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Atrial Fibrillation & Stomach Gas, Digestive Tract Problems?

I saw another post about atrial fibrillation and stomach gas possible association or connection.  I too have the same thing so it may not be all in your head if your suspect this to be the case.  Most dr.'s think your crazy or never heard of this when you even suggest it.  Thats whats wrong with most dr's atleast in my experience in that they don't think outside the box enough possibly because this is what they learned.  I think I/we can guess or prognose just as well or better than they can at times particularly if we know something about health and or ourselves and our own health.  Never be afraid to speak up because I feel strongly that digestive tract problems are real and translate into other real nasty symptoms like this.  Fortunately we can prevent much of this & need to prevent it from happening. I do feel the more you get afib the worse it can become either physically, emmotionally or both no matter what the cause.  I thought up until now that I may have been the first to discover this but would like to know if anyone else has any real answers to this as being a connection?  I would like to know how many people feel that they get atrial fibrillation and feel that it may be related to gas or full, bloated stomach, intestinal or digestive tract troubles etc?  Isn't it possible
that the gas, bloat, perhaps inflamed digestive or intestinal tract can disturb the vagus nerve thereby possibly causing
you to go into an afib attack?  Any real dr's out there any more with some real info about this?  Even conjecture?
Any way I also would be interested in what anyone might have to say about it and or what they may have learned from this?   If you know or even think this to be the case for you I would also like to correspond with you to trade stories and info on what you''ve learned and done. Be well.  Sincerely, Rich - delcocat at aol *******
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Avatar universal
Referring to your post regarding A/Fib and bloated stomach/gas, I too have had the same experience. I believe it is a mechanical effect in that the gas inflates the intestine which in turn pushes on the vagus nerve or the bottom of the heart and triggers the A/F episode.  The sensation is located under the left rib cage not in the chest. I can also induce A/F by swallowing something very cold on an empty stomach. This freaks out the nerve and the A/F proceeds.After I get converted, things are quiet until the sensitivity builds up again (avg of 6 mo.). The DR's call A/Fib the "Crab Grass" of cardiology and are not interested in the research connecting the digestive system disorders to A/Fib. Ablation didn't work well either. How do we get the Dr's to investigate this?--NeddyPoo.
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Neddypoo put it pretty well. I get the same symptoms when I am "A Fibbin". In addition to the stomach bloating and upper GI gas, my asthma kicks in. I often need to take my metered dose inhalor when I am "A Fibbn".
However, I will say that I am not entirely sure these symptom, which are certainly related, are not present after the A Fib event. I am not sure whether the A/Fib is causing the gas/bloating and the asthma attack or the other way around.
Another interesting symptom that happened to me was when I went to the ER with an A/Fib event. It took them 14 hours to gain control of my heart rythym. I had to urinate a lot. I'm talking quarts. I found it surprising to me that the doctors did not know why, for I know it was related to the A/Fib event.
Most Doctors are not scientists, nor do they have the time to be. I am not surprised they do not know what causes this. It takes money to do studies on these relationships, and to figure out how to prevent these events.
I have a question for the A/Fibbers out there, who have these GI symptoms that coincide with their A/Fib. How many of you are on a proton pump inhibitor (Nexium, prevacid, aciphex or protonix)? Just curious.
Avatar universal
I experience the same thing at times-always gas-and the palpitations can hit off and on. After I go, it goes away. Weird! Guess we had better go when we feel the urge and eat slowly. It really bugs me but have to live with it. I did get a bad hit a Afib awhile back when I chugged a huge glass if ice cold lemonaide on an empty stomach. I think there is something to that vegas nerve going bonkers over cetain stimuli.  All of this has scared me, but best to just deal with it and be careful. One lady said she had this and the Dr.s seemed less worried about it than she was. Hmmm?
Avatar universal
Most of my afib episodes take place after 2pm...something to do with vagal tone. Lately, I've been trying  unfiltered apple cider vinegar with 8oz purified water before each meal. One month now and no more afib! When I bend down, it feels like it will happen, but doesn't if I sit and breath reguarly. I am convinced my afibbing is a digestive problem. I also take digestive enzymes and have just begun probiotics. I think the key may be keeping stomach alkaline hence ac vinegar. I hope this helps
Avatar universal
I'm sooo glad to hear you guys - knowing I'm not alone.  I never knew if was actual afibbing, but I finally noticed that when I would get a funny, fluttery butterfly feeling in my heart, a short time later I'd get huge belching episodes.  Bizarre levels of belching, believe me.  I asked my internist about it, & he said there's no way it's connected...but of course I never believed him.  I get palpitations at night, could this be something structural I'm wondering?  Maybe lying down, somehow affecting the vagus nerve??  
