Thyroid UK
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Horrible stomach problems

Hi guys,

I was wondering if somebody can help me. In the summer of 2013 I started to feel nausea, no appetite. In the summer of 2012 I experienced nausea and reflux and with 2,5 months of Omeprazole that was fixed and after that had no problems at all. So when symptoms began in 2013 I called my GP and asked again for Omeprazole, thinking it was the same problem and this would fix it. Unfortunatly it did not, I had the most horrible stomach pains and nausea, constant feeling of going to throw up. I visited my GP a lot, I've got multiple medicines (Omeprazole, Zantac, a drink that coats your stomach lining, Domperidone, metoclopramide, all of this in a high dose), nothing worked and I was feeling really awful. So I was referred to a specialist, got an ultrasound of the belly, everything looked okay. Faeces test for H. Pylori, negative (was really surprising to me because all the symptoms were like mine). Finally they planned a upper endoscopy, without sedation (only throat numb spray), this was the most horrible experience of my life. It was a student who did this procedure, it felt like I was dying, couldn't breathe. I was in total panic, after 4 times of trying (the student and the 'real' specialist) I said I couldn't do it. This was a really traumatic experience, I was anxious for a week and promised myself I would never do this again.

The symptoms stayed and this summer (2014) I went to a GI specialist. Again an ultrasound, nothing wrong. Tested my faeces to look for pancreas problems, all normal. I've got my faeces checked again for H. Pylori and again negative. Got a blood test for some food allergies, all negative. Faeces test for parasites negative. I'm already eating Paleo (as far as I can eat). Lost weight of course. They offered me another upper endoscopy but only thinking about it gave me almost a panic attack, I can't do it and a sedation is not enough for me (as you are still awake).

I'm having so much pain, the worst nausea (always feeling like I'm going to throw up). I'm taking lemon juice the first thing in the morning and sometimes after eating, this doesn't do a thing. Tried Beatine HCL with pepsin and that didn't work, got so much pain (don't know if it was from this for certain), I stopped taking it. Tried mastic gum and it made it worse.

Being 'subclinical hypothyroid' for 6 years I noticed my blood results were never that bad before. So I finally got a treatment and am now on 50mcg Levo for 3 weeks. Will get a blood test next week. I don't know if it's my thyroid that is causing this, I'm hoping it is..

As it feels like my stomach is inflamed (or maybe an ulcer?) I'm doubting if I should ask my GP again for medicine like Omeprazole. It didn't do a thing before but I'm so desperate at the moment. I can't go out of my house because of this, any bad smell or if I move to much makes it so bad I can't even describe. I am crying a lot of this, feeling like giving up to be honest.

I'm sorry for this long post, maybe some of you got some advice.

42 Replies

H. pylori can be diagnosed with a blood test for antibodies if you've never been treated for it. Second is a breath test. Also there are breath tests if you are not able to digest certain things like fructose.

For endoscopy, they can give you a short acting barbiturate intravenously and you won't remember a thing. I can't for the life of me imagine what sorts of idiots would try to perform this procedure on an alert individual who is finding the experience to be so uncomfortable. Really haven't we graduated yet from the dark ages, or what?

Lactose intolerance is easy to determine: just don't consume any form of dairy for 2 weeks.

The only thing to do is an elimination diet and consume only those things that are easy to digest. Paleo can be meat and fat heavy. Beef, for example is quite difficult to digest. Meat of any kind should only be eaten once per 24 hours because it can sit in the stomach for many hours before it is finally digested. If a person eats meat more than once per day, it can cause gastritis from acid having to be produced for prolonged periods of time.

There are other foods that, on the surface of it, are supposed to be healthy. Apples for example can be difficult to digest and cause nausea. Other fruits as well can be problematic.

You would need to 'rest' the stomach. The BRAT diet for a period of time can help although the Toast part may not be a good idea due to gluten. Banana, rice, applesause, toast.... applesauce is usually well tolerated when raw apples are not. Pear sauce is even better because it is less acidic.

