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Uncontrolled Vomiting - Advice or Ideas?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,731
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:23 AM in Pain Management
Hi All -

I am the recent recipient of a Medtronic Pain Pump implant. I had the permanent implant done just over two weeks ago. I've been healing well, except for this persistent vomiting.

Just to give you a little background, I've been vomiting randomly for about the last few months. It's not every day, but just about every other day or every couple of days. I haven't gone a week since July without throwing up. Being someone who HATES puking this has been hell! Initially I was on Lyrica, which I thought was the culprit, so we cut that out. Then I was still on Fentenayl, which I then decided was the problem, but because of my back I couldn't stop taking it until my implant. Well, now I've been off of Fentenayl for going on three weeks, and I'm still vomiting and experiencing nausea.

The vomiting usually is just after I eat, I'll feel sick then go throw up and feel better. There has been two times where I couldn't get the vomiting under control (couldn't keep down water) and ended up in the hospital. I've seen both my PCP and PM doctor and told them about the issue. They have Rx me both Zofran and Fenergren, neither of which help (I'll take them and wait for them to work, but ultimately will still throw up). My appetite in general is probably about 1/4 of what it was previously, and I've lost about 20 pounds now. Being that I only started at about 130lbs, I didn't really have the 20lbs to lose. I've tried changing my diet up and sticking to simple carbs (crackers, pretzels, etc) and fruit, but I still feel sick to my stomach.

Recently they turned up my pump for the first time and I got extremely ill and thought it was that, but I've gotten sick again since they turned it back down (and now it's too low to help my back pain as well - this SUCKS! I do have Percocet for breakthrough pain which I take, but the whole point of the pump was to not have to take such strong narcotics orally)

I really don't want to go back to the doctor, because I'm not sure what they could figure out. It's such a random thing that doesn't seemed to be tied to anything....

Sorry to ramble and rant - I'm just so sick (literally) and tired (also literally) of being so darn sick. As if the back issues weren't enough now this? I just want to be back to functional and I am so not there.
Any advice would be so appreciated!
Thanks -


  • Compazine is a good medicine for nausea....
  • that ginger is good for nausea. You can buy it at grocery store in raw form and boil it for some tea. Don't know if ginger ale still has real ginger in it or not...guess you could read the label. Was at a Japanese restaurant last night and they give you sliced, prepared ginger on a sushi plate to cleanse the palate after eating "that green fire". If you know of a sushi bar, ask for a bowl of the ginger they have for take-out. I don't know how they prepare it and I doubt they would tell. Good luck.
  • Do you have your gallbladder? if so have they ever checked it? I had the exact same problem a few years back and ended up having a non-functioning gallbladder. Once it was removed my vomiting stopped.

    Have they tried putting you on any gastric reflux meds like protonix, prevacid, nexium etc??? Just ideas that helped me....I agree puking is the worst!! Hope you find some relief.

  • Do your docs have any ideas as to what might be causing this? Which drug is in your pump? I've known folks who have had to have the pain med in their pump switched out for a different one based on similar side effects.

    If you are losing that much weight, can you get your doc to refer you to a nutritionist?

    I'm sorry that you have to go through what you are. agriman is right, when it comes to ginger. I live in Japan and ginger is in great abundance. It does work for minor nausea, but I've not had luck with the real heavy duty bouts.

    Hang in there and please contact your doc again.

  • Well, I was going to recommend Phenergan because it always works so well for me, but I see you've already tried that route so I guess I won't... /:)

    I wish I had some trick up my sleeve that you haven't already tried, but I can't think of anything else other than the ginger that others have mentioned.

    I know this was already asked but, what medication is in your pump? Is there something else that could be exchanged with it to see if it's just a reaction to that med?

    Be very careful with the weight loss-as you said, you don't have much room for that kind of loss, and please stay hydrated-water, gatorade, powerade, juices, popcicles...maybe try drinking some ensure or other similar supplement until you can get this resolved.

    I would certainly be all over my doctor about this if I were you. It's no fun to throw up, but when you have back pain it's 10 times worse IMO! Keep going to the Dr as often as necessary until this is resolved.

    I feel so sorry for you...I have stress related tummy issues and I absolutely hate throwing up. I'm always praying "Please God, give me diarrhea, give me pain, but don't make me throw up!" LOL :S I know that sounds bad but that's how much I hate throwing up-boy does it aggravate my sciatic pain! I'm so sorry you're having to deal with this and I will pray that you get relief very soon for this.

    Please keep us posted on how you're doing, OK? >:D<

    Take care of you...
  • This is exactly why I love this forum - amazing and supportive people like yourselves. THANK YOU just for the kind words and support, sometimes it feels like that helps more than anything!