Avatar universal
Very comforting to read this blog, indeed.    The questions you are posing are mine exactly.....more questions.....why are the episodes becoming more and more freqent?   Sometimes lasting for days and occuring every 10 days?   Because the heart body starts to get 'used to' this state (mimicking?).   Ever try exercising with this gas feeling??   I get extra systoles immediately....goes away with a large glass of water....issue of acid/alkaline very interesting...how many folks out there have elevated uric acid levels who suffer from these episodes.        I have just ordered an ayurvedic remedy from Rillical in Denmark.  Does anybody have any experience with this?   Gas.  Yes.  Stress.  Yes.   More than one thing, which is why this is so difficult for doctors...to a hammer everything is a nail, etc.    Viruses?   Inflammation?   Inflammation which gets worse.    Why do the episdoes self terminate?   As confusing as why they start.     The Afib seems, at least to me to have a 'positive' effect on my body, because when the episode terminates, I feel 'better' and 'cleansed'....the area under my eyes goes blackish during an episode and this disappears when its over....urine has a peculiar, almost yeasty scent during the episode.   And then this passes.   Does ANY of this sound familiar to ANYONE?
Avatar universal
You bring up some interesting things.  First have you been thoroughly examined.  Are your blood test and vitals all good?  Have you had ekg, echo cardo etc?  If you had these and the doctors can't put a finger on it then you are probably in the same boat as I and I'm sure many others.  I can tell you the episodes should not be coming more frequently and should not be lasting for days so that concerns me.  You may be able to tolerate it body wise after a while but the heart itself can actually be weakened by it if it is frequently occurring and it is true afib.  There are people that live with this as a chronic condition and are on medications for it yet there is little known about it?  If you are in true atrial fibrilation it means basically that your heart has gone into a miss fire of sorts in the aortal upper portion of the heart.  It can also occur in the ventrical or lower portion however this is more uncommon and supposedly a little more dangerous.  Once the heart is in this state you are not pumping blood efficiently and you may experience some dizziness and exhaustion.  If you have pain, tightness in the chest and or not able to breath you need to get to the doctor a.s.a.p..  I like that you keep track and take note of the different things going on.  Are you taking any kind of medications or herbal or vitamin supplements?  Do you drink coffee or are you sensitive to caffeine?  I personally don't like to excercise with the gas feeling however if I do some walking and light excercise like a couple situps or bends it may help relieve some gas.  I have never had atrial before during or after actual working out but have heard that a possible remedy to stop the afib in its tracks is to exercise.  I can tell you that its the last thing I feel like doing when I have it and I've tried other things like the cold water on the face to no avail.  There were actually one or two times I sneezed and it went away but usually in my case it seems to come from gas, bloat which is probably brought on by inflamation in the gut which in turn is probably brought on by eating the wrong foods where by ultimately every thing doesn't move along as it should in the digestive tract including trapped gas kind of like a sewer pipe being clogged and backed up.  Read my other post for things I done or that seemed to help.  You can feel a sense of cleansing or deep relief when the episode is over however whether there is any kind of actually cleansing going on I'm not so sure and would probably doubt it.  If you were toxic and this is how your body reacts to get rid of it then I suppose there could be a possibility of that but then I would have to question whether its afib or just rapid heart rate which are different.  All the things I brought up and the questions you had ie., stress, gas, inflamation, virus, parasites, bacteria, eating fast, eating wrong, food allergies etc. in my opinion all can contribute and have an impact to getting these episodes and all have negative affects on your health in general.  The portion of the digestive tract that sits close to the vagus nerve may be whats impacted and contributing to this thing especially when there is inflamation it probably touches or comes closer to it?  As far as the dark circles I'm not a doctor but can speculate since your blood is not being circulated as it should it is probably pooling up under your eyes giving the dark appearance and once you get back to sinus rythm the blood flows and  the pools are removed and so are the dark circles.  The yeast scent you get when you urinate I can not say what that is and again can only speculate.  The first thing that comes to mind and is a concern is whether you are diabetic or have you had your sugar checked?  If you have sugar you can sometimes get an odor to your urine and if you have sugar/dibetes it can be a big factor as to why you get this in the first place so if your not sure get it checked.  