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Can stomach issues affect cognitive abilities?
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Can stomach issues affect cognitive abilities?

For the last few years, I've been having several stomach issues. It started with indigestion but later developed a lot of other symptoms, like hoarseness, dull ache at the bottom of my throat, constipation, mucus in my stool, small stringy stools, and on occasion my mind would feel foggy like I was a little drunk. The foggy thinking would come on for a period of a week or two, then just disappear.

I started taking a lot of medications to help my indigestion. For about a year, I was taking Prilosec every day, chewing Tums or Pepcid, and sometimes taking acid reducers on top of that. It never really seemed to help a whole lot, but it relieved it some so I took them a lot. Anything was better than nothing.

After a while, a lot of the symptoms disappeared. I rarely get indigestion anymore, but I still have a really dull ache at the bottom of my throat. I get bloated ALL the time, especially in the morning when I wake up and right before I go to bed.

Recently the 'fogginess' has returned, and just won't go away. I assumed it was my thyroid, since my TSH as fluctuating so much, but my free t4 is always fine or high.

So my question is, is it possible that my concentration and memory issues are somehow due to my stomach? I had the stomach issue for so long, and it's the only health issue I've ever had, and once it stopped this all started, so I wondered if it was somehow connected.

I've had my thyroid checked (will post numbers if needed), b12 was low earlier this year but injections and supplements brought the numbers up pretty well (over 600), folate is fine but MCV is high a lot.

TIA
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11 Comments Post a Comment
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Avatar f tn
Yes! Your brain and body are all in the same box as it were, what effects the body effects the brain and vice versa. I've seen a few digestive issues that can cause confusion and dizzyness, so IRS not far fetched to believe your fogginesd is connected to your stomach. Have you seen a doctor About uLcers? Expecially getting tested for h.pylorai which is an ulcer causing bacteria that wreaks all sorts of havoc on your stomach.
Also not saying this will replace a doctor but it has provided me and others I've told about it relief is aloe Vera juice. You can get it at health food stores, and I implore you if you do get the clear tasteless one and you just need a shot a day. Not only does it really help with heartburn it aids in healing all throughout the digestive tract, it is wonderful stuff and can't hurt to try.
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Avatar f tn
I don't think your stomach issues can CAUSE the cognitive difficulties you're experiencing; I think there is some underlying issue causing all of the above.
There is a reason your troubles started in the stomach area and once you figure out what that is, all the rest will be easier to understand and treat.
I suggest taking a good look at your diet, any food intolerances or allergies you may have, as well as your lifestyle including fitness and level of stress. You said you notice your symptoms worsen in the mornings and before bed-- what are you doing differently at these times?  Do you think you notice it less during the day when you're preoccupied?
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568322 tn?1370169040
Liver problems can do that.  It can cause the bloating and high ammonia can cause the foggy thinking.  You need to be evaluated by a doctor.

Co

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Avatar f tn
Great suggestions!...also check your diet...MSG has 13 other names and MSG effects the brain and being a chemical also effects the digestive tract.  Active Manuka Honey is great...for  HyPylori.
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Avatar m tn
Thanks everyone for responding :)

Meggie: I have been tested for H. Pylori through blood test, and it was negative. The doctor said it was "GERD" and gave me a prescription for Nexium, which helped a little. Not sure about ulcers, but since there's no pain in my stomach I figured that isn't the issue. I'm going to see if my doctor will refer me to a GI doctor soon to get everything tested.

Bee: I used to eat really poorly. Fast food, junk food, sodas, etc., but I have stopped eating fast food altogether and haven't had sodas in a long time. Staying away from those didn't seem to help at all unfortunately. I stayed away from gluten for over a month as a test to see if I felt any better, but I didn't. Maybe I didn't give it long enough though. Going to have the gluten intolerance test done as soon as possible too. As far as stress, I really have none. The only symptoms that really seem to be worse in the morning and night are the pain in my throat and the bloating, but the brain fog is constant.

CoWriter: My doctors told me that I have no liver problems, only suggesting "Gilbert's Syndrome" once they couldn't determine a cause of the high bilirubin. They also told me it had no symptoms other than high bilirubin, so I don't think that would be the cause. I did want to have ammonia levels checked just in case though. I had never had high bilirubin in my life until recently when I started feeling like this, and from what I understand it's hereditary so it would have shown up a lot earlier.

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Avatar f tn
Brain fog is a very know quanity in those with gluten issues. Fatigue is another biggie. Staying gluten-free for a month would only give you a small indication of whether or not that's an issue. It can take many months to a year to start to clear things to the point of feeling better for many people - my husband was one of them. In addition, make sure when gluten is tested that you're also tested for casein - the major protein in diary. Many with gluten issues cross-react to casein and can go on feeling poorly.

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Avatar m tn
Thank you, I will definitely make sure that's tested as well.

I've heard a lot of people saying that the test often gives a false negative. Is that true? How common is that?
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Avatar f tn
The blood test can unfortunately give false negatives, so if you're going that route make sure the do the following: total IgA; IgA/IgG gliadin; transglutaminase.

In addition, you may want to check into the fecal antibody test. It often picks up celiac issues when all else fails - including biopsies (although they're considered the gold standard). You can read about this test at enterolab.com. This is the test that picked up my husband's celiac issues when the blood tests said nada.
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Avatar m tn
Thank you! I will have those checked for sure. I appreciate the advice. :)
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Avatar f tn
I've had tummy issues for two years right after I drink or eat certain things my stomach develops a sort of gnawing pain my throat is always swollen and I constantly have mucus....I'm so very tired and its hard to focus...I've been on nexium and protonix not really helping...went back to the docotor and they made me feel as though it was just in my head and tried prescribing me anti depressant which I wont take went in for stomach problems and somehow it ends up as though its in my head. My tummy is always swollen just tired of feeling like this out of money and tired of not getting relief....I dont feel  normal I know my own body....
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Avatar m tn
I have the same issue.  I've had it for awhile but it has only gotten worse. Pressure builds up and I have the gurgle of air and fluid. I rarely burb.  My situation is complicated by a bad smell like from the bowels. Do you have any other symptoms?  What have you found to help?
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