Fibromyalgia may trigger Nausea and Vomiting

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Between 40 and 70 percent of fibromyalgia sufferers experience symptoms of both chronic nausea and vomiting, almost anything can trigger nausea for fibromyalgia sufferers. Triggers for fibromyalgia vary from person to person. Maintaining a log of activities, meals, sleep times and duration, and symptoms of fibromyalgia may help to identify particular triggers.

It’s no wonder fibromyalgia nausea is sometimes compared to morning sickness; it can strike without warning anytime of the day or night. Nausea and vomiting are very common symptoms that are not specific to any one particular condition or illness. As a result of the non-specific nature of nausea and vomiting, it can be difficult for fibromyalgia patients to determine if these symptoms are the result of a specific treatment, the result of their widespread pain and tenderness, or a side effect of an underlying co-morbid condition.

The many factors that trigger pain can also trigger nausea, as well as dizziness. Nausea, especially accompanied by vomiting, can be strange, as its onset may simply be our body’s way of removing certain toxins or reminding us of food sensitivities. However, persistent nausea can be debilitating. Nausea is your body’s response to certain signals that it is receiving from the environment around you.

What is nausea?

Nausea is not a disease in itself, but rather a non-specific symptom, i.e. there are several possible causes, including motion sickness, stomach infection, migraine, certain odors, food poisoning, gallbladder disease, very intense pain, early pregnancy, indigestion, certain viruses, chemical toxins and emotional stress.

Causes of nausea are nearly always due to problems in any of these three parts of the body, the brain and spinal fluid, the pelvic and abdominal organs, and the inner ear. Many diseases and conditions related to the brain or spinal fluid have nausea as one of their many symptoms, including, head trauma, migraine and brain tumors. Several psychological factors can induce nausea.

Some people find that they experience nausea just by watching somebody else vomiting. Tone Tangen Haug, M.D, PhD of Haukeland University Hospital in Norway and team reported in the journal General Hospital Psychiatry that patients with anxiety and depression frequently present with gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea and abdominal discomfort as their main problem when visiting the doctor. Children with nausea and vomiting have a higher risk of dehydration than adults, because they do not usually detect or communicate the symptoms.

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Fibromyalgia encompasses various conditions that can cause nausea themselves

Have you ever felt nauseated while reading or while turning your head to view traffic while driving? This is yet another condition caused by fibromyalgia. This is due to weakening of your eye muscles. Fibro sufferers who also suffer IBS experience cycles of diarrhea, cramping and constipation, all of which can trigger nausea and its associated symptoms.

Fibromyalgia is also the cause of neural mediated hypotension, this condition 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. Studies show that more than 50 percent of people with fibromyalgia suffer from chronic headaches and migraines. Migraines can last for days and will most likely produce nausea, dizziness and vomiting because of constriction of nerves in the back of the head.

Symptoms that accompany nausea

Most of the time, nausea will also be accompanied by other symptoms such as heart palpitations, difficulty breathing, sweating, feeling faint and dizziness. If you suffer from fibromyalgia and are noticing symptoms of nausea, contact your health care provider.

Side effect of some medications

Most antidepressants in the selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor (SSRI) and selective norepinephrine re-uptake inhibitor (SNRI) classes almost universally list nausea or vomiting as possible side effects of treatment, and the three medications currently approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of fibromyalgia , Lyrica, Cymbalta, and Savella , also list nausea as a potential side effect of treatment, which when present, can be frequent and troublesome.

Preventing nausea

Nausea can be prevented by avoiding those things that you know will trigger an upset stomach, for example 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. Avoid alcohol, this can cause drowsiness, balance problems, dizziness, and nausea.

 Take anti-nausea medication before traveling in a car, airplane, or boat. Avoid smells that trigger nausea (these may include certain foods, perfumes, or flowers). It is important for such severe nausea to be diagnosed by a health care professional, to prevent further complications and poor quality of life. There are treatments available that can help to reduce both the frequency and intensity of your nausea and get you back to enjoying your life.

Treatment of nausea

From a medication perspective, there are a number of over-the-counter drugs that are helpful to treat nausea when behavioral and dietary remedies have proven ineffective. Medications for the treatment of nausea or vomiting are called antiemetics.

Take bismuth subsalicylate. If you are allergic to aspirin or other salicylate medicines you should not take bismuth subsalicylate. Children under 12 years of age should not take bismuth subsalicylate, and neither should adolescents (aged 12 to 18) who have chickenpox or the flu.

Once nausea is present, vomiting can be prevented by drinking small but increasing amounts of clear, slightly sweet liquids. Kaopectate and Pepto-Bismol are also effective. Eating small, dry foods such a few soda crackers, pretzels, or dry un-sweetened cereal may also help to settle the stomach. Eating slowly and not rushing meals can also help by preventing overeating and indigestion.

Easier digestion means less complications and hopefully, less nausea. Nausea and constipation often go together. Tell your doctor if you are constipated. Sit upright after eating. If you have to lie down, it helps if the head of your bed is raised. Anti-nausea medications work better if taken regularly than occasionally. If you cannot hold your medication down, tell your doctor.


Related: Ways to offer help to someone with chronic illness/Fibromyalgia

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  • Fibromyalgia Nausea and How to Cope via NLO
  • Nausea and Fibromyalgia via Fibromyalgia Treatment
  • Nausea and Vomiting: Causes, Treatments, Self Care By Christian Nordqvist via Medical News Today

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