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Odd food poisoning-like symptoms, strange tastes

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Odd food poisoning-like symptoms, strange tastes

Postby blackmantis » Tue Sep 21, 2010 10:17 am

Second post (After this, I promise I'll stop cluttering the forum with newbie questions).

To give a brief background on why I'm posting, I'm trying to find a diagnosis for symptoms that are either of a paranoid non-existent hypochondriac illness in my head, or for a very real disease. I'm by no means a biologist so excuse my simple laymans terms. The doctors I've spoken to have no idea what I'm talking about.

Since about 1999, I've been getting some kind of problem, the doctors call it food poisoning, but I have a feeling it might be something else, I just don't know, because some of the symptoms baffle me, and they're worse than any bout of poisoning I've had, I feel like something is gravely wrong.

Luckily for me it is now a very rare thing (I used to have it once every few months as a child), the last time I had this illness was 2008.

One minute I'll be fine, then literally within minutes, my mouth entirely dries up, as if someone has sucked it dry with a vacuum cleaner, and then I get bloated. Whenever I burp, a foul rotten egg taste comes to my mouth (I can only describe the taste of it as a mixture of foul rotten eggs, burning toast/popcorn, and sulphur in one). It's so bad it literally makes me want to be sick. When I get this burp, I *know* I'm in trouble for the next 7 hours. It's followed immediately by the most painful, extreme case of the runs, abdominal pains (Feels like someone is boiling water in my intestines and stabbing it with a knife), and intense nausea. Luckily during my last bout in 2008, I was able to leave my campus and get to a medical centre where I was given a metoclopramide injection, I didn't throw up but I sure felt like it. The last time I had it, I remember counting that I vomited until my mouth was dry, and was gagging for about 6 hours nonstop at about an average rate of twice per minute, I could not sleep properly without half gagging and waking up).

Since then though, I've asked doctors and searched the web, and I just can not find the cause of this burp. For me, there's a difference between "food poisoning" where you get the runs, cramps, possible vomiting for a few days, but this illness is intense, and the symptoms are the worst I've ever had, it's enough to debilitate me. The burp worries me, it is almost as if my body is telling me something is gravely wrong.

I don't know what this is, but can anyone here shed some light on what it may be, how it can be (if at all) prevented, diagnosed, or treated? I could be wrong and perhaps it is just Norovirus or something, but what I find odd is that no-one I've spoken to who has suffered norovirus or food poisoning can seem to recall having foul belching. My only other thought is that it might be some kind of bacteria buildup from rotten food caused by gastroparesis or something, but it's just speculation. I'm trying not to worry about it (it really doesn't help now that I almost get a little shaky when I feel so much as bloated), but it would mean the world to me if I could find out what this blasted horrible illness is after a decade of searching. The only other information I have is that I vaguely remember the first time I got it, I had eaten a Banana Fritter from a truck stop at the young age of about 10 (my immune system was probably weak as anything), and within about 3 hours I was ill.
Last edited by blackmantis on Mon Mar 28, 2011 7:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby biohazard » Tue Sep 21, 2010 12:04 pm

Well, having had my share of food poisonings and stomach illnesses as a kid (and once or twice as an adult) I'd say that that doesn't sound like any normal food poisoning to me. I do not know why it would cause dry mouth first and then later such symptoms as you described.

I have a couple of wise old clinical microbiology profesors around here where I work, I could ask them about your problem next time I see one of them. If they haven't heard of anything like that, then I think it must be something else. And if it is something else, then I'd go for either some neurological problem (because of the dry mouth) or some secretory problem (like bile reflux from the intestines or something similar that causes irritation of the bowels/stomach and this burb-thing). Foul eggs usually contain sulphur compunds (that's why the smell), not sure if this bit of information is of any use.

Anyways, I try to be back in touch in few days.
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Re: Odd food poisoning-like symptoms, strange tastes

Postby blackmantis » Sat Oct 02, 2010 8:46 pm

Any luck?
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Re: Odd food poisoning-like symptoms, strange tastes

Postby biohazard » Tue Oct 12, 2010 6:48 am

blackmantis wrote:Any luck?