I'm assuming you've had an ultrasound of your gall bladder? It's not only stones that cause trouble. A person can have sand in there too. Ultrasound will show stones but not sand. If you want to determine if the gall bladder is a problem, fast for at least 14 hours and then drink a shotglass of excellent quality olive oil. If that causes pain afterwards, then you'll know the gall bladder is having problems ejecting bile.

Besides which, blood tests for liver enzymes and whatnot should elucidate if there's problems with the liver......

The list is quite endless, isn't it?

Kidneys can refer pain and cause nausea as well although usually the pain is the back. Then there's hiatus hernia (which you've probably had checked already with a barium swallow?)

If all else fails, try the old fashioned Italian digestive assistance of 1 large tablespoon of live culture goat yoghurt for breakfast every morning. That seems to do a really good job of providing probiotic and relieves gas, pain and whatnot.


Thank you so much for your response. I've eaten simply digesting food for months, didn't help anything and became almost underweight. I eat Paleo but don't eat the meat, mostly (grilled) chicken, some rice, etc. I never eat lactose or gluten, doesn't help but I still avoid it.

Yes, the ultrasound was to look for gallstones and the pancreas. Bloodwork for liver and pancreas are perfectly fine. The pain is under the left ribcage, between the middle of the stomach and beginning of the left ribcage. Always feels like I'm beaten in the stomach and sometimes a really burning pain (only there, it doesn't come up like reflux).

I did not have a barium swallow. I wanted a scan from my belly but they wouldn't do that because of my age (22) and the harms that could give when I'm older.

An endoscopy is my worst nightmare, I can't do it again. And under full sedation (not just an relaxation) isn't a option for adults.

They tested my urine for kidney stones, negative. Don't have pain in the kidney area.

They look for antigens for H. Pylori in faeces, it was negative twice. So a blood test or breath test will not be of any help I am afraid..


This happened to a friend of mine who took herself to the hospital with the same pain you have. In her case it was front and back...same area in the front. They tested everything and didn't know.

Then I suggested to her that maybe the artificial sweetener in the drink she was consuming could have caused the problem. She quit drinking the stuff and after a week, the pain went away. Then just to tempt the devil, a couple of months later she started drinking this junk again......except this time the pain came back faster. She's finally accepted that in her case, she can't drink anything with this stuff in it.

I think it was causing esophageal erosion.

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That's interesting. I don't think my issue is related to food/drinks. Not since I eat everything fresh and natural (no sugar or sweeteners or other additives in food).

It's really frustrating and thought that it could be from the thyroid since the thyroid is also affecting metabolism. Guess I have to wait till I'm on the right dose..


It may indeed be caused by low thyroid levels. Hypothyroidism is a known cause of hiatus hernia, causing acid reflux. See here

Another possibility is vitamin D deficiency. This is common in the general population and seems to be almost guaranteed in people who are hypothyroid. Vit D deficiency manifests in a variety of symptoms that can include nausea.

You can get your vit D tested by your GP, and you could ask for vitamin B12 to betested as well (another cause of many varied symptoms including gastric issues).

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Thank you. I don't know if it's a hernia, as long as they don't want to do other tests..Everything that is done till now is because I asked for it, doctors immediatly say (without investigation) that it is a sensitive stomach. Which it is not if you would ask me, before this I was really hungry.

I did have a vit. D deficiency, taking 3000IU now so my levels are at 100. I was a bit low in B12 so I got injections and now take high dose tablets for under the tongue.


If you've been pregnant and are a small lady, then the possibility of hiatus hernia increases. Same with if you are small but got really fat at some point. The intra-abdominal pressure from either the uterus or the fat around the internal organs can push the stomach up through the diaphragm.


I've never been pregnant and always been on a healthy weight.

I think it's an inflamed stomach or an ulcer. But that wouldn't explain why the PPIs didn't work..

