Digestive Disorders / Gastroenterology Expert Forum
severe abdominal pain and vomiting
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severe abdominal pain and vomiting

16 months ago I went to the emergency room due to severe abdominal pain and vomiting, and several days ago, out of the blue and to my horror, it happened again. Both times it was sudden, beginning with something like heartburn and gas pains, then very rapidly becoming so extreme, extending from my chest to my pelvic region, that I could barely withstand the pain...truly just short of making me lose consciousness.  At the hospital I had to be removed from the passenger side of the car and couldn't stand on my own to have x-rays, etc...couldn't even answer questions coherently.  I rarely go to doctors and I still can't believe the pain was so severe I couldn't function!
Each time I quickly threw up the contents of my stomach and then nothing but bile and also dry heaves, absolutely writhing in pain throughout. My hands, arms, legs and feet throbbed and tingled terribly, my blood pressure, normally low, dropped much lower.  The first doctor elevated my feet, nearly turning me upside down...X-rays, ultrasound, blood work...all was done but everything looked fine. No one can tell me what is causing this!

A friend of mine had the exact thing about a week after my first bout...and just before my bout also, her neighbor (no one I know) had the same exact experience and passed out in her home. Both ended up in the er.  I don't know if others have had it in my town...
I'm no doctor, but it seems so sudden to be viral, does it not?  Could it be bacteria?  A parasite?
I am mortified that this may happen again. I truly don't think I can take it.
Thank you so much for listening. If you can offer any suggestions, I'd greatly appreciate it!  
Sharon
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I would consider an upper GI series or upper endoscopy at this point.  Things like GERD, an ulcer, or inflammation of the upper digestive tract can all lead to this picture.  

A blood test looking for H Pylori can be considered as well, as this is associated with ulcers and inflammation.

The negative ultrasound would make gallbladder or liver diseases less likely.

Gastroenteritis can also be considered.  Stool tests can be obtained looking for a bacterial or parasite cause.

These options can be discussed with your personal physician.

Followup with your personal physician is essential.

This answer is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice - the information presented is for patient education only. Please see your personal physician for further evaluation of your individual case.

Kevin, M.D.
kevinmd_
5 Comments
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Can anyone tell me more on this?  That others had it as well as I, makes me think it's something contagious.  Doesn't that seem apparent to anyone else?  Any advice would be appreciated.
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If you've had a prior abdominal surgery, then possibly adhesions could be causing a partial bowel obstruction. This can come on fairly quickly, 2-4 hrs after you've eaten and causes extreme abdominal pain, distention & vomiting. Rarely would this be a cause if you DO NOT have a prior history of abdominal surgeries.
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Thank you so much for the last comment.  I have had 2(major) surgeries--for endometriosis and a hysterectomy.  I don't know if that's what you mean.  My sister died of Crohn's Disease at age 39...well, indirectly, after 3 surgeries, extreme weight loss and her body unable to fight off severe influenza.
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Hi, this might be a bit late in coming, but I believe the more information you can get the better it will ease the mind.  2006 was a disasterous year for me in that I started off in March with severe abdominal pain and nausea/vomiting - also thought it was some sort of a viral/bacterial infection.  I then had another attack in May and was admitted to ER for an apendectomy (no appendix found!).  I then had another attack in July and again in Sep and the last one todate in Oct.  All started off with the similar symptoms you describe.  I had 3 CT scans, 2 nuclear scans, gastroscopy/colonoscopy and umpteen blood tests. I even dewormed myself 3 times as I was convinced I had something living in my stomach.  I was utterly exhausted and seriously didn't think I would see 2007.  Thankfully, I am here and on the 4th December 2006, I went for a blood test for pyphoria and found the reason for all my pain.  This rare liver disorder is hereditary and is usually brought on by certain medication (antibiotics), surgery, sun, trauma.  I would suggest you have all the radiographic procedures carried out as a process of elimination and then if the attack persists, ask your GI specialist to test for pyphoria.  Hope this helps.
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Hi, this might be a bit late in coming, but I believe the more information you can get the better it will ease the mind. 2006 was a disasterous year for me in that I started off in March with severe abdominal pain and nausea/vomiting - also thought it was some sort of a viral/bacterial infection. I then had another attack in May and was admitted to ER for an appendectomy (no appendix found!). I then had another attack in July and again in Sep and the last one todate in Oct. All started off with the similar symptoms you describe. I had 3 CT scans, 2 nuclear scans, gastroscopy/colonoscopy and umpteen blood tests. I even dewormed myself 3 times as I was convinced I had something living in my stomach. I was utterly exhausted and seriously didn't think I would see 2007. Thankfully, I am here and on the 4th December 2006, I went for a blood test for porphyria and found the reason for all my pain. This rare liver disorder is hereditary and is usually brought on by certain medication (antibiotics), surgery, sun, trauma. I would suggest you have all the radiographic procedures carried out as a process of elimination and then if the attack persists, ask your GI specialist to test for porphyria. Hope this helps.
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Thank you, Idab!  I am currently having tests done...will mention what you said.
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Just curious if Pancreatitis has been ruled out. I had it and was sick as a dog and throwing up a LOT. It turned out to be gall stones and they removed my gall bladder because my pancreas kept getting inflamed.

