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Indigestion hell - what is this?

(39 Posts)
PieMinister Fri 07-Jan-11 03:19:07

Anyone have problem with their stomach? I am so sick of these weird turns I get, where I am dead tired, have nasty throbby or sharp headaches that can't be shifted, and turns of the runs following slight constipation.

I used to find Pepto Bismol good, but can't get any at the moment and Gaviscon is useless. Doctor tested for beginnings of a stomach ulcer - not that. Nutritionist recommended digestive enzymes, which helped a tiny bit, as did loads of sessions of acupuncture.

It is obviously triggered by stuff, but I find it very, very difficult to work out what - sometimes it seems to be dehydration, other times stress, or lack of sleep, but it is never predictable. Oddly, the only thing that seems to help is very, very salty stodgy food - pie and chips, can you believe?

Sigh. It is such a minor thing, I should be able to live with it. But it totally saps my will to live when I can't shift it for weeks and weeks - I have had it pretty permanently for about three weeks now. Has anyone had similar and got to the bottom of it? I endlessly Google indigestion but never seem to find answers that fit what I am experiencing...

sorry, rant over...

werewolf Fri 07-Jan-11 03:22:34


PieMinister Fri 07-Jan-11 03:26:33

Could it be? I seem to be headache prone, but increasingly can't shift them with anything. Always assumed that stomach was causing the headache but maybe it is the other way round...

PieMinister Fri 07-Jan-11 03:34:55

Should add: have belching gone mad, and a weird pain running along one side of my nose also

thumbwitch Fri 07-Jan-11 03:37:24

you can get migraine in your stomach, bizarrely.

Sometimes what appears too much stomach acid is actually too little. The pH in the stomach needs to be at a certain level for the cardiac sphincter (the muscle at the top of the stomach, where the oesophagus joins it) to remain tightly closed - insufficient acid in the stomach can cause leakage of the acid back into the oesophagus (acid reflux) - and while it's not as strong as it should be, it's still definitely strong enough to burn!

Too little acid can be caused by low levels of zinc, as zinc is required for the production of the hydrochloric acid in the stomach. So you could try increasing your zinc-containing foods (meats, seafood, dairy primarily) - but if you are poorly digesting, then it might take a while.

Did your GP test you for Helicobacter pylori? This is a bacterium that lives in the stomach wall and causes disruption to the acid levels, which can in turn lead to ulcers, so even if you don't have one now, you might do later.

Another thing you could try is to eat the foods that need the acid to digest them first - my Dad had shocking acid reflux, lived on gaviscon and the like, but always used to eat his food in a specific order. When he changed it to eat the meat first, instead of last, the reflux reduced enormously. So protein food like meat, fish and dairy first - as the only thing that really starts to be digested in the stomach is protein - and then veg and starches afterwards. Gives the acid something to do.

let me know if you've tried any of these and I'll come up with some other ideas - there are lots more, depending on your own situation - and I haven't even started on any potential food triggers yet!

kayah Fri 07-Jan-11 03:40:43

have you tried drinking peppermint tea?

or get peppermint capsules

most of females in my family suffer from stress related stomach problems and they use both

my granny also used to take daily a spoonfull of good quality honey, that was recommended ages ago by our family doctor

PieMinister Fri 07-Jan-11 03:50:39

Ooooh, Thumbwitch, where have you been all my life? I think I love you already!
One question about zinc - I had a strong reaction against zinc cream when a child, so was told I was allergic to it. Do you think I could have some weirdness around it in that case?
One thing: I am a big coffee drinker, which can't be helping .... But, but, this usually only comes up every couple of months ( and has only developed in the past five years) ... Any hints about other potential triggers? I guess I have been lax about follow up because it was better for a while... And it feels a but like the triggers ate less what I eat and more what I feel, ie, being stressed , but I feel like I have it all back to front maybe...
I think I need to go back to the doctor to be tested/ for more info

PieMinister Fri 07-Jan-11 03:51:08

Sorry for crazy typing ...

thumbwitch Fri 07-Jan-11 04:03:41

If you weren't tested for H.pylori, you should be - your GP can do that for you.

