Avatar universal

upper abdominal pain, indigestion & reflux, nausea & headaches following virus


Sorry about the long post but this is a long story and I'm hoping someone can help.  About 3 months ago I returned from a short holiday in Egypt with what my doctor attributed to a stomach virus.  It lasted for about 2 weeks and obviously I was quite relieved once it subsided but I have not felt right since.  I started to feel like my food wasn't going down properly and it would sit at the top of stomach.  This got worse and was accompanied by a general feeling of malaise - tiredness, dizziness, palpitations, insomnia, headaches and an inability to focus.  I would also suffer from the sudden onset of anxiety and panic for no apparent reason and would go extremely tense and be unable to relax for several hours.  It was on one such occassion that I ended up in A&E as I felt so unwell.  I had high blood pressure and an irregular heartbeat but once they had ruled out pancreatitis and gallstones as the cause of my abdominal pain they sent me home with "indigestion."  
I saw my doctor afterwards who tested my blood for numerous things including hormones, anaemia, thyroid and H Pylori which all came back negative.  It was then suggested my original virus may have irritated my stomach and i was prescribed omeprazole which helped a little but not entirely.  However, I am still left with pains in my stomach (just below my ribcage) which are there constantly but worsen after eating.  I am constantly bloated, even in the mornings and since finishing the course of omeprazole symptoms have worsened once more and I now have acid reflux and a sensation of something being stuck in my throat all the time.  I have just started with vague nausea and headaches too and am now utterly miserable.  Bowels seem ok, little irregular with quite loose movements (which float but have attributed this to the excess air that is constantly present in my stomach), but no bleeding or anything drastic.  
I do have a tendency towards stress and anxiety and wondered if the orginal stomach issues have set off the other symptoms which seem more unrelated as I am constantly worrying about it - my doctor has prescribed very mild antidepressants which I thought helped a little until I started with this nausea.  I also feel very dehydrated all the time - dry skin and sore throat but I am drinking plenty of water and eating fairly well even though I seem to get full a lot more quickly.  
Either way I am certain of an underlying problem with my stomach as I have never experienced anything like this before - never even had indigestion or panic attacks or anything which would imply some of these symptoms.  I am 23, female and essentially healthy - don't smoke, drink in moderation and am a healthy weight.  
I am due an upper abdominal ultrasound this weekend (which I have waited a month for and my doctor says probably won't show anything anyway) but have no other tests planned at this time.  I just don't know what to do at the moment, I feel like I am back and forth to the doctor constantly which is affecting my studies and my social life.  The only thing which seems to help is omeprazole as I have noticed the symptoms worsening again now I've run out but I am not enjoying the prospect of a lifetime prescription to something like that as it obviously doesn't solve the underlying problem and I am still quite young.
The only other thought I had was having developed an intolerance to some foods but I don't even know where to start testing that theory.  I attmepted giving up dairy for a while but that didn't seem to help.    
Does anyone have any ideas as to what this may be or has experienced anything similar following a virus?  I'm going through cycles of feeling better and then terrible again but the constant factor always seems to be the aches in my upper abdominal region.  Please help!
26 Responses
Avatar universal
All I can say is " I feel ya ". I have almost indetical problems except I cant breath beacause of all the gas and burning filling up my body. I am going for a colonoscopy and Lactulose breath test to see if there is something going on. I have Hoshimotos but it is newly diagnosed and Im not sure if this is all from that or not. You should make sure they test your Thyroid.All my doctors think Im nuts because nobody can find anything wrong in my blood tests, etc. It has been a year now of some days better and some worse. If I find anything out I will let you know, and please do the same.
535822 tn?1443976780
google Gall bladder, as some of your pain could be from that , and that is diet related , you can get a list of foods that trigger Gall bladder cholic and you should avoid, Dairy is one of them, also a list of foods that are okay.
Avatar universal
Have you had any result updated?
I have pretty much all the same symptoms, but never had a stomach virus (that I am aware of)
I have been thru a lot of emotional stress lately and mostly blamed all this on the stress, I tried Yoga to relaxe and destress it helps but the symptom persist. It is like a vicious circle, because I don't know if the pain is du to stress or vice versa anymore...but one thing I know for sure the pain and nausia and all the other symptoms are REAL!!!
I have lost +20 pounds du to all this in the last 4-5 month! I am scared to eat!
I went to see the doctor 2 days ago, they took blood samples to do all sorts of tests but I will only have the results in about 2 weeks......as if I need that stress!

