“Diabetic” Tummy Woes

Those of you who read this blog regularly know that I suffer from a whole lot of physical issues (most of them are complications of diabetes). I find myself spending a lot of time untangling the web in an attempt to figure out what is causing this or that symptom (I’m sure I do a lot of overthinking). One step I have to take is to trace the symptom back as far as I can to figure out when it started, and then try to tie it to a cause.

Sometimes I can figure it out, sometimes it remains a mystery.

My current most annoying and troublesome symptoms are stomach aches, nausea, and vomiting. This will take some explanation because, as usual, none of my problems are straight forward and simple.

I traced it back to about age nine. What do you know, it was just after my type 1 diagnosis. I began to suffer from occasional horrendous stomach aches. It felt as if something was ripping me open from the inside. Horribly painful stabbing, scratching pain in my tummy. Sometimes I would feel nauseous, but I never threw up. 99% of the time it would strike in the middle of the night, last a couple hours, then fade away. These aches would happen on average, I think, once every few months. I still get them today, but not nearly as often. Gas relief medications, pepto type stuff, positioning, exercises/massage, homeopathic remedies, etc… nothing has ever helped.

My mom thought it was probably trapped gas. My doctors said it was probably related to my uncontrolled diabetes (high BG, blah, blah, blah).

I honestly can’t remember the first time I experienced this next symptom, but I do know I’ve been experiencing it once or twice a year for a very long time. Have you ever been punched in the stomach? You know that very unique pain and discomfort, and nausea. Not the initial punch, but the after effect, that feeling of nausea and tenderness, like the entire inside of your stomach is a giant bruise. Yeah, I get stomach aches that feel exactly like that. They can last any length of time and happen at any time they darn well please. In the past six months or so I’ve been getting them about once a week.

I’ve actually never told my doctors about these particular tummy aches, but I’m sure they’d blame the diabetes…

Around twelve or thirteen years of age I began to get random bouts of nausea. This is a unique nausea, different from virus, hunger, or other types of nausea one might experience. I have no idea how to explain it, but if you are prone to nausea then maybe you can understand what I mean when I say there are different kinds of nausea. This nausea hits suddenly, like a wave, and hangs around for any length of time, then fades away quite suddenly. Sometimes it ends with me vomiting. Just one vomit and it’s gone, just like that. But, I’d say more often than not it just goes away on it’s own. These bouts of nausea can strike at any time, day or night, no matter where I am or what I’m doing. The nausea seems to get stronger when I lay down, so I always make sure to stay upright when I’m suffering it. Sometimes I can sip water and the nausea will seem to fade away faster, but this isn’t guaranteed to work. When I was younger, the nausea would strike once or twice a month, then when I was in 10th and 11th grade it seemed to get more frequent, then it went back down to about twice a month for many years. For the past three years, however, the nausea is literally everyday, mostly it strikes at night now. I have tried many remedies to try to make the nausea go away sooner, but nothing really works. I just have to wait for it to fade away or end in vomiting.

There are many theories as to what this could be. My doctors have once again always blamed my uncontrolled diabetes.

Vomiting – You might assume that I only vomit when my bouts of nausea lead to it. You’d be wrong. Yes, the vast majority of the time when I vomit it is preceded by nausea. But, believe it or not, there have been several occurrences over the years where I had absolutely no warning. I just puked, suddenly, out of the blue. Thank the gods it has never happened in a public place or been an embarrassing occurrence.   I used to only vomit once or twice a month, but the past three years it’s been more like once a week. 99% of the time it happens in the middle of the night.

Hey, guess what?  My doctors blame uncontrolled diabetes…

*If it’s uncontrolled diabetes then why have the symptoms gotten ten times more severe since I’ve gotten my diabetes under tons better control? *

My theories as to what these are is:

Trapped gas- I think my mom may be on to something as far as the tummy aches go.

Hormone imbalance – I do have PCOS, but I’m not sure if it can cause chronic nausea and vomiting…and these symptoms have worsened despite treatment to control PCOS.

Gastroparesis – This is a possibility, but I seriously doubt I’ve had gastroparesis since I was 9 years old, LOL. And my gastric emptying study showed it isn’t very severe. But, it could be partially to blame.

Sulfur Intolerance – I recently read up on this and am seriously thinking it may be something I have. I noticed that I was getting nausea and vomiting every time I ate red meat or full servings of eggs or onions. I cut out the red meat all together and cut way back on eggs and onions and my nausea and vomiting improved significantly, but has not gone away…not even close. (and I still get nausea and vomiting even when I don’t eat sulfur foods at all).

Hereditary – My mom’s side of the family have a lot of tummy problems, but not too similar to mine. Three of my family members have been diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, but none of them have responded well at all to any treatments for it so I think maybe their doctors can’t figure out what the real issue is so just gave them a “generic” diagnosis.

But I don’t know much about IBS.

Most likely there are multiple contributors to my issue here, but I’d like to know the root cause, or main contributors, so I can improve my health.

What do you think?

Does anyone else have this problem?

 

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Author: Tamra K. Garcia

Stephen King says to "Write what you know." I know diabetes, I know me; so this is what I write about.

6 thoughts on ““Diabetic” Tummy Woes”

  1. My guess is Gastroparesis I understand that may not be the most likely cause but it seems the most likely.

    I referred your blog to the TUDiabetes blog page for the week of June 6, 2016.

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  2. I do get the trapped gas quite a bit. I noticed it happening after i dropped a bunch of weight rapidly getting my diabetes under control. Though nausea has never really been a problem for me unless I had a spike/drop in my BG. Good luck!

    Brian

    P.S. I too share your pain on the, ‘whatever you complain to your Dr. about it’s automatically diabetes.’ diagnosis. Broken leg? Diabetes!

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  3. I had similar symptoms when I ate lots of eggs on holiday once. Not pleasant. I’ve been diagnosed with Coeliac Disease, it’s quite common for diabetics to get this. If you think it might be this, my advice would be to get checked out before making any changes to your diet as it is harder to diagnose if you’ve given up gluten.

    Charlotte

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