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Thyroid UK
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Slow digestion/temporary gastroparesis - fix

I'm borderline hypo at the moment (ft4 - 12.2, ft3-3.8) and have been getting a symptom that really annoys me. I get full really easily and then stay full for hours. I cannot seem to digest so the fullness turns to pain after a while. It doesn't happen all the time, other days I can eat without this happening but when it happens it's so painful and annoying. Have any of you had this? If so what do you do to get your digestion going.

PS I'm currently trying only eating small meals but with holidays coming I'd like another option

17 Replies
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You probably have low stomach acid, which slows down digestion. Try the home test at the end of this article:

scdlifestyle.com/2012/03/3-...

Are your thyroid hormones - T4 and T3 - optimal? Low stomach acid is a hypo symptom.

Have you had your nutrients tested - vit D, vit B12, folate and ferritin? If you have low stomach acid, these will probably be low. And, low B12 will also cause low stomach acid.

Do you get enough salt? Low salt intake will add to the problem.

Are you taking statins for high cholesterol? Low cholesterol can also cause low stomach acid, I believe. So, lots of things to check.

Have you tried taking cider apple vinager to help? Or betain and pepsin? Or pro/prebiotics, digestive enzyms? Or tried taking vit c before every meal? Lot's of things to try, too. :)

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Thank you Grey goose. My ferritin is apparently low. Would that affect things?

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I don't think low ferritin would affect absorption of other things, but it would be due to the low stomach acid, if that's what you have. :)

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Thank you for the Vitamin C tip - I hadn't heard that before and have just been doing some more reading. I shall increase my daily intake and have it before meals.

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As long as you don't over-do it, or it can cause diarrhea. :)

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I've found taking betain/pepsin tablets with meals suit me and I've no problem with stomach issues. Apple/cider vinegar is a required taste (I think) and a tablet with meals is easier.

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Grey goose and shaws are probably right but just to say I started having digestive problems, couldn't eat a full meal felt full after a few mouthful, endoscopy fine but diagnosed with Sjogrens. If the problem continues get it checked out to put your mind at rest.

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Just wondered if treatment for the Sjogren's (not sure what they treat it with, sorry), resolved or improved the low acid/digestion issues? Anyone had theirs improve with Levo or NDT? (Can't take HCL or digestive enzymes and apple cider vinegar makes my histamine issues worse. Possible Sjogren's and probable APS (Hughes' Sticky Blood), awaiting appointment with specialist). Thank you.

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I was diagnosed after a lip biopsy and given special mouthwash, toothpaste and told my doctor would put me on low dose steroids which I refused, I take enough meds for other autoimmune problems without more. Some days I can eat fine usually soft foods like chinese, porridge etc other times not so good it comes and goes, it is what it is, I guess I come from the school of thinking that you just have to suck some things up and do the best you can.

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Thanks for that. I wouldn't fancy the steroids much myself. I am eating lots of well cooked veg and some fruit but struggle to digest even fish and eggs now and meat is impossible. I will keep thinking positive!

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Hi I wouldn't just leave it if I were you, maybe get it checked out I.e. an endoscopy. That way you will at least be assured its nothing serious. Good luck.

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Thanks for the good wishes. No, not just leaving it - actively pursuing causes and options! Multiple auto-immune causing havoc.

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I was on Omeprazole, though didn't need it every day, and used to chew Gaviscon tablets in between. But since starting on Levothyroxine the acid reflux has decreased a lot. At first I still needed Gaviscon a couple of times a day, but recently (I'm up to 100mcg Levo) haven't even needed that, except very occasionally at bedtime.

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That's good to know, thank you.

I went gluten free because of acid reflux and it helped quite a bit (with that and other things) after GP prescribed Omeprazole and ferrous sulphate (my iron was very low) at the same time and I decided they really didn't know what they were doing. I didn't take the Omeprazole and found a much gentler iron that I could tolerate.

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Hi- just to add to the above

Have you started taking iron supplements for low ferritin?

If so they can often give constipation as you may be aware.

The sluggish digestion may in part be constipation.

Magnesium citrate is a good laxative as Wel A’s supplement but you may also want to look at ways to increase muscle control/peristalsis

I am having similar issues and trying to work out what’s causing what

Good luck

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This was something I suffered from when I was under-medicated for hypothyroidism. My GP prescribed Motillium (domperidone), which helped a lot.

At the time, you could also buy this medicine OTC in pharmacies. But since then, domperidone is no longer available OTC, nor is it prescribed for this particular purpose netdoctor.co.uk/medicines/b...

It's very likely that your 'borderline' hypothyroidism is the cause of this, and taking an appropriate dose of thyroid hormone would solve the problem.

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Can I ask what your levels were when your digestive issues stopped? I am having difficulty with slow digestion (particularly if I eat fat or fiber) and I am really really hoping that optimizing my thyroid meds will help with this. However, although I am not quite optimal yet, my labs are the best they've ever been (TSH <0.02, FT4 1.0 ng/dL RR 0.7-1.5, FT3 3.0 pg/mL RR 1.7-3.7) but I haven't noticed any improvement in digestion yet.

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