Stress is a common trigger for acid release, hence why stereotypically, executives used to get ulcers through stress - and also for disordered bowels, which can lead to IBS (irritable bowel syndrome, as I'm sure you know)

Topical reaction to zinc creams would be a type IV sensitivity reaction - do you also react to cheap jewellery? It wouldn't necessarily affect your digestion but there is a possibility of it, I suppose!

I'd doubt it though as zinc is one of the minerals that has the most different uses in the body - including production of HCl, stimulation of appetite, correct functioning of the immune system, particularly white blood cells, various different biochemical pathways, enzyme functions etc.
Do you have any white marks on your fingernails? that can be a sign of zinc insufficiency.
Also, how are your tastebuds? Do you have a strong sense of taste/smell, or do you find that you have to have quite strongly flavoured foods to really taste them? Zinc insufficiency can affect your ability to taste properly.

Stress can also affect your ability to actually digest your food properly, which means that you are less able to absorb all nutrients from your food effectively and therefore any mineral/vitamin levels that were already on the low side could become even lower, leading to a bit of a vicious cycle. You also use up more of your nutrients when stressed because your metabolism is effectively "running faster" - so again, any already-reduced levels may become even lower.

Personally I find tomatoes to be a real killer. Cutting them out of my diet made a HELL of a difference! but I also took wheat out at the same time, which helped with my IBS. I don't have either acid reflux or IBS any more, unless I am Bad and eat something I shouldn't (this includes too many soft centred chocolates - something about the liquid sugar causes problems)

Am happy to come up with yet more suggestions - but don't take anything I say as gospel, it has to apply to your own situation as well. So, for e.g., I am sensitive to wheat and tomatoes, but that doesn't mean you would be - OTOH, it's worth trying to remove them both (one at a time) to see if it helps.

OnEdge Fri 07-Jan-11 04:19:11

I love you both !

OnEdge Fri 07-Jan-11 04:26:52

Thought It was just me. Been feeling bloated and sick for about 3 weeks now. Get a sinus type headache most evenings. It seems to clear up and then come back. I also had a mysterious orange Tongue that lasted weeks which I put down to being a vitamin or mineral deficiency. Something is wrong but I don't know what. Mine seems to have been triggered by breast feeding

PieMinister Fri 07-Jan-11 04:30:12

Hmmm, wouldn't say I react to cheap jewellery, but then thinking about it I don't very often wear jewellery at all... but I do currently have a few white spots on nails, and get them time to time (a feature which predated these stomach problems). Re taste, it seems to come and go a bit - I find myself really craving salty food at times like this, and I like extreme sweet things, too, so I think I have a general dullness and my sense of smell is much worse that DH.

Have never tried to cut out wheat or tomatoes, but that and the honey/peppermint suggestions higher up have got to be worth trying. Does the tomatoes rule apply to tinned/processed ie pasta sauce, too? (think I know the answer, but ever hopeful)

How do you find coffee, BTW, thumbwitch? As mentioned, it doesn't generally feel a problem, but when things get a bit desperate, as at present, I realise that I need to seriously think about giving it up... and be more proctive about looking after myself, so I don;t get so run down/stressed and bring this onto myself...

Thumbwitch, Kayah, Werewolf, thanks so much for advice - any more alwaus welcome - for for just hearing me!

PieMinister Fri 07-Jan-11 04:44:42

OnEdge, full sympathies ... Feel like I should be able to just get on with life but feel utterly miserable... And if you are bf, you probanly have a LO who is not letting you get all the rest you need? Hopefully we can both get to the bottom of it...

thumbwitch Fri 07-Jan-11 04:46:34

Tomatoes applies to all types for me, sadly! It is a PITA, tbh, especially if (like me) your diet is predominantly of the ITalian variety (lots of pizza and pasta) but I worked round it.