Would really like to hear your comments and results!
Avatar universal
Hi All,

I have the exact problem!!! I got a REALLY bad case of food poisoning at compulsary work function in Dec '07. That continued on for roughly 4 weeks of getting better and getting worse. It yo-yo'd alot. I actually had a blood test taken then and I had over 8 times the normal level of bacteria in my system then normal and my doctor said that the previous night before the test was taken (when the cramping had gotten so bad I was litterally lying in bed screaming in agony) that my major organs were probably starting to fail.

Ever since, every couple of months I have it back again. I have been constantly nauseas this entire year and I hadn't even vomited or had diarrhea since I was around 10 before last December. It's been a year and all of a sudden I have it back, not quite as bad as when my organs were failing, but it feels almost as bad. Have been for around 20-30 blood tests throughout the year to no avail. Tested for seliac disease, lactose intolerance, liver function and nothing. My GP has thrown in the towell and I'm off to a gastrointerologist at some stage soon. I've had an ultrasound a few months ago and they found nothing.

I have been depressed in the past and I am getting very depressed again. I barely go out anymore and sure as hell can't drink socially at all seeing as I can't even eat anything. I've been living off corn thins and avocado and ginger beer (which helps settle the stomach...this actually helps a little people). I also have low blood sugar, low iron and low blood pressure normally and so these have worsened beyond belief since I got this horrible thing. I'm still working, but constantly either running to the loo, feeling faint or dizzy.

I don't know what else to do. I tried eating gluten free for a week and no such luck. Tried just cutting out dairy products but even bread was making me sick. I still feel really nauseas if I eat the avocado and corn thins but I have to eat something. Weight loss to date in around 15 kgs...getting very worried now as I just keep losing weight. My GP says that if this goes on for much longer I will need to be hospitalized and on a drip.

Hope you guys find out whats wrong :) I'll keep you posted if I find out anything. Good luck guys and hang in there :)
Love Tahlia
Avatar universal
Hi- My daughter age 13, has the exact same thing.  Started out  as a stomach virus and
turned into a recurrent virus.  Has extreme pain throughout her abdomen feels like she is going to throw up but never actually does.  Doctor is sending her to a  gastro-
enterologist after having done extensive blood tests and ultrasound.  The pain has been unbearable for her and I.  We are both suffering at night since we don't sleep and she has missed so much school we had to have her put on chronic illness status so she won't have to repeat the 7th grade.  Well I'll keep posting as much as I learn  tomorrow is another round of blood testing. Ugh!!!!!    Thanks for posting your stories keep them up to date so we can all compare notes    Kelly  
Avatar universal

Kelpar4, I have responded to your message which I hope helps.  Personally my stomach has settled down a lot, it has not gone away completely but is much better than it was.  I have a repeat prescription for omeprazole but I only take it when I feel bad as I didn't want to become reliant on it at such a young age.
I am terribly sorry to hear there are so many of you experencing similar things, as I have said to Kelpar4 I have come to understand that a lot of my symptoms are probably stress/anxiety related and since this realisation I have felt an improvement.  I know a lot of doctors do try and put things they can't explain down to stress and I was dead set against this idea until I researched it properly and realised the large amount of people experiencing similar things and how it can cause such a wide variety of symptoms that baffle doctors, particularly gastrointestinal problems.  Not having an explantion only makes it worse as you just feel more anxious and stressed.
All my tests came back negative and I know how frustrating this can be but all I would say is keep at it, if you don't feel better then there is obviously a problem and you must go back to the doctor again and again until you find a solution, even if it could be psychological as I think mine is, as there is a lot that can be done either way.
I know this isn't for everyone and I'm sure many of you could have a physical illness and I don't want to imply that this is what it must be as this isn't a universal answer by any means.  I just wanted to let everyone know my experiences and draw attention to the fact that stress is something to consider.  It doesn't make the symptoms any less real and it helps to look into it, just as a possibility.  It's surprising how many people there are out there with the same problems.  

