I can't digest food anymore

Posted by lin23 @lin23, May 20 3:43pm

4 years ago I had a big accident. Didn't recover. I've been diagnosed with fibromalgia. And IBS.
Now I struggle to walk. To get up the stairs. To complete daily tasks. Chronic fatigue. Much pain. For 3 months now the ibs is now very bad. No longer able to digest food. Sick a lot. Food won't digest after 18 hours. Heart burn. I feel like I'm dying. I'm 49 so probably peri menopause. I just want to talk to someone. I'm scared.

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Autoimmune Diseases Support Group.

@lin23 Welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. I’m sure you’ll find some help and support here. How long have you had fibromyalgia and IBS and are you receiving treatment? Have you been to your doctor lately and gotten a referral for physical therapy to help you walk?
And what is being done about the non-digestion of food and IBS?
You may also find more help in the Digestive Health support group. I couldn't find anything specific, but if you post your question again, I’m sure someone will see it.


Have you seen a gastrointolgist for the stomach issues??


Any peripheral pain that would match CRPS? Curious since there was physical trauma? I was told ny my gastro that what can appear to be IBS can actually be CRPS of the colon esp if you are undiagnosed it might not be considered.


While, I am not a physician, I am trained in Laboratory Medicine and have suffered from a number of chronic GI issues. I have also been involved in the clinical development of diagnostic tests and treatments for various GI disorders over my 35+ year career in the biopharmaceutical industry. My response to your query should not be construed as specific medical diagnoses or recommendations for the treatment of your various disease states. The information I am providing to you is intended to provide you with relevant background information that may be useful in discussing various aspects of your medical complaints. As always, your health care providers should use their clinical knowledge and discretion to guide you care.

That said, you should, if you have'nt already done so, consult a gasteroenterologist (GI) re your digestive issues and referred pain. You report that you are unable to digest foods which may be suggestive of either exocrine or paracrine pancreatic insufficiency.

This may lead to a number of the physical symptoms that you describe. Have you experienced significant weight loss over the last several months or year? If so this is indicative of malabsorption of nutrients from ingested foods. Your worsening of your IBS symptoms/increased diarrhea are also suggestive of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO).

The causes of SIBO are multifactorial but are often associated with the chronic consumption of acid suppressant drugs (pepcid, prilosec, etc). The long term inhibition of hydrochloric acid secretion by the parietal cells in you stomach allow for the colonization and overgrowth of harmful bacterial species that can also colonize the upper regions of your small intestine and cause SIBO. When this occurs, the noxious bacteria may form biofilms over colonies of theses bacterial which may result in injuries/inflammation to the small intestinal epithelial cells which are responsible for the adsoption of nutrients from the foods that you have ingested and properly digested.

The digestive process has three phases, cephalic, gastric and intestinal. I won't belabor with the details, but dysregulation of the gastric (stomach) and intestinal digestive processes may give rise to the symptoms that you are experiencing.
Have you been evaluated for gastritis, gastric emptying or motility, SIBO, exocrine pancreatic insufficency or pancreatitis? If not, it might be appropriate to discuss these conditions,tests and assessments with your health care providers. Depending upon the results of any tests for these conditions, there are a variety of treatment modalities that have demonstrated efficacy in treating these specific disease states and alleviating associated symptoms. These include the use of various antibiotic regimens to elimnate bacterial overgrowth in SIBO, pre/probiotic supplements to help re-establish a normal healthy gut microbiome or in the case of EPI the use of capsules containing exogenously derived (often from pigs) pancreatic digestive enzymes (trypsin, amylase lipase etc). If the issue is related to gastritis/gastro parents there are several drugs that can help with gastrin and intrensic factor secretion (necessary for vita B12 absorption) and pro kinetic drugs to stimulate gut motility.

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