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Is there a link between depression and digestive disorders?
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Is there a link between depression and digestive disorders?

Has anyone experienced depression as a result of ongoing digestive problems?
I've had blood tests for celiac, liver enzymes, immune disorders, etc, upper GI ultrasound, thyroid, HIDA scan, h pylori, gastritis, ulcers, upper endoscopy... everything comes back negative or normal. After months and months of appointments, and thousands of dollars in testing, I am still sick. I'm not getting better at all. I've been keeping a food diary for about 2 months and haven't found a link in anything. I typically avoid dairy, anything fattening, carbonation and "junk". I eat something one day though, and the next day it makes me sick. I can't figure it out at all.  
I am not sure if I'm experiencing actual depression or just feeling desperate for answers.

I think I'm slightly hopeful that there's a link (and a pill out there that can just fix me). On the other hand the last thing I want is to call another doctor and add another pill to my sensitive belly.

I'm also considering a gluten free diet although I tested negative for celiac. Any experiences welcome. Thanks!
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483733_tn?1326802046
I've had depression as a result of digestive surgeries, etc. but I don't think it is the digestive problem that causes, it is the unknown and stress around it.  What symptoms are you having?  My husband was having a lot of bloating and pain in his abdomen.  They did several blood tests and ultrasounds and they never found anything.  He has been waiting for a colonoscopy and in the mean time did research gluten problems.  He has switched to a gluten free diet and it has helped tremendously.  One time he had a tiny bit in a spice mix and new right away that he had eaten gluten.  

I hope your doctors can find your issue.  Something else to try is a Naturopath.  They will work with you on finding any diet related issues and may have insight and patience to follow this through for you.
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Avatar_n_tn
The main problems are bloating, gas, and stomach discomfort. I often get stabbing pains and weird gurgling in my right rib. It feels like a baby is kicking in there. Also heartburn, acid and vomiting acid a couple of times. Mainly it's the big, swollen belly and the terrible gas that are getting me down. I have no idea what to eat. I'm so uncomfortable.

I just keep going back and forth too wondering if my symptoms are caused by stress or if my symtoms (symptoms) are the cause OF my stress.

Thank you for your response. Hopefully I get some answers soon.
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483733_tn?1326802046
Do ensure your doctor checks you for ovarian cysts.  I had similiar symptoms with mine and bloated up so much that I looked 6 months pregnant.  The can push on your internal organs and cause digestive issues and gas.  It's worth eliminating it as a possibility and all you need is a transvaginal ultrasound.
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Avatar_n_tn
I had lots and lots of tests, since 1999, luckily we are covered in Canada for these tests.

Acid reflux, severe pain on right side under ribs, sometimes in bowels, projectile vomiting, diarhea (diarrhea), fatique etc etc.

I could not eat or drink without severe pain.

then I started having breathing problems. I think from either the gallbladder inflammation or from aspiration of my stomach acids.

I think some Doctors may have thought I was making it up or all in my head

In 2007 finally a test showed sludge of the gallbladder, I asked them to remove it.
Pathologist test of removed gallbladder said "Chronic inflammation and gallstones"
Even though all tests but one in 2007 said sludge.

so I suffered from 1999 to 2007, lost my job, my dignity, I was fighting with Doctors to have them listen to the symptoms I was telling them I had.

So, depression, I understand how you feel,
How in the world could anyone not be depressed not knowing what is causing their sickness, and going from one Doctor appointmenf after the other with no answers and still feeling sick.
And if you are spending money out of your pocket, what a huge worry that is.

Only advice I can give is do not give up and do your own research on the internet.

Doctors are so busy, how can they diagnose in one 15 minute appointment?

And tests do come back negative but they are not foolproof.


Good Luck,

Sue
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621217_tn?1289012687
I've also been getting really depressed do to my digestive problems too.  It’s been a little over 2 months but according to my GI that’s not that long for digestive problems, but for me it feels like an eternity.  I've pretty much lost my life as I don't do anything anymore... I don't even want to do anything anymore, I feel hopeless allot.  I’m scared that after my work leave is up I'll still be too sick to go in and I'll lose my job.

