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Does anyone know what might be wrong with me?
Old 06-13-2008, 05:37 AM   #1
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Does anyone know what might be wrong with me?

I tried eating a vegan vegetarian diet after seeing a doctor that was a vegan about 13 years ago. I got sicker and sicker after eating vegetarian I started having diarrhea constantly and eventually felt like I had the flu all of the time and pretty much lost my sense of taste. After eating the vegetarian diet for months I lost the normal sensation of digestion and never regained it. It just feels like food never even hits my stomach it feels like it just falls right through. I have had all these symptoms and exhaustion and frequent urination for the last 12 years.


I'm very health conscience and I don't smoke drink or do drugs. I'm thin and I exercise as much as possible. My diet now is anything but vegetarian I eat no junk food and just chicken, salmon, eggs, nut and seed butters, steamed vegetables, fruits, and rice and oats. I even grow an organic vegetable garden.

I had a registered dietitian look at my diet and she thought it was really good.

My health has affected my whole life and I try as hard as I can but I just can not get back out of this.

I have seen a lot of doctors that just do nothing...I think it's because they really have no incentive to help me.

I have had a bunch of guesses from them that ended up being wrong that would take too long to go into here.

I think there are a lot of really smart people on this forum at least way smarter than me so I thought I would post my problem and see if there is something obvious that I'm just missing.

Thanks

Jim
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Old 06-13-2008, 07:18 AM   #2
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Wow, 13 years!! - What tests have they run? Could be one or more of a multitude of things I suppose. How about Chrohn's disease? Surely they've checked for that already, no?

I suspect any MD's subscribed here would be somewhat circumspect about trying to suggest a diagnosis over the internet (at least the ones in my family would be - but they're a little overly ethical sometimes IMO)

Tried eating a hearty steak? (Were you a veggie cause you love animals, or cause you hate plants? ) Sorry, I know it's serious -couldn't help just a little humor there
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Old 06-13-2008, 08:29 AM   #3
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I tried eating a vegan vegetarian diet after seeing a doctor that was a vegan about 13 years ago. I got sicker and sicker after eating vegetarian...
(1) Correlation is not causation
(2) The words 'vegetarian' and 'vegan' aren't too meaningful because they encompass a wide range of possible diets, some possibly 'healthier' than others.
(3) The human digestive system is extremely complex. There is no way that anyone could make even a tentative diagnosis with the info you've provided. You really need to see a specialist (you've probably already tried this).

If I were in your shoes, and wasn't in the mood to see another specialist, I would systematically eliminate certain foods and food components (e.g. gluten) and see if your condition improves.

FWIW, I've been vegan for 12 years, and had a full-spectrum blood test last year out of curiosity. I tested off-the-scale (on the low risk side) for a major killer of folks consuming the standard Western diet - atherosclerosis. Of course, most folks would rather take drugs and litter their circulatory systems with stents rather than give up their Big Macs.

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Old 06-13-2008, 08:37 AM   #4
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Summer, my best advice is to be extremely skeptical of anyone who claims they can give you a specific diagnosis over a message forum. There is nothing inherently unhealthy about a thoughtful vegan diet; indeed it is a very healthy diet to follow if done properly.

What I would share is that both physical and emotional problems can cause the symptoms you describe, often both at the same time. I think you should continue seeking a physician who is open to both possibilities (as you should be).
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Old 06-13-2008, 08:44 AM   #5
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Not being an MD I can say pretty much anything without a worry. Of course, it's totally useless too. But...

My digestive system has always tended toward "free flowing" shall we say. But through the years I've learned to keep the stomach filled with bacteria, as in drink cultured buttermilk and/or yogurt, with the slightest hint of a problem. I've also learned to stay out of restaurants when I can, those nasty bacteria tend to hang out there more than at home I've found.

But my problem is not chronic like yours. I suspect you may be suffering from something more complicated. I can't believe you've not found the problem after 13 years.
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Old 06-13-2008, 08:58 AM   #6
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My digestive system has always tended toward "free flowing" shall we say.
Which raises the question of whether you should change your forum account name...
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Old 06-13-2008, 09:03 AM   #7
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Of course, most folks would rather take drugs and litter their circulatory systems with stents rather than give up their Big Macs.
You are aware that Big Macs are delicious, correct?
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Old 06-13-2008, 09:10 AM   #8
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Which raises the question of whether you should change your forum account name...
eh, does anyone know how to get coffee out of a laptop keyboard? Rich's response made me laugh so hard, I just spilled my coffee.
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Old 06-13-2008, 09:22 AM   #9
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Which raises the question of whether you should change your forum account name...

