Main symptoms: severe nausea and sudden vomiting lasting hours to days.
One or more of the following symptoms may be felt:
- Retching, or making an attempt to vomit
- Heaving or gagging
- Lack of appetite
- Abdominal pain
- Sensitivity to light
Intensity of symptoms will vary as a person cycles through four distinct phases of an episode:
- Prodrome phase
- Person feels that an episode of nausea and vomiting is about to start.
- Often marked by intense sweating and nausea—with or without abdominal pain—this phase can last from a few minutes to several hours.
- The person may appear unusually pale.
- Vomiting phase
- Consists of intense nausea, vomiting, and retching. Periods of vomiting and retching can last 20 to 30 minutes at a time.
- The person may be subdued and responsive, immobile and unresponsive, or writhing and moaning with intense abdominal pain.
- An episode can last from hours to days.
- Recovery phase
- Begins when the vomiting and retching stop and the nausea subsides. Improvement of symptoms during the recovery phase can vary.
- Healthy color, appetite, and energy return gradually or right away.
- Well phase
- Occurs between episodes when no symptoms are present.