Test keep coming back negative so I still don't know what’s wrong with me, and there not doing further testing until the 29th of December, so I'll have to wait until then to take more test that will more than likely come back negative.  Im sad about Christmas.  And I'm slightly terrified that maybe I'll get better but docs will never know what was wrong and someday I'll suddenly get sick and have to go thru this hell all over again...so the fear of it coming back will probably keep me from enjoying life normally for awhile if I get better.

Though I don't think that the digestive problem is a link to my depression, my depression is more than likely a result of my digestive problem taking my life away.  I did just start getting therapy to help me try and mentally cope with this though.  But I've only been to one session.... I really hope they will help me... Maybe that’s something you can think about doing too?
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Avatar_n_tn
Thank you. That does give me hope. My gastroenterologist did mention that my body is acting like my gallbladder is bad. He said he doesn't really trust an ultrasound technician to view and diagnose a gallbladder. Depending on current test results, he is considering a CAT scan of my gall bladder as a next step.
I know the HIDA scan showed my gall bladder functioning at 60%, but it was dumping. The 1st part of the test had to end early because my gallbladder was so quickly dumping all the bile solution. It doesn't make sense that they would call it "Normal", but I guess I'm not a Dr.

Goldfishy - I wanted to let you know on my last scan I was supposed to wait until the end of November. I couldn't wait that long. This is stressful and it's hard to keep doing this over and over. 2 months here, 1 week for results, 2 weeks for another appointment, 3 weeks for the next scan... it's so hard. I called the receptionist on day #1 and asked if they had any cancellations that day. She said she would check. While she was checking I politely mentioned that I am suffering and don't want to wait until the end of November for an appointment. I told her I fully intend on calling for a cancellation every single day, so today was her big opportunity to opt out and give me someone else's phone number. I laughed like I was joking although I wasn't. She found me an appointment for the next morning in a different office. I had to drive 30 minutes, but who cares at that point? You could try that if you feel up to it.  
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Avatar_f_tn
You just never know what can happen.  Nine months ago, I accidentally swallowed a dental crown.  After consulting with several doctors, three xrays, and lots of laxatives to try to pass the thing, I was told that it would eventually "pass through" my system and to wait it out.  After several weeks, the thing never passed, and eventually, I had to have it removed via a colonoscopy.  One would think that the story is over here, but wait; there's more.  The last 6 or 7 months I have felt icky; very fatigued, no energy, lots of abdominal pains, etc.  My daughter had mono this past summer, so I was adamant that I had it, too, but the blood test for mono came up negative.  I had an abdominal ultra sound, vaginal ultrasound, exams galore, lots of blood work; everything came up normal.  I thought I was going crazy!  I knew something was wrong but all the doctors said everything was just fine.  I am now about three weeks post op after having a bowel resection.  Apparently there was some sort of wierdo thing that happened when the crown sat in my cecum for three weeks and it caused a mass to grow which had to be removed (along with my cecum and appendix).  I am convinced that this is what has caused me to have all these symptoms these past months and, though this has been a very difficult time for me, I'm somewhat glad that at least I can attribute my symptoms to something other then "it's all in my head".  I at least feel validated that I knew something wasn't right.  Listen to yourself and try not to get depressed about things.  It is so difficult to experience symptoms and to not have a diagnosis; I very much understand and I think probably a lot of people here on this forum do, too.  Know that eventually, the solution to your problems will surface.  I would suggest trying to find other people who experience the same types of symptoms and try to become as educated as you can about the problems you have.  You really need to become your own advocate regarding your medical care.  Good luck.
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Avatar_m_tn
hi, even if you tested negative for cealiac disease, it doesnt mean that your not gluten intolerant. around 20% of gluten intolerant people tested negative for cealiac disease, cheers.
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665804_tn?1225293754
Yes!!!!
Coeliacs .
And alot of the time Coeliacs is not detected...
check that out...hope you have luck finding out..
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Avatar_n_tn
My sister has Celiac disease. My symptoms are similar to hers when she started having problems with the exception of the annoying kicking feeling I have in my ribs.

