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Avatar universal

Alcohol, stomach discomfort and long term health problems

I hope someone can help me with my strange permanent symptoms that i have had for the past 3 years.

I am a 33 year old male. From 18 to 30 years of age i would describe myself as a reasonably heavy social drinker, probably around 50 units a week. Despite this i always found that i rarely suffered from hangovers and it was not uncommon for me to go jogging the morning following a night on the booze to run off any slight hangover i may have had. I was actually quite fit, and when i was 30 ran two half marathons.  

3 years ago i joined the police service. The training for this meant spending 15 weeks at a residential camp. There was little to do there, and everyone's routine was to spend the evening in the onsite bar. It was also extremely stressful. The food during the 15 weeks was terrible, poor quality canteen grub and not much of it. Every evening to relieve the boredom i would get fairly drunk, probably drinking around 6-7 pints of lager. Every morning was an early start, and i was frequently tired from spending so much time in the bar the night before that most days meant i drank around 5-6 cans of diet coke to keep me alert. Weekends we came home, but this meant seeing friends and socialising so i would go out drinking at weekends also. This meant over the 15 weeks, i probably did not miss an evening where i wasn't fairly drunk, ate rubbish food , drunk countless diet coke. Despite this i kept my fitness levels up and jogged every day.

This is where my problems started. Towards the end of this 15 weeks i woke up one morning and felt terrible. I was strangely out of breath doing simple things, just getting out of bed. I felt really rough, like i was really over exerted. It was the same sort of feeling i would get after a really long 2 hour jog or something, the same sense of exertion - but i hadn't done anything. I had a strange uncomfortable full fulling in my upper stomach. I was also having ectopic heart beats.

I went to a doctor that day i felt so bad, and he sent me for an immediate heart echo cardiogram at the hospital. This came back normal.

As i was leaving the camp a few days later to go home, my doctor recommended seeing my home gp.

Before i went home for good the last day of the training course meant a fitness test. I went to bed that evening and for the first time didn't go to the bar as i still felt rough. I thought in the morning i would feel ok. However, when i woke up i didn't. I felt exactly the same, easily out of breath, totally exerted and generally feeling under the weather.

I tried jogging this day, and it was bizarre. I just couldn't do it. I was out of breath bending down to put my trainers on.

Basically i returned home and over the course of the next year i must have been back to my GP around 20 times about the above problems. My ectopic beats settled down after a few weeks. My tests have involved an ultrasound on my stomach, ECG's, blood tests for everything as far as i know, i have been referred to the infectious diseases clinic, been put on Prozac (they thought it was all in my head).

I eventually gave up going to my GP, as he basically said there was nothing else they could test me for.

Three years on my symptoms are as follows:

1) I am not breathless anymore. I do jog now regularly but find it far more tiring than i ever did. Half an hour is my limit.

2) I have a permanent upper abdomen 'raw' feeling and always feel below par. I know this is vague but i find it difficult to be more specific.

3) if i drink alcohol now, i feel absolutely TERRIBLE for days after. Even if i drink small amounts i will feel rough for a couple of days, nauseous and totally drained of energy.

4) Some days my upper stomach pain feels much worse than offers. However it never seems to be related to hunger/no hunger, or what i have eaten.

My question is really, did my alcohol consumption cause permanent damage to some area of my body? Could it also have been related to my lifestyle at the time? Is it impossible to detect?

The reason i am posting this is because even 3 years on i remember that i used to feel a lot better than i do know in general day to day life. It's incredibly frustrating. I drink rarely now as i feel too ill when i do.

I have a very healthy diet with plenty of fruit and veg. I have tried vitamins, milk thistle, various supplements, all to seemingly no affect.

Can anyone shed any light or what i might have done to myself and how on earth i could go forward?

50 Responses
Avatar universal
Assuming that there is nothing seriously wrong with your heart, (which there isnt; as your ecg and blood tests suggest everything is o.k) your gp is probably correct when he feels it could be in your head.

Your blood test would probably be for enzymes secreted when your tissue dies (in the heart for example). This is the best test to see if you had suffered a "heart attack". If you had of had any serious heart trouble, this would haved shown it.

Alternatively. They may have done liver tests, and potassium tests, my guess is you had low potassium.

Your "shortness of breath", "full feeling" in upper abdomen, and ectopic heart beets are indicative of panic disorder.

You are out of breath because of hyperventilation, you get nonregular heart beets under panic, as this is your bodies way of telling you to escape because there's danger. And your full feeling is associated with panic disorder.

