Irritable Bowel Syndrome & AF/SVT

This post was originally on the Arrhythmia Alliance site..... I have tried to convince my GP and Cardiologist for 2 years now, that food bears some connection to SVT for me anyway. Eventually I got a referral to a Gastroenterologist who did numerous blood and urine tests, before Christmas. Apparently I have Irritable Bowel Syndrome all other blood and urine tests are clear, and he referred me on to a Dietician. I found something interesting when I tallied up my episodes over the past two years. The episodes were three (3) times higher after food than any other recorded ones, like stress excercise etc. I said I would be letting everyone who has helped me on this forum know what had transpired. Unfortunately its now another condition with an unknown cause, at least I know what it is. which one comes first the stomach wind/gas or the AF/SVT I have yet to work out, it seems to be at the same time. If there is anyone who has experienced this, or knows about IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) I would appreciate some feedback, thanks to all.

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  • Hello Ultramarine. I am very similar. In my case I can forecast the approach of 99% of my AF episodes. I will have had something to eat and fifteen minutes later I will begin to feel windy in the upper digestive tract. If I can burp to release the wind (always discretely of course - I am a gentleman!) then there are no problems but occasionally, I will be faced with wind that cannot be burped away. Within moments there is a flutter in the chest and I'm in AF. As I said this happens in almost every AF episode I experience. The digestive issue definitley comes first as can be proved by simply taking a pulse reading. There is no irregularity in heart rhythm until the flutter starts.

    I have had more than my money's worth from the NHS in gastroenterology in the last year. The gastro consultant has been wonderful and performed every possible investigation. I've had a colonoscopy, gastroscopy, ultrasound and a CT scan together with numerous food allergy/intolerance and other blood tests. And apart from identifying a small, inconsequential hiatus hernia, all gave me a clean bill of health - dammit! He said that I probably have IBS and it seems that IBS is a very vague condition and one that sufferers simply have to put up with. I have tried cutting out the usual suspects - dairy, wheat, chocolate, alcohol, coffee and certain others. I've also tried the 'little and often' and 'tiny portions' theories. Sometimes these actions seem to make a difference but only temporarily. What I thought gave me problems yesterday has no effect on me today.

    The one thing that I haven't tried yet is a very long fast. It might do the trick and I'll probably get round to it sometime. Mind you, if starvation is the only cure for AF, heaven help us!

  • Thankyou so much Leelec. I am glad I won't have to wait for another episode to work out which comes first. I had high hopes of identifying the cause of my AF/SVT, but it gets more murky as I learn more. Like you I had a clean bill of health, and am thankful for this, it is rather a mystery after reading your reply, that some of the foods you mention for IBS could be used to help counteract AF or SVT In the meantime it will be interesting to see what the dietician thinks, I will be attending my first appointment this week. I will let you go first for the fasting part. Thanks again

  • Hi again Ultramarine. I posted a day or so ago under What is Vagal AF and you would do well to read that but to re-cap the vagus nerve connects brain to heart and stomach. Since they both have the same root nerve some cross channel interference is possible so stomach problems in some patients can trigger AF events. It isn't the cause.merely a trigger but for sure if you are one of those patients with vagal AF then finding food triggers can improve QOL greatly. AF is such a broad church condition that patients seldom present with identical problems but many suffer vagal interference.

  • Thanks BobD I can remember asking my cardiologist this early on in the piece, I was told this was not the problem in my case?? But now that I have got a diagnosis from the Gastroenterologist I will have something to go by when I see him shortly, and in the meantime I will look up more information on the Vagal nerve, many thanks Ultramarine

  • Hi have you had a gluten sensitivity test. My daughter has coeliac disease. I don't but would regularly get indigestion. My mother had problems with arrhythmia and her stomach as well as me. Even though I don't have coeliac I think there's a good chance I am gluten sensitive so I have now been gluten free for 9 months and I don't get indigestion like I used to.

    (look up gluten sensitivity on YouTube it's very interesting). Try going on a gluten free diet for a month, it can't do you any harm, and there's a good chance you will feel much better. You will have to read the food labels carefully but I have found it fairly easy. I can make most things eg thicken gravy with cornflour. There are loads of gluten free recipes. Have a go and let us know how you get on, I am sure you don't have to suffer like you do. I wish doctors would suggest this, as with AF they are not up to speed with new thinking.