I started a gluten free diet yesterday since I was so miserable. I'm not 100% sure how to proceed, but am doing my best to cut obvious sources of gluten from my diet first. Right now I just want to feel better regardless of how my Drs want to classify me.  
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Avatar_f_tn
I think what is so interesting about the mind/gut connection is that the brain and gut are not only parallel pharmacologic systems, but that they are also interlinked pharmacologic systems. And this linking may come about because the nervous system in the GI tract – called the enteric nervous system (ENS) that works separately from the rest of the nervous system in our body) is derived (embryologically) from the same embryonic tissues as those that evolve into the brain.

Additionally, the GI tract has as many, if not more, neurons than those that are found in the brain. So although the gut and the brain go in different direction during development, they both (probably) have the same governing influences – AND preserve the basic links that can exert mutual and reciprocal regulatory influences on one another. It’s not by chance that the ENS is sometimes called the “second brain.”

Several neurotransmitters act in both the brain and gut. Serotonin (5-HT) is one of the ‘biggies,’ as are cholecystokinin, neuropeptide Y, leptin, norepinephrine, opiates, acetylcholine, and dopamine. Why are they important? Because these neurotransmitters and drugs that are made to mimic or inhibit their actions can increase or decrease bowel motility, and this can only be fully understood by realizing that about 90% of the 5-HT in the body is in the gut. Furthermore, the receptors on which the serotonin act to regulate and mediate such actions as emesis, diarrhea, abdominal pain, GI reflexes, and eating behavior. But the big problem is that there is not a single 5-HT receptor, there are several subtypes. And research is just starting to figure out that 5-HT3 receptors mediate visceral sensations and GI reflexes, and 5-HT4 receptors influence bowel motility. And these are only 2 examples.

“Gut” feelings are not just something that is found in the gut, they are actually relayed to the brain – and the brain responds with feedback to the gut. But it goes BOTH WAYS. If someone is aroused or in fear, those feelings are sent to the gut via specific pathways from a specific region of the brain (locus ceruleus) – but the feeling of a distended gut gets sent via specific pathways back to a specific area of the brain for processing and action. And would it surprise you to find out that ‘specific location’ the distended gut feeling gets relayed to is the locus ceruleus? If you know that, it’s easier to understand that vicious cycles can be activated in which either the brain or the gut can generate significant distress that originates from either the brain as a source or the gut as a source.

The links and the relationships between GI problems and anxiety are further emphasized with some basic statistics: 1. Up to 40% of panic disorder patients have IBS and up to 30% of IBS patients have panic disorder. 2. GI symptoms are apparently the third most common presentation of panic disorder. The others are cardiovascular-respiratory and neurologic presentations. 3. Interestingly, panic disorders and IBS tend to remit simultaneously. This fact led, I believe, to the suggestion that treatments for panic disorder may be effective in IBS, even in the absence of panic disorder. 4. Generalized anxiety disorder and social anxiety disorder are ‘common’ in those with IBS.

All of these facts tend to suggest that there’s a strong relationship between anxiety disorders and some GI problems such as IBS. It also makes it extremely difficult to understand and sort out the ‘which came first question.’
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Avatar_m_tn
wow.  first really informative information i have found on the internet.  i have had terrible burning sensations in my eyes, nose, mouth, esophagus and stomach......now, this week, also perhaps in my urinary tract.  my hmo has given me a ct scan, endoscopy and stomach emptying test..... all negative except for gallstones (i'm having my gallbladder removed next week but the gastro doc said these NOT related to burning sensations.  tested neg for h pilori (sp?) but they found it in the endo biopsy.  so, almost a month of antibiotics....plus a stronger prilosec type drug, PLUS gabapentine, which i am unable to tolerate.

my question:  i took morphine for five years or so and tapered off of it under doctor supervision in january.  EXACTLY when i began to develope all this burning, bloating, pain, etc.  can there be a connection?  i didn't really understand your paragraph including reference to "opiates" but it triggered this question.

i really appreciate your sharing your wisdom.

susana in sonoma county
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