Discussions By Condition: I cannot get a diagnosis.

please help- digestive problem?

Posted In: I cannot get a diagnosis. 4 Replies
  • Posted By: Anonymous
  • March 13, 2008
  • 08:15 PM

Hello, I REALLY need your guys' help!

I'm a 20y/o female with an undiagnosed digestive problem (at least I think it is digestive related). I've been to a few doctors who seem to think my problem is emotion and stress related. Let me assure you it is not. The problem started 6 months ago when I was living in Colorado and preparing to move back home to California. A couple times after a meal I would kind of regurgitate undigested food back into my mouth. This had never happened to me before and it was infrequent so I attributed it to the stress of moving and didn't say anything to anyone- I figured it would just go away once I was all settled again. The problem continued and only happened a few times a week. Then it progressively got worse over the next couple of months. I made an appointment to see my PCP and she thought it was either IBS or GERD. At the time there was a change in my stools- mucusy and pale. But after about a week it returned to normal. I was prescribed Prilosec and then Pepcid- neither helped at all. And then I was given Reglan which I took and it made me feel completely out of it and didn't seem to have an affect so I discontinued use. I was referred to a GI who thought it was either related to stress or was a motility problem- both which could resolve itself in time. After a couple weeks of waiting for this problem to "resolve" it got to the point where I could not eat any solid food without regurgitating it back up. Even some liquids would come back up. It wasn't a violent vomit- just a mouthful at a time until everything I ate was out of my stomach. This was pretty problematic since I couldn't eat without hanging around the toilet for up to an hour after a meal.

Anyways, so I went to my GI doctor and asked if we could run some tests because I didnt feel as if I was seeing any improvement. Basic bllod work and urinanalysis was done- the only abnormalty there was a low BUN but that could be because I wasn't gettting proper nutrients. Then I had the Barium Swallow Xray and an upper endoscopy which came back normal- they also took biopsies of my stomach- normal. Literally the moment after my endoscopy my GI doctor says that I really need to think about the amount of stress in my life and how strongly the stomach and emotions are connected. I'm pretty self aware and even informed him that stress was the original reason I kept quiet but that stress was long gone and everything in my life was going very well with the exception of not being able to keep food down. So I decided to get a second opinion and my new GI doctor prescribed Nitroglycerin- for esophageal spasm- and I tried that for a few weeks with no results. Then I had a Gastric Emptying Exam which the results werent helpful because I was unable to keep down the egg sandwhich. He then ordered an ultrasound of my upper right quandrant. Everything came back normal and when I talked to him today (going over the results of the ultrasound) he said we could do a esophageal manometry. I asked if he thought ould be conclusive and he side stepped the question. I couldn't help but start crying and he flat out said to me "I thought you weren't stressed?" As if I were trying to hide secret stress resevoirs from my doctors. I told him that the only reason I was stressed and crying was because I was so frustrated and tired of being sick. The look on his face though told me what I needed to know- he didn't believe me. Both my GI doctors think it's all psychosymatic. The tests they are ordering are only to make me feel like something is being done - he scheduled my next visit with him 2 months away!!!

In the past 1 1/2 months I've lost 15 lbs. I can not keep any solid food down and I'm getting all my nutrients from Ensure, milk, ornage juice, kool-aid, and anything else I can find to drink. I am beyond frustrated that they think this is all related to stress and emotion. My friends and family are also frustrated becuase they know I very rarely get stressed and when I do it lasts for very short amount of time. I feel like I'm at the end of my rope. Not only do I feel weak physically, it is started to take a toll on my psychologically- I'm constently trying to not be down and depressed, I don't feel social anymore, I'm not myself- I miss being the optimistic one, always cheering others up. I am truely truely truely at my wits end. Please any advice or suggestions are greatly greatly appreciated.

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4 Replies:

  • I am really not sure what it is you ahve going on but I have a thought here. it is possible that though you may have digestive symptoms these are just symptoms and the actual cause has nothing to do with the digestive track at all so GI doctors are not the doctors you need. The symptoms are a sign and not the cause...that is my drift. Here is my case to illustrate this point: Here was my case: I had an autoimmune thryoid disease named Graves Disease (hyperthyroid) and the first and major symptom I got was digestive problems. The doctors did not recognize this for over a month even putting me through the pain of camera down my throat to my stomach to check for stomach cancer! It was not. A simple blood test confirmed that my digestive issue were really being caused by my thryoid being out of whack and the digestive stuff was only a symptom of that out of whack thryoid. So that is my point. Perhaps seeing a good, really good, GP, who may be able to diagnosis something else will help. Don't overlook other little symptoms. In my case the other little symptoms were spacy headed at times, losing weight (hey great!), weak muscles (thought I just need to exercise more), occassional shaking hands (honestly I thouht I was just nervous at time!) and a few others. Since these sympotms were vague and not too bothersome compared to the digestive problem, I sort of overlooked them and did not mention them to the doctor. Well, I hope this will help a bit. Joan
    Joan5555 316 Replies Flag this Response
  • Have they mentioned achalasia? Treatments for achalasia include oral medications, dilation or stretching of the lower esophageal sphincter (dilation), surgery to cut the sphincter (esophagomyotomy), and the injection of botulinum toxin (Botox) into the sphincter. All four treatments reduce the pressure within the lower esophageal sphincter to allow easier passage of food from the esophagus into the stomach. Also look up Chagas' Disease.
    rad-skw 1605 Replies Flag this Response
  • 4.1.4 REGURGITATION page 96This refers to the spontaneous appearance of food or fluid in the back of the throat or in the mouth. Some patients describe this symptom as "vomiting"; therefore it is important to determine whether there is associated nausea, retching, etc., when patients present with "vomiting." The taste and consistency of the regurgitated material is an important historical detail. Regurgitation of acidic or bile-stained fluid indicates gastroesophageal reflux. Regurgitation of undigested food or stagnant fluid devoid of an acidic taste indicates an esophageal transport problem (e.g., achalasia). (With achlorhydria, gastric contents also lack acid.) In motor disorders and mechanical obstruction of the esophagus, food may become stuck and then rather quickly will be regurgitated if it does not pass through into the stomach. Some patients regurgitate food back into their mouths after a meal only to chew and swallow it all over again. This is called rumination and, although a rarity in humans, it is a normal physiological event in certain animals.***********************************Please discuss the eating disorder "rumination" with your doctor. When I looked up the symptoms on the Internet, they seemed to fit some of what you are experiencing. As far as "achalasia", it seems that the tests you already have had would have shown this, but perhaps not. I would consider your symptoms serious and if your doctor is not listening to you, then find one who will. I wish you well. Beth
    Beth56 272 Replies Flag this Response
  • thank you all for the responses; I cannot even begin to tell you how much better I feel about my situation right now. Achalasia was ruled out after my endoscopy and barium swallow. As soon as I read about Rumination I knew thats what my problem is. I've been trying to do more research on it but the information is limited and even more so when it comes to adults. If anyone knows more about rumination please let me know- even though I;ve determined that is what it is I still don't know why its happening, how to fix it, and who to take this information to. Thanks again for all your help!!! I feel so relieved that I finally know what is wrong with me.
    Anonymous 42789 Replies Flag this Response
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