Migraine? Dehydration? Brain cancer?
November 7, 2018 2:31 PM   Subscribe

Monday, working at a warehouse, I did a new job and sweated a lot. I drank a good bit of water- at least 6 32 oz, maybe up to10. It probably wasn't enough, I felt thirsty a few times throughout the day. Now, Tuesday and Wednesday I've felt moderately nauseated, very headachy, thirsty, tired. Am I dying?

I ate beef, chicken, and beef, with like 3/4th of a pound of manchego cheese Monday. That's a pretty normal food amount for me, though I didn't eat quite as much as I usually do at work.

Took Tuesday off, and had Wednesday off.I'm still eating. Had at least a gallon of water yesterday (about the normal amount) and a 32oz gatoraid. Took 3 ondansetron for nausea (helped) and two sumatriptran for headaches (didn't really help) Tuesday. Am on spirolactone and estridol daily, both of which are direutics.

Same symptoms today. Same meds, no improvement. I don't think I've a fever, but also no thermometer. Been peeing clear every 2-4 hours since Monday. No diareah or vomiting (yet) though I've certainly thought about vomiting.

I've had similar issues before, but sleeping usually fixed it.

What do I have and what do I do? I know yall ain't doctors, etc. Do I need to go to a clinic? Emergency room? Just keep drinking water?

Thank you
posted by Jacen to Health & Fitness (17 answers total)
 
You sound like you have a mild virus. I would rest for a few days and if you don’t feel better, go see a doctor.
posted by amro at 2:33 PM on November 7


Your electrolytes may be out of whack. It sounds like you follow a low carb diet and you are on diuretics? Electrolyte imbalance is responsible for what is often called "keto flu". Even if you've been low carb for awhile, the diuretics plus sweating may be throwing things off. Try drinking some pickle juice and/or a sports drink like Powerade Zero.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 2:36 PM on November 7 [16 favorites]


Are you getting enough salt? Drinking water without getting enough electrolytes doesn't help you much. Be careful with potassium because of the spironilactone, but you may want to get a blood test to see if you're maintaining enough potassium given the increased exertion you're doing. I'd start by eating more salt to help you hold onto the water you're drinking.
posted by quince at 2:37 PM on November 7 [6 favorites]


there's a condition called water poisoning caused by the electrolyte imbalances
posted by XMLicious at 2:44 PM on November 7 [6 favorites]


3/4 lb of cheese is like 300g? That sounds a lot of cheese for a day, and I really like cheese! Perhaps try a more balanced diet until feeling better?
posted by JonB at 2:51 PM on November 7 [2 favorites]


If I were you I'd have a smoothie made with orange juice and banana and whatever other fruit you like, and a little bag of potato chips (pick a "natural" flavour without a ton of MSG- maybe plain Lays). I think you need electrolytes, so that'll give you some sodium and potassium in a decent but non-overwhelming amount.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 3:09 PM on November 7 [3 favorites]


Yeah, be careful with your water intake. Hyponatremia is no joke.
posted by eirias at 3:19 PM on November 7 [2 favorites]


Do you have a nurse helpline that you can call? Due to your meds, advice on what to eat or drink can be different. Maybe they could help you walk through your symptoms and decide if you need to go to an urgent care clinic or can wait to call your prescribing doc. No one here can say if it's a virus, dehydration, over-hydration, or side effects from your meds. If not, call your pdoc in the morning and speak to a nurse.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 3:46 PM on November 7


I’m going to amend this and suggest further that you think about the ER. I know everyone’s different but the amount of water you report drinking is kind of astonishing to me and the symptoms do sound like the thing that took my friend to the hospital briefly this summer (which was lack of sodium due to too much water and sweating and not enough salt). IANAD, IANYD, etc.
posted by eirias at 3:59 PM on November 7


I have a strong suspicion that I was accidentally super low carbing myself. Whoops. Ima mark this resolved for now. Tyvm!


I will, of course, be in contact with my doctor asap
posted by Jacen at 4:00 PM on November 7 [1 favorite]


The primary electrolyte your body uses is regular table salt, btw.

