Help dealing with nausea/sick stomach due to medication?

<p>Hi everyone,</p>

<p>My stomach has been feeling really horrible for the past two months. There are some days where I get awful cramps, so bad that I can't get out of bed and feel nauseous. Other days, I feel queasy and gassy (TMI? Sorry!) and my stomach is always rumbling. I just never seem to feel well, and it's really taking a toll on me.</p>

<p>Some back story: I had major orthopedic surgery in February with an intensive healing regiment, so I've been on a LOT of pain killers since February. The pills are of course prescribed by a doctor, and unfortunately I had no choice but to be on heavy heavy doses for so long because it was truly a major recovery. I brought up the stomach issues to my pain doctor and primary care doctor, as well as a doctor in the hospital and everyone told me it was because my stomach can't handle the medication, and that my stomach lining is just worn away and there is nothing they can do about it. Not very helpful! I did start taking Zantac twice a day, and eating food with every pill.</p>

<p>The past 5 mornings I woke up around 7am with stomach cramps and nausea that lasted for two hours (before I fell back asleep out of exhaustion- not a good habit) and it's gotten to the point where I dread going to sleep because I'm worried about waking up sick. This is a gross feeling that wakes me up- I usually sleep until 11 because I'm doing nothing with my life except recovering so I don't have work or school to get up for haha.</p>

<p>Nothing has changed about my diet, and I've started eating very bland since this started so there isn't any crazy food in my diet. Does anyone have natural/homemade remedies, tips, advice, etc for what to do with a sick stomach? I'm willing to try just about anything because I can't take feeling horrible anymore. I am starting the very slow, meticulous process of getting off my medications soon, but until then I need some advice.</p>

<p>THANKS!</p>

<p>First thing I would do is stop any narcotics, my system does not do well at all with them, I get very nauseated. Ibuprofin at prescription doses or even Toradol (non narcotic, stronger than Ibuprofin) could help. Personally I take no narcotics unless I am absolutely miserable with pain, so like a tooth abscess maybe, but after surgery, nope. They can really mess with your digestion.</p>

<p>For dealing with the issue, to be blunt, it depends what your issue is. Many are constipated by narcotics, that means fiber & other anti-constipation treatments.</p>

<p>If it is mainly nausea, you have to try to see what your body wants, chicken soup, vanilla ice cream, cold, hot, dairy, not, it’s all about what is soothing for your system. When I am nauseated, I try to take nothing but pure clear liquids for awhile to stop making my digestive system have to work at anything.</p>

<p>Hey PSN !</p>

<p>Sorry to hear you are not feeling at all well.</p>

<p>I think you need a specialist to help you with this. I just do not believe you to be a whiner.I do not see you as a complainer so I believe you need to be more forceful with your recovery team in talking about how sick you get…</p>

<p>Sometimes people don’t really listen because they believe they already know what you are going to say. The pat answer here is everyone gets stomach pains. We know it hurts and basically deal with it. This is not allways the right answer. It’s just the easy standard line.</p>

<p>So you really, really need to make sure everyone gets it. Keep a food journal and with it write down your pain level and nausea level. Write down if you wake up with pain and the severity. Write down how much sleep disruption you encounter.</p>

<p>Do not be the good soldier, the quiet complainer. Make sure they understand exactly how bad you feel. You should not be left on your own to work this out. </p>

<p>Tell them again how bad you feel. Make sure they HEAR you. </p>

<p>Now with that being said often times painkillers and lack of physical activity slow down your digestion. Constipation can be a cause of abdominal pain. Is this possibly part of the issue? Chart it. Gas can then also build up in your system and really make you feel bad.so if you are constipated there are things you can do too.
Daily Metamucile which is a gentle mix of fiber could help along with plenty of water.sometimes too much ruffage can make you feel bad. The Metamuscil can take it’s place.</p>

<p>I do not like to guess. You need a pro here. You need some help besides guessing. </p>

<p>I hope you feel better.</p>

<p>D. had acute stomach disfunctions with 2 un-related and common medications (one is Z-pack). Hers were severe cases and multiple trip to ER and IV’s for dehydration. She had to miss school and on one of these occasions, I had to be with her for few days to make sure that she recovers as soon as possible (she asked me to come). D. was also in constant communication (over the phone and few visits) with the office that prescribed medication.
First, you got to stop taking drug causing discomfort IMMEDIATELY. It will NOT get better, your system will NOT get used to drug. Also, be extremely sensitive to the fact that you may get dehydrated, go to ER in this case, dehydration is very dangerous. </p>

