G/I problems.........

catherinetJanuary 4, 2002

I'm going through one hell of a time. As I mentioned somewhere here recently, I have Fibromyalgia and am 52 and have been in perimenopause for about 3-4 years. I recently started back up on my estrogen/Progesterone patch because I was getting tons more headaches and feeling awful. Also.....my G/I tract has gone crazy. I realize that G/I problems are a big part of Fibromyalgia, and also I think my gut is shot because I might have a wheat problem, but have any of the rest of you in perimenopause had a G/I tract that went crazy? I blow up like a blimp, belch constantly, feel like my abdomen is tight as a drum, and have hyperactive bowel sounds that never quit. I'm also getting alot of anxiety and panic. How's everyone's guts doing during this cruel time of life?

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Hi Catherine,
Several years ago I was diognosed with acid reflux syndrome.
tried all of the perscription meds for it and did`nt
tolerat them very well, I finally went to a herb shop
and the lady there recommened that I take liquid marshmellow
as long as I take it everyday and watch my diet I do pretty
Hope this helps some.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2002 at 7:21PM
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Thanks Gardenpaw,
Someone recently told me that what helped her and her husband's G/I problems was to take a special type of licorice root. I ran out and got some today, and just about gagged on it! It's the most horrible stuff I've ever had in my mouth. How's the marshmellow taste? I was hoping you meant the big, puffy, white marshmallows!! ;) Thanks again.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2002 at 7:41PM
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Hi Catherine,
The marshmellow is`nt to bad it has just a touch of alcohol
in it, I usually put about 8 drops in a little milk and
take it that way but you can put it in juice or what ever
you like.
I order the marshmellow from The Vitamin shoppe in NJ.
I just looked and they have a web-site it`s
or there number is 1-800-223-1216
I can get it at a lower price from them then I was getting
at the herb store.
Do you get very much fiber in your diet?
Sometimes that helps too, but I could`nt do with out the
liquid marshmellow so you might give it a try.
Yes, that would be great if it was the big fluffy white

    Bookmark   January 4, 2002 at 10:18PM
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Catherine, you are describing the classic symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. The cause is unknown and there are various treatments to try. I have it and was in the same misery with it as you are. I've discovered there is definitely a psychological component to flare ups, also for me too much raw veggies and wheat tend to aggrevate it. You have to discover your own triggers and try to avoid them. You may need the help of a doctor or alternative medicine practitioner to get things comfortable again. I do believe there is more than one contributing factor to my own condition. It started right after surgery for removal of my gall bladder and I think the constant drip of bile is one contributing factor even though my doctor says it can't be. Soon after that the perimenopause woes started and I think that is also contributing to my bowel condition. At any rate. It is under pretty stable control now and has been for a few years. Don't give up trying to find a solution. I believe I'll check out that marshmallow herb the next time I'm at the herb store

    Bookmark   January 5, 2002 at 9:04AM
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Thanks Gardenpaw and anifani4,
I have had bowel problems ever since my FMS started, and the doc said it was IBS....but it's so strange. I'm almost to the point that I'm willing to try giving up wheat......but it's going to be really hard, since I love bread, pasta, etc. Some folks have suggested celiac disease.....but I always thought that disease was much worse than what I have. I have recently bought the book "Protein Power Lifeplan" that talks about how modern man just shouldn't be eating grains, and alot of us have problems. I guess if (in their opinions), you have a real problem with grains, your G/I tract really loses alot of it's immune defense, and you end up with lots of other problems. Too bad I have such an unhealthy need for some foods. Sometimes I eat even when I know it's going to cause problems........... Hmmmmmm.....in my next life, I'm just going to have a perfect system. One that never knows what a headache feels like, and only burps if I drink a carbonated beverage too fast! ;) Thanks for your suggestions!

    Bookmark   January 5, 2002 at 9:49AM
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I just have to chime in on this one. I went through a period last year at this time where I had all of the symptoms you describe. I had so much flatulence, that I felt like the Good Year blimp. This was unusual for me. I finally figured out what the problems were. In my case, I found out that taking ibuprofen, alleve or vioxx for a few days caused a problem. Then I realized that the vitamins and herbs I was taking, Ginko Biloba and St. John's Wort, and even my multivitamin which contained some herbs, were contributing. I stopped taking the herbs and switched vitamins and voila, no more problem. Could it be you are taking herbs of some type in capsule form?

I have taken licorice root in capsule form with no problem. I went to an MD who practices both traditional and alternative medicine. He recommended Licorice root to me because it helps with chronic fatigue syndrome. But you shouldn't take it if you have high blood pressure. Since it has estrogenic properties it may also help help with hot flashes. It is commonly used for stomach and bowel problems. I did not have any problems with the licorice root. Here's something else that I have found very helpful with the gut problem, fennel. I got some fennel tea at our local health food store and found it very helpful for the gas problem. It really doesn't taste bad either. At any rate, I seldom have the gut problem any more except for the week of my period. You will never convince me that hormones
don't play a role in gut problems. Also, there is a little book I have found helpful it is called: "The Only Menopause Guide You'll Need" by Michele Moore, MD. published by Johns Hopkins Press. It's a small book, not very detailed, but informative. She discusses both traditional and holistic treatments for menopause. She notes that many women have "tricky gut" during menopause. Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2002 at 12:06PM
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Thanks lablady, I appreciate all your suggestions. The only supplements I take are B12 sublingual, B complex, and sometimes acidophilus. Some folks think I might have too low acid in my stomach......but whenever I start my Aciphex (which is a proton pump inhibitor to really decrease your stomach acid), many of my symptoms go away. I was just trying to get away from the Aciphex. It really reduces the acid....but then you run the risk of not adequately absorbing your vitamins. Thanks again lablady!

