her off of flours, dairy etc. This sounds just like my friend and she said her pediatrician would not support her because they don't want to admit that there are things in our food that make people sick. She was persistent and her kids are fine now. Their family had to change their whole diet but they are used to it now. Look up Siliac disease online and read about it. You might not get much help from a normal pedicatrician. You might have to find one who specializes in food allergies. Good luck. I feel for you.

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S.P.

answers from Cleveland on

Please don't be offended. I have heard that children as young as yours may have body issues ( I noticed you are a cosmotologist and she may have overheard converations about being slim or anorexia/bulemia). It sounds crazy even as I'm writing this but I just wanted to put that thought in the mix in case it rings any truth with you. Otherwise I would see more doctors, I don't think that the frequency is normal at all.

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L.P.

answers from Fort Wayne on

You need to get her into a specialist. If you have too...camp-out until someone takes you seriously. THIS IS NOT NORMAL!!! A little sickness once or twice a year is normal for a child but not this frequently. Especially if she is wasting away. Be insistent and, yes even, demanding! I am the mother of six and I have seen a lot. I have also experienced the same attitude with the doctors. You have to be strong and insistent because she is helpless. Do your own research on the internet and go in armed with knowledge.

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S.H.

answers from Indianapolis on

Has she seen a GI specialist. I'm a nurse and I had a similar problem. I found out that I had gastroparesis where my food wasn't passing through my digestive tract. It would just sit in my stomach and not digest. There are many different things that can cause it but some viruses can cause it and I thought that is what you said started this pattern in your daughter. hope this helps!

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H.G.

answers from Terre Haute on

No that is not normal! It makes me sick how some doctors are like that. They need to do an upper GI test on her. She could have damage cause by stomach acid by now. That is so scary it maybe something that can be controlled but these doctor keep messing around and it could be really bad. I would tell that doctor of yours you demand to be sent to a specialist in a large city and when you get there I would tell that doctor that you want testing done and if they don't take you seriously threaten to go public with this story. Enough is enough., that poor baby and I feel so bad for you. It is so frustrating, feeling helpless because doctors fail to do there jobs!I will pray for you and your daughter.

God bless
H.

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J.B.

answers from Dayton on

I don't know what could be wrong with your daughter, but I will say a mother knows when something is just not right with her child. My daughter would projectile vomit every time she ate for almost 2 weeks when we brought her home from the hospital. They did eventually run tests and said it was reflux and gave her meds. It did not get better. I knew that they hadn't figured out what was wrong with my baby yet and stayed persistant with the doc EVERY day!!! Finally they admitted her to the hospital for extensive testing and found she had an aneurysm. I am not saying this is the case with your daughter bc something bigger would have happenend in this amount of time, but I would say there is a possibilty that maybe she has a food allergy or maybe some kind of sensitive stomach issue that maybe sets this off. I am not a doctor so I don't know, but I would start seeing other doc until they have checked everything possible. You are the only one that can speak for her. Good luck and I hope your little one feels better.

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J.J.

answers from Evansville on

M., As Moms we have an intuition. Fight for your child. You know your child better than anyone. Good luck! J. (Mom of 3)

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K.C.

answers from Columbus on

Maybe since Spring is finally here, the kids won't be cooped up and passing the stomach virus back and forth as much. During the cold months when people are forced to be indoors, the "bug" is passed on more frequently. Young children seem to be most susceptible unfortunately. Is your daughter using precautions, such as frequent hand washing. This is must to keep the germs at bay. When you go to the grocery store, you may want to wipe down the cart (and avoid the kid car carts...YUK!) and also keep hand sanitizer in your purse. A few precautions will go a long way! My daughter, too, seems to catch the flu bug a few times a year and is violently ill...she is a skinny kid to begin with, so she looks awful and it hits her hard. My son NEVER gets it! I joke that he has a cast iron stomach. I should mention that she is 6 and he is 3.

Good Luck and encourage frequent hand washing...get some foamy soap and a stool by the sink. They'll want to wash:)

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S.

answers from Cincinnati on

Hi M.,
If this is normal, what about children who are never sick? What are they. This must be tearing you up. She obviously has not gotten over whatever she was afflicted with. There are a number of things that could strengthen her immune system and optimize her digestion along with preventing dehydration. Please email me personally if you want to know what other moms have done at [email protected]____.com.

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N.W.

answers from Indianapolis on

Have they tested your daughter for strep or tonsillitis? I have a girlfriend whose kids' only symptom of strep is vomiting. And for my boys, they throw up when they have tonsillitis. Maybe she's had it all this time? I'd have her checked just to be sure if she hasn't been tested already.

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L.F.

answers from Fort Wayne on

My advice to you is to demand to see a specialist because your right. It IS NOT normal to puke like that and that often. Kids don't normally get sick like that. You have a right to get another doctors opinion. I would think and internalist that deals with the stomach or something would be better.

