The best diet for your CVS will depend on your specific triggers and symptoms.

CVS, sometimes called “abdominal migraine”, is a gastrointestinal condition characterized by episodes of intense nausea and vomiting that last for hours or days. CVS is relatively rare, affecting roughly 3 out of 100,000 adults and children ― although it’s more common in children ages 3–7 years.

Because there’s no cure for CVS, treatment typically involves addressing the symptoms and taking steps to prevent future episodes. In some cases, dietary changes can help manage symptoms during a flare-up and possibly lower the risk of future episodes, especially in people with food-related triggers.

Ahead, we’ll cover what you need to know about which foods to avoid if you have CVS, including how to connect with a nutritionist if you’re planning on making bigger dietary changes.

CVS causes episodes of nausea, vomiting, and fatigue that can last anywhere from 1 hour to 10 days. People with the condition often vomit multiple times an hour during episodes. They may also experience other symptoms like headache and fever.

For most people, CVS episodes have a trigger or an event that causes the condition’s symptoms to flare up. Some of the most common triggers of CVS can include:

  • excitement
  • exhaustion
  • stress
  • anxiety
  • infections
  • certain foods
  • alcohol
  • lack of sleep
  • weather changes
  • hormonal changes

Everyone’s triggers are different — what causes a CVS episode in one person might not necessarily have an effect on someone else with the condition.

For some people with CVS, eating certain foods or drinking alcohol can lead to an episode of CVS. Some of the most common food-related triggers can include:

In addition to certain trigger foods, the timing and volume of meals can also have an effect on CVS episodes. For example, waiting long periods of time between eating, eating right before bed, or even overeating can also be possible triggers for people with this condition.

There’s no specific diet that can treat CVS. But if you’re worried that you’re sensitive to certain foods, the first step toward managing those triggers is to learn what they are.

One way is to keep a food journal or diary. A food journal is a tool, commonly used by healthcare professionals, that can help people with food sensitivities learn more about which foods they should avoid.

Some people with the condition also choose to follow an elimination diet, which is a type of short-term restrictive diet that can help identify food allergies and intolerances. You should only attempt this type of diet under the supervision of a healthcare professional, though.

What to eat right after an episode

Once your symptoms have lessened, you might find it difficult to dive back into a full menu. Still, it’s important to recharge your body with nutrients and liquids to avoid dehydration, which is a common complication in both children and adults with CVS.

You can stick to foods that are relatively easy to eat and digest ― think soups, applesauce, smoothies, and other foods that are easy on your stomach. As for liquids, the best option is water supplemented with electrolyte mixes or low sugar drinks without caffeine.

What to eat between episodes

Between episodes, it’s just as important to make sure that you’re not skipping meals, so try to continue to eat as you typically would. And if you’ve identified any foods that are likely to cause an episode, it’s also helpful to avoid these whenever possible.

Following a balanced diet full of fresh produce, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats is one of the best ways to give your body the nutrition it needs between episodes. You can also discuss supplementation with your doctor if you’re worried about nutrient deficiencies.

Keep your doctor involved

If you’ve received a diagnosis of CVS, you may want to try new approaches to help manage your symptoms and lower future flare-ups.

Keeping your care team in the loop about these decisions can help you feel more supported and informed. Not only can your team help you choose the best treatment options for you, but they can also help you manage side effects and symptoms as you try out new approaches.

By the way, if you’re considering making any big dietary changes, consider reaching out to a nutritionist or dietitian first. They can help offer the education and support you need to make these changes safely.

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CVS is a rare gastrointestinal condition that causes recurrent episodes of nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and other symptoms. For some people with CVS, certain foods and alcohol can trigger these episodes, along with other dietary habits, like fasting or overeating.

While no specific diet can help treat or prevent CVS, approaches like gentle nutrition after episodes and avoiding trigger foods can help support your body between episodes.

If you’ve received a diagnosis of CVS, consider reaching out to your doctor to explore more of these treatment approaches.