Sorry, none so far. Though the person I thought might know something has been unavailable because he's been abroad a while. I'll try to remember to post here if I find anything!
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Re: Odd food poisoning-like symptoms, strange tastes

Postby k1pch4 » Mon Nov 22, 2010 7:38 am

Thank goodness that there is someone else out there that suffers from the same problem that I have. I'm not too keen of throwing up myself, and find that sometimes, I get those burps that you describe as well. Mine though just tastes like the burnt popcorn, but no one else that I know of in my town or family suffer from the same thing. I get the exact symptoms that you have (I'm actually experiencing the nausea and the stomach cramps right now) but what is strange to me is that I haven't eaten anything out of the ordinary. Though its not the most comfortable thing to have, and can get quite worrying, it's good for me to know that there is someone else out there that has the same thing. I'm asking around to my friends who have nurses as friends, to see if they have any answers, so if I find anything out, I'll reply ASAP because I would like to know as well.
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Re: Odd food poisoning-like symptoms, strange tastes

Postby blackmantis » Sat Mar 19, 2011 11:01 am

k1pch4 wrote:Thank goodness that there is someone else out there that suffers from the same problem that I have. I'm not too keen of throwing up myself, and find that sometimes, I get those burps that you describe as well. Mine though just tastes like the burnt popcorn, but no one else that I know of in my town or family suffer from the same thing. I get the exact symptoms that you have (I'm actually experiencing the nausea and the stomach cramps right now) but what is strange to me is that I haven't eaten anything out of the ordinary. Though its not the most comfortable thing to have, and can get quite worrying, it's good for me to know that there is someone else out there that has the same thing. I'm asking around to my friends who have nurses as friends, to see if they have any answers, so if I find anything out, I'll reply ASAP because I would like to know as well.


Yes! Burnt popcorn is the same sort of "taste" I could describe it as. Other ways of describing it is rotten eggs, sulphur, burning eggs, it's a foul taste. There seems to be nothing known about what causes this as so many people often post things such as "Oh wow you have this too!? My doctor has no idea" etc etc, like a large population of people get it but it remains a mystery as to what causes it.

I've been doing a lot of studying, and even the symptom itself is hard to find. Had a good read through my Campbell Biology book (as I'm only starting out), but I have found a few things that can cause it (although I'm not looking to self-diagnose, but I have often referred these causes to my doctor as we're working on figuring it out):

* Gastroparesis (delayed emptying of the upper GI, food can sometimes rot and give that foul belch, although it is often only accompanied by bloating, and vomiting but not often diarrhea). It is unlikely gastroparesis is giving us both grief.

* Giardia Lamblia (This is my main suspicion at the moment. I have heard from various sources that Giardia can cause the foul belching, often with watery diarrhea and vomiting, however I've never had it last for more than about 6 hours, rather than the 2 days that the symptoms often go for with Giardia. The belch is perhaps considered insignificant in comparison to the other symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea, that it is not essentially listed as a symptom, but I do get gas which is interesting, as I find I have to belch more often). I believe this is most likely what is causing our problems.

There is an interesting article here -> http://www.healthhype.com/sulphur-or-rotten-eggs-burps-belching-foul-smelling-gas.html which details sulfur belching and some common causes, however I still believe Giardia may be the culprit. It could be the taste of bile coming back up? Although the last time I had this bug, I did not vomit (probably due to my phobia willing me not to with every ounce of strength, and being shot up on metoclopramide hydrochloride), although I certainly felt nauseas.

Still, I'm always fascinated to hear if someone else has had this. There *must* be something or some pattern that we (the sufferers of this vile bug) are following to end up in such a miasma of symptoms. Is there anything you could perhaps tell me that might help? I live in Australia, where Sydney Water is commonly known to have Giardia in it, my mother details the scares of the 1990s in which most people caught it up to 6 times in a year, although most people I know who acquire the protozoan don't often report the foul belch.

