Discussions By Condition: Gastrointestinal conditions

Sick after eating...ongoing since 2006....PLEASE HELP...I'M DESPERATE.

Posted In: Gastrointestinal conditions 2 Replies
  • Posted By: suzport0528
  • January 20, 2013
  • 11:52 PM

Hello everyone,

This is my first time posting on the internet about my stomach issues but I don't know where else to turn anymore. This may be a long post, but I want to be sure that I cover everything that is going on.

I am 23 years old and have been in and out of doctor offices since approx. 2006. I have always been in fairly good shape and maintain a pretty well rounded and healthy diet. Never really had any problems with being sick other than an occasional cold and did not have any allergies, food, medicinal, or otherwise. In 2006 I went on a class trip to Costa Rica. While going kayaking there, I swallowed a bit of lake water and became very sick for the first couple of days. I soon got over the illness and went back to enjoying my trip. When I came back to the states I started going through phases in which I would be sick every time I ate something, regardless of the food, for about a month then I would go through about 2-3 months of feeling fine. This lasted for about 2 years. During this time I developed an eating disorder (anorexia) and in 2008 was hospitalized in intensive care for about a week for pancreatitis. The doctors are still unsure what the actual cause of the pancreatitis was seeing as how I had none of the usual causes (obesity, alcoholism, drug use, gall stones, old age, etc.) but assume that it was due to the eating disorder and severe anxiety and stress. During this period of time from 2006-2008 I was still facing the one month on two months off of sickness and normality.

In about early 2009 the nausea began to intensify and became more more frequent. I was sick after eating at least 3 out of 4 weeks in the month. As the time passed the problems only became greater and more severe. I am now at the point that nearly any time I eat food I get sick afterward. I feel like I am going to throw up, the salty taste in the mouth, increased saliva, extreme noise from my stomach, etc. but 9 times out of 10 can not throw up and just end up feeling sick for hours after eating, sometimes even full days from one meal. Most often times I will try to make myself throw up. I feel that if I could just get whatever is bothering me out of my stomach I would feel perfect. My bowel movements are not consistent, sometimes extreme constipation lacking using the bathroom for days or weeks at a time, others food will seem to go directly through me and I will have diarrhea. Often times during the most extreme cases I have of sickness induced by food intake, I will react in ways similar to flu-like symptoms. Fatigue, dizziness, sweating, flashes of hot and cold, etc. Most recently I have been getting more ocular migraines, sometimes up to 3 or more in a day, and have had ringing of the ears, memory loss, extreme fatigue, dizziness, and what I only know how to explain as extreme 'shock' to my body (I feel like every noise that is made, every movement, and every sign of light is 'radiating', 'reverberating', and being felt through my entire body). I am extremely gassy all of the time, both in burping and passing gas, and I do definitely get heartburn and acid build up. I also get extreme pain at times in my kidneys.

I feel that we have exhausted so many options at my doctor's office and I am so exhausted and angry from feeling this way for so long. I just want some answers. My primary care doctor has done numerous blood tests which have all seemed to come back normal. I have been sent to GI doctors who have told me they are unsure what the problem is. I have had both upper GI endoscopy's that have come back normal (other than a few inflamed areas of tissue) as well as a colonoscopy that showed no sign of Chron's disease nor problems with IBS. I was then sent to an allergist who gave me many scores of 1's and 2's saying that I had an intolerance to many foods, some very strange ones such as coffee and mustard, but very few 3's or 4's that were full blown allergies. The strangest part to this is that I was told that the allergy test would most likely show nothing significant because I don't get hives, rashes, or swelling of the airways (any physical signs of an allergy) but rather just intestinal issues which typically don't show up on an allergy test. I was then transferred over to a dietician who has limited me down to no red meats, no dairy whatsoever, limited gluten, and as little raw veggies as possible. This has helped some, but just in the sense that when I am hardly eating, I'm not feeling sick.

I have been on and off antacid medicines and currently just got back onto one but they only seem to control the acid which at this time is the least of my worries. I am at a loss as to what the issue is and am so tired of feeling sick every single day. I just am looking for some leads in the right direction and would appreciate any ideas, help or advice that I can get.

Thanks in advance.

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2 Replies:

  • I'm sorry you're feeling so badly so much of the time. When you talk to specialists, like GI doctors, I would emphasize the Costa Rica connection, maybe more than you have. I have a different set of gastrointestinal issues, but I twice spoke with a GI doctor at a research hospital (she is a medical professor at a well-known university and also a practicing GI doctor and GI illness researcher). She grilled me about whether I had been in any tropical environments in the months or weeks before my current symptoms started, and did I ever get sick at that time. Your story eminently fills the tropical location/tropical illness criteria. A general practitioner and even some GI doctors might be shy about giving you a robust treatment for a tropical disease, but GI doctors at well-known research hospitals have more leeway. If one such GI doctor at a research hospital has been unhelpful, find a hospital that shares a name with with a different but large univeristy, then look up the profiles of all of the doctors in the GI department. A few of them will focus at least in part on tropical diseases. Next, bring that doctor's name, office address, and office phone number to an appointment with your general practitioner doctor (especially if your insurance requires the general practitioner to refer you to specialists). Do not leave the office without the doctor referring you to that particular doctor you identified online if you require a referral for insurance purposes. Even if that researching doctor is in a different state than where you live. Type up a brief (difficult to be brief) listing of your earlier symptoms, especially the symptoms during and in the months after your 2006 trip to Costa Rica. And another paragraph stating the symptoms you've had since then. (At the end of the visit they may ask to keep it to put in your file.) You may or may not want to cloud the issue with anorexia, or just plan on making that a verbal comment during the office visit with the new GI doctor. There is an okay chance that a new researching GI doctor can help you. I hope so. Another idea: Before you go to the researching GI doc, go to Google Scholar (it's not in the short list of google options, but you can google the term "google scholar" and it will come up). Read some abstracts related to the symptoms of your illness. Some of the terms will not make much sense, but look up medical terms that keep showing up. If nothing else, you will get even better at using some basic medical terms for your condition, so you can talk to the doctor better, or at least understand what the doctor says when chatting to any interns that he or she brings in to the office when meeting you. By reading some abstracts, you might be able to identify a couple of classes of tropical diseases that you might have. At first, it might sound like you are a fit for every medical paper on tropical diseases, but you'll get better at narrowing them down. A few days before your doctor visit, print out a few of the most relevant abstracts (probably from after the year 2000). Also write down a list of 5 to 10 key words that you want to ask about. You can scan the abstracts again when you're in the waiting room and then be an educated but reasonable patient during the office visit. Press the connection to the 2006 experience in Costa Rica, because it seems so relevant. The GI doc might want to test you for a few tropical diseases. Encourage her to test you for as many as she can. Another idea: go to the website DailyScience. It specializes in summarizing and dumbing down research in several fields of science and medicine. Use the search field to find article summaries on your symptoms and also any articles on tropical diseases. In fact, you might do this before you do the Google Scholar thing I mentioned above. Of course you are not crazy. It's a matter of whether modern medicine is still too ancient to know what you have. You've probably seen some good doctors and some just okay doctors, and you are unlucky enough to have something difficult to identify. One or more researching doctors probably are your best bet.Best of luck,Toast
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
  • have you found any help yet, I have a lot of these issues and live in florida for 5 years, but the say no illness that I could have contracted, drs are not helping going through every test they can think of and nothing yet? trying to fix myself if they cant, but just keep getting drugs and I think they make it worse! let me know if you have got any help yet
    Anonymous 1 Replies Flag this Response
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