I'm new here. Normally I think it is customary to read through a message board before posting questions, but in this case I've done very little of that. I would like to see if people recognize my symptoms rather than read someone else's to draw my own conclusions, as I have been known to be a little over-analytical. Get ready for a very long question:
I've been having chronic stomach issues for just about two years now. Basically, what usually happens is that my stomach will swell up and I will feel the uncomfortable "bloated" feeling along with a varying degree of nausea. It's VERY uncomfortable to lay down or even sit down. I'll feel a little better if I stand up and slowly pace around. These attacks can last anywhere from a few minutes to many hours. Often I will belch or fart and that will relieve it for a second or two. Sometimes I will feel moments of relief even without that. Pain sometimes occurs, but rarely, and I have a pretty good tolerance for pain so even when it does happen, it doesn't bother me. Also, quite a lot of the time I cannot tell the difference between hunger sensations and nausea. It's almost as if my stomach "gets stuck" as it's trying to growl. Sometimes eating a piece of toast will alleviate it when it feels like this, but sometimes it does not.
I've been unable to discern any correlation between this illness and what I eat UNLESS I tried to eat something while I was feeling bad. In that case, spicy or fatty foods are worse. For a long time it was pretty clear that on most days I'd wake up feeling a little poorly, have a decent mid-morning, late afternoon, and early evening, and then experience problems as I was getting ready for bed and sometimes deep into the night. Recently, however, these attacks can happen at any point during the day or night, and at times have been accompanied by a strange variety of really bad tastes in my mouth. Occasionally it will wake me up in the middle of the night, but generally if I can get to sleep I'll be okay until morning.
No medicines seem to alleviate it. I'm on Prevacid for acid reflux, but for this other problem I've used Pepto Bismol, simethicone gel caps, Maalox Plus, and a couple of other things to limited or no effect. All I can do is wait it out.
When this business first started happening a couple years ago, I eventually went to the doctor but it took several appointments with several doctors before anything started happening. Even though I never really had gall bladder pain, eventually I had a HIDA scan which indicated that I needed a cholecystectomy. I did, but there was no improvement. After some time I found a new gastroenterologist who decided I had an "acid and gas" problem. She's the one who directed me to take the symethicone (I was already on prevacid). When I still didn't improve she sent the camera down my throat. It showed that I have a hilatal hernia and some gastritis. She said she couldn't do much for me. Several more months passed and I started getting WORSE. At this point I decided to go back to my primary care doctor to see if they could prescribe me an antidepressant. After being sick for a year and a half at that point and missing a lot of work, I was understandably depressed. I was prescribed Lexapro, but it made me violently ill the first night and a nurse said I shouldn't take it anymore until I'd talked to my doctor.
The next day, I decided I'd had enough and that would just go to a renowned teaching hospital about 75 miles from where I live. That's pretty much where I'm at now. After having a gastric emptying exam that came back normal, my new gastro threw me for a loop the other day when he said I'm probably having "modified panic attacks". I'll have a couple more tests (the barium thing and something else that tests my breath [not H.Pylori though -- something else) just to rule out everything else, but he seems pretty sold on the anxiety/panic attack thing. His plan is to set me up with a doctor of internal medicine to begin treatment for that. For the meantime he's put me on a drug called Nortriptyline which is an antidepressant, but he says he's giving it to me for "motility". Given my experience with Lexapro I'm scared to death to take it, but I guess I'll get around to it tomorrow.
I NEVER would've imagined that my mental state could make me so physically ill. Plus, I've always tended toward depression and not anxiety. Also, I'm pretty sure that any anxiety I have is DUE to the nausea. There's no doubt I feel anxious when I get sick, and the more anxious I get the sicker I get. But it seems weird to me that it could be the cause of my problem. Usually I'm just sitting around when I get sick, not at all nervous until I'm already miserable!
My question is, does this seem plausible? Has anyone had similar experiences? I'm sorry to have written such a long post, but I'm desperate and figure too much information is better than not enough. Thanks in advance for any and all replies.