So sure Gatorade etc love to hype you on their ‘electrolytes’ but they are really selling simple salty sugar water, and a Vietnamese salty soda lemonade or a New England haymaker or switchel will all serve pretty much the same purpose.
posted by SaltySalticid at 4:09 PM on November 7 [3 favorites]


If you expect to be in this situation again, maybe get some electrolyte tablets from a sports store (or online). They have helped me a lot in headache and nausea prevention / treatment.
posted by amtho at 4:37 PM on November 7


3/4 lb of cheese?!!?! yipes.

hopefully you are feeling better now.

if that happens again, you may want to go to urgent care and see if they're give you an injection of toradol. once, i went to the er with a migraine and i got iv benadryl?!

anyway...i am not anywhere close to a doctor, but i am a definite migraine sufferer.

since you have a triptan and also zofran, i assume you're a regular migraine sufferer too. if you get them very frequently (like 12-15x a month i think?) ask your dr about aimovig! IT IS AMAZING! memail me if you want to know more.
posted by bookworm4125 at 5:49 PM on November 7


That's a lot of water! I'd pick up some Pedialyte (they make a blue Gatorade flavor) and drink some of that instead. If you are electrolyte imbalanced, that will fix you right up. It's far more concentrated/balanced than Gatorade.

Sumatriptan will not help once the migraine has started just FYI. You have to take it when you feel it onset, either right before or right after. It's not a pain reliever, it eases the blood vessels in your brain.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 8:26 AM on November 8


For perspective on how much water you drank; 32oz is a liter, so you drank 6-10 liters of water. I really recall this number being higher, but I'm seeing 90ml/kg listed as the LD50 for water. So that means if you're a 165 lb adult, that's 75 kg, or 6.75 liters of water. All of the cases I can find/remember that actually involve people dying usually occured with 12-14 liters of water.

Now, a big part of that LD50 for water is going to be having this in a short amount of time, along without ingesting other foods. The cheese definitely carried salt, and if the beef/chicken were "seasoned" they likely also had salt. However, while others mention that this is low-carb, I'll mention it looks to be high protein. Protein can be rough on the kidneys, especially if you're stressing them with water/electrolyte issues. Up to 2g/kg of body weight for daily protein intake is generally considered safe. If your daily calories are going from just meat and cheese you might be closer to 3-4g/kg, and/or not getting in enough calories.

If your urine starts becoming pink/red/brown definitely see a doctor. Don't play games with your kidneys.

One can get salt tabs or electrolyte tabs that aim to carry the same ratio of minerals lost through sweat if this is the new normal.

A bit of further perspective, if you genuinely sweat that much, your body might just be fscking exhausted. For ultrarunning events (6-10 hours for me) during warm weather (during which I'll be ingesting salt tabs along with drinking by thirst (between 0.5-1 liters per hour), recovering from such takes me *hours*. And during my recovery time, I'm drinking 0.5 l per 30 minutes, along with carbs and protein aimed to get me to 1.5g/kg over the day. The carbs are a very important part of that. "low-carb" endurance atheletes only do limited training at low-carb - they switch to high carb when doing 12-24 hours of running.

If you're new to this level of exertion, and not giving your body what it wants, you're going to keep feeling like crap. If you're expending the energy to sweat so much, you need carbs and enough calories. If you're sweating a lot, you need water and electrolytes. Drink to your thirst.
posted by nobeagle at 9:13 AM on November 8


Get yourself screened for diabetes. Excessive search is a classic sign.
posted by jessca84 at 2:16 PM on November 8


I’m not your doctor, but I managed to give myself water poisoning/mess up my electrolyte balance by doing nearly the same thing (heck of a lot of physical exertion, lots of sweating, all while I was trying to avoid calories from drinks (only water during the day, and a coffee in the morning because otherwise unable to function). It culminated in biking about 20km on various errands on the hottest day of the year.

A couple days later, nausea, dizziness, general weakness and a pleasant dose of “am I dying” nervousness got me to go to the hospital, which sounds like something maybe you should do, just in case. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much to do except drink sports drinks and lie on the sofa for about a week until the spinning and weakness passed.


Here in Japan, it’s pretty hot and humid, and every summer there are ads for salt supplements, and public health warnings about maintaining your salt intake. I think, with climate change, as places that didn’t used to be so hot and humid become sticky in summer, this is something more people are going to have to be careful about.
posted by Ghidorah at 2:16 AM on November 9


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