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Emetophobic and still severely nauseous at 16.5 weeks.... Getting desperate

(10 Posts)
sw25 Sat 13-Apr-13 19:13:25

Permission to moan. I have been suffering hideous 24/7 nausea since 6 weeks and am now 16.5 weeks. I suffer from severe emetophobia (fear of vomiting), which obviously adds a whole new level of anxiety to the situation.

I'm desperate to know that it will end soon and praying that 20 weeks may be my turning point - any positive stories welcome. My worst fear is that it continues at this severity for the entire pregnancy. I don't know how I will cope physically or mentally - I feel totally broken and have lost nearly a stone from my pre-pregnancy weight.

My GP isn't great but has prescribed me every anti emetic med going, including Zofran, which does nothing for the nausea. By some miracle I have managed not to vomit - although have spent hours hanging over toilet bowl. I have no life - can't go out, drive or sometimes bring myself to shower (even that makes me feel sick). I live off bread - ham sandwiches and toast. Can't stomach fruit - sometimes eat ready salted crisps and try and have a bowl of Special K each morning. Everything leaves a foul acidic taste in mouth and food repulsed me.

My anxiety is so severe that I've been self harming and having terrifying panic attacks nearly every day. I'm on 3mg lorazepam a day because it's the only thing that calms me down, but feel so guilty about the potential damage this is doing to the baby. My husband being around makes me feel so much better, just in case I'm sick, it's so reassuring to know he's there. But during the week when he's at work, I feel so isolated and scared. I have even, I'm ashamed to say felt suicidal. I just want this hell to end. I know people without emet may not understand and may think I need to put things in perspective, but emet is such a terrifying phobia.

Family keep telling me it will get better, but I'm losing hope. My sister made pregnancy look so easy. She only had 3 weeks of queasiness both times and I can't help feeling resentful.

Anyway moan over. Any positive stories very, very much appreciated. I've been in bed all day feeling on the verge of vomming for hours.

fatandlumpy Sun 14-Apr-13 09:37:33

Sweetie (hug). My horrible ms went at about 17 weeks. It just disappeared overnight when I just resigned myself to having it all the way through. I can't predict the future luv, but here's hoping that you feel better soon

(another hug)

limetictacs Sun 14-Apr-13 10:49:10

Hi sw25. I am emetophobic too so I know how you feel. Thankfully my morning sickness ended soon after the first trimester however I was never actually sick. If it's any consolation people who have emetophobia are known to very very rarely actually throw up. Personally it takes a lot for me to be able to. I actually remember feeling so nauseous in the first few weeks that I wished I could just be sick and get it over with but physically I just couldn't. Believe me I never thought I'd actually say that, just goes to show how far I've come. You can get control over this too.

My GP prescribed me Stemetil a few years back when the emetophobia first started causing panic attacks etc. It's also an anti anxiety medication and I found it really helped me. I've taken it a couple of times during this pregnancy (my GP said that it was up to me whether I wanted to take it and that they generally advise that if the nausea/anxiety is putting your health or your baby's health at risk then it's safer to take the meds). If the anti emetics aren't helping, are you sure it's physical? Stemetil is actually prescribed for people undergoing chemo so it's pretty effective.

Don't beat up on yourself for taking the lorazepam, if it helps you get through then you need to take it and you'll likely find that the positives outweigh the risks. It sounds like you need to gain a level of control again. I went through a phase like you are going through. People who don't have emetophobia don't really understand but it can really ruin your life. You need to get some help now in the form of cognitive behavioural therapy or similar. Speak to your GP about this and they should put you in touch with someone.

Your morning sickness will likely ease up as your hormones settle down but it can take a while. Keep taking your meds and get your GP to try you with another anti emetic.

limetictacs Sun 14-Apr-13 10:56:05

Also I'd like to add that your GP does sound a bit crap. I don't understand why he isn't treating your case as he would someone with hyperemesis gravidarum as the nausea is obviously causing you to lose a lot of weight and you may end up becoming malnourished. Supposedly you can have this without throwing up and as you're emetophobic this may actually be putting up a mental block causing you to not be able to be sick but the other symptoms are still there.

sw25 Mon 15-Apr-13 12:44:17

Thanks limetictacs. I think my anxiety is playing a big part in how I feel, but the physical ms symptoms are def still there. Last night I woke up at 3am with the same sick/hunger that I had in the first trimester. Having HG was my worst fear before I even got pregnant, and although I have been able to eat food and keep it down, the nausea makes eating a pretty hideous experience. Had a good day yesterday but then awful again today - it's the inconsistency I'm finding hard. I am becoming resigned to the fact I will feel this way for the entire pregnancy, which terrifies me. Still, trying to plod on but feel very alone.