If your uric acid levels are high you need to monitor your diet and if this is a cause of inflamation in your body then I see no reason why it couldn't be a contributing factor in all this but it is the first time I've heard of it.  Just trying to use common sense.  You never expanded on the product you ordered.  I too heard of a product that is supposedly a cure for this and it comes from Europe.  I forget what it was and have it written some where.  You know with all the burocracy here in the states regarding health and medical it won't get any green light so you decide to try it and it helps please let us know.  Just make sure you take precautions I mentioned above first before trying things out and know whats in it and what your taking and that it poses no harm or known side effects.  I hope this helps.  Check back in and let us know.  -Rich P.-
Avatar universal
I have been experiencing the same symptoms for about six months now.  I seem to have sometimes dull sometimes sharp pains under my breast bone.  I get bloated very easily after eating.  I burp a lot of stomach gas.  Lots of belching ensues.  Sometimes I feel like my esophagus swells up and then I can feel my heart beating in my chest, the fluttering and butterfly feeling.  Then, this irregular beating in my chest scares me and causes anxiety, then the viscous cycle repeats.  The anxiety causes more chest pain, more gas, and more discomfort.  I have been trying everything to treat myself.  Changed my diet (was drinking lots of soda and taking NSAID pain relievers every day) for the most part, but due to my work schedule I do eat too much fast food to this day.  I drink nothing but water now, I have been watching everything I do.  I wait tables at night so being on my feet seems to always help, and these pains occur a lot less.  Also they seem to have gotten better by doing 2 weeks course of Prylosec OTC.  But still I am not "cured" and I just had an episode today.

My doctor visits all said the same thing. That anxiety, ibs, and stress have led to ulcers and my stomach being torn to shreds with acid. And then they give me antacids and send me on my way.  Well, all of this seems logical, but why has my stomach not healed after months and months of diet changing and antacid treating?  

I have been noticing that anxiety (watching a big football game) along with eating gassy food (like a bratwurst) can bring this on as apposed to just another day.  Also my episode today was brought on by me eating less than 3 hours before I went to sleep (around 1.5 hours).  When I woke up this morning I could tell my stomach and esophogus were upset with me, and when I finally ate lunch (several tums, water, and a prilosec later) 15 minutes or so later the bloating and heart fluttering kicks in.  

Please if anyone knows a way to heal yourself from this condition let me know.  I have been living in discomfort for 6 months and I am afraid that my 29 years of Moutain Dew and Taco Bell finally caught up with me....
Avatar universal
Hello j.  Sorry to hear of your dilemna.  By the sound of it you are describing what I and others have experienced.  It sounds also like you have also visited the doctors and other than the stomach & digestive troubles you are relatively healthy.  Have you read the other posts by myself.  Please look at them and you'll get some more insight as to what i have gone thru and some things that i've done that helped more than I can do here.  I will try and give you a quick overview and some suggestions.  First it is entirely possible to get afib via gas bloat and other stomach and digestive tract disorders.  If your stomach and digestive tract is as described then you must have inflamation.  All this inflamation and bloat and gas will push up on your diaphram and surrounding areas and cause great discomfort and pain but also can press upon nerves.  One of the nerves could be the vagus nerve and the afib may be vagul induced afib by exerting pressure on it and cause your heart to pump harder and disrupt the firing pattern of your heart causing it to go into fibrilation.  You still need to re-evaluate your eating.  There are many foods and beverages that produce and cause inflamation, gas, acid and bloat etc.  Stopping all carbonated beverages was a good start but apparently not enough.  You need to cut out all junk food and fast food.  You need to eat lighter more spaced out meals and include better for you foods such as raw fruits and vegetables etc.  i would recommend when eating any food that may cause gas such as beans use beano.  If you have any kind of dairy take lactaid.  The worst thing you can do is take any antacids all of which you mentioned.  These may give quick temporary relief but mere hours later come back to haunt you with a vengence.  They actually cause you to produce an over abundance of acid and really inflame your digestive tract so food you've eaten has no way to flow smoothly down its pathway kind of like a backed up sink.  I would recommend getting a good probiotic and some digestive enzymes.  Your ulcers I would recommend trying mastic gum every day as directed for a few weeks.  