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1534483 tn?1293063193

Kinda Confused Here, Help?

First, some background: 22 years old, female, a bit overweight but trying to lose it. Recent college grad. Currently taking Necon 1/35 for birth control. I've been under quite an enormous amount of stress lately, due to not having a job, getting laid off from my last job, and a spat between my parents that started in September. I do drink, but very rarely(twice a month), and nothing stronger than a malted drink.

Just before Thanksgiving I started having some GI discomfort. It was mostly gas, bloating, and loose stools. I tried to chalk it up to a mix of both overeating on the holiday and accidentally indulging in some milk-heavy desserts (I am allergic to milk and usually suffer this sort of thing after having dairy). It lasted for about a week, and went away when I started my next period.

It's now Dec. 31st, and I still have this GI discomfort. It seems to be the worst at night, with nausea just as I settle down to go to bed. During the day I am just fine, normal appetite, but as soon as I lay down in bed I get lower abdomen discomfort and nausea. Twice in the last month I had nausea so bad I was afraid I would vomit, which is something I've done maybe 3 times in my life. Those two times of severe nausea resulted in diarrhea, which I would always feel better afterwards. Otherwise, I just feel a "rolling" sensation through my lower abdomen, some burping and bloating. The nausea seems to have been triggered by a certain brand of hot dogs, but I wonder if that's just coincidence. I have felt tightness under my rib cage, like a pulled muscle. I thought it might be my gallbladder but I never have any pain right after eating. Sometimes I'll get what feels like a menstrual cramp inside my hip.

I'm trying to piece together what this is and go from there. I have several ideas as to what could be causing this, and have been experimenting to see what helps and what doesn't, and have made a mental note to call my PCP as soon as it gets too far out of control.

For starters, I am under a lot of stress and quite frankly wouldn't be surprised if I've managed to give myself an ulcer somehow. I often go to bed with racing thoughts, and usually try to calm myself down by writing, drawing, or working on some puzzles. Recent events however have made it impossible not to go to bed without worrying. I'm trying to find other ways to relax myself. Some of it's not working.

I've tried making changes to my diet, thinking it was the root of the problem. I've been eating healthier since I moved home from college (but anything's better than that slop any day, right?), and tried reducing fat and adding fiber. I've started taking a chewable fiber tablet daily. Caffeine is proving to be a hard thing to let go; I'm used to having a cup a day and got quite used to it when I finished student teaching this spring, and our house brews two 12-cup pots of coffee a day on the weekends when we're all home. I'm trying to stick to one cup if I can, or if I do have two go without any the next day or two. I've also made sure to stay away from anything containing a hint of dairy.

Before I go to bed I've added a couple of things to my routine. I take one Zantac about an hour before I go to bed to stop the nausea and for the most part this has done wonders. Only once did it not work, and it was actually due to all of us suffering a bit of food poisoning. It doesn't stop the rolling gas feeling, however. I also splurged on some peppermint and chamomile teas, and brew one of them to sip on before going to bed, which relaxes me and makes me sleepy (I get tired when warm).

Does anyone have any idea what this GI issue is? I've thought it could either be an ulcer or perhaps IBS, mostly IBS after reading on this website what the symptoms were and matching them to a T. I'm terrified it really is my gallbladder, I've managed to scare myself silly reading about the tests here. My mother doesn't think it is, she's an RN and had her gallbladder out nearly 13 years ago, and doesn't think my symptoms match up with what she went through before it was removed. She said I wouldn't be able to eat anything at all without feeling sick and would be doubled over in pain, plus all of my symptoms are affecting my lower abdomen and bowels rather than the upper right quadrant that would be affected by gallbladder.

So any ideas anyone? Thank you for reading this, I feel like a total nutjob and could use some reassurance that this isn't just in my head.
12 Responses
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Avatar universal
Welcome to the gastroenterology community!  First off, if you are truly allergic to milk and don't just have lactose intolerance (they are two very separate things), you should never eat any milk or anything made from milk.  Also, nowadays, most doctors believe that stress cannot give you an ulcer so I don't think that is the cause.  I believe that it is probably IBS which is exacerbated by stress.  I would recommend talking to your doctor about this so that you can be examined.
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1534483 tn?1293063193
Thanks so much for responding, I thought it was IBS when it first started to prove to be long term and now it seems that it truly is the case.

Any chance this could heal on its own and go away? I read one of the health articles on here and it said it could go away in as little as three months if I was careful and avoided certain foods.
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Avatar universal
Yes, it could just go away on its own but not necessarily and even if you try avoiding certain foods it might not go away.  If that were the case, then most people would be cured of their IBS.  If you find the right combination of eliminated foods and food is the problem, then it could go away so it is a good thing to try.
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1534483 tn?1293063193
I had more nausea last night, it was probably the worst night yet. I hadn't been feeling good this past weekend and had 3 loose stools between Saturday and Sunday. Last night the nausea was so bad the Zantac didn't help it, and neither did the Tums I took almost two hours after the Zantac (I know, it says not to). I spent a half hour hovered over the toilet just waiting to vomit, and it never happened. Just a lot of burping. I finally managed to fall asleep two hours later, and that was after putting one of those squishy Moshi pillows up against my abdomen and laying on it.

