What do I have?
30 year old male
In PERFECT health 2 yers ago. Never had any digestive problems at all. Didn't even know what indigestion was. I considered myself to be ready to join a competitive eating contest because I could scarf down large amounts of food with no problem.
Early Jan 2006: I start on a low dose testosterone therapy prescribed by doctor. Not for any condition, but because I wanted my voice a little deeper. Also was in a car accident towards the end of Jan - pain in my lower back/hip area for 6 months afterwards.
End of Feb 2006: I wake up in the middle of the night with SEVERE Pain (I mean a 10 on a scale of 1-10) in the middle section of my abdomen. I felt like someone stabbed me in the stomach and I was dying. I rush to the ER at 3am. They let me sit there for 4 hours while I wait to see a doctor. They don't give me anything and just run some blood test. The pain goes away gradually and the doctor tells me he think it is just probably acid reflux and gives me a Pepsid prescription and says antacids should help if happens again. Says to make appt with my doctor ASAP. I obviously stop the daily hormone treatments immediately as they are most likely the cause of this pain.
I call my doctor the next day and come in to visit. He agrees with the ER doctor's assessment and ran some more test to rule out cancer and such.
The treatments he gives me don't help at all. I seem to have the same recurring pain at about 2 am every few nights. Sometimes the pain is a 3 or 4, some nights it is a 10. I realize that the ER can't/won't do anything for me and that this pain will eventually subside (and it always does on its on in 3-5 hours).
My symptoms at this point are:
- complete lack of appetite
- dry, red eyes
- little to no saliva in my mouth
All of these conditions I have never experienced before.
After living through this hell for a month I go back and ask for more test from my doctor. He says it could be gallstones, but it doesn't sound like it. He'll run a gallstone ultrasound to rule that out. The results from that come back that I have micro-sand-like gallstones in my gallbladder and some sludge. My doctor is convinced now that these attacks are caused by the stones getting stuck in my biliary ducts when I eat fatty foods. He suggested immediate removal of my gall bladder and sent me to a surgeon who said it would be quick and easy to remove it. They both agreed that once your body produces gallstones that they never go away. The stones could cause me immediate death if they got stuck in my duct.
I didn't want to do it. I figured that my body would heal itself after my hormone levels came back to normal following my failed hormone experiment.
Over the next few months I adjusted my diet according to what was giving me problems (even though my doctor only recommended avoiding "fatty" and "fried" food). Oddly enough, pizza, cheese quesedillas, and ice cream all didn't give me any problems at all, and fat free stuff like onions, hard bread crust, and lettuce absolutely KILLED me at night. I also noticed that if I made myself throw up (desperate attempt to relieve the pain one night)....then it stopped the pain from increasing almost immediately. At that point, I became convinced that the pain was due to a blockage of food in my stomach/colon somewhere. There is no other reason why I would have food I ate at 1pm in the afternoon still in my stomach at 3am in the morning when I threw it up.
I still didn't know how to fix the problem though and kept going back to the doctor and asking (actually begging since they all thought I was crazy) for more tests. First they stuck a camera down my throat and said my throat and stomach looked fine. Then they stuck one up by rear and said everything looked fine there also.
In the mean time, my urine also started to get very dark yellow and it has been that way now for a year straight. I only would have yellow urine after taking vitamins in the past. I have tried going 2 months without taking any drugs or vitamins to see if it would stop, but it hasn't. My doctor can't explain this condition.
A doctor in passing said she uses laxatives every day herself to prevent constipation, so I tried that and they have been a godsend. Miralax is GREAT and I'm back to almost being able to eat anything again. However, I still don't want to have to take laxatives the rest of my life to be normal. I'm sure 70 years of laxative use wouldn't be good for a body.
Oddly enough, a month ago I saw a program on Discovery a month on the "medical digestion process of competitive eaters" and was intrigued. They showed how the "Eater X" guy was able to eat so much because his stomach didn't shut off when full and kept expanding. I laughed and said that is how my stomach used to work!! Like him, I'm not overweight, but I could outeat any big person, yet I was NEVER full. However, the doctor who witnessed this event said the eater's digestive system digested that food much slower - almost to the point of gastroparesis (or paralysis of the stomach). He said this could be a serious problem in the future for him. HOLY SMOKES! I think this is what I have! Instantly, I found a possible name to the problem that was affecting me: food was just sitting in my stomach and not digesting. NONE of the doctors even gave me ANY OTHER suggestions or options of what I could have besides:
- acid reflux
- IBS (what they were going to lump together "everything else" they didn't understand)
I think the fact that my stomach/colon/intestines weren't contracting and moving the food along was because the testosterone I took affected my Ghrelin levels. Ghrelin, as I am understanding, is the HORMONE that signals the stomach to empty.
I asked my primary care doctor AND surgeon several times if HORMONES could have caused my problem. Both of them told me point blank that it couldn't. When I found out that more women then men had gallstone problems because of fluctuating hormone levels I was upset. How could these doctors not have any clue?!?!!?
I have another appointment with a GI in 2 weeks and I want to have everything togeter for him. I just had a MRI done and he called me yesterday with the results: (my primary care doctor said they showed gallstones and confirmed that it WAS the problem.....my GI who I just met said that they showed little stones, no sludge, and confirmed that it WAS NOT the problem! Can you believe that?!?!)
I guess if anyone has read through this BOOK I wrote, I'm just interested in hearing if anyone has gone through something similar?
Maybe if someone had their gallballder removed in a similar situation and it didn't help? I'm especially interested in hearing from someone who has gastroparesis (mild or severe) and see if this sounds like it might be what I have.
The only "test" that I haven't had is the one when they see how long it takes to digest your food by feeding you a nuclear meal and then watching it on a scan to see how long it takes to digest. I'm 100% sure that mine would show a very slow rate.
HELP ME! This has ruined the last 2 years of my life and I want to be normal again!
Last edited by WhatDoIHave; 08-04-2007 at 06:28 PM.