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stomach problems
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stomach problems

I was diagnosed with Hep C a few years ago.. Apparently I may have had this for over thiry years.  My liver appears to be in ok shape and the enzymes have maintained as slightly higher than normal (in the 6o's) so they are not eager to put me on any medication. In Canada medication is not covered and they do not put people on it immediately unless they are having severe ill effects according to my GP. I have had no symptoms except for recent stomach problems which he says are probably not related??


My stomach problems seem to have occurred at the same time my husband and I started having big financial difficulties a couple of years ago. I am worried because my symptoms seem so varied and ongoing. I have had an upper GI and am taking Pantaloc. The Upper GI only showed a slight hiatus hernia. I am not overweight, nor diabetic.
I often feel bloated and gassy. I sometimes feel like my stomach is empty even after I have eaten and sometimes I feel like I have a weight in my stomach when I lie down. I get heartburn (not as severe now that I am on Pantoloc) and I often feel like I want to belch after eating which does not come up easily. Can over acidity cause this problem - or a hiatus hernia? I also have some diarrhea on a daily basis. I've also had a stool test which was negative and I have no gall bladder abnormality. Is an extreme diet change a solution. My family doctor has not yet sent me to a Gastro Specialist.

Is anyone else suffering this problem?
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14 Comments Post a Comment
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi, Ofretta, and welcome to this forum.
Loose bowels & pale stools are "hallmarks" of HepC.  ALT and AST in the 60's is an indication that you are chronically fighting against this virus, or some other liver challenge.  Many chronic active HCV patients have near normal values on these tests, in spite of considerable liver damage.  The liver keeps on working until it is almost too late before it "complains" seriously.

How is your level of fatigue?  Do you have any other unexplained pains and aches?  How is your mental concentration and memory?  If you have complaints in any of these areas, you are likely being affected by the Hepatitis C, and your doctors should test you further.  There is no way to tell how advanced your hepatitis is without doing a viral load test (blood test, called PCR) and a liver biopsy.  A genotype test - also a blood test - would help indicate how easy/difficult to treat your type is, how long treatment would be, and at what doses.  Your best bet, in my opinion, is to push to be sent to the GI specialist; your primary care physician seems very uninformed about HepC.  

In the meantime, continue to live a liver friendly life-style. (no alcohol, drugs, etc. and a good, varied diet.  Drink lots of water, too.)
Good luck.

Maj Neni
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Do you drink milk or eat dairy? Sounds like how I was feeling before I gave it up. My mother was lactose intolerant (it is genetic but it's something that happens to many people as they get older). It's not consistent for me--sometimes I can handle milk fine and othertimes it makes me feel like I can't digest anything. Many people get bowel problems from it too, in fact that's rather classic. I substitute soy milk in most everything now and stay away from cheese. I only indulge in the occasional ice cream. Especially if it is home made. :)
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Avatar_n_tn
Your symptoms are very close to mine, minus the hernia.  I am also lactose intolerant, and the the symptoms are similar, even without dairy products, now.  My GI did an endoscopy and said it is most likely a result of the HCV, and not uncommon.

I also agree that you should push for a GI referral, as normal/near normal ALT levels mean nothing as to the liver damage in some cases (my levels are almost normal, but I have cirrohsis and inflamation (inflammation)).  

Good luck...I hope you can get some relief.