That nausea scared me to death. I've been fine all day today, my appetite's back, like it never happened. But I felt so sick I was sure I'd be suffering all day. My mother thinks it was the deli ham I picked up from the grocer's on Friday, since I was the only one who ate it all weekend and this grocer is pretty famous for not checking their meats to see if they've expired. There is a GI bug spreading through my area as well, and my dad did come home not feeling too great Thursday.
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Avatar universal
Some at home things you can try for nausea are eating bland crackers and eating some form of ginger.  It might be the things you've listed which mean it should go away soon.
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1534483 tn?1293063193
I'm going to hope so...I keep reading on the site that these nighttime symptoms are a huge sign of gallbladder trouble, which is only scaring me more (and probably making the whole thing worse). I have a terrible phobia of surgeries and doctors in general, and reading here about how quite a few people haven't fared any better after having the gallbladder out aren't making me feel any more confident. Even my own mother has had nothing but trouble since she had hers out 14 years ago.
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Avatar universal
I would recommend stopping reading horror stories.  Think about it, most people are fine, their surgery is fine, their illness gets better, etc. but the people who aren't fine are the ones that post on the internet.  These people are the exceptions.  Also, these people don't know what their life would have been like if they hadn't had their gallbladder out.
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1534483 tn?1293063193
This is true. That's exactly what my mother said too.

Well, Mom had me lay on my bed and she palpated my RUQ, and I didn't feel any pain or pressure, but I gave her a piece of my mind about touching me with those hands after coming in from clearing the car off of the snow we just got. Luckily for me she works for the radiology department at the local hospital, so she's going to try and see when a certain tech is working and have me come in for an ultrasound to see what is going on with my gallbladder, if anything. I can then go from there and see what needs to be done, and if ultimately I have to have it out, so be it. Not going to like it if I do, but it's got to infinitely be better than now, especially if something is truly wrong.
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Avatar universal
Good, I hope you figure out what is causing your problems.
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1534483 tn?1293063193
I didn't get in to have an ultrasound, I guess if she tries to fit me in somehow it could cause quite a commotion in the lab.

However, it's been a week since my last post, and honestly it's been the best week yet since this whole thing started. I've been milk free since Jan 1 and do feel quite a lot better. The last time I had the nausea (Jan 10th) was actually not due to the stomach flu. Everyone got sick that weekend, and we all think it's because of those deli meats we buy at the store. We've decided not to buy them anymore and stick with the prepackaged meats that actually have a use by date. The nausea I had been feeling was most likely spoiled cold cuts running their course, because everyone else was suffering from similar symptoms. I'm still taking a Zantac an hour before bed, going on to my third week of doing so but it is what works the best.

I've been trying to relax more hoping that it will calm any stress, and it has. I've taken up drawing again, and writing, and on days when the weather is nice and the roads aren't slick I'll snatch up the iPod and go for a drive. I would go soak in the jacuzzi we have at the house, but it's buried under 2 feet of snow (with 3-4 more on the way, yikes!). I have a very close friend who has insisted that I call him when I start getting antsy, and while sometimes calling him kills my cell's battery he does help cheer me up. And thankfully two of the biggest stressors in my life at the moment seem to be resolving themselves bit by bit, which will make a huge difference in the long run.

I'm still going to monitor my body and just watch what goes on, and I plan on calling my PCP as soon as possible if something takes a wrong turn down the line. At the moment though I am feeling just so much better.

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Avatar universal
Good I'm glad you're feeling better.  Keep us updated.
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1534483 tn?1293063193
It's been almost a month since I last posted, and some pretty big changes have happened, and thankfully they're all positive. I haven't had any nausea attacks in a long time, and BMs seem to have gotten more regular than they used to.

This past Monday I got a full time job as a toddler teacher, which while it can be physically demanding at times it wears me out so much I go right to sleep at night without noticing any gas or bloating (probably because I'm too tired to care). I've continued to watch what I eat and how I eat it, and made several switches that have helped as well.

As of late, the only thing that concerns me is occasionally I'll get acid indigestion from foods like coffee or anything citrus. This typically happens if I have a cup of coffee and then do any work that involves bending over, and chewing a couple of antacids typically does the trick quickly. I also noticed that I got the indigestion when I had a regular "black" coffee and not from a flavored one, I wonder if there's any reason for this?

I'm also trying to watch fat just to be safe in case my gallbladder tries to come after me. I've discovered that my body is treating fat like it did for a while with milk; if I have a little I'm fine, but if it builds up over an extended period of time I'll feel gross. That's happening right now; I treated myself to some fast food for dinner last night, had no problems then but for some reason after making myself a peanut butter sandwich I felt a little nauseous and like I had something stuck in my throat. I do not have a nut allergy, but I checked the PB and there's 16 grams of fat in it.

I guess I just have to learn as I go, trial and error and all that.
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