One symptom I personally think about and deal with a lot is nausea one feels while living with fibro. Nausea is defined as the urge to vomit. I like to break things down symptom by symptom because looking at that cluster list of ailments overwhelms me, it can be difficult to even look at and say “that’s me all over.” However nausea albeit not the most painful thing, oftentimes isn’t taken into serious consideration because we just blame it on the pills or the stress and think well it’s just a side effect so I must have to just ignore it, deal with it, and not pay any attention to it. I can honestly say I’m one of those people so that’s why I made it a personal mission of mine to research what I could about what foods or medications could potentially reduce this little annoyance, because despite what people may assume…when you have a lot of nausea every day of your life, you start to notice there are actually different levels of nausea. So your body becomes more able to read itself and that can actually work in our favor because when it comes down to it…we want the answers, we want to know why.
When Can Nausea Occur?
There’s the nausea that comes and goes throughout the day like waves rushing on a shore, once in a while your tummy just feels icky and not right. Then there’s the nausea that comes on suddenly, makes us put out hand to our mouth like we’re going to vomit and sometimes we do usually followed by a very hot tingly body or sometimes an incredible ache all over that can last for upwards of 20-30 minutes. We also have nausea that happens only when we eat. For some individuals that very first bite of food in the morning or before any meal can be a pain in the, well…stomach! Some people take to other measures such as smoking or eating medical marijuana because the medications for nausea relief just don’t cut it. We also have nausea that is accompanied by irritable bowl syndrome, the kind you get when you’re hunched over the toilet doing your business and then suddenly you don’t know if you should stand up and vomit in the toilet or finish your business before you have an accident. Yes I can relate. Now THAT is an awkward situation to be in. There’s also the nausea that accompanies pain on different levels, migraines, back pains or the sudden shock of nerve pain can all attribute to your body wanting to toss a few cookies. And last but not least, some of us don’t JUST have fibromyalgia…a lot of us suffer from either another ailment or more, plus on top of that I can guarantee 99% of us have some form of depression or have had it in our lifetime and well, have you ever felt sick to your stomach due to stress or depression? Did you find yourself eating less or eating too much which can also attribute to nausea? It can be rather annoying.
That’s exactly the best way to describe nausea…annoying. It gnaws at you. Personally for myself there are days when I don’t want to eat and all, but if I don’t force myself to eat something I get even sicker because the hunger mixed with the already pre-existing nausea is a concoction for an atomic tummy. I’m also a survivor of P.T.S.D. (Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome) so managing my stress levels is a tremendous task itself to undertake every day of my life. Sometimes the nausea gets so bad I feel like I’m dizzy and about to pass out and typically if I get dizzy first then it will be accompanied by the nausea so it goes both ways.
About 65-70% of fibromyalgia sufferers do report experiencing either chronic nausea, bouts of vomiting or both nausea and vomiting. They vary in their intensity so some people have mild to moderate nausea whereas some experience really intense nausea as mentioned above during certain activities or because of other reasons. This nausea we’re experiencing can interfere with out ability to continue on with our daily lives and activities. It hinders us from getting out of that ‘sick’ feeling we all know so well that can also be described as a flu-like symptom.
Symptoms that Accompany Nausea Include:
*Feeling Faint (going to pass out)
What Causes Nausea?
So many factors can trigger fibro or chronic illness related nausea. Headaches and migraines, stress (or being in stressful environments, large crowds, interviews, ect.) also traveling, weather changes, changes in diet, irritable bowls, prescriptions, depression, pain, can all attribute to feelings of nausea or vomiting. Sometimes the equilibrium in our brains goes askew simply from getting up too fast, moving our heads to the side too fast or even from the motion of a car so there are a variety of different reasons why your body is responsive to nausea and telling your brain you are sick. Believe it or not, nausea is your body’s way of telling you to calm down and stay healthy. It’s almost like a small warning signal if you will. Nausea can also be your body’s way of trying to reject certain toxins that are not healthy or that the body cannot absord properly. In order to find relief from some of your nausea you have to know the reasons behind why it’s there to begin with.
The Nausea Break-Down:
Migraines: More than 50% of people with fibromyalgia suffer from chronic headaches and migraines. Migraines are severe headaches caused by constriction of the arteries and vessels in the head and neck. Migraines can last for days and are often accompanied by nausea and vomiting because of constriction of certain nerves in the back of the head.