I will update this thread with my findings, and I would appreciate any and all feedback from the biology community. If anyone can figure this one out, it's you guys. Not a single doctor I've talked to has a clue. Personally if I could come across an anti-emetic that was *extremely* effective against the vomiting caused by this bug, as well as something that could counter the nausea, I would not let it worry me.
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Postby biohazard » Mon Mar 21, 2011 1:42 pm

Glad to hear you have found at least some possible explanations. Definitely, keep the thread alive and let us know if you manage to find out something!
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Postby adihutama » Tue Mar 22, 2011 4:47 am

hello there

well I cannot really imagine your symptoms, but considering burp...my Mom used to have that symptoms. Untill now, she still burps a lot (relatively compared to any in the family)
When she went to doctor, the said something wrong with her liver, some kind of enzymatic problem. Have you went on test for something like this? Now she take some digestive pill some other time.
Hope this help, I dont really know the taste of her burp

As for Giardia, if your local water contain such bacteria, there will be an outbreak in your area and you wont be the one having the symptoms, right?
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Re:

Postby blackmantis » Sat Mar 26, 2011 3:30 am

adihutama wrote:hello there

well I cannot really imagine your symptoms, but considering burp...my Mom used to have that symptoms. Untill now, she still burps a lot (relatively compared to any in the family)
When she went to doctor, the said something wrong with her liver, some kind of enzymatic problem. Have you went on test for something like this? Now she take some digestive pill some other time.
Hope this help, I dont really know the taste of her burp

As for Giardia, if your local water contain such bacteria, there will be an outbreak in your area and you wont be the one having the symptoms, right?


That's the strange thing though, we had a massive Giardia scare in Sydney in 1997 -> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1998_Sydney_water_crisis

During this period (which I was getting sick in, I don't recall the date this illness commenced for me exactly), many many people I knew suffered from Giardiasis, including my mother, however I have asked her and many others who I knew were affected, not a single one of them reported symptoms matching my own. They often had watery diarrhea for 1-3 days, and often vomited. The vomiting was not so intense that they could not eat (as it would happen only a few times a day, they could still find a moment devoid of nausea to have some dry toast), however my symptoms thankfully never last beyond about 6 hours, although when I was younger.

Well the burp is just a side effect of this miasma of an illness or dysfunction. If it was *just* the burp, I would not be as worried (I've heard mint can suppress the hydrogen sulfide taste). Did your mother also suffer from profuse diarrhea and sometimes vomiting during her liver enzymatic dysfuntcion or was it just the foul belching?

What I aim to try and find out, is:

* What exactly causes this burp, and the taste of hydrogen sulfide? Is perhaps the liver malfunctioning and sending bile back to the stomach, or is the upper GI seizing up causing gastroparesis (which would cause the rotting food to be squeezed back up into the stomach and therefore cause the vomiting and foul taste)

* What illness causes the overall symptoms? Is this an illness caused by a bacteria, enteroviral or protozoan / parasitical infection? Many user accounts lead me to believe it may possibly be Giardia Lamblia, and I would rule out Helicobacter Plyori as I have been tested for it and the results came back negative. Or perhaps is it a gastrointestinal dysfunction? Is the upper GI seizing up somewhere? It's almost as if once the food has reached the upper intestinal tract, the body screams "get out right now!" as hard as it can, and suddenly it's extremely forceful in removing the food through both exits as fast as it can.

Interestingly enough, there is a 45 page long thread on it at Wrongdiagnosis. I have read the entire thread, and not a single person can have it diagnosed by a doctor!

http://forums.wrongdiagnosis.com/showthread.php?t=2710

45 pages right there, with not a single answer in it. This is a serious problem and it is going undiagnosed and unrecognized by doctors. I think some of the best gastroenterologists and pathologists need to look into this because it is truly distressing. Like myself, most people in the thread who have experienced it report developing an instant and extremely strong phobia towards the illness. (most likely due to the intensity, as no doctor seems to be able to understand that you can not eat or drink when you are vomiting every 2 minutes nonstop for 6-12 hours straight).

I think we have a dysfunction or bacterial/enteroviral/protozoan infection that has either not been discovered yet (as it only seems to affect select few people. Most people seem to never get these symptoms, however I have noted that usually the people who get it once experience recurring bouts of it throughout their life. I am the only person in my family to get this and I am unaware of any significant lifestyle changes I possess or have made that caused me to get this recurring bug). This is what worries me. It sounds like some kind of disease that manifests itself in the gut, and infects the person (so they expel most of it), and slowly over time, the bacteria builds up again, and causes another serious infection and the usual symptoms (Would this be a reasonable theory? Does H Plyori not perform a similar act of manifesting itself in the gut so it can reinfect?)