This can help heal ulcers and perhaps kill the bacteria that cause it.  If you get gas there are other things you can try for relief ie., try baking soda in water ( disolve completely first!), licorice, dgl, cumin powder, fennel etc.  If your really backed up you may need to flush your system and colon out.  I like using epsom salt in water.  Make sure your not on any meds that might not be good combination.  Try 2 or 3 teaspons in glass of water then repeat several hours later.  Drink plenty of water in between.  After you feel really cleaned out give your system a rest and drink only clear soup broth and green teas the next day.  Gradually ad stomach friendy food like low fat yogurt.  Keep an eye on what upsets you or look up on line about food combining and check PH foods vs acidic foods.  Do some walking or light excercising and do not eat atleast 4-5 hours before bed.  If your hungry have only a light protein snack.  This even now is still a work in progress for me but I feel a lot better.  I am trying to figure out whether getting this has caused what I suspect to be a succeptible area or pocket somewhere that may or may not heal with time?  If I go off the wagon or forget to do what I mentioned then I can get that jolt or funny feeling and afib may result.  So far 8 months and counting with no episodes.  Well, I hope some of this helps.  Let me/us know and good luck.  -Rich- delcocat
Avatar universal
I've been going through it with digestion & AFib episodes. I'm scheduled to have an Ablation Procedure 12/22/2009 but I'm apprehensive because I keep thinking what if it's a digestive issue. I now have a scar on my heart which is normal from the EcoCardiogram I had done in August. I have never been a big soda drinker. I steer clear of carbonated beverages, coffee, chocolate & have really minded my sweet intake here lately as sweets definitely almost instantly after eating them brings on A Fib. I have A Fib Episodes almost everyday & night. ;( It's been depressing & caused me high anxiety. I'm a very emotional & high strung individual anyway so now I'm really on the edge. I don't know what else to do. I've exhausted several meds (6 to be exact)  that haven't worked. A friend had the Ablation procedure done back in 2000 & it worked for her. She said she had one Vagal Episode after that since but she's been ok. I watch what I eat, I've tried  different supplements. Once in a while lately I have a day where I'm A Fib free & I rejoice but as soon as it kicks back in I'm bummed. I drink Coconut Water, I've done Mastic gum, Probiotics, Acidophilus, Prilosec, Aloe  Vera Gel & Aloe Vera juice, Magnesium Orotate, ice on my neck, ice on my face, cold water on my face, Cayenne pepper, pound my chest, bear down, sneeze, cough, hot tea, cold tea, cry, breathing exercises, tapping, laser on heart meridian which is on your pinky finger between tip & below nail of pinky, lay down, stand up, you name it, I've done it, tried it. Sometime they work, sometimes they don't. There's no rhyme or reason to A Fib. Today I can do something for an episode & it works but the next day I can try the same thing & it won't work but may work again later on. Go figure. I just know I'm exhausted, frustrated, sad & depressed at times trying to figure it out. So I think may be this Ablation thing will work. I'm beginning to think the powers that be are messing with us some kind of way because there's too many people with this condition that these learned Drs. can't figure out. Conspiracy! I'm beginning to wonder. I go to the drug stores & have noticed the antacids & proton pump inhibitors are selling like hot cakes & the shelf life for these products are short. I pay attention & say 10 years ago or more such was not the case. More & more people are suffering with digestive problems that are very similar if not exact. Thank God! For the internet & the information we can all learn & share with each other. WE don't have to just accept what they tell us as etched in stone & be more proactive about our health. I don't know what to do. I just want to be normal again & have a better quality life. I've been dealing with this for about a year on a regular basis. I was diagnosed with A Fib in 1997. I managed it for all these years without medication cause' I had no health insurance but now it's getting out of control. I can't figure out how to manage it anymore. I have a metal taste in my mouth, teeth feel funny, constant belching, gas, bloat, heartburn. I had an endoscopy/colonoscopy done July 31st. Everything looked good. No polyps, nothing. I wish the Drs. could tell me exactly what's going on but that seems like a dead end when they only deal with one part of the body. Western medicine doesn't seem to see the body, mind, emotions as a whole. Like I can take my heart out at night, put it on the night table & then put it back in the next morning after giving it a rest. Anyone have any information or comment they'd like to share I would appreciate it. Peace & Blessings to all of you...
Avatar universal
P.S. If it's not my heart, after the Ablation procedure I will have a scar on my heart & for no good reason...
