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Thread: Chronic digestive problems =(

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  1. #1

    Chronic digestive problems =(

    For the last 5 months, I've been battling some serious, chronic digestive problems, which I'm mostly convinced are centered on either my gallbladder or some hormonal/ auto-immune condition. My (former) gastroenterologist had ZERO answers for me after numerous tests and procedures (including 2 CAT scans, blood & stool tests, and an endoscopy), and now I'm on a self-prescribed liquid diet- again- eating mostly soup and protein shakes. My stomach just doesn't seem to know how to digest solid foods anymore; even something as smooth as almond butter and mashed bananas causes cramping and pain. Liquids only keeps me out of the "hurt locker" (as I've come to call it), but I know that I can't- and WON'T- do this forever. I'm completely demoralized; I miss my bacon, steaks, and salads, but if I'm in constant pain after eating anything "normal" what the hell am I supposed to do? =( Has anyone else here had this problem? I was Primal for 6 months before any of it started, though I had been dealing with it on & off for 6 years before it got really bad and constant. Any suggestions? Please help! Thanks for any advice you can give me...
    "One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well." -Virginia Woolf

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    1,299
    Are you sure it's not fat related? I had some severe gall bladder attacks about ten years ago, but every single test was negative--no stones, nothing. My GI told me that he's seen that before, and if eating very low fat helped, it probably would eliminate the problem eventually because the gall bladder had become 'irritated' for some unknown reason. Eating high fat would bring on an attack.

    I know that something like almond butter seems as though it would be soothing to your stomach, but it's really high fat.

    I ate low fat for about a year, and I was able to gradually increase my fat intake. This was especially true when I went Primal and gave up all grains. That combination was particularly bad.

    I never found out why I had those attacks, but all is fine now.

  3. #3
    That was the initial thought, when all this started 6 years ago. But it was so random, coming and going, and for the first 6 months of being Primal all was good. Then I went to North Carolina for a week, and it's been a major problem ever since. Some days I'm fine. Some days I'm really bad. There's no rhyme or reason to any of it, except the handful of symptoms that keep coming and going cyclically. If it is my gall bladder, is there any way to fix it w/o having it removed? Is there a way to test my gall bladder function to see if that's really the case?
    "One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well." -Virginia Woolf

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
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    Quote Originally Posted by Siren View Post
    That was the initial thought, when all this started 6 years ago. But it was so random, coming and going, and for the first 6 months of being Primal all was good. Then I went to North Carolina for a week, and it's been a major problem ever since. Some days I'm fine. Some days I'm really bad. There's no rhyme or reason to any of it, except the handful of symptoms that keep coming and going cyclically. If it is my gall bladder, is there any way to fix it w/o having it removed? Is there a way to test my gall bladder function to see if that's really the case?
    Hi Siren,
    I'm not an expert by any means but have worked w/ a general surgeon for 13 yrs. Sure sounds a lot like GB symtoms. A HIDA scan, which is a nuclear medicine test, would be able to tell you the percentage ejection fraction of your GB. Some people can go years with a low GB EF% with occasional symtoms. Some doctors consider an EF of less than 50% abnormal and others it's gotta be less than 30% for abnormal. Unfortunately, if it is abnormal, there isn't anything you can do (that I know of) to improve that function.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    307
    Quote Originally Posted by emmie View Post
    Are you sure it's not fat related? I had some severe gall bladder attacks about ten years ago, but every single test was negative--no stones, nothing. My GI told me that he's seen that before, and if eating very low fat helped, it probably would eliminate the problem eventually because the gall bladder had become 'irritated' for some unknown reason. Eating high fat would bring on an attack.

    I know that something like almond butter seems as though it would be soothing to your stomach, but it's really high fat.

    I ate low fat for about a year, and I was able to gradually increase my fat intake. This was especially true when I went Primal and gave up all grains. That combination was particularly bad.

    I never found out why I had those attacks, but all is fine now.
    I think i need to adjust my fat intake aswell because my stomach has acted up and i think my liver might be slightly inflammed as a result, had high iron in my blood which can indicate inflammation. So what type of diet are you on now? Is it primal with high fat and protein or have you found a balance that doesn't upset your digestive system?

