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.


11 thoughts on “Triggers

  1. Sarah says:

    This is a good list. I have the following triggers as well: smoke, windex, strong perfume, engine exhaust fumes, powdered or preserved garlic, excessive salt or sugar, butternut and spaghetti squash.
    Does anyone have any advice about dealing with hot weather other than staying close to a/c all day?


  2. Amanda says:

    Hi, my 13 year old daughter is experiencing what I think may be CVS. Early last year she began vomiting daily from February through May until we removed her gallbladder as a last chance hope. It seemed to have fixed it along with all of a sudden being allergic to eggs, she was also low on her cortisol hormone. Her vomiting slowed down tremendously, but it was still occasionally there. Since late October to present it has came back not as severe, but on a weekly basis. She normally starts vomiting first thing and it will last most of the day. Next day she is fine most of the time. However, sometimes it will last 2 days. Then she is back to her normal self. She has had scopes and scans done to find nothing wrong. I can’t find a reason why, but after looking into CVS, I wondering if that is not the problem. Any advice/opinions you can give me will be GREATLY appreciated. She can’t go to school when this happens and she is worried they will hold her back, as am I. It breaks my heart.


  3. Elizabeth says:

    I’m working with a gastroenterologist now to try and figure out what is going on. So far, my only trigger is alcohol. It doesn’t happen everytime I drink, only about every 2-3 months (I’ve stopped drinking and this is the longest I’ve gone without an episode). I had a close call with an episode a couple of weeks ago in which I was eating fajitas at a restaurant and started feeling it come on. I usually use the restroom one or two times before an episode, and then begin vomiting. This time was different, there was no alcohol involved but I felt it coming on, so I used the restroom, went home and got in a hot bath and began to feel better. Has this ever happened to you? Every other time was a full blown episode, but this one was alleviated by I guess, 1) not drinking alcohol, and 2) using the restroom and taking a hot bath.
    I started getting sick January of last year after drinking heavily one night. Like I said, it’s happened about every 2-3 months with alcohol (any amount, even a sip of my husband’s drink set it off one time), usually when eating out.


    • Wow, sounds like you definitely have an alcohol trigger. I can relate. I’ve been triggered by alcohol in the past, but most of the time i can have a couple of drinks with no problem. Food from a restaurant is another trigger of mine which is inconsistent but an obvious one. It’s rare for me to start an episode and then it stop on its own before progressing, but it’s also happened to me.


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