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C.P.

answers from Indianapolis on

M.,

We went through this exact same thing with our daughter. We finally saw a Gastrointerologist (sp?). He said that our stomachs have a "biological clock" that tell it when to evacuate and when not to. He said that small children can have that clock thrown off if they catch a stomach virus and it can last for several months. Our daughter would get sick every 7 days for about 24 hours. It was like clock work (no pun intended). We just had to treat her with clear liquids every time it started up and wait for her stomach to settle down. It took several months for her stomach to stop the cycle, but it finally did. I did find that ginger ale worked pretty well (ginger helps to settle the stomach). You can also find ginger lollipops (bariatriceating.com sells them because a lot of bariatric patients experience nausea at first) and my kids like them. Hope this helps.

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M.L.

answers from Fort Wayne on

Go to Another Dr.. My Daughter was doing the same thing and we found out she has Celiacs. ( She is allergic to Gluten) So we have cut out all wheat. barley, malt from her diet. (you might want to try that )
good luck

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E.D.

answers from Lima on

Hello, I'm a mother of a 21mo. old who has been having similular symptoms. He first vomited in march for one night and was fine the next day. A week in a half went by and he got sick again but this time he threw up for four days then had diarrhea for about 4 more days. In the mist of those days i took him to the doctor and they said it was the rotavirus and that he will be fine as long as he stays hydrated. My daughter who is 3, 2 weeks ago to the day was vomitng and diarrhea for 2 days and was fine after that now today exactly 2 weeks later my son last night is vomiting once again with diarrhea. I figured he would be the last one to get the stomach virus again. So I am at a lost for words. I have know clue what the problem is. I also have an 11 yr. old and have never experienced anything like this. I just wanted to let you know I feel your pain and if I find anything out I will let you know. Take care

E. Davis

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H.K.

answers from Lafayette on

Hi M..

First let me say I am so glad you are able to get more testing done. I would recommend checking into food allergies. My 2nd son would throw up 1-2 times a week just about every week. No fever, nothing else (except he didn't want to eat then and was tired). Dr.'s kept fluffing off as the residual effects from the Rotovirus we had had months before. This went on for over a year. Then we stumbled upon food allergies. Once we eliminated certain food, he didn't throw up again (except when he truly has the flu). My older son does this too, but no nearly as often. His allergies are milder. I, too have the same allergy and didn't know it for years and would have severe vomiting and diahrea with mine. With food allergies, you body wants to get rid of the "poison" ASAP! It does whatever to get it out of you. Good luck and please keep us posted as to what you find out. I hope they figure this out soon for all of you.

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D.T.

answers from Muncie on

Could it be a food allergy? Something as common as wheat or gluten (most breads). I know my husband had two really bad bouts of vomiting for no real reason, what we figured was he's allergic to shrimp because that was the only thing "unusual" he'd eaten the nights before. He was sick for a day or so then be fine. We haven't "tested" our theory, but he hasn't had any shrimp and I haven't either (cross contamination was the cause the second time) and he's been fine.

Try to think back to what she's eaten the day before she last got ill, anything similar form the other times before she was ill?

If you can't remember try looking for someone who will test her for ALL known food allergies, even the odd ones.

Good luck.

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S.S.

answers from Cleveland on

I definitely feel for you, I know what it is like to see my children miserible and it is one of the worst things for a parent to deal with. When my daughter was in kindergarden, she was sick a lot, but not as severe as your daughter. I completely agree with you that it is definitely not normal for your daughter to get that sick twice a month. I know you have taken her to several doctors, but were any of them specialists? Did your doctors recommend a specialist? I'm not a doctor and I don't really know what kind of specialist to recommend, but I think that your daughter could have a more serious condition, I don't think it is a virus, like they are saying. If you have not seen a specialist, I would definitely ask your pediutrician about it. There are also some websites you can visit and maybe get a little more information, I heard that Web MD is a good one. I wish I could offer more useful advice, but I hope this helps. I know that it is hard, especially being that she is so young, and I'm sure it is taking it's toll on you as well. You are in my thoughts and in my prayers and I hope you find the answers you are looking for.

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C.B.

answers from Lafayette on

there is an awesome doc in crawfordsville, he nit picks everything to make sure he doens't miss a minute. his name is dr. hwang(pronounced wong), his number is ###-###-####. if you're coming from the lafayette area, take 231 south into crawfordsville, turn into the ER entrance for ST.CLAIR HOSPITAL, just before you reach the parking lot you'll turn right at the stop sign & follow the road to the little brown brick building in the back. when you walk in go down the left hallway and he's the first door on the left. it might take a little bit to understand what he says, but he is truly the last REAL physician for kids. good luck & god bless, i hope she gets better soon.

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