Through journaling I have been able to identify several triggers. A trigger is something that can cause me to begin an episode. Like a ticking time-bomb.  A trigger is not a “cause” of the disorder. Many factors pile on top of each other, until the stack blows. A trigger might just push me over the edge, when I would have avoided an episode otherwise. Triggers can change, and mine have changed numerous times over my 8 year course of illness. Some triggers cease to be triggers, and new ones arise. It’s an ever-changing process.

Here is a list of my known triggers, past and present:

  • Hormones (my own and the ones I’ve put into my body) and menstrual cycle
  • Positive Excitement (holidays, vacations, social activities, and anything I’m excited to do)
  • Emotional Stress (I have mood dysregulation)
  • Hot weather (it depletes my energy)
  • Exhaustion and/or lack of sleep
  • Anxiety and/or panic attacks
  • Over-exertion
  • Physical illness (like a cold or flu)
  • Heartburn
  • Fatty, greasy, or deep-fried foods
  • Gravy of any type
  • Tomato paste
  • Jalepenos
  • Cilantro
  • Excessive alcohol
  • MSG and other preservatives
  • High protein meals

Here is a list of things that don’t necessarily trigger me, but are commonly known to trigger others with CVS. I avoid the last 4 items on this list for various reasons.

  • Chocolate
  • Aged cheese
  • Wine
  • Dairy
  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Aspartame (artificial sweetener)
  • Nitrites (used to preserve meat)
  • Caffeine

If you have a trigger that I haven’t listed here, please share it with everyone. I learn new triggers frequently, and it is always helpful to hear what others have learned to avoid also.


  1. Preworkout is a trigger for my son.
    My son has suffered with a similar disorder for 3 years. We just recently started seeing a GI for help. He was diagnosed first in thhalf ER with CHS. He admitted to being a daily user of cannibis.
    He was sick for 2 weeks. We admitted him to the hospital and they diagnosed him with the same thing CHS. He has been sick about 2-3 times a year since then and has continued occasional cannibis use. He was well 8 months until Feb 2018 and he has been sick now 6times this year no cannibis use. He is sick right now. Zofran and phenergran suppositities help but do not stop the cycle. I believe he suffers from anxiety and my father had migraines for many years in his 40’s. Certain foods are definitely triggers and he seems to be sick always around holidays or when family visit.


    • So, do you believe his diagnosis of CHS? I don’t think it fits, after reading your story. Sounds like the typical pattern of doctors hearing of someone smoking cannabis, and automatically jumping to that conclusion. It’s a vicious cycle… cannabis HELPS anxiety, but the disorder makes anxiety worse. Cannabis helps the condition, but doctors erroneously think it causes it, and demonize cannabis. If your son had refrained from using cannabis for more than 3 months, and is still experiencing symptoms, then his symptoms are not from smoking cannabis. They got it wrong. And, I’m so sorry to hear your son suffers with this. 😦


    • My triggers are similar. I’ve learned that anxiety is the number one factor for me, and that includes simply getting excited about fun events. I’m learning to be one of those people who just goes with the flow. Not looking ahead, not looking behind, just being in the moment and learning peace. Peace even when I’m sad or angry..
      Now I’m not good at this, haha… but I’m getting better.. And it’s helping. When i feel anxiety I tell myself “you’re fine”. And then i breathe, and I believe it. The belief matters. I can literally feel my nervous system relax back down.


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