<p>I am not a medical person and I don’t play one on TV, nor do I have a kid who’s an MD. But I DO know that suddenly stopping any medication without your care provider’s input can be very dangerous. Don’t do it. But I DO agree that you need to insist that your care team help you with this-if the help for pain is causing something just as bad, it’s not a good pain management plan-period.</p>

<p>I’ve read your posts and I don’t understand where your parents are in all this. THEY should be helping you deal with your doctors, insisting on your getting the right care. I would be standing right next to my own child demanding help if she were in your position.</p>

<p>You don’t say exactly what is wrong, but if you’re nauseous, until you get some qualified medical care to help, look into ginger candy or tea. My mother had problems with medication she needed to stay alive, so no stopping them, but the caused her to have an upset stomach on occasions. She found the ginger-REAL ginger, helped better than adding more medicines to her regimen. She found the candy at Asian stores and the tea is most anywhere. Peppermint, again REAL peppermint, can help. </p>

<p>I would ask that your parents come with you and insist on some answers about what can be done-anything from cutting back on the pain medication to solutions for the stomach issues. And you, too, should speak up. Remember, doctors work for YOU, and they are being paid BY YOU to help you. They don’t get to pat you on the head and dismiss your concerns. I hope you get some answers.</p>

<p>What sort of surgery did you have?
I had major orthopedic surgery last year and I was tapered off prescription meds by six months and we tried to do it earlier.
Keeping active can reduce pain but also helps with digestion.
Have you tried enzymes/ probiotics to improve bacteria levels in your gut?
Part of your problem may be the Zantac.
What does your dr say about it?
<a href=“http://www.health.harvard.edu/fhg/updates/do-ppis-have-long-term-side-effects.shtml”>http://www.health.harvard.edu/fhg/updates/do-ppis-have-long-term-side-effects.shtml</a></p>

<p>EK is right, probiotics can be very helpful if the medication is killing off your natural bacteria</p>

<p>I agree with the suggestions of probiotics, real ginger and real peppermint in tea or some other form (candied ginger is easy to find), and Metamucil (or psyllium). You could also try taking a leaf from the morning-sickness playbook and keep some saltines by your bed. Some people find that munching a few of them helps settle the stomach.</p>

<p>It does sound as if your medical practitioners are not taking this as seriously as they ought, given your level of discomfort. Keeping records might help.</p>

<p>Ginger.</p>

<p>

</p>

<p>This! And even more so if it’s a narcotic pain reliever (which you didn’t specify, but if it’s the case, please don’t do this unless you’re doing so with a physician’s instructions and oversight).</p>

<p>Narcotics cause nausea for many people, including me. For some reason, lots of Drs don’t know this and I always have to ask for anti-nausea meds when I need a narcotic. Phenergan and Compazine are the two I know. Both of these also potentiate narcotics, meaning that you can take lower levels of narcotics and get the same level of pain relief. They will make you sleepy, though. Another nausea remedy is Zofran. I am a nurse and psychologist and don’t understand why Drs don’t understand this problem with narcotics. You have to ask every time.</p>

<p>Not quite the same, but when my middle son was 16, he got so sick that he could keep NOTHING down. NOTHING. We were literally dripping water from an eye dropper into his mouth. He was overweight to start, but lost 20 pounds like that. We kept calling the doctor and couldn’t seem to get anybody to understand that this was SERIOUS. A specialist finally thought to ask, “Are you taking any meds?” and he said, “Doyxcycline.” The specialist about had a cow, because he knew that doxycycline can cause nausea like my son got. He stopped the med and was fine within a couple of days. I’ve seen a lot of bad medical care with my older son’s mental illness, but this took the cake.</p>

<p>Narcotics can REALLY be a Godsend after a surgery or an acute problem which is very painful. But I am very wary of any narcotic treatment of a chronic problem. I know many people use them for chronic pain, but I personally would not want to go down that path. For short term, nausea can be a big problem. Terrible constipation can also be a side effect. DH can’t take even half a Vicodin without severe vomiting; the benefits for him are just not worth it. I tolerate narcotics very well for a few days, but then I start having problems. </p>