Great one Rich....
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Old 06-13-2008, 09:57 AM   #10
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Sounds to me like you need to go see a gastro doc. Just like any other food intake option, there's good vegan and bad vegan. Good vegan means making sure you get a balanced diet of grains and legumes and taking B12 supplements. Bad vegan means munching on whatever is stuck in your gutters and calling it good.

The doc may order tests to determine if you're suffering from any number of fun issues. IBS, celiac, colitis, Chron's, ulcers, anemia, parasite infections... any of those could be causing you issues.

My wife went through a year of hell that ended with 'we don't know so we'll call it IBS'. We think it was triggered by going on amoxicillin and then not working to build up the good bacteria in her gut afterwards. In her case, high fat foods are a trigger and avoiding those has let her pretty much recover three years later.
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Old 06-13-2008, 11:36 AM   #11
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I had numerous gastro problems like Gerd-hiatel hernia and the like. I am a vegan at heart and used it as a way to help-but things only got worse. Especially when I ate oats which is supposed to be for your stomach health.

I switched to the cave man or Paleo diet (being a big believer in evolution) (A book is available by Loren Cordain if you're interested) and I healed in a week. Not only did I heal my stomach, my stamina increased, joint aches healed, I need less sleep, fewer of those black spot in my field of vision, coordination increased, memory increased, leg aches from standing on concrete (at my old job) disappeared, reading vision improved, sinuses cleared, lower back pain disappeared...I can go on and on.

Good luck and good health.
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Old 06-13-2008, 01:07 PM   #12
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Sorry summer, sounds exhausting to go through it for so many years.

I've had terrible digestion/indigestion for about as many years myself. And I understand the drain of trying to get a diagnosis - no luck for me so far either.

I have found for my indigestion that trying not to overeat, not drinking water with food and eating enzyme loaded foods (like pineapple, or drinking ginger beer) help a lot.

A lot of indigestion is diagnosed as heartburn, ibs or other over-acid related things - and i was prescribed prevacid to lower my acid - when in fact I have low-acid and not reduce my acid! so lemon juice, pineapple etc help me digest, not give me more pain.

They always suggest you keep a food journal but i'm too lazy for that level of detail - but may help you get a handle to see if certain foods are causing the problem. I actually have pain associated with the indigestion too - and i feel tired when it happens because i don't digest a meal for 4-12 hours sometimes and in pain the whole time and my body's not getting the nutrition.

you could also try "blending" your food to help with the digestion and nutrient absorbing ratio...

but definitely keep pursuing other doctors and avenues as it seems yours could be related to many more complicated "issues".

good luck to you!
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Old 06-13-2008, 01:24 PM   #13
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Try a food journal along with subtracting/adding various foods. I've been looking for foods that increase my energy. I'm still collecting data.

However, I was able to notice that my major stomach problem, pain while lying horizontal in bed, went away when I eliminated the cinnamon gum I was chewing to clean my teeth after meals. I switched from sugar-free to sugar based cinnamon with no effect and then fixed it when I switched to a fruit flavor of the same sugar-free brand of gum. A weird but welcome result of the food journal.

Dan
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Old 06-13-2008, 03:04 PM   #14
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Summer, my best advice is to be extremely skeptical of anyone who claims they can give you a specific diagnosis over a message forum. There is nothing inherently unhealthy about a thoughtful vegan diet; indeed it is a very healthy diet to follow if done properly.

What I would share is that both physical and emotional problems can cause the symptoms you describe, often both at the same time. I think you should continue seeking a physician who is open to both possibilities (as you should be).
Rich's advice is right on. Go to the best doctor you can find and get a second opinion if needed. I would also suggest starting out with a good general practitioner who can refer you to a specialist if necessary.
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Old 06-13-2008, 05:02 PM   #15
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Have you tried an accupuncturist? I know that sounds weird, but the guy that I went to (resolved some chronic hip pain) uses the Chinese 5 element approach and it's partly diet-centric. I've been eating vegan for several years (with no problems) and had read quite a bit about nutrition, but the food "categories" for chinese medicine are very different from western categories.
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Old 06-14-2008, 01:32 AM   #16
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Wow thanks everyone!

I ate the vegetarian diet because I thought it would be healthier to do so after seeing a doctor that was a vegetarian and talked about it over and over and over. I'm not an animal rights person (actually I care about humans more than any other life form!) So I just are that way because I thought it was more healthy.

