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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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