<p>I would never want to go on a long term narcotic plan. Just too many downsides compared to the benefits. Of course, there are always exceptions, particularly with terminal illnesses which are accompanied by horrible pain. But for other chronic problems, I think a pain specialist can be a better option. Many pain specialists look for other solutions which don’t include ever increasing doses of narcotics.</p>

<p>To be clear, the OP hasn’t said that he’s on narcotic pain relievers. I was the one who said, if they were narcotics, to be very careful in stopping them. But what most people have said about them since my #10, is pretty much been either my personal experience, or what I observed when I worked in hospice. </p>

<p>But yes, even non-narcotic pain relievers can cause digestive upset. </p>

<p>Opiods are notorious for causing digestive problems.
I was taking a mild opoid until recently ( I had major ortho surgery fibromyalgia) when the DEA changed the classification.
So I now am just taking either aspirin or Aleve, and I actually feel less pain than I did before.
I must be one of the % of folks whose nerves are sensititzed by narcotics.
Lucky me.
:slight_smile:
You may have developed Narcotic Bowel Syndrome.</p>

<p><a href=“http://www.iffgd.org/site/gi-disorders/other/nbs”>http://www.iffgd.org/site/gi-disorders/other/nbs</a></p>

<p>@sseamom My parents are always right beside me. In fact, I’ve NEVER made a call to the doctor myself because my mom beats me to it every time. She goes into every appointment with me, calls the doctors repeatedly until she gets an answer (with many different situations)…even though I’m 21 and an “adult” she is basically in charge of my medical stuff. I’m not sure why it came off like I was doing everything on my own, but I am very fortunate to have my parents advocating for me all the time. I guess I just haven’t mentioned that!</p>

<p>I am not dealing with constipation, although I know that’s a common side effect. I take Colace to make sure the bowels keep moving, and I’m not currently having any issues with that. I am on strong narcotics, so I can’t just stop taking them. I’ve been taking this dosage of narcotics for 6 months (this upcoming week I am beginning to go down on them, under the supervision of my doctor) but there was NO way I could have not taken this medication all along. The part that I found strange about this whole situation is that the first 4 or so months on the medication my stomach was fine. I wasn’t having any issues, so it confused me when these problems seemingly popped out of nowhere.</p>

<p>I am taking a probiotic and Zantac, recommended to me by my doctor. I have been forceful with them, but I think because I’m going to be withdrawing from the medication soon, they want me to just tough it out. </p>

<p>One other thing I forgot to mention- sometimes when I get these aches/pains/nausea, I get a burning sensation up the back of my neck and head. It’s very strange and disconcerting. Anyone experience that or know what it could be? I never get that feeling except when I’m having a stomach issue.</p>

<p>Thanks everyone for your suggestions, I really appreciate it. I’ll be here, trying to keep hydrated and keep my stomach calm!!</p>

<p>I’m glad your parents are helping you! I don’t know about the burning sensation, but I’d mention it next time you talk to the doctors. And I hope they can give you some better advice than to just tough it out!</p>

<p>I was on narcotics for months after my bone graft (after my bone cancer). Absolutely essential. I was fortunate to have minimal side effects, but that tapering down was tough. Night sweats and other symptoms of physical addiction. </p>

<p>For the stomach issues, I find myself wondering what you’re eating. Does what you eat or when you eat it affect how your stomach feels? What about white rice (which is a traditional digestive soother in many cultures)? Or rice bran? Or oatmeal? </p>

<p>I also find myself wondering about things like electrolyte imbalances. Healing bone insults (any orthopedic surgery qualifies by my definition) takes a lot of time and a huge amount of metabolic resources. I hesitate to advocate vitamins because they’re so easily abused–but is it possible your diet has been deficient in some way? Do you avoid fruits, vegetables, and other sources of healthy micronutrients? </p>

<p>The burning you describe follows the path of the vagal nerve. More info here: <a href=“http://my.clevelandclinic.org/anatomy/brain/ns_overview.aspx#vn”>http://my.clevelandclinic.org/anatomy/brain/ns_overview.aspx#vn</a> </p>

<p>As your symptoms are not being helped by the zantac, would suggest you up that to a proton pump inhibitor, which would include pantoprazole or esomeprazole. These meds work better than Zantac and the like, which are hydrochloric acid blockers. Check this out with your Dr. first however, and don’t take these for more than a few months, as they can block mineral absorption. </p>

<p>Another thing to try, though your Dr. may say it is bunk, is try eliminating wheat products. Some people have heartburn and other sorts of GI relief from avoiding wheat. </p>