Single sided nausea?
July 7, 2019 11:28 AM   Subscribe

So, I have this PTSD thing going on with a lot of presentation of physical symptoms when it's bad. Part of those symptoms are nausea and vomiting. One particular thing that I have a question about is... I'm a side sleeper. When my symptoms are being bad and I'm lying on my left side to sleep I'm fine but if I change to be on my right side I'll be up and vomiting within 60 seconds. This doesn't happen if I'm not having nausea as part of my expressed symptoms but does happen about 99% of the time when I am. Is this indicating something I should have investigated (like a known symptom of a disease) or is this just part of the annoying raft of symptoms that my PTSD is presenting?
posted by hippybear to Health & Fitness (19 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
So can't really answer this except that I have recently found a whole lot of advice for pregnant women to sleep on their left side due to blood flow or something like that. I wonder if somehow this is related? Not the pregnancy thing but the blood flow.
posted by KMoney at 11:32 AM on July 7, 2019

Not PTSD - but this happens to me as well as a symptom of GERD.
posted by Sassyfras at 11:33 AM on July 7, 2019 [13 favorites]

I have friends with similar symptoms from severe heartburn.
posted by sallybrown at 11:34 AM on July 7, 2019 [1 favorite]

Do you also have dizziness? I'm wondering if you have some inner ear physical problems, that are subtle, on one side.
posted by cobaltnine at 11:36 AM on July 7, 2019 [2 favorites]

I had GERD and I would get nauseous when I was on my right side, but not on my left.
posted by kathrynm at 11:44 AM on July 7, 2019 [2 favorites]

I get one-sided nausea with dizziness on occasion from BPPV (basically inner-ear related vertigo). Actually it's almost always sort of there if I lie on my right side, just sometimes it's barely noticeable and sometimes it's "the bed is rocking like a small boat on rough seas." BPPV is no big deal, just annoying (potentially dangerous if it comes on suddenly while you're driving or something, but nothing close to that has ever happened to me).
posted by mskyle at 11:50 AM on July 7, 2019 [2 favorites]

I also have PTSD, GERD, vertigo, a whole mess of things. My guess would be that it's not directly related to the PTSD but a condition that is exacerbated by PTSD (for me, both GERD and vertigo). I take prescription strength omeparazole twice a day for GERD, and when the vertigo acts up, antihistamines help.
posted by mermaidcafe at 12:15 PM on July 7, 2019

Dittoing the vertigo/BPPV thought; particularly if there's a sense of vertigo or dizziness that comes with the change of position that's really worth at least exploring to eliminate from the list of possibilities because (a) BPPV is pretty intensely unpleasant and (b) BPPV is also surprisingly easy most of the time to treat with some simple "sit down, lay down, roll over, sit up" exercises.
posted by cortex at 12:16 PM on July 7, 2019 [1 favorite]

I don't have dizziness or vertigo in any way that would be related to this. I do have unsteadiness on my feet when my symptoms are bad but that's not because of being dizzy or having vertigo, it's seems to be related to hormone influx related to panic disorder. Being in bed does not cause me to be dizzy or cause the bed to feel like it's a boat on a rough sea. I roll over, I feel this "thing" in my stomach within a minute, and I'm up heading to the toilet to vomit.
posted by hippybear at 12:30 PM on July 7, 2019

It’s an anatomy thing. Stomach is on your left. As to why stomach up triggers the vomiting and stomach down doesn’t, I can’t say.
posted by ocherdraco at 12:35 PM on July 7, 2019 [4 favorites]

This is a common side effect of reflux or gastritis.
posted by smoke at 2:15 PM on July 7, 2019

If you've had vomiting as a problem for awhile, you can have caused some physical damage that is the exact same that acid reflux causes, which can make symptoms worse over time. If your not already treating heartburn/acid reflux now might be a good time to start.

My PTSD didn't really present with nausea and vomiting. I did have a phase with increased nausia and vomiting that i was told was likely PTSD related. I was taking NSAIDS for an unrelated and at the time untreated condition which really messed me up and caused the symptoms and wieghtloss until somebody put it together and i stopped taking so much. I think it's worth getting things ruled out before blaming the PTSD unless there is a very obvious trigger.
posted by AlexiaSky at 2:24 PM on July 7, 2019 [3 favorites]

Not PTSD - but this happens to me as well as a symptom of GERD.

Yeah same here. If my weight gets above 185 I cannot sleep on my left side without terrible indigestion/heartburn. It's pretty good motivation for me to keep my weight down except the sleep disruption tends to make me hungry as hell.
posted by srboisvert at 3:14 PM on July 7, 2019 [1 favorite]

Heartburn/GERD/acid reflux -- you might see if it still happens if your head is elevated (sleep on an extra pillow or two, or use foam wedge, or even raise the head of the bed).
posted by Iris Gambol at 3:16 PM on July 7, 2019

The foam wedge that I finally tracked down at Wal-Mart is a game-changer. It comes with a washable zippered white cover, but I wrap mine in a fitted sheet. This plus several regular pillows (head pillow, knee pillow, hugger pillow, etc.) have kept the "sudden jolt out of bed -- stumble to the toilet" moments at bay.
Adding a second wedge pillow didn't do a thing for me.

My sweet husband is having another occurrence of BPPV, so I will be helping him do the canalith repositioning procedure later today. My advise -- if this is your problem, it may go away on its own. But a month is too long to wait to see an audiologist. He was miserable, and the procedure to fix it is simple.
If lying back with your head at a 45-degree angle makes you dizzy and an observer notes that your eyes are twitching wildly for 30 to 60 seconds, that apparently is the diagnosis.
Good luck!
posted by TrishaU at 4:53 PM on July 7, 2019

You should have an ENT look at your throat. You might have a cyst or something right against the place where your vag reflex originates. It is one sided because it is on that side. I would check that out. I have some sudden postural nausea from tilting my head back at a certain angle, or leaning my head back sometimes when sitting in my tall back desk chair. It is middle ear or leftover from a head injury.

Yours sounds physically particular to where your gag reflex originates.
posted by Oyéah at 7:54 PM on July 7, 2019

It's literally not gag reflex related. It's something deeper in my system, I roll over and I get nauseated. It's not, I roll over, and I gag and have to puke. Unless "gag reflex" has a meaning I don't understand, which I'm pretty sure it doesn't.
posted by hippybear at 8:57 PM on July 7, 2019

The advice to sleep on your left side in pregnancy is linked to reducing reflux. I agree this is something to do with the asymmetric anatomy of the stomach that causes more reflux on your right side.

I think it is purely a gravity issue - your oesophagus bends to the left to go into your stomach. If you lie on your left it would have to flow uphill to exit the stomach. On your right it is downhill.
posted by kadia_a at 12:38 AM on July 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

It's an anatomy thing

Yep I get this, and I'm 99% sure it's because when sleeping on my left side the stomach's "tubes" are on the top, and on the right they're, well, not on the bottom per se, but oriented downwards and ready to aid stomach acid dripping into places it should not go.
posted by rhizome at 8:15 AM on July 8, 2019

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