~RR
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Avatar_n_tn
I suffer from all those symptoms..Have heartburn all the time, cough after I eat, always feel hungry even after I eat, gasey, loose stools..Etc..I throw up stomach acid, almost every morning..Always clearing my throat, and have also had upper GI.. It came back as fine..They still Rx'ed me Zantac, which works great.. My liver panels at there highest where only 102..Last bloodwork in April, they where 83..Just did bloodwork last week, so should see where there at..Enzymes do not have an effect on the severity of liver damage..
I have seen people post here, that have #'s in the mutiple hundreds, with only stage 1 damage or none.. With low alts, I have stage 2/3 fibrosis.. The lower # some times suggests more damage to the liver, as there are less healthy cells being destroyed..Causing alts to seem only slightly elevated.. Not to scare you or anything, but if that is how your Dr is determining your treatment, go to another Dr!! You need a biopsy, to find out whether or not you should treat.. That should be the only determining factor..You should definately look into getting another opinion..
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Avatar_f_tn
That MD is ignorant as many are about hcv's extrahepatic signs. I was dx with the same hernia and had various GI problems for years that included doing both a BM and regurgitating simultaneously, not a pretty pic I tell you and not very feminine. A colonoscopy showed not a thing, so it is either the hernia, the hcv,or both.  after reading the linked article by tnguy on finding hcv in intestinal biopsy in 4 out of 12 individuals, I would say hcv is causing some wicked cramping in some people. Get a new doc if possible. and try plain yogurt for discomfort, it always soothes my tummy.
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Avatar_n_tn
Ithink your md is mistaken as to the coverage of tx drugs in Canada  Although I was covered by a prvate med plad ,in Ontario for sure they are covered there are several other Canucks here also from different provinces so you may get additional info also Where in Canada?
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Avatar_n_tn
Two more weeks for me on Pegatron and B.C. Pharmacare paid for all costs after my initial deductable. My bx showed no fibrosis, moderate inflammation but doc thought tx was necessary and we had no trouble getting it. What province are you in? Better get a second opinion and good luck in your quest.

Couch
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Avatar_f_tn
You know...I only remember the before and after procedure, nothing in between(no pun). They give you a sedative and then something to make you forget what happened. Well, I have continued to forget many things since then...

How is your average day post tx? How do you usually feel?

Have you been to Lou's over at Delphi yet? He is waiting...
BTW...now I wonder about my hairbrush...I got it in the city of Manhattan, one of those corner stands, second hand stuff...hum. you have a point there.
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Avatar_n_tn
To be honest i havent picked up the way i expected. I seem to stress physically to easily. One bit of physical work and  it can knock me sideways. Mentaly evrything always feels on hold 'til .....don'know. House is suddenly being buzzed by choppers...sea rescue i expect . Hope the kids don't wake.
SH
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Avatar_n_tn
hey I know what you mean about not feeling that great yet It's been almost 25 weeks since last tx and I still feel like a bag o **** w/o bag just can't seem to get out of second gear   oh well with all the sx i had I shouldn't be surprised.. Later pal
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Avatar_n_tn
When you had your colonoscopy did you haveone of those shots that sort of half put you out? I just could't believe the people in the cue ahead of me just mouth open and in she goes. Mine came back and i had had a ulcer without knowing it there were just old scars and ws told about the hiatus stuff. At the time my ast & alts were in the 600 mode. An old GP part retired said you got damage boy my GP said no that's no big deal. Ihad to take Losec(trade name) daily. Six months round Australia i took not one.Stress? Guess so.
SH
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Avatar_f_tn
I have hed hep c sense I was 22 and I am now 46. Just in the past 6 years have  I felt as though it is taking a toll on me physically. I lost medical care when I got divorced and had not seen a doctor for almost 4 years, till yesterday. I suffer from major fatigue and depression, stress, all that. My stomach is always in knots and hurts. Loose stools to almost pure water. When I was seeing a doctor before, they were saying the stomach and bowl issues where MAYBE IBS. When I get stressed and upset, it worsens. I will soon get new blood work done and  a ultrasound of my liver. I do not know about anyone else, but I always feel............week, and just down right crapy. Wish me luck.

Dawn
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Hi Dawn,

Good luck with managing your health problems, and welcome to the discussion group. You might get more thoughts by beginning a new thread; go to the top of the page, and click on the green ‘post question’ button. The thread you added on to was started in 2004.

-Bill
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I agree with the posts above. You really need to go to a doctor that has lots of experience with treating HCV. Hepatologists are best, but if there isn't one near you at least see a GI.

The amount of info that they give in med school is no where near enough... and way behind times, considering that they didn't even know how to find it in your blood before 1992 and the time it takes to write and publish text books... if your doctor has been out of school for 10 years and not taken any special courses on HCV, he knows very little about it.

I've learned things on here that my hepatologist didn't know. Lucky for me, he likes to check out the stuff I tell him I've read on here, and even thanks me for telling him about it the next time I see him. Not many doctors will admit that they don't know something so you have to take responsibility for learning as much as you can, and pushing the point when they don't seem to be listening.

Diane
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