  • Hi Lucybod, I'm not sure whether gluten free sensitivity was one of the tests that the Gastroenterologist gave me, but in our discussion he told me I didn't have coeliac disease. I will have to give the dietician my notes on what I have experimented with (seeing one this week) which included Gluten free bread only. I hope this will give me some answers and relieve some of the problems for me.

  • From what I gather coeliac is just one of the symptoms of gluten sensitivity. They do not test for other antigens in this country only for coeliac. There are so many foods that contain gluten but at least now the manufacturers are putting it under the allergy section. My daughter can't even have the tiniest bit of gluten. If you are Gluten sensitive it can stop proper absorption of nutrients as well as other symptoms. My mother had a bad case of osteoporosis ( I think she had coeliac it wasn't tested in the 80's ) as I think it's hereditary I am not going to take the chance hence giving up gluten.

  • Hi Ultramarine

    I to have IBS this was diagnosed years before the AF. All my AF episodes have come on after eating a meal and then sitting down relaxing or going to bed. I also get very bad trapped wind which i am convinced has something to do with my AF episodes. I have been on Fleconide 100mg twice a day since November which other then a couple of little flutters seems to be keeping it under control.Hope this helps in some way.

  • I too feel my A F attacks are triggered by food and may be alcohol. my 2 worst attacks came after a celebration meal out.So I now watch what I eat and never overload my stomach. I find I get a lot a gas before my heart starts its hiccuping. I have just had diverticulitis diagnosed, so a similar complaint to yours. yes here in the UK AA is known mostly for Alcoholics club.

  • Thankyou smee; and timbo, I feel so much better knowing that I can say this to any medic now whereas before I just got blank looks and one GP told me it had nothing to do with the stomach. Its harder to discuss anything further when I know what I feel physically in my body, hence the recorded information which I give to anyone now who is interested. I would guess from the replies that I will have to adjust my eating habits from large to small. Such a grind I do love my food. I will most likely have to adjust to smaller sizes when eating out, and I have the perfect opportunity as today I am having lunch out. Don't know if they will do small sizes, so will have to leave some on the plate. Oooh the pain of it all. As regards to AA wasn't much of drinker anyway, so easy for me all I know is that wine on a regular basis is out, I am getting to love water. Do wish they would change the name though.

  • LOL, try ordering Adam's Ale, that's what my granny used to call it. But hang on the may be a beer out there called that these days. Glad to help.

  • Interesting discussion.

    When I was 26 was hospitalized for 6 months with Ulcerative Colitis,( an inflammitory bowel disease,which is an autoimmune disease similar to Crones disease )

    The cure then was removal of the colon (and still is as a last resort.)

    Anyway I did not want that and instead opted to try anti inflammatory drugs and cortisone which have kept me more or less in remission (am now in my 70s and just retired couple of years ago).

    During a U.C. flare up my heart always thumped at a high rate which is natural as my body repairs my gut.

    Since developing atrial flutter/fibrillation when I have an UC flare up, AF becomes bad.

    So I suppose the more we demand from our hearts, be it an IBS attack, exercise,climbing steps, walking fast, a chest infection etc, that can be a trigger for an AF episode.

    Over the years I have found certain food ( preservatives added to shop bread for instance ) result in an UC flare up and avoid them. Assume certain foods also cause an IBS.attack

    Its been a long learning curve.but worth it.

    Hope my experience is of use to IBS sufferers

  • Thankyou so much rosailer It was a great contribution to this discussion. Our bodies are amazing when you come to think of it, as you say one part its trying to repair itself. I found over the past two years, quite a lot of foods which contain certain preservatives that could be the cause or the trigger if you like, that aggravates this condition we all share, it takes a lot of vigilance to understand this, and sometimes I think I tried to get too close to the problem at times and then feel unhappy that I couldn't pinpoint the problem. Food was the first item on my list as I was never a sports person, but I did and still do tend to overdo things. Its good to know that eventually I have asked for and received the proper help, I was floundering a lot on my own. The fact that their was nothing sinister in the results other than IBS is good to know, but I have my first visit to a dietician today, and will of course take along some of my notes, to see what she will make of them. I have had so many other thoughts given to me that I will be going through most of these today, my notes contain a lot of question marks though. I am sure everyone has benefited from your post, thanks again Ultramarine.

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