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Ever since I quit smoking, my digestion's gone to hell. WTF?
January 8, 2006 6:11 AM   Subscribe

Ever since I quit smoking, my digestion's gone to hell. WTF?

I quit almost a month ago. I'm in otherwise good health, and my diet hasn't changed.

But I still wake up every morning with a stomachache. And while I don't want to go into too much detail, my girlfriend has been noticing certain digestive aromas, which were not nearly so frequent or aromatic back when I smoked a half pack a day.

WTF? I know nicotine stimulates your digestion, but this is ridiculous. Did anyone else have a similar experience when they quit? When (if ever) did it go away? What helped and what didn't?
posted by nebulawindphone to Health & Fitness (11 answers total)
 
What you're experiencing is absolutely normal. I was constipated and nauseous for about two weeks after I quit (I smoked for 12 years). That situation worked itself out (so to speak) at that point, but I did notice some lingering digestive effects, such as what you mention, for another month or so. But it could also have something to do with increased food intake as well, so be mindful of that.

I quit twice, once with the patch and the second time cold turkey plus some herbal remedies for detoxification. I noticed that when I quit with the patch, the effects lingered a bit longer as the result of the nicotine taper. Cold turkey + herbal remedies will get you over and done with it all sooner, but is much, much harder.

Best of luck to you on quitting! You and your girlfriend will start to see some positive effects in the next month: increased energy, steadier moods, etc.!
posted by psmealey at 6:44 AM on January 8, 2006


Google "nicotine digestive tract" and you'll be led down all sorts of interesting paths regarding nicotinic receptors in the digestive tract. Apparently the number of receptors varies depending on your intake, and it takes 4-6 weeks (per one site) for this amount to correct itself to a non-smoker's intake. (Verify, anyone?)

Smoking messes with you any number of ways; do you need more evidence that quitting was a good thing to do? Congratulations -- I'm coming up on three years clean after 20+ years dirty. IT IS WORTH IT!
posted by rleamon at 7:25 AM on January 8, 2006


it takes 4-6 weeks (per one site) for this amount to correct itself to a non-smoker's intake.

That was pretty much my experience as well. With the patch, it was more like 6-8 weeks, CT took about a month. BTW, unrelated to this, another thing you may notice is that generally your skin will start feeling greasy after a month as the other toxins work their way out of your system. You'll feel like taking showers 4x per day.
posted by psmealey at 8:14 AM on January 8, 2006


So this is what I have to look forward to. Joy. I'm up to day 8, and I have dreams about smoking. I have noticed I wake up with a really talkative stomach though.
posted by atom128 at 8:35 AM on January 8, 2006


All the physical effects will fade after 8 weeks without nicotine. The patch, obviously, extends recovery time. Whyquit.com, though it can be a very annoying site, has some great articles that discuss most withdrawal/recovery effects in detail, like this one.

But the upshot is: don't worry, your body will normalize its functions soon. It would take a while to adjust from any drug you did daily for years. Just takes a little time.
posted by Miko at 9:06 AM on January 8, 2006


As I recall, smoking makes people poop.

Your body will readjust and figure out how to poop on your own.
posted by k8t at 9:24 AM on January 8, 2006


I'm up to day 8, and I have dreams about smoking.

That'll go away after time as well. I have the occasional dream about smoking, too, and I haven't had a cigarette since 2002.
posted by psmealey at 10:47 AM on January 8, 2006


He's not a doctor but plays one on TV filter: In a recent episode of House, M.D., everyone's favorite snarky doctor prescribed a distressed department store Santa 2 cigarettes a day to help treat inflamatory bowel.
posted by aebaxter at 12:00 PM on January 8, 2006


>I have the occasional dream about smoking, too, and I haven't had a cigarette since 2002.

So do I, and I haven't had one since 1976.
posted by megatherium at 12:29 PM on January 8, 2006


During times of stress, my dad will pat his pocket, looking for cigarettes that haven't been there since the late 80's. I quit a year ago, and most of the time smoke smells awful to me--but every once in awhile, I catch a scent that smells like heaven. Craziness.

It took a couple months for my digestive tract to realign to its' nicotine free life. I notice now, a year later, that I am a little more sensitive to stimulants. Coffee, black tea, chocolate, that sort of thing. Not in a bad way... In fact, it's probably the normal way, really. Everything else is normal as well.
posted by xyzzy at 1:38 PM on January 8, 2006


I'm a regular quitter and find that drinking lots and lots of water helps - like, a pint before bed and a pint on getting up. It does sort itself out eventually. I'm still waiting for it to happen with this current quit.
posted by handee at 1:26 AM on January 9, 2006


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