    Big Cat - I've had Compazine at the hospital via IV but it didn't help either. It's weird - once I'm in a place of vomiting/naseau it seems like nothing will work to stop it until my tummy is completely empty from throwing up. I wish compazine or some other vomiting med would work because that would be WAY more pleasant than puking up everything!

    Agriman - I've never heard about that effect with ginger. How do you make it edible? How would you make it for tea? I used to be a bartender and made ginger ale, so I know that doesn't actually have ginger in it. But I'd like to try any good ginger recipes - anything is worth a try at this point! I even warned my fiance that I might go back to my pot smokin' days to try to help! }:)

    Veronica Grl - No, I've never had my gallbladder checked. How do they do that or know what's wrong with it? I have tried whatever 'the purple pill' is with no luck. My puking doesn't seem to follow a reflux type of case because it doesn't follow any time pattern (morning/afternoon/night), specific food or spicy food (which I've always loved and eaten!), or post-meals necessarily. Thanks for the gallbladder tip, though - could you tell me more about what you experienced with that and how it was dealt with?

    Hangladc - I currently only have Morphine in my pump. My latest bad bout of vomiting (last week) which left me in the hospital was definitely connected to my pump I think, because I think they increased my dosage too much too fast. As soon as it was dialed back down I felt better right away. I had been thinking about seeing a nutrionist, so I'm glad to see that someone else had the same thought and I'm not way off base. I know I should see a doctor again, but I'm not sure whether to go to my PM or PCP, since I don't know what it's really related to. Ideas?

    Tanya - Thank you so much for the positive note. I do have Morphine in my pump, but I've had Morphine a lot over the years both orally and IV and have never had a negative reaction to it. It was also used during my trial, and that went fine. I am working hard to stay hydrated, and I'm naturally a water freak (you can't find me anywhere without a water bottle) so that helps. I've also started drinking SlimFast, which I know I don't need to be losing weight, but it tastes good, I can keep it down, and at least it's some calories. I think after reading all these responses I'll be making some calls to the doctor...Darn, though, I could really go without going to the doctor for one week ~X( Oh well, I guess we do what we have to do, huh? I totally feel you about wishing for ANYTHING but puking - I would honestly rather have just about anything but that - it's so unpleasant and just so ICKY! I can't even use that one smiley icon that pukes (even though it would be very appropriate in this situation) because it grosses me out. I'm also super sensitive about being alone when I have to puke - I make my fiance go downstairs, or even better take the dog on a walk so I can do my thing in private! Blech! Thanks for the support, and I will follow up with what I find! (P.S. saw that you're a cancer survivor...I had cervical cancer about 5 years ago...I have been diagnosed cancer free now and join you as a proud survivor. You go girl! =D> )

  • I'm going to throw something out there, just because it is a possibility. Have you thought that the vomiting might not be associated with your meds and something totally different? I have a friend who went through something similar....uncontrolled vomiting, ending up in the hospital, getting out.....more vomiting etc. It ended up being a condition called gastropuresis (sp)? There are many other things (like gall bladder which has already been mentioned) that can cause the vomiting. I would be having the docs running some tests etc. to get to the bottom of this especially since you've lost so much weight and it has been going on for a while. Don't just assume that it is tied to your medications.
  • I'm going to throw something out there, just because it is a possibility. Have you thought that the vomiting might not be associated with your meds and something totally different? I have a friend who went through something similar....uncontrolled vomiting, ending up in the hospital, getting out.....more vomiting etc. It ended up being a condition called gastropuresis (sp)? There are many other things (like gall bladder which has already been mentioned) that can cause the vomiting. I would be having the docs running some tests etc. to get to the bottom of this especially since you've lost so much weight and it has been going on for a while. Don't just assume that it is tied to your medications.
  • This maybe a little out there. Have you tried keeping track of the size of meals? Like Tanya, I've had problems for many years with stress related vomiting and just dealt with it. My Dr started me on Tridural (tramadol ER) just over a month ago and for the first few weeks I wasn't keeping much of anything down, like you I can't afford to lose to much. I started keeping track of when and how much I ate. I've discovered that if I keep it small, the 'grazing' style of eating I don't have the problems. I've talked to a nutritionist about how to make sure I get what I need with this way of eating. The other thing, how do you normally do with liquids? Boost can help you get some nutrition while you are trying to figure this out. Good luck!!
  • Thank you all for your helpful comments!