My GP doesn't know much of the thyroid, in January we will discuss my blood results after taking 50mcg Levo for 4 weeks. It's going to slow for me I guess.


And you've never experienced repeated severe vomiting?

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If it is a hiatus hernia, you don't need to ask your doctors to do anything because things should improve once you are on the right dose of thyroid medication.

I found apple cider vinegar was more helpful than lemon juice. A couple of teasponfuls diluted in as much water as you need to be able to drink it. Before meals and also at bedtime if you suffer during the night.


I've had a barium swallow years ago. It's okay. I don't even remember why (this was over 20 years ago now).... I was having digestion problems after having been extremely ill with hepatitis A. The pictures did not indicate any hernia or anything.

Sometimes viral infections like cytomegalovirus and hepatitis (take your pick of which), Epstein Barr virus.... can all cause major digestive problems which require a couple of years to fully resolve. I've had Hep A and cytomegalovirus hepatitis and they were prolonged in their adverse effects................How come I'm still here? Sometimes I wonder. Must be ornery and tough.

There's a whole panoply of different hepatitis viruses. A former prime minister (Canada) went to Turkey to give a speech to graduating university class and got Hepatitis G. Damaged his pancreas so now he's insulin dependent diabetic. Even rich people can inadvertently drink contaminated water....


Thats horrible! I know I don't have the Epstein Barr virus or the cytomegalo. All my other blood results are "perfect", no infections to see in the blood. Faeces also tested for an infection marker (to see if it could be an inflamed bowel), also negative.

Its annoying that my GP is going so slow with the meds because I'm 22 years old and have no heart disease or anything. So it should be safe to go for it, I said that and of course she didn't like that. I've got a plan though, if she's still this way in January then I will ask for an referral to a specialist.


Sounds like you are permanently pregnant....LOL.... j/k.... morning sickness that goes on all day......

Let's hope increasing thyroid hormone fixes you.


It does, haha, I'm 100% sure I'm not pregnant so we can rule that out.

No vomiting, though always feeling like I'm going to, it's awful.


maybe off topic, I do that, sorry....

but the contraceptive pill (which tells the body to be permanently pregnant) has a lot to answer for IMHO.....

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That's interesting, I'm on the birth control pill for 8 years now, no problems with it so far. I am taking it 4 years now without stopping, that should be no problem according to doctors.

I was planning to stop for a week and see if I notice any positive changes.


Yeah, that's what I was hinting at Spare.....


whistles ;)


If it's from the birth control pill than stopping for 7 days (like you can do once a month) would make a difference, right?


You can try 2 to 4 weeks off. It's not a big deal unless you are using it as your sole method of contraception.

You say the problem started back in 2012 which is only 2 years and you've been using straight for 4 years.

Still, it's worth a shot since it seems you've exhausted all other possibilities.


Yes, but in 2012 it wasn't as bad as it is now and the Omeprazole worked perfect. I will try the birth control pill, though I'm wondering if that is the problem. Nausea maybe but the horrible pain? It's worth a try I guess.


You said in your original post that the Omeprazole did not work?


In 2012 it did, in 2013 it did not.


If I want to feel really sick, I can just eat apples. Wow! A couple hours later the nausea and retching is to die for.

Same goes for fruit like the sainted superfood blueberries.

Recently since I know my thyroid levels are really good, I threw down the gauntlet and I bought 4 apples and ate one per day. No problem. When I was getting the nausea like crazy, I was on a too low dose of thyroid. But at the time I had not eaten apples for 3 years due to having braces on my teeth. Then I got all enthusiastic about them and ate at least 2 per day. It took me about 6 weeks to figure out it was the apples. Once I stopped, it took a few days for the waves of nausea to subside and disappear. Yes, I went to the doctor and she ordered up a huge number of blood tests even though by the time I went to see her I'd figured it out. (I discovered the secret to having a reluctant doctor who NEVER orders many tests at all to do so..... )

Maybe this has something to do with your problem. You'll only know once your medication is adjusted to 'good'. And even then, give it a while. Damage takes time to heal.

