stomach ulcer, hypothyroid? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 08-01-2010, 03:36 PM - Thread Starter
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It has been a long time since I have posted here, but I need some help.

For the past several months, I have been under an extraordinary amount of stress. My health has generally suffered, but what I am most concerned about is the frequent stomach pain I am experiencing. Could I have developed an ulcer? It has been typical for me since childhood to manifest stress as indigestion/intestinal pain. This problem started out in that familiar way months ago, but is no longer correlated with eating, necessarily, and does not respond to typical antacids (like Tums) or to papaya enzyme tablets, both of which have worked pretty reliably in the past. It has started to awaken me in the night occasionally, and is uncomfortable enough that I can't go back to sleep.

I have heard that it is pure myth that stress causes stomach ulcers, but I can't help wondering (and worrying) about it.

I am currently in the midst of a health insurance lapse, so I won't be able to see a doctor for another month or so. It's important to me to do a bit of legwork in advance, anyway, before submitting myself to allopathic/conventional solutions. What non-pharmaceutical measures* would you suggest in the meantime?

I am inquiring here before even asking Dr. Google. I have come to really value the wisdom in this forum, and would be grateful for any insight or suggestions you may have.

This is probably a topic for another thread entirely, but perhaps it is relevant: I am also struggling with hypothyroid symptoms at the moment. I have been on natural thyroid replacement (0.5 grain pd) for about a year, with excellent results. Lately, I sense that my levels have dropped back into the basement, and I am experiencing all the old discomforts: I am hypersensitive to light/sound/everything, I am very easily overwhelmed, I have the "foggy" feeling, my ears itch, I get an unshakable chill even when the weather is very warm, my body temps are in the 96.5 range, I am irrationally irritable, I am lethargic, my feet are like ice, my appetite is very poor but I have inexplicably gained weight, my hair is falling out at an alarming rate, my hands and feet are quick to go numb, etc. etc. blah blah blah. (Many of these I might mistake for symptoms of stress in general if they weren't such familiar signals of poor thyroid function.)

Is my stomach pain perhaps related to this? And if so, what can I do?

I'm eager to see my doctor (a great integrative practitioner), do some labs, and adjust the meds if appropriate, but I can't do that for several more weeks due to the insurance issues. What can I do in the meantime?

I've restarted iodine supps, which I'd gotten lazy about. (I have 12.5mg Iodoral tablets. How many should I take?) I already cook with coconut oil, but am considering taking some therapeutically. What else would you suggest? Are any of the herbal "thyroid formulas" at the health food store worth trying?

Thanks in advance. I'm really bummed to be dealing with all of this on top of other stressors. (But then, that's exactly how it goes, right? I know, I know. Sigh.)

* Other than stress management and self-care, which I am actively working on.

Meg, BFARing mama to two spirited daughters, born at home June 05 and April 08.
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#2 of 9 Old 08-01-2010, 11:56 PM
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Most ulcers are caused by a bacteria (H. Pylori). However, I have read about a few things you may be able to do naturally.

1. Licorice is an anti-inflammatory and has been linked to reducing acid production.

2. Bananas also reduce acid-ity

3. Cabbage- I have this in a pamphlet at home: Add 250 grams of cabbage to 500 ml of water and bring to a boil until the quantity is reduced to half of its original amount. After cooling the water, the natural cure can be taken twice daily

4. Manuka Honey (from new zealand I think?)

Other than the coconut oil and the iodine, the only other thing I can think of for thyroid issues is selenium.

Hope you feel better soon!
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#3 of 9 Old 08-02-2010, 02:00 AM
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You CAN buy thyroid over the counter at health food stores. It's just not regulated from pill to pill so you aren't sure how much you are really getting. But it would help or if you have enough pills go ahead and up it a tiny bit if you trust yourself.

The things they gave me for ulcers is prilosec and Nexium which are now over the counter. Acid reducers. More naturally I would avoid acidic foods and aim for an alkaline diet.

Also you could have developed an allergy or sensitivity to say wheat/gluten. The longer my gluten allergy was not attended too the worse I got over the years. My body could no longer put up the charade of dealing with it.

btw if they think you have an ulcer they just give you the acid reducer pills. They won't test you or anything. At least that's what they did with me.

Do get your thyroid upped though!

oh, enteric coated peppermint capsules helps numb the gut (and gives you minty breath weirdly)... also dependent on where the pain is you could be passing a gall stone?

eta: if your thyroid is autoimmune.. they tend to travel in packs and celiac (gluten allergy) is an autoimmune thing also.
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#4 of 9 Old 08-02-2010, 02:35 AM
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It does sound hypothyroid to me. Not sure on the stomach issues. I am hypo, though, and your symptoms sound considerably worse than mine ever have been (well except for the brain fog, which has been pretty extreme at times). I understand wanting to get that fixed ASAP, but if you go supplementing and adjusting your doctor won't have an accurate picture of how it really is for you, so you might consider at least backing off the supplements prior to seeing the dr. One supplement I would consider, though, and no need to back off it, is Vitamin D. It has really helped me with brain fog and stress/anxiety/depression. I don't take it much in the summer, but probably should. In the winter I don't know how I'd make it without it.

Could you just call your doctor's office and ask what he/she would recommend? Our doctors are pretty good about calling back for a few minutes and not charging anything.

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#5 of 9 Old 08-02-2010, 04:02 AM
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vit. E is necessary for good thyroid regulation, too.

"Our task is not to see the future, but to enable it."
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#6 of 9 Old 08-03-2010, 04:40 AM
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Apple juice will also help relieve the burning sensation.

Tender coconut water, buttermilk is soothing, and cooked apples are healing in the ulcers in stomach.

Find out more Herbal Remedies for Ulcers here.

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#7 of 9 Old 08-05-2010, 01:23 AM
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I had some stomach issues a few years ago, then read about something called "Functional Dyspepsia." It described my symptoms well.

At the same time I also read the book "The Divided Mind" by Sarno, and that helped immensely. You mentioned that you're under a lot of stress, so I'd highly recommend that book as part of your treatment.

In my case I was focusing so much on my stomach issues that it was serving as a distraction from the stressors in my life.

I didn't change my diet or anything, and my symptoms are totally gone.
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#8 of 9 Old 08-06-2010, 04:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks so much, everyone. This forum never fails to be a source of needed advice.

The reminder about vit. D is well taken. It's bright and summery here, so I haven't been supplementing, but I've started again since last week and there seems to be some difference already.

I did buy a "raw New Zealand thyroid" supplement at the health food store, which contains 50mg of thyroid as well as L-Tyrosine and a variety of seaweeds. I agree that it would be best to get a clear picture when ding labs, but since I don't know when, exactly, I'll be able to do that (and I need to get by in the meantime), I am going to try upping my dose a little for now and see how it goes.

The stomach pain continues. it is sometimes seemingly untriggered; other times, it comes over me very strongly in direct response to a stressful situation. I absolutely think it is at least partly psychosomatic, and the book you recommended, kayjay, sounds excellent. Will order today!

Thanks again. Getting my physical health a little stronger will no doubt help me to cope with all the emotional stuff. It's all so interrelated.

Meg, BFARing mama to two spirited daughters, born at home June 05 and April 08.
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#9 of 9 Old 08-06-2010, 04:59 PM
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Your thyroid and adrenals work in tandem. It is common to experience what you described, thyroid supplement works, then stops when adrenals tank.
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