Equilibrium Problems: A lot of fibromyalgia survivors experience imbalances in their equilibriums. Your body balances itself by maintaining an appropriate equilibrium, which is found in the inner ear. If for some reason this equilibrium falls out of balance, it can cause you to feel dizzy, lightheaded, and nauseous.
Neurally Mediated Hypotension: Many of those with fibromyalgia suffer from neurally mediated hypotension. Neurally mediated hypotension occurs after suddenly standing up after lying down or sitting down for an extended period. As you get up, your blood pressure drops suddenly, causing extreme dizziness, sweating, heart palpitations, and nausea.
Weak Eye Muscles: Fibromyalgia can cause the muscles that allow your eyes to move to become weak. As a result, you may feel nauseated whenever you try to look out of a car window, read a book, or participate in any other activity that requires you to follow something with you eyes.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common complaint amongst those with fibromyalgia. IBS causes your lower intestine to become extremely sensitive to muscle contractions. As a result, severe bouts with diarrhea, abdominal cramping, and constipation often occur. Sometimes, the nausea experienced with fibromyalgia can be the result of these symptoms.
Medication for Nausea:
Antihistamines: Various over-the-counter medications are available to help provide nausea relief and prevent future stomach upset. Some of the most popular over-the-counter nausea medications are antihistamines. Antihistamines, including Avomine and Dramamine, work by blocking histamine receptors in the body. In particular, they block the “vomiting center” in the brain, stopping nausea and preventing vomiting. These antihistamines also help to restore the body’s equilibrium.
Emetrol: Emetrol is also available without prescription to help relieve nausea and upset stomach. It is available in liquid form only, and should be taken every 15 minutes until symptoms disappear. I’ve tried this and it didn’t work for me but everything is worth trying once.
Prescription Medications: A variety of prescription medications exist that can help to reduce nausea, stomach upset, and vomiting. Medications are usually matched to treat the cause of the nausea. Speak with your doctor for information on specific prescription anti-nauseants. Your doctor will know what is best for you and what will also be safe taken with your other medications as well.
The Dietary Option:
Sometimes, it’s the simple changes to your diet that can help you to significantly reduce your symptoms of nausea. If you are feeling nauseated or have been vomiting, it is important to keep as hydrated as possible. If you lose too much liquid your body can lose important electrolytes that it needs to function. Drink only clear liquids for the first 12 hours after vomiting. Avoid caffeinated beverages and all dairy products. Drinking at least 6-8 glasses of water every day can help keep you from having a sudden bout of nausea or at least reduce the symptoms greatly. Were definitely not about stopping nausea, as fibromyalgia survivors we know the reality that we have to live with this so our main goal is to improve the quality of life…that we CAN achieve…at least until there is a cure.
Some foods that can help to alleviate nausea are starchy foods (noodles, rice), and also crackers, which can help to absorb some of the excess stomach acids. You can also suck on crystallized ginger to reduce nausea. I always enjoy a little ginger ale but the sugar content can actually irritate you if you have IBS so take that into account when drinking anything carbonated with sugar. Avoid citrus fruits, juices, and other acidic foods, as this will increase your nausea. Gradually introduce solid foods after 12 hours, beginning with applesauce and working your way up to breads, cereals, and eventually, protein products. I literally live with this problem every day of my life and there are most days when all I want to eat is just bread, it’s plain, I don’t have to smell it…it’s easy. So don’t try to force yourself to eat something that is uncomfortable for you if you are right in the middle of an atomic tummy attack…stick to what will make you feel best. I always use apple sauce or bread, sometimes a banana helps.
How to Prevent Nausea:
Some nausea can be prevented by avoiding some of the things that can trigger it.
•Avoid smells that trigger nausea (these may include certain foods, perfumes, or flowers).
•Take anti-nausea medication before traveling in a car, airplane, or boat.
•Avoid drinking alcohol, as this can cause drowsiness, balance problems, dizziness, and nausea.
•Wait an hour before eating in the morning. This will allow your stomach time to settle. Instead try drinking a large glass of water first. Or if you’re stomach isn’t triggered by caffeine, a good cup of coffee helps for some, but not for others who are sensitive.
•Try researching “fibro friendly foods” on google and find out what foods are best for your body.
•If you have to drive a long distance, sit in the front seat facing forwards. Keep your eyes on a stable object faraway in the distance. This will reduce nausea and motion sickness.