Long term drinking, damages the outer layer in the brain, (not saying thats happened to you. Long term drink is also closely associated to neuroligical disorders mainly panic disorders. Feeling a sickening dread, that something bad will happen and the like. Heres a site i just found on google. http://www.panicportal.com/indext3.htm (it may be a kwik fix scheme so proceed carefully)

Panic disorder is not life threatening, have you asked your doctor for beta blockers? (Do not take if you are asthmatic)

Here are a few symptoms! http://panicdisorder.about.com/cs/pdbasics/a/panicdefined.htm

Panic disorders are associated with
chest pain
shortness of breath
feeling of dread (which may be what you fear when you try to run, thus hampering you efforts)
Noticeably quick or pounding heartrate
Fear of dying
Derealization or depersonalization
Choking sensation
Cold or hot flashes

Closely associated are disorders like seratonin syndrome.
Seratonin levels are altered in panic disorders, (symptons like severe migrain indicate high levels)heres a good explanation http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selective_serotonin_reuptake_inhibitor

Hope any of this has helped, wether you do suffer from panic, or anything worse (unlikely) my best advice would be to stop drinking, then see your doctor for beta blockers, or antidepressant-anxiety drugs.

Interistingly Anxiety disorders are often debilitating chronic conditions, which can be present from an early age or begin suddenly after a triggering event. They are prone to flare up at times of high stress. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anxiety_disorder

Avatar universal
You don't say if you had your liver fully evaluated but your symtoms sound like they could be caused by viral or alcoholic hepatitis . Were you checked for Hep C? I'd get tested for it, test for Hep B too. May people have it and do not have a history that would indicate it. You need a liver evaluation and a complete hepatic panel done. Find out what your platelet count is. I would not drink until you find out what this is. If you rule out Hep b and c then look at other liver issues that could be present.
Avatar universal
I dont think he has liver disease! He said he had every blood test going, im sure the second blood test he would have had would be liver function. He said he had even been reffered to infectious disease clinic. He would have had liver test before this.

Also; liver disease would not explain the shortness of breath he had earlier suffered. Panic disorder fits all symptoms. But nothing is set in stone.
Avatar universal
Hi, Do not listen to the person who thinks its a panic disorder.  First of all, alchohol uses the same chemicals in your head that anxiety meds do, xanax, klonopin, valium, ativan.  These drugs,as with alcohol use gaba receptors in your brain to make you feel calm.  Prolonged use of either drug causes brain damage. However its unlikely that has happened to you.  It takes decades of severe abuse to have brain damage, first if you quit drinking at this stage you would have went through a serious withdrawal, seizures, delerium tremons, ect.  Please dont take anxiety meds, you will be worse off when you stop them.  Its has been well reported of people having severe withdrawal for years after stoping benzos(xanax, valium, ativan, klonopin).  WAY WORSE THEN ALCOHOL!!!  It sounds like it could be a vitamin B deficiancy. You stated you took vitamins, most people dont know that the majority of people who take vitamins dont get the nutriants from them due to intestinal parasites.  This could be the cause your stomach pain also.  When you drink alcohol, it depletes your vitamins anyway, so, if you have alot of parasites (everyone does) no vitamins are getting to your system.  Go to a homeopathic Doctor, they can test you for these little buggers.  Also, google thiamine deficiantcy signs.  Hope this helps
Avatar universal

I relate to your stomach problems.
Im a 35 year old male.

2) I have a permanent upper abdomen 'raw' feeling and always feel below par. I know this is vague but i find it difficult to be more specific.

I don't have this all the time. But i know exatly what you mean. Used too have it everyday.

3) if i drink alcohol now, i feel absolutely TERRIBLE for days after. Even if i drink small amounts i will feel rough for a couple of days, nauseous and totally drained of energy.

Totally interferes with my digestive system for days. If i get drunk i will feel 'ill' for over a week. It is like I have become intolerate or allergic to alcohol.

4) Some days my upper stomach pain feels much worse than offers. However it never seems to be related to hunger/no hunger, or what i have eaten.

It used to be like this but got better. Some things I avoid like coffee, makes me feel sick. Chilies hot food no problem eating. You should eat small meals and often rather than 2/3 big meals a day.

Drink water. I don't drink enough. Sometimes when I feel ill I drink water and it feels better it's either dehydration or flushing the acid away I guess.

I've always been a bit of a nervous person. Had stomach pains when i was around 17. I believe because of nerves.

Used to drink heavily ONLY at weekends and the rare party. Didn't drink as heavily as you but always with the intention of getting drunk. It's called 'binge' drinking in the UK. Maybe 5-8 pints.

Importantly caught Campylobacter when I was around 28 didn't feel that bad. Recovered well. Was not given antibiotics. But maybe that might have done some sort of damage.

Progressively my stomach got worse more sensitive over the years.

If i travel i'm always the one to get food poisoning. It's like a bad joke. I always get ill.

Sounds like your stomach is very 'sore'.
I'm not a doctor but our stories are similar.
I think it's related to alcohol, somehow damaged the stomach.
But nerves play a part with my condition.

Breath Tested for H Pylori came back negative.
Had an Endoscopy. All was clear.
Diagnosed with 'functional dyspepsia.

Take it easy. Hope it all gets better. These things take time.

It feels unfair not being able to drink alcohol anymore! Maybe its just what happens to people who like to drink when we get into our thirties! lol

Good Luck.

Avatar universal
im in the8th grade and we are learning about things thate ar bad for ur body
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