7

votes

Is my mysterious health issue diet related?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created September 06, 2011 at 8:48 PM

I've been avoiding asking this for awhile because I'm concerned it might be too specific, but I'm hoping someone might have some suggestions and maybe it will help someone else.

I've been paleo for 4 months to help with digestive issues, mainly constant bloating and stomach pain. I've always been active and even though I ate grains, I relied relatively little bread, gluten, or sugar. In 2005, I began getting sharp pains under my right rib cage. I was tested positive for h. pylori and was treated with some serious antibiotics. I've always been slim, but a few months later, I inexplicably lost a few pounds (down to about 95lbs at 5'4") and consciously ate more to gain it back, which sometimes made me feel a bit sick. One day in 2006, I woke up seemingly out of the blue with an extremely bloated stomach that never went away. I get a tightness under my ribcage and my lower abdomen looks very distended--feels worsened by eating I think. I've even been told I look pregnant (in case I thought I was imagining it...).

I tested negative for celiacs (which, I realize means little), I've had ultrasounds, endoscopies, colonoscopies, MRI, etc. Nothing really was notable on the tests (liver/gallbladder normal) except on the MRI it was noted there was possibility of median arcuate ligament in the way of the celiac artery, blocking some blood flow to the stomach. But, I was also told this wasn't in any way a "final" diagnosis as many have this issue with no symptoms.

In May I went back to a new doctor who told me I had low vitamin D and a dexa showed osteopenia, which I posted on here: http://paleohacks.com/questions/38814/osteopenia-thoughts#axzz1XCjb5A8t. The only thing doctors have suggested have been IBS medication or do nothing, but now that I'm showing some bone loss (at 28!?) I feel I should find out how to make this better and that medication is not really going to do much for my bone density (even if I could live with the bloating).

Going paleo and supplementing with vit D has helped me have more energy and mental energy, which I appreciate, though I think there is more to do on that front.

I was low-ish carb (50-70g) paleo/no dairy for about 4 weeks and now I'm more moderate carb (~100-120g) with dairy in the form of kefir and butter, with no difference with stomach aches. I supplement with 400mg Nat Calm, which has eliminated constipation I think. I also take 4000 units vit D/day. I've been on/off probitics and not sure if they make a difference. I run/lift/yoga most days and I'm back to about 103-104 lbs/14% bf.

What's the next step? Should I try a GAPS diet? See yet another (maybe more alternative) doctor? Do I need to get my ligament resected (seems rather un-paleo)? Live with it?

0104d134c517031678cb90bb2919b5d3

(117)

on November 19, 2012
at 03:47 PM

This definitely wasn't my problem but could be someone else's. Any update on your situation smartcookie? I would be very interested...

Cfc7dee889a66db9cd76c4f348109294

(1652)

on April 03, 2012
at 04:10 PM

Thanks, meret. I'm still seeking answers. I continued to do yoga and have started meditating. I can dissociate from the discomfort so as not to make the pain so prevalent. Mind-body is very relevant.

Cfc7dee889a66db9cd76c4f348109294

(1652)

on February 03, 2012
at 08:20 PM

Thanks for the comment and support. I have been doing a lot of GAPS style recommendations and experimenting with different probiotics. I'm going through a round of testing with a new osteopath and afterwards will likely try a full intro diet after that and keep you updated.

Cfc7dee889a66db9cd76c4f348109294

(1652)

on September 07, 2011
at 07:44 PM

@ULH - Thanks for posting. There is definitely good advice in the article. And, thanks for all of the good advice. I am going to start on vit k2 and betaine hcl and then try the anti-fungals. So far nobody mentioned anything being wrong with my vagus nerve as a result of poor blood flow, so I'm grateful if its not that... ;-)

Cfc7dee889a66db9cd76c4f348109294

(1652)

on September 07, 2011
at 07:40 PM

Thanks, you and ULH both posted this. It doesn't seem exactly related in my case, but still worth a shot. Also, I'm glad that there is more attention on this issue so people don't unnecessarily take acid-blockers.

9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

(15833)

on September 07, 2011
at 07:12 PM

Mark's Daily Apple had a long article today about GERD and some treatments, check it out.

Cfc7dee889a66db9cd76c4f348109294

(1652)

on September 07, 2011
at 06:34 PM

Thanks for the response, Paul. I'm going to give these great suggestions a shot. And, thanks for all of the great info on your website!

