Why is suck
November 26, 2012 6:46 PM   Subscribe

Always hungry, except when I eat meat - then I want to throw up. What is wrong with me?

About ten months ago I had such terrible nausea/diarrhea that I went into urgent care. They did blood tests and had no idea what was causing any of that, but did diagnose me with pre-diabetes as a result of the blood tests. I did lots more GI tests and was eventually given a blanket "probably" diagnosis of IBS (I was also treated for a parasite, but I feel no different after the treatment). The strength of the GI symptoms comes and goes, but I do almost always feel nauseous while/after eating meat and other high-protein/fat things, like cheese.

Between controlling my blood sugar (I have to eat really, really low carb) and the nausea whenever I eat high-protein stuff, I am pretty miserable a lot of the time. Has anyone experienced anything like this? Is there something I should have my doctor check for? Would a nutritionist be any help?
posted by chaiminda to Health & Fitness (15 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Track your symptoms, keep a food diary, and take it to your doctor.
posted by elizeh at 6:56 PM on November 26, 2012

Best answer: I had a lot of random stomach problems throughout my life, and any time I took them to the doctor I got the all-purpose "Well, you should lose weight and probably cut back on acidic foods blah blah blah, random expensive tests that show nothing definitive."

These problems included everything from stabbing pains, to random bouts of nausea, to stomach cramps, and most certainly diarrhea. What my family calls a "nervous stomach." The problems came and went in various combinations throughout my life.

I finally hit on the answer kind of by accident about six months ago. Within 24 hours of going gluten-free, all my stomach problems subsided, and my skin cleared up to boot. Have not had a bit of stomach problem since (except after accidentally eating gluten).

Did one single doctor ever suggest I try an elimination diet? No they did not. But there you are.

If I were in your shoes I would try a standard elimination diet and see where it takes you. It seems like a hassle at first, but I am not exaggerating when I say it can literally change your life. (It did mine!)
posted by ErikaB at 7:03 PM on November 26, 2012 [4 favorites]

I had this going on when I was on an Atkins-like diet. It was a great way to lose weight... I felt good for a while on a mostly vegetarian diet (with occasional seafood), but then my iron was too low and I had to start eating meat again, but now I have no trouble with high protein meals. I think I just overwhelmed my body and by not eating it for a while it kind of balanced out again.
posted by DoubleLune at 7:05 PM on November 26, 2012

Best answer: Sounds like gall bladder or liver issues. If you're not metabolizing fat due to poor liver/gb function, or stones, properly, you get diarrhea and nausea, from my personal experience anyway. My issues were due to somewhat high alcohol consumption for a period of time. I would imagine there are many causes to consider, like a viral infection, etc.
posted by waving at 7:05 PM on November 26, 2012 [6 favorites]

Best answer: Nutritionists can help with this: they'll have you log what you eat, when you eat it, and how much of it you ate, and correlate that with your physical symptoms, and make a recommendation on what to test for and/or modifications in your diet. I have a good one, she's very non-judgmental and well versed in problems with food and eating, and works closely with the gastro specialist and GP I see.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:26 PM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Did you confirm that the parasite treatment worked? Parasites can be hard to get rid of, and one dose doesn't always suffice.
posted by Forktine at 7:50 PM on November 26, 2012

Best answer: Your symptoms sound similar to my husband's. His is related to a soy intolerance. Soy is sneakily put into all types of food. Soybean oil turns up in all types of restaurant and packaged food (salad dressings, sauces, as a thickener, as a flavoring, as a supplement to increase the protein in nutrition bars). If you're trying to increase your protein intake, then you may be eating lots more soy.

Here's what we finally did with Mr. 26.2.
1 - Endoscopy to confirm that there wasn't a physical problem.
2 - A long course of Pepcid
3 - A round of antibiotic to knock out h pylori.
4 - Allergy testing to rule out an allergy.
5 - Then we did a food elimination diet until we found the food intolerance.

The elimination diet is what did the trick. The first four steps were really to eliminate potential causes, but we had to find the intolerance. As soon as he had a reaction, we had to go back to a few days of safe food to let the inflammation subside. There are still times when something sneaks in and he has a few days of misery. But now that we know soy is the culprit we can be vigilant about it.
posted by 26.2 at 9:02 PM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I had same symptoms before- turned out I gave GERD. It's a struggle at first because I don't know which food to eat, but eventually with the aide of taking omeprazole 40mg once a day before breakfast and eating the right food, I now feel a lot better. I still have that feeling of throwing up now and then, especially in the morning after waking up but that's mainly because I end up eating sugary, fatty foods (my triggers) the day before.

Go for an endoscopy.
posted by LittleMissItneg at 9:15 PM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Sounds crazy, but are you sure it's not just heartburn? I frequently confuse hunger/nausea with heartburn. I also have IBS.
posted by two lights above the sea at 9:20 PM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Sounds like you may have gall bladder stones or GERD. Consider seeing a GI specialist.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:11 AM on November 27, 2012

Response by poster: I know that I need to do an elimination diet, but it seems really daunting since I can barely eat anything *now.* I'm going to see a GI specialist next week; I will ask him about all of your suggestions and I will keep a food diary until then. Thank you all!
posted by chaiminda at 6:24 AM on November 27, 2012

Best answer: IANYD but - I have been having wack stomach/gi problems for several years. I've been to a giant list of m.d.'s all over the u.s., the Mayo clinic, naturopaths. To be sure, all the things you might have that people listed on this page are possibilities: food intolerances (which are not allergy), actual food allergies, reflux (GERD), 'silent' reflux (where you have non-refluxy symptoms, but the problem is still because stomach acid is getting out of your stomach), and the one I seem more likely to have, gallbladder problems. Yeah there's other more rare problems you could have, as well, but they're rare for a reason. ; )

However, barring any other symptoms, if you notice that it is primarily when you eat fatty or high protein meals that you feel like vomiting, I am told that is a pretty big sign of gallbladder woe. When the gallbladder really turns to crap, you can indeed also start having problems eating just about anything, but I don't think that's as common. It happened to my friend's daughter here at work though, eventually, she couldn't eat anything until they removed her gb.

Definitely start a food diary if you can't remember everything you've been eating that causes the problems; write down when the problems are worse and when they are better. Keep track of anything that you legitimately try to 'solve' your problem; ergo, if a doc says take pill X for Y days, and you do it just like they say - even if it doesnt' solve the problem, and you are able, write it down. Keeping track of everything you do will make it way easier to pinpoint the problem and make it so you don't have to repeat trials of things doctors have already told you to do.

I hope you get your problem fixed soon!
posted by bitterkitten at 8:08 AM on November 27, 2012

Have you been tested for celiac disease? Sounds like you are going in the right direction - keep a very detailed food diary, and don't forget to include any seasonings, spices, oils, etc. that were cooked with the foods you are eating. You can work with a nutritionist to guide a proper elimination diet for you.

My situation was very much like ErikaB - I had nearly lifelong "stomach issues" that no doctor was ever able to diagnose. I did an elimination diet and it turned out gluten was the culprit. But definitely do have your gallbladder checked out and see if the specialist has any other suggestions.
posted by bedhead at 9:23 AM on November 27, 2012

Oh, I should have noted that Mr. 26.2 had already had his gallbladder removed a few years earlier. Had gallbladder still been a possible player, we'd have certainly ruled that out in the early going.

And yes, elimination diet sucks. I had to do it for months as a child and watching my husband do it was equally tough. BUT the reward of really knowing what the problem is can be huge. It really is worth the effort and boredom.
posted by 26.2 at 4:41 PM on November 27, 2012

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