LIFESTYLE

Woman With Cyclical Vomiting Syndrome On Condition That Makes Her Throw Up 20 Times A Day

07/08/2015 11:58 BST | Updated 07/08/2015 11:59 BST

A woman with a rare and debilitating health condition has revealed how it can make her vomit up to 20 times a day.

Stephanie Horner, 23, from Gateshead, suffers from Cyclical Vomiting Syndrome (CVS) which causes her to spend entire weeks confined to her bed due to nauseousness, lethargy and relentless vomiting.

The condition, which came on four years ago, can result in her being sick every 20 minutes for days at a time.

Once a month, Horner is hospitalised due to the severity of the illness.

stephanie horner

Stephanie Horner

According to the NHS, cyclical vomiting syndrome is a rare vomiting disorder which is mostly seen in children, although it can affect adults too.

Patients with the illness are left feeling frequently nauseous and will vomit constantly.

Vomiting persists at frequent intervals. At its peak, patients will throw up between five and six times per hour. This can last for periods ranging from hours to 10 days or more, says the Cyclical Vomiting Syndrome Association (CVSA).

The sickness spells commonly occur for between one and four days.

Patients will then recover from the episode and feel fine for a while, but will experience another episode perhaps a month or so later.

In some cases, symptoms can be so severe that patients are left hospitalised due to severe dehydration.

For 23-year-old Horner, the illness means she is hospitalised at least once a month, making it increasingly difficult to hold down a job.

"I can be sick every 20 minutes when the condition is at its worst and even in between that I'll be retching and trying not to cry," said Horner, according to the Mail Online.

"It's really exhausting. When I have bad episodes all I can do is get to hospital and keep strong until it passes."

The CVSA says it's not entirely clear what brings on the sickness, but there is evidence that "DNA mutations" could play a role.

The condition first reared its head in 2011 when Horner began to experience severe sickness and found blood in her vomit.

For a long time, doctors were unsure what to make of the condition, which is when a worried Horner decided to do her own research online.

She was then referred to a specialist who confirmed her fears, she had CVS.

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Since being diagnosed in 2013, her symptoms have become worse to the point where sometimes she is sick for five days a week - making it impossible to hold down a job.

Horner takes a cocktail of tablets each day, including morphine and Tramadol, to try and help her through the pain caused by her extreme sickness.

When she wakes up, she will get into a very hot bath to try and soothe the cramps in her stomach. She has also cut out different foods from her diet, although nothing seems to help ease the sickness.

But despite all of this hardship, Horner remains positive about one thing: her boyfriend, Paul Driver, who has been her knight in shining armour throughout the illness.

"He has been amazing and hasn't left my side," she said. "Anyone else would have run a mile, but to me he's been my rock and I don't know what I'd do without him."

21 Rare Diseases