Avatar universal

Autism & Digestive Issues or just stress?

Hello, I am a 22 year old female with moderate autism. recently, for the past two weeks I have been vomiting after each meal. I was getting very nauseaus and then vomited, not just once though multiple times within half an hour. then it would stop. Sometimes it was about 5 hours after eating and the food I had eaten looked as if it was undigested and some foods were digested. I also suffer a lot from chronic constipation and have relied on laxitives for it ( my doctor said it was okay, she recently switched me from ducolax to pedia-lax, however it takes about a day for these things to work on me). I also have a lot of excessive gas and burping.

Anyway, I was wondering if this could be a digestive issue or if it's just due to stress. I have had these "episodes" before however not since last year. I was googling(I know I shouldn't) and I found something called Cylic Vomiting Syndrome( that can be caused by stress and excitment) and another thing called Gastroparisis/slow stomach emptying. Both seem to have the same symptoms sorta.

So, my question is, is this due to stress(like sensory processing issues) or is it an actual digestive disorder that I should get check out for? These episodes come and go. so I am not sure what to do. I am afraid the doctor would tell me that it's nothing.

Is is common in autism to vomit due to stress or anxiety?

Diet Notes:
I eat a diet mostly of soft foods like;  hummus, sunflower butter, toast, sweet potatoes, soups, green smoothies, jello, popcorn, beans & rice, Thai Curry Soup etc. I have sensory issues and only like real soft foods. I don't eat much raw salads or anything like that because its hard for me to eat and it feels like it just sits in my stomach forever and makes me very full and bloated. I also eat small portions. I never eat normal sized protions.  
4 Responses
Sort by: Helpful Oldest Newest
Avatar universal
I'am autistic+dd have had stomach problems my life and later 70+ bowel.
Helpful - 0
Have always wondered why gut issues are such a big factor with neurodiverse people.  I would love to know the answer to that.
Avatar universal
My son always had loose stools from birth and he was breast fed. He's also HF ASD. I read that GI problems are more common with kids on the spectrum.
Do you know the signs of a blockage? Google ileus. Feeling bloated or full after a small meal, not passing gas, liquid stool, nausea and vomit that is foul smelling are all signs to watch for. It can be very serious if left untreated. I hope you're better and have found peace to replace your stress.
Helpful - 0
My son has sensory integration disorder and has always had a very SLOW gi tract.  Very common.  So, he had small, pellet like stool when younger.  And didn't go as often as my other son. As he got older, he began to have BM's every other day, then every three or four days. And it is toilet clogging, large when he would go.  He's had a few episodes of complete bowel blockage of feces in his intestines.  He is in pain, uncomfortable.  He may throw up.  It is tender and painful.  Things that help are drinking a cup of grape juice a day.  Red grape juice.  And fresh fruit.  And exercise is essential to keeping it moving. Drinking lots of fluids also helps. I had it described as a the intestines is like a water slide.  You need water for things to slide down.  Lastly, we will use a stool softener every now and then (takes a couple days to do the job) which helps.  
973741 tn?1342342773
How are things going?  I agree that anxiety and vomiting can go hand in hand.  My son was extremely anxious about school starting and threw up several times in the middle of the night the night before.  Sigh.  It's rough so I feel for you.  Are things any better?
Helpful - 0
973741 tn?1342342773
My son has sensory processing disorder and has had digestive issues since a tiny boy.  It's very common that those with these sensory issues and autism have a slow digestive tract.  They treat it in a variety of ways.  My son has kept away from laxatives as that can compound the problem.  He was in the emergency room for an impacted bowel, due to have a full large intestines with feces (sorry, don't mean to be gross). It was very full though and acting as a blockage.  While he was having bowel movements, he had this situation.  At that time, he'd been on antibiotics about two weeks prior and maybe this had something to do with it. He has to watch for major bowel issues when he takes antibiotics.  Anyway, when we were at the ER, he had an enema (joy) and we were told to have him drink a cup of grape juice daily.  He also takes a probiotic daily. The combination of these things has had a major impact in a positive way. Salad and fiber, by the way, adds fiber which is actually good for regular bowel movements. Initially it may cause constipation but then that should get better.  

A male like my son with sensory and high functioning autism has sought the help of a gastroenterologist and actually gets botox into his gut which helps with his digestive issues.

Here's some information. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321566.php

Try not to google for syndromes.  See a doctor to problem solve.  I really am not sure laxatives are the right path but that is between you and your doctor.  Just make sure your doctor understands the well documented link between autism/sensory and digestive issues.

With regards to vomiting.  That could be related to the issue I had mentioned like my son had as he had vomiting.  However, do you suffer anxiety? (another key issue for my son).  
Helpful - 0
Yes I do have severe anxiety disorder as I well.
Oh, okay.  My son sometimes has stomach issues surrounding his anxiety.  They are the physical manifestation of that.  Do you do any therapy for the anxiety?
I am not in therapy for the anxiety. Though I do take medication for it. The medicaiton I am on can cause a bit of nausea and low appetite. However even when I wasn't on it( I went off of it for a whole year, then recently went back on it last year),  I was experiencing the nasuea and low appetite.

I do think that the episodes of vomiting are related to anxiety. I had epsisodes for about three weeks and it has finally stopped. For example I had several events go on the past three weeks. My parents went on an unexpected trip(I still live with them), we had to go to a dinner with some friends ( and I don't like noisy resturatnts) as well as I had to attend my brother's finances bridal shower. This all made me very anxious and I was having several episodes a day ( kept repleshing my electrolites though). Now that its all over... the vomiting has stopped. The next big event happening this summer is my brothers wedding in august and a camping trip in July I think.

I did change my diet to a soft food/pureed diet and that has been helping a lot. I also added in grape juice in the morning instead of a glass of orange juice, and I am taking probiotics as well. So far, my consipation has been better. I will talk about all of this with my dr. in august.
Have an Answer?

You are reading content posted in the Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) Community

Top Children's Development Answerers
189897 tn?1441126518
San Pedro, CA
Learn About Top Answerers
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
Fearing autism, many parents aren't vaccinating their kids. Can doctors reverse this dangerous trend?
Yummy eats that will keep your child healthy and happy
What to expect in your growing baby
Is the PS3 the new Prozac … or causing ADHD in your kid?
Autism expert Dr. Richard Graff weighs in on the vaccine-autism media scandal.
Could your home be a haven for toxins that can cause ADHD?