Then I got pneumonia while I was in the hospital so they had to keep rescheduling the surgery. I was in there for 2 1/2 weeks!
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Hi adayinapril,

There was one time 2 years ago when my husband and my live-in employee (24 years old young and healthy) came to work with me feeling this abdominal pain later progressing to vomit and flushed face. I went to buy Pepcid AC and Pepto Bismo and made them take it. No results but more vomit. Both of them just sat down and said they felt so weak and dead that they just couldn't lift their arm up. They were also too weak to walk or stand up. My, normally young and healthy, employee actually thought she was going to croak that instant. I have never seen them like this before. It could be something out in the air (viral) because it certainly didn't seem like something they ate. I closed up the shop early that day and took them both to the doctor. They were too weak to operate a vehicle. The doctor treated them each shots for stomach flu and muscle relaxation and sent them home. Tomorrow they both woke up feeling much better (almost normal). Weird. Best of luck.

My husband was the healthiest man, up until 6 years ago, when it all went downhill. We rented and lived in a small apartment that had a lot of deadly molds on the wall. We've been exposed to molds for about 2 years. We later found out that he had allergic reactions to mold. It all started from there. Nothing happen to me, cuz I don't have allergic reactions like he does. The molds, obviously had weakened his immune system, he started getting fevers, ear infections, light headed, etc. We went to a Thai restaurant called "Thai Promise" in Mission Viejo, CA had he started coming home vomiting, diarrea (diarrhea), and fevering. He felt like he was gonna die. I thought that maybe he was food poisoned. Months later, we went back to that restaurant. The same thing happened to him. Funny thing is, we ate the same food but I was ok.

We owned and was operating a very stressful food business for 6 years, working 12/7. Every doctor we went to would just rule out stress / anxiety and send us home. My husband was never the same ever since. He has this chest tightness, shortness of breath, and a discomforting churning growling stabbing (you name it) under his left rib cage traveling to the back upper shoulder blade area. It feels like cold airy acidy gas. He was never able to take a full deep breath eversinced. Every time it seems like air is leeking somewhere else. We've done colonoscopy came out normal, breath test, numorous blood works, chest xrays, ekg, gallstone ultrasound, recently endoscopy with biopsy ruled out that he has inflammation and erosion in his esophogus. Was put on Nexium with no improvement and left dangling again. We've tried practically anything, anyone would recommend us. There are times when he has this sharp pain just a little below his left hip bone. A pain which concerns him that we went to do ultrasound for stones, came negative. He does realize that he feels better on certain days, and that certain food does make him feel crappy. It's very discomforting for him and I hate seeing him go through that. His 2 year older brother died of Leukemia less than 6 months ago after battling 4 years.

We visited the Asian country 6 months ago and he came back with diarrea (diarrhea). I did too, but it went away in about a week. His diarrea (diarrhea) has been on for 6 months. He was put on strong antibiotics and immodium with not much luck. After each of his diarrea (diarrhea), he gets this growling churning discomfort in his stomach. People look at my husband and no one has a clue that he has all these symptoms.

My husband is the sweetest man in the world, why is he being punished with all these illnesses? We've spent over 40k in medical bills already (that is with insurance coverage)with no solution. It's funny how different docs tells you different things just to get you out of their office. Doctors told my husband that he's got pluracy, muscle spasm, anxiety attack, GERD, gastritis, ulcer, IBS, asthma.

After visiting this website, I realized that my husband isn't alone. There seems to be no answer as of it yet. But if there is ever that someone has the answer to all this, please advise. I appreciate any input. Thank you.
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