I Think I’m Going to be Sick
Nearly everyone has experienced nausea at some time or another. That queasy, uneasy sense of discomfort in the upper stomach and head accompanied by an urge to vomit is never pleasant. Usually we can tie it in with something that’s going on in the body such as:
· having eaten something that doesn’t agree with you
· being ill with the flu or another sickness
· being pregnant
· having a migraine headache
· a bad smell
· an earache
· extreme pain
· nervousness and fear
· chemotherapy or general anesthesia
There are doubtless many other things that stimulate nausea, including an adverse reaction to certain drugs or too much sugar.
Nausea and Fibromyalgia
Nausea isn’t a sickness on its own, but rather a symptom of other conditions, often unrelated to the stomach. People who suffer with fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) often complain of nausea. As a matter of fact, between 40% and 70% of FMS patients report frequent, and in some cases continual, episodes of nausea and sometimes vomiting as well. There are several possible connections for nausea with fibromyalgia syndrome. They include:
· Nausea caused by migraine pain. FMS is often accompanied by migraines headaches, which in turn is accompanied often by nausea and vomiting.
· IBS is another condition associated with FMS that causes nausea.
· Dizziness and weakness are often the cause of nausea and people with FMS contend with dizziness and weakness as a matter of course with the syndrome.
· The widespread pain that is the hallmark of FMS is enough to make anyone feel sick.
· Neurally mediated hypotension is caused by low blood pressure. It produces a feeling of nausea when a person gets up too quickly from either a prone or seated position. Again, this condition is frequently found in those with FMS.
When Nausea Becomes Serious
Another possible condition that is found to be frequently connected to people with fibromyalgia syndrome is gastroparesis. Although there is no clear research connecting the two, what is coming to light is that many people with gastroparesis also have FMS. Gastroparesis is a medical condition that is a paresis, or partial paralysis, of the stomach that results in food remaining in the stomach longer than normal. It is also referred to as delayed gastric emptying. This condition causes severe nausea and vomiting as well as feeling full very quickly when eating.
In normal digestion, the stomach contracts to move food down into the small intestine. This action is controlled by the vagus nerve. It is thought that gastroparesis may occur when there is damage to the vagus nerve causing the muscles of the stomach and intestines to malfunction.
Complications of Undigested Food in the Stomach
Food is then left in the stomach too long because it either moves out too slowly or not at all. When this happens complications can arise that include:
· fluctuations of blood glucose levels due to unpredictable digestion. This particularly affects diabetics
· malnutrition as a result of loss of appetite, vomiting, and dietary changes
· severe fatigue and weight loss due to calorie deficit
· intestinal obstruction due to solid masses of undigested food
· bacterial infection from overgrowth in undigested food
This condition can be transitory as a result of an acute illness or use of certain cancer treatments. Anorexia nervosa, bulimia and other abnormal eating patterns can also cause a transient bout of gastroparesis.
Who Gets Gastroparesis?
Chronic gastroparesis is frequently due to autonomic neuropathy – functions of the nervous system not under voluntary control, such as the heartbeat or glandular secretions. People with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes may be affected because of the damage to the vagus nerve caused by years of high blood glucose that results in gastroparesis.
Gastroparesis has also been associated with Parkinson’s disease and other autoimmune diseases, as well as with fibromyalgia. The way this condition is diagnosed is through x-rays, manometry, which measures the pressure of gas in the gut, and gastric emptying scans. The clinical definition for gastroparesis is based only on the amount of time it takes food to leave the stomach and the severity of the symptoms does not necessarily correlate with the severity of the condition.
More Unpleasant Symptoms
Along with the nausea, vomiting and early satiety, the following symptoms can accompany gastroparesis:
· weight loss
· weight gain (part of the starvation mode effect)
· abdominal pain
· abdominal bloating
· erratic blood glucose levels
· lack of appetite
· gastroesophageal reflux
· spasms of the stomach wall
Nausea and vomiting are not pleasant and can indicate a more serious problem for the person with fibromyalgia syndrome. Learn more about this symptom as it relates to FMS by reading here.