Good luck to everyone and I hope you all find some relief soon.    
Avatar universal
i am 16 years of age, and last year i had a stomach bug, it only lasted 24 hours but was really sever, i was being sick all nite long,
i stopped eating for a few months because i was scared i would be sick again.
this has leed to me losing alot of weight, i weighed in at 8 and a half stone and am now 6 stone 4,
my stomach constanly aches, i have sharp pains in my sides just above my hip bone. i feel nauseous alot, even tho im never sick, im constantly feel tired, ache or have serious headaches.
i am taking omzoprezole for acid refluxion and motillium and domperidone for nausea, but nothing seems to help,
i feel ill all day long and the symptoms never stop, it has restricted my life that much that i cant even go to school.
i try pain killers, heat pats etc, but nothing ever works, i have been suffering with this for over a year, i keep going to the doctors but all he does it give me omzoprazole and domeridone, do you think  should ask him for a blood or stool test

i feel so lost and dont know what to do anymore, this illness has also caused me to suffer with anxiety and depression.

please all suggestions are very much appreciated
many thanks
Avatar universal
I had the exact same symptoms - started in the beginning of January as nausea. I went to the doctor and he prescribed omzoprezole. That helped some, but I was so stressed out that I went and had a physical. During this time, I lost 12 pounds (in about 2 weeks). My doctor said that my physical and bloodwork were clean. I still didn't believe it, so I went to another doctor who tested me for h-pylori. Again, tests were negative. I then went to a gastro doctor. Had an ultrasound, followed by endoscopy and colonoscopy. That all came back clean. Again, my symptoms were nausea, indigestion, weight loss, and dry, itchy skin. Turns out that this was all anxiety. If you look it up, you'll see that stress and anxiety can cause so many symptoms that you're experiencing. Search on Health Anxiety.

I feel so much better now after learning that it was due to stress.

Just to let you all know, I'm 45, and a director of Information Technology, and have never had a health problem / anxiety problem before.
Avatar universal
I started feeling ill about 2 months ago, stomach pains, nausea, irregular stools, felt cold then hot, loss of weight, left me feeling exausted. I had given birth to my second child 4 months before and fully breastfeeding - extra tired. Went to doctor, had a stool test done, found out I had E.Coli 0157, a nasty stomach bug. I continued with the same symptoms for 6 weeks and went back to the doctor to see why the bug hadn't gone. Doctor was unfortunately of no help. Googled E.Coli 0157 and found out that it could leave you lactose intolerant. Applied that in my diet switching from standard milk to soy milk etc and started feeling a lot better. It's amazing what products contains milk products (check labels). Anyway at times I still get bloated and have irregular bowel movements but it is an improvement since going dairy free. It's good to take note of what you've eaten for the day because it can lead to other discoveries like i can't eat eggs either. A very old nurse friend of mine said that this can take up to 8 months before I could start to introduce milk products again, much to my disappointment. But she also said to take a teaspoon of gelatine in a glass of water at 1 pm everyday and that'll make sure everything passes through gently. I'm yet to buy some and trial this out but another lady I spoke to said she did the same for some stomach troubles she had. So i'll let you know how that goes.
Avatar universal
Hi all,
just thought I would update since my last post, since a lot of us seem to be in the same boat (sort of speak).
My Stress and Anxiety really did a number on me, physically and mentaly. And like I had said it's like a vicious circle, because you don't know if the pain is du to stress or vice versa anymore. I had so much anxiety over this that I would get panick attacks.
My tests all came back negative (cholesterol a bit high, but that's hereditary!!). Did more test for my heart, all came back clean too. But the symptoms persisted and still do today (much less)...

If your symptoms are stress related and by all means DO have a check-up, don't take any chances!  The important thing to remember is, that the stress took a while to build and bring on these symptoms, so do not expect it to go away over night. I found that vitamin B complex helped a lot with the anxiety, which I believe is caused in part by hormone imbalances du to stress (adrenalin & cortisol) which then end up turning your stomach into knots......and we all know where that leads!!
And for the digestive problems, I take a pro-biotic yogourt every day and that helps to rebuild by stomach. And do read up on it and get to know what anxiety and stress is and how to manage it.
I am not yet 100% back to normal, but am on the right track!

Best of luck to all.

