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Old 11-22-2003, 05:37 PM   #1
peejee
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The Brain/Gut axis and the Vagus Nerve?

Hi everyone,

This is my first time posting on this page and I was wondering if anyone could help me. Any input would be greatly appreciated.

After nearly a year of abdominal pain, nausea, weight loss (2,5st/35lbs), early fullness when eating and loss of appetite and a whole catologue of exploratory tests of the stomach and digestive system I have been diagnosed with a relatively rare and largely unknown stomach dissorder called Gastroparesis.

Gastroparesis is nerve damage causing the stomach to slow down, or stop altogether, its contractions. The stomach usually contracts 3 times per minute to break down food and move it into the intestines. Due to damage to the Vagus Nerve the stomach these contractions are affected leading to the incredibly debilatating symptoms given above.

I am 21 and for some reason (the doctors say idiopathic) my stomach's contractions have stopped working properly. I have had to leave University, which I loved, and I never leave the house anymore due to the symptoms of my Gastroparesis. I have a tube in my nose which is used to provide nutrition in liquid form as I almost always struggle to eat solid food. I have gone from a healthy, life loving young man to a tired, ill-looking, angry, rundown person.

Gastroparesis is a poorly researched and largely unknown dissorder and due to this there is no real treatment for the problem. The advice from my Gastric dissorders is "get on with your life and it could go away by itself" . This statement frightens and angers me and it now appears it is upto me to learn about my problem and get myself well again.

So my questions are: With this problem being a direct result of damage to the vagus nerve can someone tell me about the vagus nerve and if there are an treatments for damage to it? Also, does anyone know anything about the brain's/nervous system's relation to problems to the stomach (the brain gut axis)? And how does one go about calming an overactive parasympathetic nervous system as I believe this could be a big part of my problem.

Again, any help is greatly appreciated. God bless all of you out there with problems and thank-you for reading.

 
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Old 11-25-2003, 05:40 AM   #2
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Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: NY
Posts: 245
sgt207 HB User
Re: The Brain/Gut axis and the Vagus Nerve?

I don't know if this will help but:
I was on zoloft for 5 years for posttraumatic stress - I stopped it this summer.
Within 2 weeks I began to suffer from a severe stomach slowdown, etc. After two months I lost 30 pounds and couldn't eat. The d0ctor re-started me on a low dose of zoloft [4mg's] and within a week I was able to eat again. It seems that the serotonin in the stomach was affected by my stopping the med. It also seems to reason that serotonin may be involved in the stomach motility process --- the medical community is starting to research this.

 
Old 11-25-2003, 01:51 PM   #3
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Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 48
Gingerly HB User
Re: The Brain/Gut axis and the Vagus Nerve?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sgt207
I don't know if this will help but:
I was on zoloft for 5 years for posttraumatic stress - I stopped it this summer.
Within 2 weeks I began to suffer from a severe stomach slowdown, etc. After two months I lost 30 pounds and couldn't eat. The d0ctor re-started me on a low dose of zoloft [4mg's] and within a week I was able to eat again. It seems that the serotonin in the stomach was affected by my stopping the med. It also seems to reason that serotonin may be involved in the stomach motility process --- the medical community is starting to research this.
Hi, I have gastroparesis also!! I also have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and fibromyalgia. They all started at exactly the same time. I am going to Cedar Sinai Hospital Motility Specialist in Los Angeles for some answers. There are procedures that they can do to help with Gastroparesis. They can do a surgery to open your stomach up a little bit more so food can pass through. They can also implant you with a stimulator that will stimulate your stomach to process food. Hasn't your doctor had you on Reglan for this? Also, eyrthromycin helped me a great deal for about four months. Reglan will push the food down for you. You take the pill about an hour before you eat anyting. Do you also have food allergies now? I cannot eat hardly anything at all. But with taking the medicine I can eat little bits of soft foods. This will not go away on its on. I am curious too about how the vagus nerve in me was damaged. I haven't had any stomach surgery, and the only thing I can think of that may have caused this is chewing Wrigley's Extra gum which contains Aspartame - a neurotoxin. Aspartame has methanol in it (as in gasoline), which turns into formaldehyde in your body. It is found in many many products, such as gum, flavored waters, diet coke, etc. You must be a label watcher from now on. Also, gastroparesis is also caused by an infection and diabetics have gastroparesis. I am on Reglan and Prylosec (spelling?) now, and it seems to help with the pain and that awful feeling like a cantelope is in your stomach. Also, the drug Neruotin is a drug used for nerve pain. I take that also. And I take Ativan to help with nerve pain, and it works!! Once you are on some medications for this you should be able to eat a little something throughout the day. Hope this helps!
Regards,
Gingerly