Hypothyroidism doesn't just reduce stomach acid so food is more difficult to digest. It also has an adverse effect on efficient peristalsis. One of the reasons it causes constipation: everything is sluggish.


Hi Flower,

Why don,t you try for 1 week, eating only alkaline foods, staying away from acid foods.

If you eat acid food, make sure the food you eat with it, is alkaline, so as to buffer the effects of the acid.

Like one piece of acid rich food, to 3 of alkaline.



This sounds very similar to something my son's 18 year old girlfriend has recently been diagnosed with - I'm probably going to spell this wrong - oesophagus eosophilitis? Except it's one of those diagnoses that sounds awfully like labelling a collection of symptoms as a disease (like fibromyalgia and CFS). But there does seem to be more info on this on the web than there was even a few months ago. She's been told it's likely to be exacerbated though not caused by food allergies. It's all a bit of a mystery, quite frankly.

So sorry you're feeling so poorly x


I have gone through this this April to October and it nearly freaked me out as all my blood results were perfect, ultrasound was perfect and so as endoscopy..........

Been through all this , I have a suggestion ... First when you wake up in the morning... With Luke warm water take some honey in it and try eating fennel seeds freshly grounded... This is what fixed... I am from Pakistan where Greek medicine is widely used , this is what fixed this when Europe medicine failed... No harm in trying this?


Thank you. Heard about the honey before, I only put it in my tea.

How much water do you take with how much honey? Did it work quickly for you?


Hi well it won't work quickly 2-3 days, take one full Glass of like warm water, put 2 tea spoons of honey and drink it , make sure you do this first thing in the morning before gOing for shower or brusHing, after 30 mins eat what ever you want... Eat some crushed fennel seeds crush then in chopper and eat after every meal ...

Good luck


Hi how are you, did honey worked for you?


The doctor prescribed meds for me which caused even more pain and discomfort. Once I switched to Betaine with Pepsin (two enzymes for stomach) I have had no more problems. I also as well do Rod's regime of Apple Cider vinegar in water (or juice).

PPIs are not recommended with levo. Excerpt

Associate Professor, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine; Clinical Specialist in Family Medicine, University Hospitals, Case Medical Center, Cleveland, Ohio

The product labeling for levothyroxine recommends that it not be simultaneously coadministered with antacids. If concurrent use is necessary, administration of the agents should be separated by 4 hours.[1] Several case studies report increased thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) levels and/or decreases in thyroxine (T4) associated with concurrent use of calcium-containing antacids and supplements in patients previously stabilized on levothyroxine.[2-5


Thank you, I've tried betaine HCL with pepsin (from NOW) and build up to 3 pills in three days. Then I had so much pain that I went to the hospital. The only thing I can blame is that so you can imagine how afraid I've become for those pills (maybe this proofs it is an infection of the stomach or an ulcer?). I did see that the label Biotics have Betaine HCL combined with enzymes, this in a much lower dose than the Betaine HCL I tried from NOW. So maybe I will try that, 1 pill for a week or so en slowly build it up.

I tried lemon juice with no effects, AVC is on my list.

I'm still blaming my thyroid though, never had any stomach problems before (when it still worked fine).


Yes, I never had stomach problems before either. I am sorry the pills didn't work, especially if they made you far worse you would definitely be cautious. If you try AVC try to get the Braggs Organic Apple Cider Vinegar.

Did you take the tablet before or after meals. I buy Solgar and it says no more than 3 per day.

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If I remember correct I took them almost directly after meals (only the dinner because it's my biggest meal with protein). It said that you build up 1 pill every day after a meal untill you feel a burning sensation. Didn't feel anything until that extreme pain.