Tinyflutterby Mon 15-Apr-13 15:24:17

I thought I was the only person who had an irrational fear of being sick and it's so hard as no-one understands. I am 7 weeks pg with dc2 and both times I was desperate to get pg, but the fear of being sick was almost enough to put me off.

You may have heard these things before, but I just wanted to share some things I find useful:

The thought of food turns my stomach and I worry about the baby not getting the right nutrients, however I've found eating very small amounts of anything that appeals every time I start to feel sick seems to stave it off. It may mean I only eat crackers or dry toast for a couple of days, but if it works I can make up for it later when I feel better. No point in trying to force yourself to eat something you don't want. With ds I had to get up and eat cereal at 3am every night just to stop myself being sick! Plain or bland foods are best.

Ginger tea or ginger biscuits

Wearing travel sickness wrist bands

I'm sorry you are having such a bad time, your husband sounds very supportive though. hope you start to feel better soon.

sw25 Wed 17-Apr-13 17:41:41

Thanks Tinyflutterby. It's so horrible to suffer morning sickness but with emetophobia, it's almost unbearable, isnt it? When did your nausea stop first time round? At 17 weeks gone, I feel like I've more than done my time. Reading about other women at the same stage fretting about weight gain and not being able to stop eating, is driving me nuts!! I would give anything to be ramming doughnuts down my face. I've lost nearly a stone from my ore-pregnancy weight and really quite worried. Everyone keeps saying it will fade soon, but wouldn't it have done so by now if it was going to?

limetictacs Wed 17-Apr-13 18:44:40

Not necessarily, morning sickness can last longer in some women. It doesn't mean it will continue throughout your pregnancy though. I think a lot of women find that once they hit around the 20 week mark they start to feel more normal. With DC1 I felt sick on and off throughout but it was triggered by smells but the initial bad morning sickness reduced greatly by the middle of my second trimester.

Try to eat little and often. I found that when I had morning sickness grazing constantly made me feel better. Eat whatever you fancy but don't avoid food altogether as hunger makes the nausea worse. I know that logically you automatically think- "I feel sick, don't eat anything" but morning sickness really isn't like anything else- it's not caused by an illness.

This time round I only had morning sickness/nausea until around 12/14 weeks and then I just got terrible heartburn (still preferable in my opinion). The heartburn sorted itself out by around 23 weeks if I recall rightly and I'm now 36 weeks and only get heartburn occasionally. I think the heartburn was due to hormonal changes/rises and once I approached the middle-end of my second trimester things started to sort themselves out a bit. Just take it one day at a time and try not to get overwhelmed. Finding foods that settle your stomach is a bit trial and error but make sure you keep eating and you should feel better.

Tinyflutterby Wed 17-Apr-13 22:11:06

sw25 - does your midwife know you have lost so much weight? First time round I think I was about 14 weeks when the initial nausea reduced, however it didn't take much for it to return given the right situation.

I remember one particularly bad weekend staying with my in-laws when I was about 20 odd weeks and we went a day trip in the car and it was twisty country roads, I was in the back and my father-in-law was driving really fast and we had to stop about 5 times as I was so sick.

I'm sure you will start to feel better soon though, I think it's pretty rare for it to last much beyond the first trimester but I agree with Lime in that grazing definetly helps. i feel like I'm eating constantly, but when I actually add up what I've eaten in a day its really not very much, but just tiny amounts often.

Lime - I have had really bad heartburn/indigestion since even about a week before I found out I was pg and it's driving me crazy. My gp gave me some medicine which sometimes helps, but again I find the best thing is to eat small amounts at a time. It's worse in the evenings though. Do you have any tips for combatting it?

limetictacs Thu 18-Apr-13 11:42:01

I was given omeprazole for heartburn by my GP but I didn't like the sound of the side effects so I haven't taken it. Luckily it hasn't been as bad this time as with DS. Gaviscon was a life saver with DS, just make sure you get peppermint as the aniseed one isn't very nice (unless you like aniseed).

With this pregnancy I've been drinking milk when the heartburn hits although I've found vanilla ice cream is better as it's colder than milk and tastes nicer. Also try sleeping propped up if you get it at night. I also find that certain foods make it worse, like onions, fried/oily foods and strangely mint chewing gum (which is meant to be good for heartburn but I find this sets me off sometimes). If your heartburn is really unbearable I'd say take the medicine. Supposedly heartburn/indigestion in pregnancy is caused by hormones relaxing the gullet and then when the baby gets bigger there's the added pressure they but on your internal organs. I'm so jealous of those women who seem to sail through pregnancy and childbirth.

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