9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

(15833)

on September 07, 2011
at 05:58 PM

I second this, an unhealthy gut or yeast/fungal infection is a common side effect of antibiotics. A friend of mine's kid (then age 6-7) had constant problems along these lines which were eventually solved by eating lots of garlic (a natural anti-fungal)!

072fd69647b0e765bb4b11532569f16d

(3717)

on September 07, 2011
at 05:34 PM

It doesn't sound like you are overdoing it on the workouts (IMO). While not exactly related to the conditions you describe, MDA had a good post today on GERD and digestive issues: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/gerd-symptoms-causes-natural-remedies/#more-22915 Always worth a read.

Cfc7dee889a66db9cd76c4f348109294

(1652)

on September 07, 2011
at 04:25 PM

Thanks, ULH. It's always encouraging to hear people have solved their health mysteries. I *have* read that median arcuate ligament syndrome can cause some gastro symptoms, but barring that nothing serious. Staying away from coffee does also help me and experimenting further on food elimination beyond gluten/dairy/carby stuff is a good suggestion. I've tried a number of different probiotics and sometimes I think they help and sometimes I think they worsen...so no clear verdict on that yet.

Cfc7dee889a66db9cd76c4f348109294

(1652)

on September 07, 2011
at 03:04 PM

i'm loving all of the k2 talk on this site today. going to get some today and also make a nice broth. its thundering like whoa over here!

Cfc7dee889a66db9cd76c4f348109294

(1652)

on September 07, 2011
at 02:31 PM

Ok, thanks for the suggestion. I am going to try Betaine HCL and report back. I'm way less planned in my workouts these days - and just do kind of what I feel like it on that day. But probably 2 days a week of running (sprints or a long run) and yoga or lifting on 3-4 other days depending on time/energy levels. Sometimes I just do yoga for a week or so... I feel pretty good working out and have gotten pretty strong from lifting heavy (I'm a personal trainer) and think I look healthy with my weight back up to normal. So, this is good-though, don't know what caused the original weight loss.

Cfc7dee889a66db9cd76c4f348109294

(1652)

on September 07, 2011
at 02:53 AM

Thanks, girlfriend. I sometimes feel like there is a constant bloat going on regardless, but I may be guilty at times (though not as much anymore) of veggie overconsumption disorder (Aka VOD).

Cfc7dee889a66db9cd76c4f348109294

(1652)

on September 07, 2011
at 12:13 AM

Ok. Well, I'm thinking I might have to do a full out elimination diet. But, kinda weird that it sort of just happened one day...

Cfc7dee889a66db9cd76c4f348109294

(1652)

on September 06, 2011
at 10:28 PM

Thanks for the support, Joy. I try to advocate for optimal health while also not dwelling too much on pain as to let it take away from living. Hopefully I'll figure it out one of these days.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 06, 2011
at 10:28 PM

You lucky duck Efaitch! I had 4 kids and pretty bad heartburn sometimes. I craved herbs and used to graze in the garden eating things like mint and parsley and fennel for some reason. :)

C4134ed417dbc0a6b79ab2cee32632d3

(1811)

on September 06, 2011
at 09:43 PM

My sister has been complaining of similar pains, but won't do Paleo...

C4134ed417dbc0a6b79ab2cee32632d3

(1811)

on September 06, 2011
at 09:42 PM

@AnnaA - Actually, I hardly ever get heartburn *ever*. Even when heavily pregnant, I had hardly any heartburn (x2).

C4134ed417dbc0a6b79ab2cee32632d3

(1811)

on September 06, 2011
at 09:41 PM

My DD gets constipated when she eats dairy (gluten gives her the runs).

Cfc7dee889a66db9cd76c4f348109294

(1652)

on September 06, 2011
at 09:40 PM

ok, thanks for the tip. i have been trying to incorporate more chicken liver as well.

Cfc7dee889a66db9cd76c4f348109294

(1652)

on September 06, 2011
at 09:32 PM

Ok, I will try increasing these foods and report back. I usually drink some ginger/acv after workouts and eat kimchi most weeks.

Medium avatar

(39821)

on September 06, 2011
at 09:31 PM

You're going to want to take 100mcg of K-2 a day to mineralize the elevated blood calcium from the D3 supplementation.

