Vomiting and abdominal pain are symptoms that may arise from a number of different causes. Cyclical vomiting and abdominal migraine are terms that have been applied to a presentation characterized by its episodic pattern and intervals of complete health. The 2 share many clinical features, but it is important to distinguish them as they have different responses to therapies such as prophylactic antimigraine medications. Both are noted for the absence of pathognomonic clinical features but also for the large number of other conditions to be considered in their differential diagnoses. Definitive diagnosis is frequently delayed. It is important to carefully evaluate these patients as well-being between vomiting episodes does not guarantee the absence of organic disease. While there is a role for a basic set of diagnostic tests, there is evidence to suggest that a trial of empiric therapy with upper gastrointestinal and small-bowel radiological studies is cost-effective.
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