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Teenager wrongly held in psychiatric ward for SIX months as doctors claimed she had eating disorder - but it was rare condition that made her vomit 15 Tags: Deprivation of liberty.

Teenager wrongly held in psychiatric ward for SIX months as doctors claimed she had eating disorder - but it was rare condition that made her vomit 15 times a day

  • Lyam Baker, 15, suffers from Cyclical Vomiting Syndrome - a physical condition that causes sufferers to vomit several times a day
  • Rare condition started after she got scared on a school camping trip

By Jill Reilly

PUBLISHED: 12:38, 20 April 2012 | UPDATED: 23:04, 20 April 2012

Road to recovery: Lyam Baker, 15, shrank from a size 12 to a size zero within months after developing Cyclical Vomiting Syndrome - a physical condition that causes sufferers to vomit several times a day

Road to recovery: Lyam Baker, 15, has finally been diagnosed with Cyclical Vomiting Syndrome - a physical condition that causes sufferers to vomit several times a day

A teenager who used to vomit up to 15 times a day, spent six months on a psychiatric ward before her mother finally convinced doctors she had a physical condition, rather than a eating disorder.

Lyam Baker, 15, shrank from a healthy size 12 to a size zero within months after developing Cyclical Vomiting Syndrome - a physical condition that causes sufferers to vomit several times a day.

But medics believed the teen was purposely making herself sick - and held her on a mental health ward for months before her mother finally convinced them she was suffering from CVS.

The condition caused Lyam, from Birmingham, West Midlands, to vomit up to 15 times a day - and at her worst, she weighed just six and a half stone.

Her mum, Carol, a nurse, desperately tried to convince doctors that her daughter was not suffering from an eating disorder .

But medics didnít realise that Lyam was actually suffering from the rare condition, which started after she got scared on a school camping trip.

Ms Baker said: 'Lyamís illness very quickly took over our lives.

'Her vomiting cycles were furious and frequent and she spiralled downwards quickly, and her weight declined rapidly.

'She went from being a bright, bubbly girl, to constantly being exhausted and a shell of her former self- it is a very lonely illness.

'I painfully watched my daughter withering away while the doctors kept insisting she was doing this to herself - she said she wasnít and I believed her.

'I had to fight and fight to get the doctors to listen to me - I donít want any other family to have to go through what I did.'

Weight loss: Lyam, shrank from a size 12 to a size zero within months - she missed almost two years of school with sickness episodes, which can be triggered by feelings of stress or excitement, occurring on an almost weekly basis

Weight loss: Lyam, shrank from a size 12 to a size zero within months - she missed almost two years of school with sickness episodes, which can be triggered by feelings of stress or excitement, occurring on an almost weekly basis

Painful memories: Lyam's backbone protrudes in this photo taken when she was gravely ill - she is now slowly putting on weight and back at school

Painful memories: Lyam's backbone protrudes in this photo taken when she was gravely ill - she is now slowly putting on weight and back at school

Onset: Lyam first developed the condition following a school camping trip when she was 13 - after worrying that teachers would leave the pupils alone

Onset: Lyam first developed the condition following a school camping trip when she was 13 - after worrying that teachers would leave the pupils alone

Lyam first developed the condition following a school camping trip when she was 13 - after worrying that teachers would leave the pupils alone.

She got so stressed that she started vomiting - and for the next 18 months, continued to suffer horrendous vomiting episodes that could last for up to five days - where she would be sick up to 80 times in a week.

The condition meant that bright Lyam missed almost two years of school with sickness episodes, which can be triggered by feelings of stress or excitement, occurring on an almost weekly basis.

Ms Baker said: 'Every time Lyam had another episode, she would be admitted to hospital for a few days and then discharged.

'Everyone kept telling me it was a psychiatric issue, but I could see that it wasnít. The consultant called in the mental health team and eventually admitted her to a psychiatric unit.

'While Lyam was there, staff would take away her vomit bowl, and even hold her against the wall in a bid to break the cycle.

'There had been a brief mention of CVS when Lyam first started being sick - but doctors seemed to totally disregard it for months.

'I was so worried they would never discover what was wrong with her, I used to cry myself to sleep at night. I thought I was going to end up planning her funeral.'

WHAT IS CYCLICAL VOMITING SYNDROME?

CVS is characterised by recurrent, prolonged attacks of severe vomiting, nausea and lethargy, with no apparent cause.

Vomiting persists at frequent intervals, 5-6 times per hour at the peak, for periods ranging from hours to10 days or more.

It most commonly lasts for between 1 and 4 days and the sufferer is generally in good health between episodes.

There is no diagnostic clinical or laboratory tests for CVS itself - it can be diagnosed when other condition have been eliminated.

Who gets CVS?
It is thought that anyone can potentially get CVS. Sufferers are more likely than average to have a family history of migraine, and/or travel sickness sometimes.

What triggers a vomiting episode?
For many with CVS there is nothing obvious that starts an attack, for others some specific 'triggers' can be identified which may initiate a CVS episode. Physical stress is one of the most common triggers. Going without food for too long and sleep deprivation can also act as physical triggers.

When does it start?
The onset of CVS can occur from infancy to adulthood. It most commonly develops between the age of 3-7 years and it can persist from months to decades. It affects males and females equally.

Source: cvsa.com

It was only after almost 12 months on the ward that specialists eventually realised that there was something physically wrong with Lyam - and were able to give her medication in a bid to control the vomiting.

Ms Baker added: 'Lyamís symptoms have subsided recently - she now hasnít had an attack for a few months.

'She is slowly putting on weight again, and is able to go back to school.

'I am finally getting my daughter back. Itís very painful to talk about, but I need people to be more aware of CVS.

'We donít know exactly why her condition has improved suddenly, it could just be a hormonal balance - but weíre hoping she wonít have to suffer again.

'We need people, and medical professionals especially, to be more aware of this condition and hopefully sufferers will be able to be diagnosed more easily.

'I donít want any other family to go through what we have done.'

Dr Robin Dover, from the Cyclical Vomiting Syndrome Association, said: 'No-one really knows for sure what causes CVS, although in the last couple of years, there has been research carried out which suggests it may be caused by genetic changes that can be inherited.

'Itís difficult to say how many people suffer from the condition, because diagnosis is so complicated and many people are never properly diagnosed.

'However, studies carried out in Australia and the UK suggest that somewhere between 0.1† and two per cent of the population can be affected at some point in their lives.

'There are no tests to diagnose CVS, and therefore it is always a case of eliminating every other possible cause of sickness before a diagnosis can be made.

'Similar symptoms of vomiting can be caused by a range of problems from a brain tumour to kidney abnormalities.

'But often the most hurtful thing that happens is that patients are told that they have mental health issues - it can be torturous for the sufferers and their families, and often ends up delaying a proper diagnosis.'

Brighter future: Lyam and her mother Carol: 'I am finally getting my daughter back. ItŅs very painful to talk about, but I need people to be more aware of CVS,' said Lyam's mother

Brighter future: Lyam and her mother Carol: 'I am finally getting my daughter back. It's very painful to talk about, but I need people to be more aware of CVS,' said Lyam's mother


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2132592/Teenager-wrongly-held-psychiatric-ward-SIX-months-battled-rare-vomiting-condition-doctors-diagnosed-eating-disorder.html#ixzz1slxO9RN3

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