Avatar universal
well I have to thank god for you all..  I have been suffering all the same symptoms, sore tender upper stomach, and the nausea... its the worst feeling in the world..  waking up in the night with that water rushing into your mouth, but never actually vomiting.. I have read all of the posts and realise Im not alone.  I was begining to think the worst, Im a 54yr woman, eat healthy, weight ok, and go to the gym regular.. I have had stool samples come back negative, but going back to the doc in a couple of days to see what he can do for me..  I actually suffered this a few years back but was told it was a 'BAD VIRUS' and it went away.. its been with me permanantly for the last 4/5 weeks..  I have been given the omeprazole but didnt think it was helping,, will persevere with it now.  I will watch this site with much interest..  Hope everyone is feeling  a little beter..  keep the faith..      x
Avatar universal
I feel miserable,I feel bloated, I have bile reflux, and acid reflux, I feel like this since last thursday everyday every hour, I have irritable colon, fatty liver, my gallblader was removed about 3 years ago .I guess that everything started when i had my gall bladder remove. My appoinment with the gastro will be the 23th, and tomorrow i'll go to the natural doctor, i had a endoscopy 3 years ago that  showed everything  was normal, i feel nausea. oh and i have water brash when excessive accumulation of saliva from the lower part of the esophagus often with some acid material from the stomach . Well  I'll share with you guys if I find something that relieves our problems.
Avatar universal
If you are taking omeprazole and you find your condition worsening or not getting better, I advise you to ask your GP to be moved on to Esomeprazole (nexium) 20mg.

I have been on nexium for 2-3 years and i have been happily living life after years of pain. My GP decided 2 weeks ago to switch me to Omeprazole because he reckoned it would be as good but cost him less. I tried it for a week and it made me sick, really sick. The heartburn got worse, I was regurgitating everything I ate. It was hellish.

After losing a battle with my GP, I switched practices and my new GP happily put me back on nexium. Within hours I felt better and managed to eat lunch without even feeling nauseous.

Maybe it's all due to personal preferences but I know that esomeprazole is the most modern PPI. It works best for me.
Avatar universal
I experienced everything that has been written about above. For over a year now I have been having trouble eating any substantial meal. The only thing that seemed to help was a glass or two of wine. After I had realized I had lost over 40 pounds I went to my GP and they prescribed me omeprazole, dicycolmine and other medications for GIRD and IBS. Nothing seemed to work. Finally I went to a therapist. I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder. They prescribed me Remeron which is used to treat both depression and anxiety disorders. I ave gradually been moved from 3.75mg to the now 30mg I am on today. Over the last few weeks I have started to feel normal. Remeron's side effect is hunger and it seems to be helping. The general dosage for Remeron is 60mg so I have a little room to move if necessary. I have been getting regular counseling for my stress and anxiety disorder and have been very verbal with my psychiatrist to keep her aware of any changes that might need to be made to my anxiety medication.
With all that is happening with the economy and the other things we may deem "trivial" in our daily lives really can have an effect on our mental health. Don't be afraid to talk to a therapist or even a psychiatrist. You may be surprised how common anxiety disorders are. I am proof.. I thought I had it all together in my life.. all except I was feeling physically ill all the time and that made my life very hard to enjoy. After lots of talking and the help of a psychiatrist for medication life is looking up!
Avatar universal
I had very similar symptoms for years and ultrasounds, ER and DR visits couldn't detect until one DR finally tested me for some sort of bacteria and it came back positive.  I don't remember the name, but apparently the bacteria is caused by ingesting anything with any trace of fecal matter (it's not as hard to come across this as you might think, especially if you've been travelling).  The remedy was a supply of a few viles of drops.  I haven't been to the ER for those same pains, since.
Avatar universal
You guys should go an see a Naturapathic doctor and he/she will be able to help you. My husband has exact the same problems and doctors always told him that there is nothing wrong , until he saw a Naturapathic doctor......
Avatar universal
It is comforting to read all your comments.  My dad died in November 09 after 3 weeks in ICU and then my Uncle died on Christmas Day.  I think that the stress of all that (not just the deaths but all the work and arrangements and responsibilities that I took on afterwards) caused my symptoms.

I have chronic indigestion and heartburn, wind, headaches, hot and cold feelings (difficult to control my temperature) bloating like I'm 6 months pregnant (I'm not!) thirst and a bunged-up and unable to breath sensation which means I have to get out of bed earlier than normal.  After 5 months of this I went to the GP and he diagnosed GIRD and prescribed omeprezal (two a day) which was wonderful.  However, I had to come off these after a few weeks and the symptoms all returned.  I went back and begged for more and decided to take just one a day but it isn't enough and now I am almost back to square one.  I will need to double the dose and revisit the doc.
1618426 tn?1298763815
I have all the same symptoms but add HOT FLASHES to that.  I get a hot flash in the early morning waking up and all that you say begins. If I am lucky it subsides a bit off and on during the day.  Until I eat and then again.

