Dr. Feel-Not-So-Good
February 26, 2019 1:11 PM   Subscribe

I know you are not my doctor!!!! However, my actual doctor is away and I'm not fond of the replacement. Does this constellation of stomach + head symptoms sound familiar? I want to know whether it's something I should get checked out right away, or if it's maybe not such a big deal and it can wait for the preferred doctor next week.

Here is what's going on. It all started Saturday night. We had a big, rich dinner at my parents' house. This is par for the course. But that night I woke up and felt ill with indigestion (and then couldn't sleep for 4 hours!). Since then, I have felt:

- a near constant "sick" feeling in my tummy/abdomen. Not heartburn or nausea....just that bloated, rotten feeling you get after a big or indulgent meal. Except that big meal was several days ago now and I've barely eaten much since.
- a near constant headache...often in the sinus region. Tylenol does not seem to be much of a match. Advil makes it a little bit manageable.
- fatigue. Over and above the fatigue that goes along with caring for an 8 month old

Some details:
- no vomiting or diarrhea
- bowel situation essentially normal
- not much appetite, but I do occasionally feel better after eating
- usual standby fixes like ginger tea not helping...in fact, I feel worse after drinking a cup of tea because it just feels like all this water is sloshing around inside me making me seasick
- I have no history of gastro problems, like IBS, GERD or lactose intolerance
- I can't really pinpoint which foods make it worse or which make it better....I had some soup that made me feel ill, yet a bowl of stew last night went down quite nicely! Perplexed!
- I know that one can rarely truly rule out pregnancy, but OH MY GOD I am not and cannot be pregnant
- I am, however, nursing!

Does this sound like anything? Or maybe just a weird, passing phase? Help me decide whether I can hold out for my family doctor/hope that it clears up by next week. Thank you infinitely!
posted by Mrs. Rattery to Health & Fitness (11 answers total)
This sounds like low-grade flu? Or possibly sinusitis; the post-nasal drip can cause low-grade nausea.

If you have a sinus headache, have you tried a sinus med instead of a headache med? The plain Sudafed you have to register as a meth dealer to get is the best OTC option. Please take some and see if it helps the whole thing.

But to answer your question: this is certainly not something that can't wait.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:18 PM on February 26, 2019 [1 favorite]

Have you tried taking an antacid just to see what happens? I find that acid reflux makes me feel rundown and sick when I get it when I'm not pregnant (when I'm pregnant acid reflux is more like the typical throat burning). In fact the whole "eating makes it better" thing reminds me most of my ulcer. One other relevant point, when you're pregnant your stomach releases less acid and more mucus which can make symptoms of ulcers actually go away.
Anyway if it were me I'd try taking a pepcid and seeing if anything improves.
posted by ch1x0r at 1:38 PM on February 26, 2019 [1 favorite]

YMMV, but I wonder if the headache is the source of the sick feeling rather than the other way around. Any history of migraines? They can last multiple days. Maybe something you ate triggered it?
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:40 PM on February 26, 2019

Sinus drainage can make me feel like that, particularly like you say it FEELS bad but everything seems to be working normally in the digestive department. I would take some pepcid and sudafed and see how that goes.
posted by Lyn Never at 1:42 PM on February 26, 2019

I know you say you really and truly cannot be pregnant, but I also really and truly cannot be pregnant but would still take a pregnancy test with these symptoms just in case. Because you are describing to a T my exact first trimester pregnancy symptoms.

On a completely separate track, what happens when you take indigestion or heartburn meds like pepto bismol* or tums? Do they help at all? If I could quell the symptoms with basic OTC meds, I'd lean more towards waiting till my doctor got back to town.

My only real thought here that would make me want to go to the doctor ASAP is the possibility that it could be appendicitis. But I have no idea what the symptoms of appendicitis are aside from stomach pain/nausea.

*I think pepto is technically contraindicated during breastfeeding? YMMV with what you're comfortable with on this.
posted by the milkman, the paper boy at 2:34 PM on February 26, 2019

Response by poster: Ok, interesting points! I have had a lot of sinusitis in my life, though it's never presented like this. I am a little hesitant to try Sudafed as I already have some low-level supply issues and I'm concerned that might mess further with my milk supply.

Forgot to mention I have tried some Pepto Bismol (although OOPS did not realize it was contraindicated for breastfeeding). It helped a little, but not much. Thank goodness since I shouldn't have been taking it anyway!

I guess I could also technically try a pregnancy test but that seems like a cosmic joke after many years of infertility. Though I guess I could for once look forward to a negative result!
posted by Mrs. Rattery at 3:12 PM on February 26, 2019

If not sudafed, would Mucinex/guaifenesin be okay? That at least tends to encourage it to exit the premises instead of just dripping forever.

I also sleep propped up for a few nights. Helps with drainage, helps prevent that awful sore throat you eventually get from it, and keeps it from settling in your chest.
posted by Lyn Never at 3:21 PM on February 26, 2019

I guess I could also technically try a pregnancy test but that seems like a cosmic joke after many years of infertility.

It's not impossible that your nursing mom hormones, or leftover pregnancy hormones, could have affected your fertility. If you've been having PIV sex you should definitely check, just to be sure.
posted by showbiz_liz at 4:03 PM on February 26, 2019

I would love an update here! My first thought, despite your caveat, was pregnancy as well.
posted by curtains at 8:36 PM on February 26, 2019

Response by poster: I would love an update here! My first thought, despite your caveat, was pregnancy as well.

I have never been so delighted to report that I am NOT pregnant! HUZZAH!

Still a medical mystery, but I'm so glad it's not THAT medical mystery. Off to the doctor, I guess...
posted by Mrs. Rattery at 6:04 AM on February 27, 2019 [2 favorites]

Could it be a gallbladder thing? My daughter is 9 months and my gallbladder was giving me pains, etc, and my gyno said it’s quite common.

Re:headache, I’m guessing dehydration. I’m also nursing and do not drink enough which sometimes ends in a headache.

Hope you figure it out soon!
posted by elisebeth at 10:39 AM on February 28, 2019

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