427c8cbb9c2492d74b887fc5cf7a8ce0

(432)

on September 06, 2011
at 09:29 PM

And some bone broth (besides the nutritious aspect, it is a healer of gut related issues). When I had low stomach acid (and was bloated too), I got relief from homemade bone broth were peppermint tea failed.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 06, 2011
at 09:13 PM

Almost everyone gets an episode of heartburn once in awhile so I read the series and found it interesting. If there is any way around taking drugs I always try that first myself. Good luck solving your health issue.

Cfc7dee889a66db9cd76c4f348109294

(1652)

on September 06, 2011
at 09:08 PM

PS thanks in advance for reading this lengthy and specific question.

Cfc7dee889a66db9cd76c4f348109294

(1652)

on September 06, 2011
at 09:08 PM

Thanks for the input. I should also mention that one doctor did recommend i try taking prilosec, but i haven't tried this for reasons in the article. Will look into this further.

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12 Answers

5
9e20abb05f3f6e3cc4bb107f8980aecd

on September 07, 2011
at 05:55 PM

I had the same symptoms, the bloating developed suddenly when I added fruit to a zero-carb diet. Turned out to be an intestinal fungal infection aided by a vitamin C deficiency.

Given that yours followed antibiotic usage, I wouldn't be surprised if it was the same thing.

I would try antifungals, esp nystatin, cholestyramine, and get moderate (~600 calorie per day) glucose/starch. Minimize fructose. Also, probiotics, polysaccharide digesting enzymes, and herbs and healthy oils. Vitamin D is extremely important, it is key for fungal immunity.

9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

(15833)

on September 07, 2011
at 05:58 PM

I second this, an unhealthy gut or yeast/fungal infection is a common side effect of antibiotics. A friend of mine's kid (then age 6-7) had constant problems along these lines which were eventually solved by eating lots of garlic (a natural anti-fungal)!

Cfc7dee889a66db9cd76c4f348109294

(1652)

on September 07, 2011
at 06:34 PM

Thanks for the response, Paul. I'm going to give these great suggestions a shot. And, thanks for all of the great info on your website!

4
0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on September 07, 2011
at 12:45 AM

I second the K2 - big time. Also the D plus mag. Jarrow has a "Bone-up" formula that I think is really great in terms of all the cofactors they have added in .

Also, are you eating like a ton of veggies because we are told that they are uber healthful? They may be, but gawd, too much raw leafy and I am 9 months prego looking again! Cook those things to death with buttah before eating.

Also, bone broths with coconut oil or at least gelatin would do wonders for your gut.

Don't let them cut out your parts unless necessary.

Cfc7dee889a66db9cd76c4f348109294

(1652)

on September 07, 2011
at 02:53 AM

Thanks, girlfriend. I sometimes feel like there is a constant bloat going on regardless, but I may be guilty at times (though not as much anymore) of veggie overconsumption disorder (Aka VOD).

Cfc7dee889a66db9cd76c4f348109294

(1652)

on September 07, 2011
at 03:04 PM

i'm loving all of the k2 talk on this site today. going to get some today and also make a nice broth. its thundering like whoa over here!

4
427c8cbb9c2492d74b887fc5cf7a8ce0

on September 06, 2011
at 09:27 PM

Sounds like a low stomach acid issue (very common BTW even heartburn is linked to low stomach acid). Apple cider vinegar, lemon juice and fermented foods should help. Also you should stimulate your liver with some dandelion leaf tea.

427c8cbb9c2492d74b887fc5cf7a8ce0

(432)

on September 06, 2011
at 09:29 PM

And some bone broth (besides the nutritious aspect, it is a healer of gut related issues). When I had low stomach acid (and was bloated too), I got relief from homemade bone broth were peppermint tea failed.

Cfc7dee889a66db9cd76c4f348109294

(1652)

on September 06, 2011
at 09:32 PM

Ok, I will try increasing these foods and report back. I usually drink some ginger/acv after workouts and eat kimchi most weeks.

3
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 06, 2011
at 09:03 PM

I am no expert on this but I just ran across a good series by Chris Kessler at http://chriskresser.com/what-everybody-ought-to-know-but-doesnt-about-heartburn-gerd that you might want to read.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 06, 2011
at 09:13 PM

Almost everyone gets an episode of heartburn once in awhile so I read the series and found it interesting. If there is any way around taking drugs I always try that first myself. Good luck solving your health issue.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 06, 2011
at 10:28 PM

You lucky duck Efaitch! I had 4 kids and pretty bad heartburn sometimes. I craved herbs and used to graze in the garden eating things like mint and parsley and fennel for some reason. :)

Cfc7dee889a66db9cd76c4f348109294

(1652)

on September 06, 2011
at 09:08 PM

Thanks for the input. I should also mention that one doctor did recommend i try taking prilosec, but i haven't tried this for reasons in the article. Will look into this further.