Avatar universal
Hi Good7Shape, I'm sorry to hear of your problem and dilemna with your decision.  First have you read mine and others posts?  This could help in giving you some comfort that your not alone and perhaps give you some tips you haven't thought of to try.  Let me start off in that your correct that there is something going on and some are very subtle and others more obvious if you look.  Today especially in this country we are stressed out as a result of being a fast paced society and that carries on to include wrong food and other choices we make every day.  Personally it sounds as though you are and have been a nervous wreck.  First and foremost this will not help you with this condition but worsen it.  So stay calm or get help with the anxiety if need be.  You say your test reveal outside of your epsisodes with anxiety and afib that your relatively healthy?  You state that its been approximately a year you have been going through this?  Did you have any major upsets in your life around that time?  Lost loved one, stressful job etc?  There could have been perhaps a trigger point.  Perhaps not?  The trigger point itself could have simply been an anxiety or afib attack that snow balled afterward?  Now comes your modifying your diet and or supplementation. You mention you tried mastic gum, magnesium and so forth but also included prilosec.  No good... this is an otc antacid and does what every other antacid does.  The relief is generally temporary but in the end can worsen the condition it was supposed to treat.  Magnesium is good but believe it or not can act as an antacid itself.  Have you ever gone to the bathroom afterwards up to several days later and pooped out pellets, thin and or burning like acid from your rectum or in general had a hard time going?  I would be surprised if you said no to one or all of these.  You obviously get stomach upset to be taking any or all of these.  You could be creating an inflamation in your stomach and intestinal tract causing great discomfort.  It can push up on the diaphram and or vagus nerve causing pressure and great discomfort  which alone can cause anxiety but also possibly disrupt blood flow or nerve firing which possibly can lead to the afib. There could be many other factors involved as well.  You ruled out ulcer but mentioned a metallic taste you get.  This can come from digestive tract issues, tooth issues or sinus issues etc.  It sounds though yours may be a result of stomach and gastrointestinal distress.  I think bacterial, parasites, yeast, viruses can all contribute to the above as well.  hiadial hernia and gall bladder can cause these similar problems or symptoms.  As far as the ablation ultimately it is going to be between God yourself and your doctors.  It does work for some that are chronic but I can tell you that it does not work for some others.  A friend of mine had it supposedly by one of the best in the field who guaranteed a good result and he supposedly did not get it right and it did not help him and he now regrets it.  Surgery is a risk no matter what it is so you always take a chance.  It should be your last option.  I don't like when a doctor is uncertain as to why you or anyone may be getting this only then to prescribe drugs or surgery on an apparent bet.  Personally I would get a few seperate opinions before making any final decision.  Diet wise all I can say is you sometimes have to totally rethink and re-ajdust everything including what you might have thought was good and you have to become very familiar with what causes you upset.  Usually a diet of raw fresh organic fruits and vegetables can help to get your gut back to shape.  No dairy or meat, sugar, white flour, fast food, fried food, carbonated beverages, coffee at all etc.  Filtered or distilled water and green tea and clear soup broths are usually fine.  Probitics are a good idea as are food enzymes.  If you eat anything that can be gassy use beano.  If you do have any dairy make sure you use lactose free or use lactaid enzyme available any health or drug store.  I would suggest also every day lowfat yogurt mixed with honey to help get the gut flora back in balance and the honey helps kill the bad bacteria.  If you do get the acid, gas or bloat try 1/4 teaspoon baking soda in water (dissolve completely first!) or dgl (form of licorice without the bad stuff that makes bp go up) or cup of stomach ease tea.  Getting some light exercise like walking every day can help.  Read my prior post as I'm sure there are many other things I didn't put here.  There is a natural product being offered online that supposedly cures afib.  I forget the name but you can google afib cure.  I personally haven't tried it because so far I have got this under control myself with all the things I mentioned here and in other post that I've tried.  What ever your decision and how you attack this I wish you success.  Please check back and post any results you have as we are all interested.  Final thought is that afib is generally not life threatening but very uncomfortable however it should not be ignored (as if that were possible) and if you go on for more than a couple hours and can not bring yourself back then you need to get to the doctor or emergency so that they can.  Once in that state the heart does not pump blood efficiently and if it becomes a chronic thing can only serve to possibly weaken the heart if let go on uncontrolled.  Again good luck and hope some of this helps.  Rich
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