My vegan diet consisted of rice, peas, beans, nut butters, fruit and vegetables and fruit and vegetable juices.

If I had to list the #1 mistake of my entire life (besides being born!) it would probably be eating this diet.

No offense to people who eat vegetarian for whatever reason...I know some people feel VERY strongly about it. But I tried it and it was like a suicide diet for me and I have not been right since I ate that way.

I'm not looking for a diagnoses from anyone. I have learned so much from talking with people and interacting with people on the internet. You never know when there just might be someone that can say something that might really help you out. In business and in some hobbies I shared a few things with people that really made a difference for them and some have done the same for me. I'm not looking to get medical advice on here just thought someone might say "you might want to look into this...or that sounds like this". And then you might get well!


I spent over 3 years being treated by a doctor for "systemic candidasis" which is supposed to be a an infection of your gastrointestinal tract by a fungal infection. At first I got a little better but was not improving and I saw other doctors that ran a bunch of blood, stool, and antibody tests and said I don't have this condition and never had it! And yes this doctor was a quack and yes I know this is malpractice and I know I should have sued big time. But I didn't ..I have never sued anyone yet.

I ended up really really sick shortly after this and went to see a doctor that took my blood pressure and it was like 70/50 and after some tests I was put on cortisol because my adrenal glands were under functioning really badly. It got me out of what was like total disability and I thought that that must have been my big problem but I guess it was just part of the problem. This doctor is a great guy but just can not get me well it seems.

As far as IBS goes I always took it for a given. I have had so many doctors say that I have it but I think it's another part of a bigger problem.

I am about as anti drug as you can get. Bright eyed sounds like my experience with medical and drugs!

I was put on zantac and I was so constipated that I was in serious pain from this trash! I would like to get out of this illness without drugs but I will take them if they are really necessary and if I can see the reason why I need to take them...not just because the drug dealers left samples to give out at my local HMO office!

I never tried acupuncture but I did try a allergy elimination technique that uses acupressure and chiropractic techniques. It was used on me because I'm at least very sensitive to wheat and I guess gluten. No offense to anyone that has used this and been helped by it but for me it was a total waste. I can't even come close to eating wheat and this treatment is total quackery I think. There is nothing but a few testimonials to prove it works..no actual studies...because it does NOT work I guess!


And I too go through periods of time without eating to calm my guts down and I can only eat so much also. I can go 24-48 hours at times without food if I get sick.

The good news is it really does keep you thin!!!

My main symptom now is exhaustion though. Right now I cut about 2 acres of grass with a 21 inch mower a week and that accounts for some of it I'm sure but it's not normal to feel this exhausted at my age and for as well as I take care of myself.

I constantly feel like I have a low grade infection..like when you are on the 4th day of having a cold..that numb-like feeling. And my food never feels like it digests normally...this started 12-13 years ago and has never returned to normal. I have explained this to so many doctors and none know what it is!



Jim
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Old 06-14-2008, 04:04 AM   #17
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Have you ever tried a gluten-free diet? A lady at work who had many of the symptoms you describe totally turned her health around after over 10 years of problems when she finally figured out she was unable to digest gluten. Seems like that would be something doctors would check very early in the process by just taking gluten out of the diet (totally non-invasive) but no one thought of it until she had been through over 10 years of health problems and half a dozen colonoscopies. She was always tired and weak with digestive problems but now she is looking and feeling great. She feels the old effects if she cheats and eats anything conataining gluten but at least it's her choice and she knows what to expect.
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Old 06-14-2008, 05:57 AM   #18
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Looks like Jim is already pretty much gluten free, if he's not eating wheat products. However, you do have to check the labels of things.

One thing you may want to ask your doc about is a fiber supplement like metamucil, psyllium. I know it is normally considered a laxative, but it is also a fiber supplement and is supposed to be "bulk forming"...which would mean it sucks up the liquid so that things come out solid (but soft) rather than either hard as in constipated or runny as in diarrhea.

But, what do I know...I'm not a doc. I feel for you though.

R
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Old 06-14-2008, 11:33 AM   #19
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Which raises the question of whether you should change your forum account name...
LOL... Hadn't thought about it that way. Perhaps you're right. How about LooseAsAGoosePennyPincher?Nah, too long.
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Old 06-19-2008, 02:48 PM   #20
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You ever been tested for Crohn's disease
Crohn’s Disease
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