C4134ed417dbc0a6b79ab2cee32632d3

(1811)

on September 06, 2011
at 09:42 PM

@AnnaA - Actually, I hardly ever get heartburn *ever*. Even when heavily pregnant, I had hardly any heartburn (x2).

2
072fd69647b0e765bb4b11532569f16d

(3717)

on September 07, 2011
at 01:09 AM

I second the possibility of low stomach acid. I have experienced much success remedying some of the symptoms you describe by adding some betaine HCL at meals. I now use far less than when I started and may actually start looking to the ACV and other more natural ways to increase stomach acid. How much are you working out, specifically running? Lifting and yoga sound great as does some moderate running. Be sure and give your body some rest, and if you are trying to gain some weight, reducing the running is certainly something to consider. Excessive cardio definitely messes with my gut.

072fd69647b0e765bb4b11532569f16d

(3717)

on September 07, 2011
at 05:34 PM

It doesn't sound like you are overdoing it on the workouts (IMO). While not exactly related to the conditions you describe, MDA had a good post today on GERD and digestive issues: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/gerd-symptoms-causes-natural-remedies/#more-22915 Always worth a read.

Cfc7dee889a66db9cd76c4f348109294

(1652)

on September 07, 2011
at 07:40 PM

Thanks, you and ULH both posted this. It doesn't seem exactly related in my case, but still worth a shot. Also, I'm glad that there is more attention on this issue so people don't unnecessarily take acid-blockers.

Cfc7dee889a66db9cd76c4f348109294

(1652)

on September 07, 2011
at 02:31 PM

Ok, thanks for the suggestion. I am going to try Betaine HCL and report back. I'm way less planned in my workouts these days - and just do kind of what I feel like it on that day. But probably 2 days a week of running (sprints or a long run) and yoga or lifting on 3-4 other days depending on time/energy levels. Sometimes I just do yoga for a week or so... I feel pretty good working out and have gotten pretty strong from lifting heavy (I'm a personal trainer) and think I look healthy with my weight back up to normal. So, this is good-though, don't know what caused the original weight loss.

1
0104d134c517031678cb90bb2919b5d3

on May 29, 2012
at 02:20 PM

Hi, I had a similar problem to you. I cut out almost all ofending foods and was still bloating after meals.

Turns out I have very low stomach acid without the signs of GERD. I think my stomach acid was too low to produce GERD symptoms. Anyway you should definately consider this as a possibility. Try taking betaine HCL capsules, you could require lots but remember to use caution.

0104d134c517031678cb90bb2919b5d3

(117)

on November 19, 2012
at 03:47 PM

This definitely wasn't my problem but could be someone else's. Any update on your situation smartcookie? I would be very interested...

1
4d6aa1a676240b15dc569ff8ade0500f

(2546)

on April 03, 2012
at 04:04 PM

i had a tremendous digestive problems, with stomach pains after every single meal, not matter what i ate. i was put on huge doses of prescription strength antacids, had a million tests done, and finally an endoscopy. my doctor couldn't diagnose ANYTHING, because all my tests came back normal. so i continued on antacids for about 8 months until it went away. this was a few years ago.

i recently had another one of these episodes, but now, i realized, that my symptoms were entirely stress induced. i've had issues with anxiety that i can now keep in check with regular exercise and yoga, and when it gets really out of control, the occasional half-pill of xanax. i highly recommend looking at stress levels and your mind-body connection. i'm so surprised to see how my mental state affects my body.

Cfc7dee889a66db9cd76c4f348109294

(1652)

on April 03, 2012
at 04:10 PM

Thanks, meret. I'm still seeking answers. I continued to do yoga and have started meditating. I can dissociate from the discomfort so as not to make the pain so prevalent. Mind-body is very relevant.

1
C79a5b43dfc5749200bd9dcaa6bb0858

on January 31, 2012
at 02:39 AM

Hi. This comment is coming months later, but well I'm in the middle of reading Gut and Psychology Syndrome and just read something about this last night.

Often when tests show up negative or inconclusive, even biopsies and such, the problem is that the 'problem' isn't happening in an area that science has figured out how to reach with tests yet. Also, that these problems started after a round of antibiotics is classic for GAPS patients.

