the longer it takes to digest my food the more brain fog & exhaustion
February 16, 2015 8:17 AM   Subscribe

If I eat high fat protein a.m. I immediately am drained and sleep 2 hours. The longer it takes to digest food, the more brain dead I am and the more tired. I seem to always crave carbs and sugar/fruit but this makes me worse. I walk and tire easily. I get bad indigestion with fat. I am sooo constipated and hardly pee. It takes me all day to actually "wake up" and then I can eat OK and have energy. I have not been absorbing nutrients and have aged facially a lot. I am 65. I cannot lose weight. I get shivering attacks, feel "fluey" croaky voice. I do have gallstones and get pain in my right side. It feels as if everything is packing up slowly. I have fatty liver disease. In November all bloods were OK. including thyroid. I am not detoxing my drugs quick enough.

I am getting hypoclycaemia. If I eat too much bad fat and sugars I feel awful. My consultant has said all these symptoms are not due to my gallstones, so I am worried that my liver is worse as I have eaten a lot of cream cakes in the last months because I was depressed suddenly, off my food, lost interest in everything, couldn't read or watch tv. It all starts after eating. I have felt so down on eating I have been unable to keep appointments. I am on a lot of medication for depression too but I felt they had stopped working. Because bloods in November were fine and the GP in January could find no inflammation around my liver on physical examination my GP is angry I asked for more blood tests. He said it was not necessary. I have read that gallstones can affect your thyroid conversion of T4 to T3 in the liver. I kept telling him I had hypothyroidism symptoms despite tests showing normal. I react now to all foods even a milky coffee. I drunk soup one day I made myself for breakfast lunch and dinner and my abdomen was soooo swollen. I swell up on anything now. If I eat porridge I take the dog out and then my brain goes dead, cant think, talk, eyes go funny and soo weak and tired. I have just had a liver function test and haemoglobin testresults to come. I have also developed a cough.

Has anyone at all with gallstones had any of these problems?? Last bloods in November also said I am not diabetic only prediabetic. I am also getting chest pains. There must be something serious going on with me if the doc and consultant say these symptoms are not caused by gallstones. I am not yellow. I am at my wits end and if consultant is right then I must have a bad liver problem with reduced blood flow hence when I eat all the blood goes from my brain and body to aid in digestion? I really wanted to find out if this could all be caused by gallstones. I am waiting to have gallbladder removed.
posted by basten to Health & Fitness (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Have you seen a different doctor for a second opinion on what's going on with you?

I'm sorry that you're going through this.
posted by sockermom at 8:22 AM on February 16, 2015

I think you need a new doctor, stat.

Any one of those symptoms would be troubling but it sounds like your quality of life is shot right now. You need to find a doctor who takes your concerns seriously and you need to find one yesterday.
posted by lydhre at 8:22 AM on February 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

Agreed that you need to find a new doc to get a second opinion. I'm not a medical professional and so I'm not sure what the possible diagnosis would be, but I do know that these are all serious symptoms that should be treated as such by your doctor.
posted by rainbowbrite at 8:38 AM on February 16, 2015

No. Gallstones just cause pain when your gallbladder tries to digest fats.

Listen, I don't mean to be hard on you here, but a lot of the stuff you've written sounds like you're ignoring what your doctor is saying about your health and trying to find your own solutions on the internet. Stuff like having reduced blood flow to your liver and reduced T3 levels and so forth which have not been borne out on any objective testing.

Meanwhile, you admit that your diet has been terrible and that you have depression and feel that your meds aren't working. These things could play a lot into how you've been feeling.

I'm not saying there is nothing wrong with you or that your symptoms are all due to psychiatric issues, but I am saying that you're pretty focused on this liver thing for someone with normal liver tests whose doctor says they don't have a liver problem (i.e. inflammation, as gallstones don't explain your symptoms), and you need to have an open mind to the possibility that there could be other issues at play here. You definitely can try a different doctor if the original doc seems not to be helpful in trying to get to the bottom of your issues.

I am saying that anything you can do to try to look at lifestyle issues that might be contributing to your symptoms (eating a cream cake only diet, etc) is something you can do without medical tests or pills that is free to you and could potentially really help you feel better and more energetic. Best of luck.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 8:39 AM on February 16, 2015 [23 favorites]

You may not have actual gallstones, but you could have a gallbladder full of "sludge" (gunk that never formed an actual stone) or your gallbladder simply could not be functioning at an optimal level. There's a test that they do called a HIDA scan (I think) where you are injected with radioactive dye and then you lay there for about 2 hours and they trace the dye going through your liver and gallbladder. Then they trigger your gallbladder to empty and measure how completely it empties. My sister had symptoms that pointed to hypoglycemia (and she had lots of nausea) and that's what her GP focused on. One day she passed out cold, brother in law took her to another doctor, they did a HIDA scan and her gallbladder was functioning at about 15% so she had surgery the next day. She never had stones that were seen on the ultrasound, but she had chronic gallbladder disease.