 
Old 11-26-2003, 07:14 AM   #4
peejee
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Posts: n/a
Re: The Brain/Gut axis and the Vagus Nerve?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sgt207
I don't know if this will help but:
I was on zoloft for 5 years for posttraumatic stress - I stopped it this summer.
Within 2 weeks I began to suffer from a severe stomach slowdown, etc. After two months I lost 30 pounds and couldn't eat. The d0ctor re-started me on a low dose of zoloft [4mg's] and within a week I was able to eat again. It seems that the serotonin in the stomach was affected by my stopping the med. It also seems to reason that serotonin may be involved in the stomach motility process --- the medical community is starting to research this.
Hi, thanx for your very interesting reply. I have had this problem for a year now and it is pure hell. When you can't eat (I used to really love my food) you realise how much you take for granted and although there are people with far worse problem than this, Gastroparesis is such an incredibly debilitating problem. My life has been turned upside down and my head is constantly clouded with worry and dreams of feeling fit and well again.

You're post is very helpful in that after months of being told there is nothing that can to cure this problem I am exploring the theory that stress could've caused this problem and I must tackle this and hope that is the key. The fact that you were suffering from posttraumatic stress (so sorry) and your seratonin levels were affected after coming off the Zoloft is very interesting.

I am going to see a neuro-enterologist soon who is one of the few people in this country who knows and has experience of Gastroparesis and who believes the key to this problem is the brain/gut axis.

I believe people are making the mistake in thinking this is a gastric problem and approaching it from this perspective. It is a neurological problem that just happens to affect the stomach and should be tackled as such.

Thank-you for your help!

 
Old 11-28-2003, 11:21 AM   #5
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Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Brookpark, OH
Posts: 1
leemac2615 HB User
Re: The Brain/Gut axis and the Vagus Nerve?

Quote:
Originally Posted by peejee
Hi everyone,

This is my first time posting on this page and I was wondering if anyone could help me. Any input would be greatly appreciated.

After nearly a year of abdominal pain, nausea, weight loss (2,5st/35lbs), early fullness when eating and loss of appetite and a whole catologue of exploratory tests of the stomach and digestive system I have been diagnosed with a relatively rare and largely unknown stomach dissorder called Gastroparesis.

Gastroparesis is nerve damage causing the stomach to slow down, or stop altogether, its contractions. The stomach usually contracts 3 times per minute to break down food and move it into the intestines. Due to damage to the Vagus Nerve the stomach these contractions are affected leading to the incredibly debilatating symptoms given above.

I am 21 and for some reason (the doctors say idiopathic) my stomach's contractions have stopped working properly. I have had to leave University, which I loved, and I never leave the house anymore due to the symptoms of my Gastroparesis. I have a tube in my nose which is used to provide nutrition in liquid form as I almost always struggle to eat solid food. I have gone from a healthy, life loving young man to a tired, ill-looking, angry, rundown person.

Gastroparesis is a poorly researched and largely unknown dissorder and due to this there is no real treatment for the problem. The advice from my Gastric dissorders is "get on with your life and it could go away by itself" . This statement frightens and angers me and it now appears it is upto me to learn about my problem and get myself well again.

So my questions are: With this problem being a direct result of damage to the vagus nerve can someone tell me about the vagus nerve and if there are an treatments for damage to it? Also, does anyone know anything about the brain's/nervous system's relation to problems to the stomach (the brain gut axis)? And how does one go about calming an overactive parasympathetic nervous system as I believe this could be a big part of my problem.

Again, any help is greatly appreciated. God bless all of you out there with problems and thank-you for reading.
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