So like with Paleo, the best way to test yourself to see how you will benefit is to just give it a try. I'm starting the Intro phase soon and hope that it will help heal my random IBS and mood issues. From what I understand I'll be taking probiotics regularly, and eating homemade fermented foods and bone broths for the next couple of years to support gut healing. I plan to stay grain, and legume free and likely dairy as well. It seems to me that Paleo and the final GAPS stage are very compatible and I shouldn't have a problem doing them both.

So my official opinion is that you've got a mystery sickness and you should give GAPS a try. The worst that can happen is that you'll be smarter than all your friends after you've read the book. For me, GAPS is proving to be an even bigger 'ah-ha' than Paleo was.

Best of Luck.

Cfc7dee889a66db9cd76c4f348109294

(1652)

on February 03, 2012
at 08:20 PM

Thanks for the comment and support. I have been doing a lot of GAPS style recommendations and experimenting with different probiotics. I'm going through a round of testing with a new osteopath and afterwards will likely try a full intro diet after that and keep you updated.

1
9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

on September 07, 2011
at 04:14 PM

I was diagnosed with peptic ulcers a while back (had an endoscopy and saw the photos, four little holes). I tested negative for H. Pylori and the doc put me on Nexium (the "purple pill") for the rest of my life (really, I asked). At the time I was 32, and was not keen on staying on meds for decades.

I experimented with my diet, dropping one thing after another (milk, tomatoes, spicy foods, alcohol, caffeine, etc) and finally determined that coffee (not all caffeine, just coffee) caused the symptoms. I dropped coffee for a few months and all of my symptoms disappeared. I later brought it back in moderation and did not have any problems. So I learned that I'm sensitive to something in coffee.

I also had GERD symptoms, and quitting coffee helped with that but did not cure it completely. Switching to Paleo did. One of the many benefits I got from going Paleo (which by my definition means dropping all grains, sugars, and eating fairly low carb) was completely fixing my digestion and eliminating GERD, heartburn, and ulcer symptoms.

That is all to say, I was successful in completely curing some digestive issues with nothing but dietary changes, and it took some experimentation, including not listening to my doctor. Not suggesting you follow the exact same path, but it is possible. Different people have different food sensitivities... caffeine, alcohol, dairy, nuts, nightshades, etc. you might try to determine yours. You might be sensitive to otherwise Paleo foods, so you might need a "Paleo minus something" diet. The flip side is that you should be sure that you don't have a specific serious condition, it sounds like you've been pretty well checked for that.

You might also try to improve overall gut health with probiotics and fermented foods.

Cfc7dee889a66db9cd76c4f348109294

(1652)

on September 07, 2011
at 04:25 PM

Thanks, ULH. It's always encouraging to hear people have solved their health mysteries. I *have* read that median arcuate ligament syndrome can cause some gastro symptoms, but barring that nothing serious. Staying away from coffee does also help me and experimenting further on food elimination beyond gluten/dairy/carby stuff is a good suggestion. I've tried a number of different probiotics and sometimes I think they help and sometimes I think they worsen...so no clear verdict on that yet.

1
Medium avatar

on September 06, 2011
at 11:55 PM

Is it possible that you added in a food that you are intolerant to? I tried to eat a lot of hard-boiled eggs for a while and discovered (or developed) an intolerance to egg whites. The symptoms were what you described. Try to think of some new food and experiment with removal.

Cfc7dee889a66db9cd76c4f348109294

(1652)

on September 07, 2011
at 12:13 AM

Ok. Well, I'm thinking I might have to do a full out elimination diet. But, kinda weird that it sort of just happened one day...

1
D1728f99db66ff91d695a6df5cd38b02

(1368)

on September 06, 2011
at 10:10 PM

I don't think you should just 'live with it'. So many people claim paleo has turned their lives around for the better, and yet it doesn't seem to be getting rid of your stomach problem. I don't know what to suggest personally, but I think it was a great idea to post your problem here!

Cfc7dee889a66db9cd76c4f348109294

(1652)

on September 06, 2011
at 10:28 PM

Thanks for the support, Joy. I try to advocate for optimal health while also not dwelling too much on pain as to let it take away from living. Hopefully I'll figure it out one of these days.

-1
42b3de77bd084726236d842fe54dc7e5

on April 03, 2012
at 02:50 PM

Hi, I have same problem, I use pain patch on my stomach it helps me a lot for pain and eating.

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