I barely drink coffee - but strong coffee would be likely to set off an acid response in me, yes. I never drink strong coffee! I have very week milky coffee when I do have it, about 4 times a year. You could try decaffeinated coffee - sometimes the caffeine is a problem. Certainly caffeine will cause further problems with stress levels, adrenal overwork etc. - but if you do go decaff, make sure it's water decaffeinated, the chemical that is used otherwise is pretty unpleasant.

From what you've said, it does sound like your zinc levels are on the low side - and that would potentially suggest that you have low stomach acid levels rather than the other way around - so if you can bear it, don't take any antacids for a bit. Low stomach acid means it is harder for you to digest proteins, which means that any minerals held within the proteins are less available for absorption. It would also be worth considering a good all round mineral/vitamin supplement to take daily.

Onedge - if you are not already taking a multivit/mineral supplement, I would strongly recommend you do so - your breast milk gets first dibs on nutrients, so if you're low on any, you'll become even lower! I'm not 100% sure that it is down to my forgetting to take my Pregnacare while bf'ing, but whenever I did forget for more than a couple of days, my teeth ached! And I lost 2 teeth to breakage while bf'ing.

OnEdge Fri 07-Jan-11 04:55:58

Yes, it does seem to make my teeth ache. Right I will brainstorm my symptoms

Thick throbby head
Nose and teeth ache
Orange Tongue
Breast feeding

Wonder if lack of bit D ?

OnEdge Fri 07-Jan-11 04:56:48

Vit D

OnEdge Fri 07-Jan-11 04:59:56

Wonder if it's since I started taking omeprazole, not enough stomach acid ??

OnEdge Fri 07-Jan-11 05:02:13

Thumbwitch, Are you a doctor ? I love your Sherlock Holmes approach : )

OnEdge Fri 07-Jan-11 05:05:01

You may have solved a big problem for me, I am so grateful, and to you watson (piemaster) : )

thumbwitch Fri 07-Jan-11 05:10:14

I think it might be a bit more comprehensive than just Vit D, OnEdge! grin

Omeprazole won't be helping if you had low stomach acid to start with - the difficulty is that acid reflux is assumed to be due to an excess of stomach acid and therefore nearly always, the "cure" is to prescribe an antacid. It used to be possible to test stomach acid levels but for some reason the medical profession seem reluctant to do it now, they prefer to prescribe, even if it might be the wrong thing. I cannot say whether or not it is wrong for you, OnEdge - I don't know enough about your medical history etc. But if you want to, you could try stopping it (my Dad had moved up to ranitidine and it was ageing him visibly! changing the way he ate and coming off ranititidine made far more difference and stopped the visible ageing) and taking the multivit/mineral instead - see if that improves things.

Also, read this about the side effects of omeprazole - see how many of them apply to you.

thumbwitch Fri 07-Jan-11 05:11:19

Not a doctor, no - I taught nutrition when I was in the UK and try and keep my hand in.

thumbwitch Fri 07-Jan-11 05:18:54

Ok, the orange tongue is almost certainly a result of the omeprazole. Have just seen something that says excess gastrin production can cause orange tongue, and one of the things omeprazole does is increase gastrin production - ta dah!

PieMinister Fri 07-Jan-11 05:57:23

<<mass, mass Thumbwitch crush from Watson here>>

PieMinister Fri 07-Jan-11 06:37:23

Thumbwitch, your comment about daily vitamins - embarrassingly - made me realise that I have only been taking mine every three days or so, for the past four months - stupid that I didn't think of it, but I always think of taking them as a long term benefit, yet have found I feel pretty instantly rundown if I don't take them... They obviously boost me up in some way I need...

nightcat Fri 07-Jan-11 11:13:15

thumbwitch, I love you too , you speak my mind and so eloquently, Zn fixed my ds big way, as for mint stuff - yeah, OK in the same way as a plaster on a broken arm, won't hurt, but only helps superficially.
Thumbwitch, I think we met here before on some wheat free threads, can you be my friend too?
OP, nice protein breakfast is a good start, also when you say you OK with salty foods, well, salty foods help to create stomach acid, that's why - it really screams for it.
One good advice I read was that all cells in the body need all the nutrients, however multivits don't always work coz the ingredients can compete with one another.

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