Definitely find another doctor, maybe a gastroenterologist who can do the workup on your gallbladder and follow your fatty liver issues as well.
posted by MultiFaceted at 8:42 AM on February 16, 2015

I must have a bad liver problem with reduced blood flow hence when I eat all the blood goes from my brain and body to aid in digestion

This is not how the liver and the digestive process works. Make an appointment with a new doctor (or start keeping the appointments you already have) and in the meantime keep a journal to track everything you eat and drink along with your sleep habits.
posted by Bretley at 8:45 AM on February 16, 2015 [2 favorites]

To be clear, if you're eating a high fat/sugar/carb diet and getting no exercise. It's not surprising under these circumstances not to be able to lose weight, and doesn't necessarily indicate a thyroid problem (especially with normal thyroid testing). This also will exacerbate both gallstones and fatty liver disease, and is not a good idea for a pre diabetic. Seeing a nutritionist/dietician, if that's an option available to you, may be a good idea while you are awaiting further medical appointments and your gallbladder surgery.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 8:49 AM on February 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

Your symptoms do sound like my gallbladder issues. Especially the total lack of energy and brain fog. I feel awesome when I cut out carbs, flour, dairy, sugar and high fat. And I mean ALL flour and sugar and high fat. When I start a "detox" I tell myself that just for one day I will not eat any of those. And then I try to go another ONE day, etc. I eat a lot of eggs, chicken breast, roasted vegetables, salads, and salad dressing I make myself with olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic, and spices. I snack on raw veggies. Fruit ONCE a day to help with sugar cravings. Lots of little snacky meals. Nothing that isn't real food in it's most basic form. Nothing in a box, very little from a jar. I do avoid corn and beans, also. You do have to actually cook, so it takes some time, but the difference is pretty amazing.

Basically, it's a paleo diet, but without fatty meats. You sound so desperate to feel better, and I'm so sorry you're feeling so bad. Maybe try it for five days and see if there's any improvement.
posted by raisingsand at 8:58 AM on February 16, 2015 [7 favorites]

I have two recommendations:

1. Change your diet. This is going to sound really dumb, but check out the 20/20 Plan. It's a very spare program balancing lean protein, veggies, fruit and slow digesting carbs (hope you like lentils and chickpeas!) I've lost 11 pounds now. It's very fibrous so it should help with constipation. It helps a lot to pare down to a very fiber/lean diet when you're having digestive problems. An Elimination Diet would work too. Either of these would help pretty much ANY dietary issue, and would be a damn sight better than processed foods.

2. See other doctors. Clearly somethings going on. Probably nothing you think though.

You sound a bit frantic in your question, and a lot of what you're relating doesn't sound cohesive. You say you have fatty liver disease, but that you're still waiting for test results.

When you go to the doctor, please take someone with you. If you're feeling foggy and confused, having someone there to write down what you're told, to mention symptoms that you may forget to talk about, can be VERY helpful.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:15 AM on February 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

Please watch this documentary: Forks over Knives.

And try to understand how your diet plays a role in your health issues that can't be ignored. Then I recommend finding a doctor, as the doctors in this film, who treat their patients' in a much more comprehensive manner.

I've had fatigue issues and the bottom line is the more raw vegetables I eat the more energy I have. Raw vegetables digest the most quickly. But whatever you do, please see this film. It was made for people just like you, suffering multiple maladies.
posted by lillian.elmtree at 11:59 AM on February 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

Tiredness, constipation, only a little pee ... are you dehydrated?
posted by Kerasia at 12:08 PM on February 16, 2015

A doctor started me on thyroid supplements even though my tested level was okay. His reasoning was based on symptoms - dry skin, cold, constipation, low energy - and the supplement has few negative side effects. It was a huge success. A different doctor checked every medication I was taking, reviewed the need, interactions and side effects and changed them, to good effect. And at one point a medication I took for a chronic condition turned out to be making me pretty ill. You should also make sure you are adequately hydrated and getting enough sleep and probably consider vitamin D.

Get your doctor to review all meds, pay plenty of attention to gall bladder and thyroid, and be committed to investigating everything. That's the only thing that's been effective for me, and finding that doc is non-trivial but worthwhile.
posted by theora55 at 10:28 PM on February 16, 2015

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