When I was a child, I too, would randomly vomit at night, and it was usually without warning and the projectile type. I read an article a while back about a study that was done linking this sort of thing to Migranes in adults. For me, its true, I started with migraines when I was about 10, and the vomiting stoped. Just an fyi, Im not sure the specifics on the study... but it rang true for me.
Is she on medication for acid reflux? If not, maybe giving it a try would rule acid reflux in or out as a opssible diagnosis. My step-father has it bad and it does happen randomly, depending on factors such as what was ingested and at what time in the day...and I do know that babies can get bad acid reflux...but truthfully I've never known a school aged child with it. Doesn't make it impossible though. Perhaps you could try another doctor for a second opinion...good luck!
As a mom of 2 boys with acid reflux, I would say that it probably IS acid reflux.
The randomness, yes, absolutely reflux! But if you aren't convinced, there is a test
you can do, my boys had it done as infants, it's called a barium swallow. Untreated
Acid Reflux can be very damaging to the asphogus (sp) so it's in your best interest
to have this looked at...usually infants have it & outgrow it, but sometimes they don't.
To answer you questions...
If it was Acid Reflux why does it not happen when she takes naps during the
middle of the day time? This is because of the duration of the nap, when she sleeps
at night, it's for multiple hours, naps are (well for a 5 year old) usually just 1-2 hours.
Prior to being diagnosed, without fail, my son would go to bed & wake up SCREAMING
about 3-4 hours after going to bed (just about the time I was finally settling down) I don't
know why exactly (I'm not a doctor) but I know it has to do with the duration of being in
the position of laying flat.
Any why is it random? this could be affected by her diet. My eldest son was affected by
red sauce, garlic, oj & oregano. But my youngest son had no trouble with eating red sauce or oregano. My eldest son would scream in pain, my youngest never complained a bit. Each of their symptoms were different. How it affected each of them was different. My youngest son got chronic ear infections because the acid would come back up through the esophagus & settle in his ear canal. My other son would randomly vomit.
The esophagus carries food and liquid into the stomach. At the lower end of the esophagus where it enters the stomach, there is a strong muscular ring called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). The LES should remain tightly closed, except to allow food and liquid to pass into the stomach. Reflux occurs when the LES is not working properly. It may relax for periods of time throughout the day and night, or it may be constantly too weak to function effectively. This allows the stomach's acid juices to flow into the esophagus. How severe the disease becomes depends on how weakened the LES is, and the amount and duration of acid refluxed into the esophagus.
It is also common to find a hiatal hernia complicating GERD. With a hiatal hernia, the upper part of the stomach actually pushes up into the chest through a weakness in the diaphragm. The diaphragm is the thin, flat muscle that separates the lungs from the abdomen. When part of the upper stomach is stuck above the diaphragm, stomach acid is retained there for a longer period and is more likely to reflux into the esophagus.
Treatment - Things Patients Can Do
Following are some things the patient can do to help reduce acid reflux and strengthen the LES.
Avoid eating anything within three hours before bedtime.
Reduce consumption of fatty foods, milk, chocolate, mints, caffeine, carbonated drinks, citrus fruits and juices, tomato products, pepper seasoning, and alcohol (especially red wine).
Eat smaller meals. Avoid tight clothing or bending over after eating.
Elevate the head of the bed or mattress 6 to 8 inches. This helps to keep acid in the stomach. Pillows by themselves are not very helpful. Wedging pillows under the head tends to bend the body at the waist which can push more fluid back up into the esophagus.
Lose weight if overweight. This may relieve upward pressure on the stomach and LES.
Hope this helps. It's definately worth looking into further!