The only other cause I could think of, is perhaps some kind of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth? I've read that if the balance of bacteria in the small intestine is upset, the body reacts (often violently) in expelling the bacteria in order to cull the abnormally large numbers. This sounds like a valid and possible cause to me, although I don't quite understand the source of the foul hydrogen sulfide taste. Perhaps is this gas going through all of us every single day once food hits the upper intestine and beyond, and is broken down by sulfur reducing microbes until it reaches the anus, by which time it has lost most of the odor?

I am tempted to start a thread and detail my notes about it in the first post (as in edit/update it whenever I can). I will continue to post anything or any developments I find in this thread. I have noticed a lot of patterns about it.

* When I first started experiencing symptoms, my bouts of this strange illness/bodily dysfunction were spaced closely together. I would experience it about every 6 months. Interestingly enough, I never used to vomit much from it. I recall being in school one particular bout, and suffering from only the belching and lower GI symptoms, however I did not feel nausea from memory, just dehydrated, and was able to continue my studies, whereas as I've gotten older, the symptoms have become worse and more extreme each time.

Slowly over time I seem to be able to go longer and longer without acquiring it, my longest being from November 2003 to April 2008. I've read that many people seem to shake the problem for many decades, only to have it begin to occur again when they reach their 50s (in which it starts to occur much more often, perhaps as a result of an impaired immune system due to older age? Or perhaps a weaker gastrointestinal system?) The thought that I might acquire this problem almost every month when I'm in my 50s would definitely guarantee me taking a suicidal route to escape it, due to the helplessness. I feel that even if this problem had a diagnosis but no cure, it would make it a lot more clearer for me to understand, since it just seems to magically happen out of the blue with no pattern leading to it. I lose sleep at night running through notes, and information I've absorbed going through my head, repeating "there *must* be a cause for this", the body wouldn't just naturally make you belch hydrogen sulfide, vomit violently and experience fulminating dysentery. Something must be irritating the GI tract or it must be an immune system response.
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Postby adihutama » Mon Mar 28, 2011 3:32 am

Dear blackmantis,

I guess my mother did not have diarrrhea or vomit during those days.

Have you try on Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease? After reading your latest assumption, it came accross my mind. :)
Perhaps some others have post it in this thread. It a disease where youre stomach content is pushed upward to your esophagus.
Actually the main symptom is heartburn which i did not recall appear in your symptom list.
But it can cause burps, vomit, and nausea.
There are many causes for GERD, but it all reaches one point: weak lower esophageal sphincter (LES). This sphincter should retain your stomach content in your gastric. This sphincter can be weaken by some food or drink (acid, spicy, soda, coffee) and strenghten by others (mainly those contain hi protein).
But some people are just born with weak LES.
There are changes in lifestyle that you can do. Beside avoiding those food effecting your LES, sleeping position (maintain your head higher than the body), and clothing (use loose clothe) can do some help.

For diagnose, pH of your esophagus should be measured in certain time. It should be lower than normal esophageal pH. Sometimes it could have caused damage to your esophagus epithel.

Pharmacology handling include, sucralfate, PPI or some other gastritis regimen...
Non pharmacology handling can include some operations on implanting protein to strenghten your LES...

Have you asked your doctor bout this?
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Re:

Postby blackmantis » Mon Mar 28, 2011 6:48 pm

adihutama wrote:Dear blackmantis,

I guess my mother did not have diarrrhea or vomit during those days.

Have you try on Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease? After reading your latest assumption, it came accross my mind. :)
Perhaps some others have post it in this thread. It a disease where youre stomach content is pushed upward to your esophagus.
Actually the main symptom is heartburn which i did not recall appear in your symptom list.
But it can cause burps, vomit, and nausea.
There are many causes for GERD, but it all reaches one point: weak lower esophageal sphincter (LES). This sphincter should retain your stomach content in your gastric. This sphincter can be weaken by some food or drink (acid, spicy, soda, coffee) and strenghten by others (mainly those contain hi protein).
But some people are just born with weak LES.
There are changes in lifestyle that you can do. Beside avoiding those food effecting your LES, sleeping position (maintain your head higher than the body), and clothing (use loose clothe) can do some help.