    To the OP, your symptoms sound like a possible case of gastroparesis. H.pylori is worth checking for aswell. Those are two avenues you can explore, i would know because i was diagnosed with both and can relate to some of your symptoms and what i've seen others report.

  6. #6
    Timthetaco's Avatar
    Timthetaco Guest
    For all the blood work you've had, do you know your B-12 status? If that's low, and short of this being a more serious problem, you could have low stomach acid. I would probably try increasing stomach acid as a starting point. Supplementing betaine HCl with meals seems to help people a lot, and vinegar and citrus fruits increase stomach acid from what I've read. I'm in a similar boat myself, except water hurts me more than anything.

    I'm not sure if a probiotic would help, but it probably couldn't hurt, if you're not taking one.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Timthetaco View Post
    For all the blood work you've had, do you know your B-12 status? If that's low, and short of this being a more serious problem, you could have low stomach acid. I would probably try increasing stomach acid as a starting point. Supplementing betaine HCl with meals seems to help people a lot, and vinegar and citrus fruits increase stomach acid from what I've read. I'm in a similar boat myself, except water hurts me more than anything.

    I'm not sure if a probiotic would help, but it probably couldn't hurt, if you're not taking one.
    +1

    Betain HCL has helped me quite a lot. And sleep. Sleep always improves my digestion.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Timthetaco View Post
    For all the blood work you've had, do you know your B-12 status?
    My doc said I have "beautiful" blood, but I don't think we checked for vitamin/ mineral deficiencies.

    Quote Originally Posted by Timthetaco View Post
    If that's low, and short of this being a more serious problem, you could have low stomach acid. I would probably try increasing stomach acid as a starting point. Supplementing betaine HCl with meals seems to help people a lot, and vinegar and citrus fruits increase stomach acid from what I've read.
    That's another suspicion: my stomach seems to have stopped "gurgling" at all... ever. Like there's just nothing happening in there. I've tried taking digestive enzymes, but even though they help a little, it still doesn't keep me out of the "hurt locker." And I do take probiotics; I also (used to) eat sauerkraut, pickles, and kombucha. Doesn't really change anything. =/
    "One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well." -Virginia Woolf

  9. #9
    Almond butter might be a problem - some people have issues with nuts - I know I can overdo nuts and be in pain.

    I can feel like total crap if I only have something hi-glycemic like banana. Especially if I haven't been getting enough protein + fat. Adding almond butter may not help much if the nuts are an irritant.

    Do you have GERD (heart burn)?

    The gallbladder function can be tested with a HIDA scan. It sounds barbaric to me though. I'd try some other things first.

    Foods that help me feel better:

    Bone broth
    Beef
    Cooked greens
    Eggs
    Yam/Sweet Potato (sometimes)


    How is your health otherwise?

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by ezeflier View Post
    Almond butter might be a problem - some people have issues with nuts - I know I can overdo nuts and be in pain.

    I can feel like total crap if I only have something hi-glycemic like banana. Especially if I haven't been getting enough protein + fat. Adding almond butter may not help much if the nuts are an irritant.

    Do you have GERD (heart burn)?

    The gallbladder function can be tested with a HIDA scan. It sounds barbaric to me though. I'd try some other things first.

    Foods that help me feel better:

    Bone broth
    Beef
    Cooked greens
    Eggs
    Yam/Sweet Potato (sometimes)


    How is your health otherwise?
    I do get mild heartburn after eating certain things, and my throat gets really tight if i go more than a couple hours without eating... weird, I know. I've never had problems with nuts before now; maybe i've got gallbladder problems and the nuts are aggravating it, and it's not actually an allergy? Hard to say... I'm otherwise pretty healthy. I sleep decently when my stomach pain isn't keeping me up all night, and my night sweats aren't too bad (forgot to mention those), I get sun, take supplements, and have a fairly low stress level- except when this crap flares up, of course =|
    "One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well." -Virginia Woolf

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