I know that stress can be a factor, however, for all of us that generally comes and goes....but the rest stays because it is now chronic.

I am just joining in this conversation...I have no solutions. Gluten free did not help...YET !  My heart goes out to all,  jc
Avatar universal
im 17 years old, and i have had all these similar problems. in general i have always been somewhat over weight. i was about 152 lbs, went down to under 120 within 3 months. i feel nauseas all the time, upper abdominal pain thats SO SEVERE. when i am in this nauseas stage all smells of food disgust me. i am bipolar, and im on many different medications for it. ever since this stomach problem occured i have been having panic attacks and i dont go anywhere. i droppped out of school because of it. ive got tested for every gastro test, everything back normal. they put me on omperzol.. helped but didnt cure. then i was put on periactnat, which helped SO MUCH. i gained within 1 1/2 months 60 pounds. i am now over 180 lbs. they took me off of it, now im really left with nothing. i recently went to my gyno because ive missed my period for 4 months. i was put on aygestin to get my period, didnt work. i feel disgusted with myself and im ready to give up on everything. SOMEONE PLEASE HELP ME.
Avatar universal
I'm not sure if anyone is still using this thread - but I had a very similar situation that left me chronically ill after a trip to the Red Sea in Egypt.  I came down with a virus about 12 months after the trip, and about six months after that, I developed really bad gastrointestinal symptoms and like most people was put on omprezole and then nexium.  I would not have even though about the Egypt trip until I realised that my friend started to get ill with chronic colitis about six months after we returned and our reflux/chest pain symptoms are so similar.  He's still not better and neither am I about 2.5 years later.  Recently a stool test demonstrated I had high levels of lysozyme (an inflammation marker), which I already knew purely symptomatic, and the only medicine I've ever responded to have been curam duo antibiotics, which my holistic GP said wouldn't kill parasites, but would kill bacteria.  I'm about to have another extensive stool test, but if this demonstrates nothing useful I think I'll ask the GP to treat me as if I have a bacterial infection.  I'm also constantly swollen on the left side of my body and am beginning to really think that this is all down to a bacterial infection, probably picked up in Egypt, rather than anything else or anxiety related (although anxiety certainly has been a symptom).  If anyone else has identified a bacterial strain in these circumstances please let me know!
Avatar universal
HI . Its pobabply you had infected with parasite kind-Giardia lamblia is a flagellated protozoan parasite that colonizes and reproduces in the small intestine, causing giardiasis, or by another parasite called Amebiasis: is an infection of the intestines caused by the parasite Entamoeba ... Entamoeba histolytica can live in the large intestine (colon).
Stool test should be done at least two times.
Treatment for both is Flagyl(metronedazol 500 mg) 3 three times a day for one week.
Caustion mightnhave side effect.Make researh about it in google.
Iam M.Y for reply.
Avatar universal
HI . Its pobabply you had infected with parasite kind-Giardia lamblia is a flagellated protozoan parasite that colonizes and reproduces in the small intestine, causing giardiasis, or by another parasite called Amebiasis: is an infection of the intestines caused by the parasite Entamoeba ... Entamoeba histolytica can live in the large intestine (colon).
Stool test should be done at least two times.
Treatment for both is Flagyl(metronedazol 500 mg) 3 three times a day for one week.
Caustion mightnhave side effect.Make researh about it in google.
Iam M.Y for reply.
Avatar universal
Im FEELING THOSE THINGS!!!!! this my first time and the er said I had gastritis and I feel my stomach just all messed up something is not right I know that for sure. horrible feeling trying to eat and I LOVE FOOD first time I haven't seen the bottom of a plate in years. but I do feel it is because of my stress not to long ago i went to the er for chest pain they said it was anxiety. i been stressed after that but haven't had a panic attack until this time around. i have taken two different kinds of anti depressants but the only thing that has helped came me down is not allowed yet so its not easy for me to get it. but I just need this to go away im so miserable.
Avatar universal
I had similar symptoms for 3 months on and off. I had a virus first, but the indigestion and headaches reoccurred. i went to an acupuncturist. She told  me its stress. I only saw her once and she showed me how to do acupressure each day. It worked
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