You had a different betaine etc than I had. Maybe the pain you experienced was the 'burning'. It would have frightened you I think as you'd have no idea what was going on.

It says I can take mine before or after meals. I have never felt any reaction from the ones I take.


I had an endoscopy under sedation last summer. I'd had a colonoscopy a couple of years previously and fainted, so I warned the consultant that I am a very poor patient (I faint with needles too) and he knocked me out completely! All I vaguely remembered was them putting the mouthguard in, but I didn't mind, and there are no bad memories! Next thing I knew I was waking up!

I am told I am an adult, by the way, although at 64 I don't think I'm quite grown up yet.

Your symptoms sound very much like an ulcer, which can be life-threatening, so I would say pluck up the courage and go have a thoroughly sedated endoscopy!

BUT also I have a friend who has suffered dreadful, debilitating heartburn for years. In her case it turned out that far from too much stomach acid, she has too little. You can test this yourself at home

she now takes betaine with each meal to increase her stomach acid and its transformed her life! The nexium had been giving her dreadful fatigue, and now she doesn't take it!

I then took the bicarb test and found that I suffer from the same, and am trying the betaine at the moment. My heartburn isn't as severe as hers, but it does seem to be helping - and makes me feel fuller too, so that might mean I eat less! I also suffer from gastritis with no obvious cause, and I hope it will help with that too, but its early days for that.

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Thank you. I can't do it, only the thought makes me panic (and I'm not an difficult person when it comes to tests or anything). They told me that the sedation will still keep me awake, just a bit sleepy. It's not enough, I never want to experience this again. It's frustrating because off course an endoscopy is a great thing to examine the stomach.

The betaine I tried, got horrible pains so am afraid to try again. Also if it is a ulcer you can't use that.

I will also try to talk to my GP again if it could be an ulcer and if so what she has to offer.


I read on the leaflet I got pre endoscopy that I may be aware but, believe me I was aware of nothing at all, neither the first or second time. They don't allow you to go home unless you have an escort so you are not with it even when conscious and I would never have got home. I went straight to bed when I got home.

If you tell them you are extremely nervous they may give you a little more. I looked at my paper and I had 3 sedations throughout the procedure.

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Honestly Flower, I was NOT awake! Or if I was, then I haven't remembered a thing, which is as good as being asleep.

If the betaine hurt then it wasn't the stuff you need! And it also suggests that its not low acid.

Talk to your GP and ask him/her about the sedation too. Honestly, in this day and age no-one should have to suffer!

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My fear is that the sedative will not work. They gave me high dose sleeping pills and relaxation pills years ago and it didn't do a thing, it's still a mystery how that was possible. So knowing the sedation is also an relaxation but in an IV my fear is that it won't do a thing. Or worse, I will not be strong enough to fight and stop the procedure.

They will hold you with multiple persons while the doctor is pushing that thing down your throat. I was gagging from my toes, couldn't breath and felt that thing pushing but it wouldn't go further. I was able to fight because it felt like I was dying. I had wounds in the back of my throat and nightmares and axienty that they would come and get me (didn't make any sense off course).

I blame the hospital that they don't give a sedative the first time. After this they said I could come back another day and get it with a sedative but it was to late, I was already traumatized.


The Endoscopy Dept I went to is now modernised, you first went to Reception and a while later my name was called. Went into a nice room and nurse filled in appropriate details. I said I wanted sedation and she asked a few further questions. No-one yet said I couldn't have sedition or I wouldn't have gone ahead. I was then called into another where the nurse put a canula on the back of my hand. When my turn came I went into a room where the equipment is and lay on a trolley-bed. The physician Endocrinologist told me exactly what he was doing and inserted into the canula the first dose of sedation and I knew nothing further even though I know they put extra in the canula. I cannot even remember walking back to the Reception area or how I got home (my husband was in Reception). I had to walk to the car - don't remember how I got there.

They don't use sleeping pills All of the people in the Reception area asked for sedation, except one.


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