For diagnose, pH of your esophagus should be measured in certain time. It should be lower than normal esophageal pH. Sometimes it could have caused damage to your esophagus epithel.

Pharmacology handling include, sucralfate, PPI or some other gastritis regimen...
Non pharmacology handling can include some operations on implanting protein to strenghten your LES...

Have you asked your doctor bout this?


Hi Adihutama,

Reflux does run in my family, however my father has never reported any of the symptoms I have encountered. He has been devoid of (any serious) illness since the 1970s. I would be tempted to say GERD, however I feel that the fulminating dysentery could not possibly be caused by it. The symptoms are just far too extreme. I have had my fair share of belching, acid reflux, and nausea from it, but never any extreme symptoms, although perhaps it could be a risk factor (Perhaps the excess amounts of stomach acid irritate the lining and cause gastritis?) However it still wouldn't explain passing over 20 litres of water an hour. To me it still only seems that the body picks something up, and as soon as it discovers it, it goes into absolute overdrive and its 100% main priority is to expel whatever the contents are to get rid of the food. It is much more forceful and violent than the general bouts of food poisoning I suffered as a child. I seem to also lose a lot of weight in these bouts. The last continual bout I had in 2008 resulted in me losing 13kg of body weight in under two weeks. It just seems too serious to be gerd, gastroparesis, or any of these typical illnesses, and I don't know anyone else with GERD who has had these symptoms.

I do recall the nausea being so strong it left me with obtundation. I recorded two videos on my cell phone of me talking during my last illness, and when I was well, I watched the videos and barely remembered it, similar to the feeling of being alcoholically intoxicated, (I couldn't focus, I slurred my speech) etc and it only seems to get worse as I get older. I'm only 22 at the moment, but when I used to get it as an 11 year old, I recall being able to suffer a bout during school time, I would make all my visits to the bathroom then return to class, completely unmoved by the whole thing, whereas the last two times it has grown in intensity, as if my body can no longer handle it. I have always got my iPod ready for the same occasion should I get this illness again, and I will record a log of all the details I can think of, in case there's one key symptom I'm overlooking due to the amalgamation of so many at once.

The problem is, I hear a different ostensible answer for the cause of this illness from every doctor and even from those who suffer it. One person will pipe up and say "Yes! I had this with serious diarrhea, vomiting and the belches for years, then I stopped eating food with red dye #40 in it and it went away!" and some will say "The cause is red meat and poultry, I stopped eating and I'm fine".

I haven't ruled this theory out, perhaps there was some kind of junk food I consumed as a child and didn't link to it, perhaps it was something completely innocent like a lollypop or candy (as I rarely eat candy or sweet products now), and I just happened to consume it in 2008 and it caused it, but it just seems so unlikely that one tiny foodstuff can cause such a violent reaction. The reaction is akin to that of mixing a gummy bear (sucrose) with molten potassium chlorate. Fulminating, instant, and forceful for six hours, and the symptoms are strong enough to get the message from your body to yourself, as if it to say "Never ever consume that again, something is seriously wrong.. I always remember feeling a sense of trepidation, dread, as if I naturally knew something was really wrong whenever I had this, even when I was young and did not fear it (which I learned to quickly, as most others do). Another theory by some is that they get these symptoms when stressed, or incredibly anxious, which could possibly make sense, as I did have the symptoms on my first day of college in 2008, but again, I just find it so hard to believe that something so stupid as anxiety could produce such an influx (or in this instance, outflux!) of horrible symptoms. When people tell me "oh yeah it's probably just a bug/migraine", I just simply cannot believe them.
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Postby adihutama » Fri Apr 08, 2011 2:11 am

Dear blackmantis,

well, since we are a biological creature, you have to open up your mind to every possibility.
I used to have skin exim (i am not sure whats the term in English) when my skin got ceratinized an it got so itchy. But the itch dont happen all the time. It only come when im in stress or under pressure.
Not to mention this neck muscle tension i had when the deadline comes. I can only nod or look up because turning my head left and right will cause some pain.
Doctor said the muscle tension is only a stressed related problem, and he only gave me some muscle relaxant and neurotropic vitamin.
And it works damn well, i also try to reduce my stress level, and it kinda work.
There must be some correlations between our anxiety, fear, stress and our biological function that can cause illness
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