    Bookmark   January 5, 2002 at 1:39PM
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Catherine, I really feel for you, you seem to be having a horrendous time. I would really consider carefully the wheat issue - I became concerned some years ago about the amount of wheat I was ingesting on a daily basis. Not so much because of bread/biscuits etc., which I would term 'up-front wheat', but because so many other products in the UK contained wheatflour - soup, sandwich spread, sausages, you name it, it had wheat in it. So I cut it out, with difficulty I might add, and found that my digestion was hugely better. My husband has also had excellent improvement from non-wheat eating. In fact, it turned out that he was the most sensitive to it, as I can now eat small amounts with no ill effects, but he has only to eat a tiny bit to be immediately filled with gas! I will draw a curtain over this! I think that if I had not de-wheated prior to going into peri-menopause, I would probably have associated my digestive problems with the meno thing.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2002 at 2:45PM
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Hi, I just came off of a horrible spell with my GI tract. After about four months of pain that woke me up at night, I figured out that it corresponds to my PMS - it gets worse at that time.

For treatment I took 20 mg of Aciphex in the morning and 20 mg at nite. My doc doubled the prescription when 20 did not help.

Per doc advice, I avoided the seven deadly stomach killers - caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, chocolate, mint, citrus, and dairy products (if you are sensitive to the latter). It didn't really help much.

I had an upper endoscopy which showed nothing. Then I had an ultrasound of my gall bladder and it was not that either (!!)

I think what helped me was a combination of taking the aciphex, and also I started taking prometrium on the fourteenth day after my period. My stomach isn't perfect now, but the Prometrium seems to have stopped the worst symptoms cold.

A note on the Aciphex. My gastroenterologist severely lectured me that it does NOT inhibit absorption of any vitamins or minerals. I ended up having to ask her, because I had to take iron (yeah that was fun, on top of the GI problems)and for a while I stopped the Aciphex because I thought it would prevent me from getting iron. When my doctor found out - because I was still having problems and she asked if I was taking Aciphex regularly - she read me the riot act (nicely).

    Bookmark   January 17, 2002 at 3:40AM
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Thanks Deerpath........we sound like twins! I will try to keep track if my worst G/I episodes occur around my periods.... I know my headaches start 2-3 days before and last about 7 days afterwards. About the aciphex and vitamins..........I get Soooooooo frustrated. Conventional docs have beliefs on one end of the continuum, and alternative medicine docs are on the other end. I just don't know what to believe about the issue. I do know that the literature says that if you use it for 5-10 years, you can start becoming deficient in the B vitamins.
I have sort of run into a glitch, though. The aciphex really calms down my G/I tract, (even seems to work on my dizziness and nausea) but it seems to be making my peripheral neuropathy worse (my legs and arms buzz all the time).......So......I guess I'll have to decide the lesser of 2 evils........do I want A) my G/I tract to gurgle/hiss/ping/clang/rumble, and nauseate me, or B)do I want my legs and arms to buzz to beat the band?? Sure wish there was a "C).....None of the above"!!
Good luck with your G/I tract Deerpath!

    Bookmark   January 17, 2002 at 11:10AM
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Although I don't having the bleching problem, I use to have the other problem...then I switched my multi vitamin and began taking my calcium at night before bed and no more gas.
I was taking My Favorite multi by Natrol and it was just too much for my system to tolerate. I had t take 6 pills a day! Now I take only one multi Iron Free Solar multi and now more problems. Take care Les

    Bookmark   January 18, 2002 at 3:11PM
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Hey Leslie, like you I found out the herbs and vitamins that I was taking to make me feel better, caused a different kind of problem. At first I thought I had lactose intolerance, however, limiting dairy products didn't seem to help. In my case the culprit was "Nature's Plus" vitamins, great product, but more than I can tolerate. I have a similar problem when I take Ginko Biloba and St. John's Wort. My problem was resovled when I switched to a different brand of vitamin and stopped taking herbs in capsule form. Now I use herbal teas and extracts. I think it also helps to take Calcium citrate instead of calcium carbonate, which can contribute to gas formation. I hope this info helps someone else who might he having a similar problem.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2002 at 12:48AM
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I thought I was going crazy. I had such a time with gas and working 10 hours a day was difficult..if you know what I mean
I guess vitamins and minerals are good for you, BUT you have to find out which ones will not affect your system.
I have to say it was just horrible and I will never go back to that brand. It is a very good name in vitamins, but not for me....................now I am practically (LOL)
free from gas. Leslie.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2002 at 8:17AM
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Hmmmmmmmm......I never thought about my vitamins causing gas. I know that with my old "Centrum Silver" vitamin, and sometimes with calcium carbonate and even Vitamin C, I would get nauseous. I'm going to start keeping tract of the vitamins and maybe even skip them a few days to see if things calm down on those days. Thanks for the suggstions!

    Bookmark   January 19, 2002 at 5:12PM
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Hi Catherine
That's how I figured it was the Vitamins I was taking!@
I stopped for a day and no gas at all..............then back
on it and watch out! At Christmas I stopped all vitamins for two weeks and was fine. So I threw out my Multi by Natrol, bought another brand and bough separate calcium...all the vitamins were included in Natrol and I believe that I just could not tolerate it. Now I am fine. Multi, vitamin B, vitamin E in am after breakfast and then my two calcium pills before I go to bed. Try it out...it may help you out. Les

    Bookmark   January 20, 2002 at 7:45AM
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