Girl, 12, with rare vomiting illness is sick up to 40 times a day
During worst episode, Alisha was sick 100 times in 24 hoursThe illness is unpredictable and can come on at any time of day
Anyone who has caught the norovirus will know just how awful frequent bouts of nausea and vomiting can be.
Spare a thought then for a 12-year-old girl who has experienced the same symptoms for SIX YEARS.
Alisha Atkinson suffers from cyclic vomiting syndrome, a condition which has no known cause but leaves patients being sick for days or even weeks at a time. During her worst episode Alisha was sick an astonishing 100 times in 24 hours.
Sick to the stomach: Alisha Atkinson, 12, with her mother Maggie, has endured regular bouts of vomiting since she was six
Her mother Maggie Atkinson has now praised her daughter”s fortitude. She said Alisha does her best to live life to the full despite the condition that makes her sick up to 40 times a day and strikes particularly whenever Alisha is stressed or nervous.
Mrs Atkinson, 45, of Wakefield, said that it is not known how many people suffer from it and doctors could not diagnose young Alisha for months.
She said: “Alisha was six when she first began being sick a lot. None of the medical staff knew anything about it.
“The doctors didn”t know what was wrong with Alisha and they thought she had appendicitis at first because of her stomach pains, then irritable bowel syndrome.
“She had loads of blood tests and scans and eventually the doctors told us about this condition.
“It”s difficult to come to terms with such a strange condition that we”d never heard of before – and when they told us there was no cure it was hard to hear.”
What is cyclic vomiting syndrome
Cyclic vomiting syndrome causes bouts of severe nausea and vomiting that can last for days. These is currently no known cause.
It typically begins in childhood between the ages of three and seven. Most outgrow the condition when they hit their teenage years.
Symptoms include nausea and severe vomiting, along with loss of appetite and fatigue. The condition has also been linked to migraines.
There are no diagnostic tests for the condition. Doctors will diagnose it from the symptoms after all other causes have been discounted.
Treatments include an IV drip for dehydration, anti-nausea drugs and tricyclic antidepressants.
For more information visit CVSA UK or The Mayo Clinic
She added: “She can”t eat when she”s being sick but she can still drink – although she still gets very dehydrated and at these times we have to take her to hospital.
“The worst episode was when Alisha was sick about 100 times in 24 hours.
“When she”s ill it”s so unpredictable – she can go to school in the morning completely fine but then I”ll get a call to let me know she”s ill and needs to come home.
“We can never plan anything. We can”t go shopping, on a day out or even holiday because there”s always the risk that poor Alisha will get ill.”
Since the age of six, Alisha has spent 140 nights in hospital at Pontefract General Infirmary and has intravenous fluids to rehydrate her after each “episode.”
“When Alisha comes out of one of her episodes she may be well for three to four days, taking everything in her stride,” Mrs Atkinson said.
“But then here we go again, as Alisha calls it, a start to her rocky road.”
Mrs Atkinson, who also has a son, Luke,14, said the one time the family did enjoy a holiday, Alisha fell ill on the way home and they went straight to the hospital from the airport.
“People would just look upon Alisha as a happy-go-lucky child with no problems in her life, if only they knew the hell she goes through week-in week-out,” she said.
Alisha has tried various medications to ease her symptoms but doctors have yet to find a cure for the condition.
Mrs Atkinson said: “She was a perfectly healthy little girl and this just came out of the blue. We have just got to keep our fingers crossed that she will grow out of it.”