    I have tried changing my diet, and eating small meals and bland, basic foods (simple carbs such as bagels, fresh fruit for lunch, ect). I drink a SlimFast every morning to get some nutrition in the morning, because I usually feel naseauos before 9:00am and can't eat solid food, but I know I need something in my stomach. I've cut out coffee, sugar, and chocolate as well. I really couldn't eat a big portion if I wanted to - I think that this has been going on so long that my stomach has shrunk some. Also, I'm often nasueaous when I eat so I don't eat that much anyway before feeling too sick/full to keep eating.

    Even after doing all this, though, I'm still vomiting. I vomited two nights in a row this week already. I'm so incredibly sick of this (literally and physically!), and it's taking a huge toll on all areas of my life. My fiance and I can't even make plans beyond the immediate because I just never know when the nasuea/vomiting is going to hit me. Luckily, it hasn't happened during the day at work yet, but I feel like it's probably a matter of time.

    All that being said, I called the doctor today and set up an appointment. I'm assuming that they're going to send me to a GI doctor since all the nasuea meds I've already been Rx (which are normally Rx for chemo patients) aren't working at all. When I called and talked to the receptionist she asked how long this had been going on. When I told her three months she was shocked (kinda gave me a clue that I probably put this off a little longer than I should have!) and she got me an immediate appointment. I'm glad to have everyone's advice here, because I'll make sure to bring those things up at the appointment.

    Thank you all so much for your support - I'll let you know what the doctor says the verdict is! (Something simple I hope!!)
  • When you see the doctor soon, ask him about Phenergan suppoitories. It saved me when I started on Fentanyl and it made me nauseated and vomit.
    Since I started putting it on my belly, all those side effects went away. I was bumped up to 50 after my fusion, and then every 2 days, and I never got sick.
    I don't know a lot about morphine pumps. If you look in the archived threads about them, there are a lot of experiences; good and bad. Your story sounds familiar to one I read many months ago.
    But try these suggestions here, and talk to your doctor. Maybe he can put some compazine in your pump. A cold rag across your neck helps with nausea too. I had that done to me in the ER, and it helped.
  • Well, you all are pretty darn smart! I went to my PCP yesterday, and sure enough after hearing my symptoms she thinks it's my gall bladder (and I didn't even mention that I had heard that suggestion on the internet!) She's sending me to a GI doctor, so I'll be getting a more accurate diagnosis in October. I'm a little nervous now about this... My understanding is that the gall bladder is like the appendix in that it's a basically useless organ. So why would something go wrong with it? What is the surgery like to get it taken out? What are the tests like to see if it is your gall bladder that is messed up?
    Any feedback from all of you that have dealt with this would be so appreciated - and I gotta say, you all are GOOD! =D>
  • I was going to suggest that you look into other things rather than meds especially if this started before you got your pump.

    I would keep a journal of what you eat and when you have the episodes. The more information you have when you go the appointment the better.

    Don't shoot me for this suggestion but is there any possibilty you may be pregnant? Just checking as it reminds me of morning sickness.

    The ginger does help. If you have a health food store near you they have ginger capsules and other foods that contain real ginger. The ginger ale that you buy in the grocery store only has ginger flavoring. You can get real ginger ale at health food stores. Also the ginger root mentioned you can slice a small piece off and put under your tongue. Also you can get ginger tea. It is a proven anti nausea aid.

    Good luck I feel for you!
  • Nope definitely not pregnant! I am on the Pill and never fail to take it, have had my period faithfully and on time for the past three months that this has been happening, have lost over 20 lbs and not gained anything back, and most convincingly had a pregnancy test given to me (required before my pump implant because of the moving xray that they use during the surgery and the risk it would bring to a fetus) ;)) . I do appreciate the suggestion, and no offense taken - you have to consider those things (and in all truthfulness, when the vomiting first started I was a wee bit panicked until I got my period - phew!)
    I went to my PCP yesterday and she's thinking that it's probably my gall bladder. I did try the ginger thing, but the doc said it probably didn't work if it is a gall bladder thing, because that means that it's not a problem with my stomach really. She gave me a new Rx for a nausea medication that works on the brain to control nausea (deactivates the part of the brain that signals the body for nausea.) I haven't tried it yet, but hopefully it will work well enough to hold me over until my appointment with the GI doc.
    Thanks for the support 5kids - I appreciate the empathy! :)
  • My Mom said that she had the surgery some 20 years ago and it was HORRIBLE. Now it's laproscopic and much easier to get over. Belly feels bloated. All of your disgestive muscles take time to get back in order but it's much simpler and easier to get over now. I wish you much luck and I'm glad you will have some relief.
  • Easy breezy! It's usually done as an outpatient basis and done with a lap. The healing time is very quick and you should feel better very quickly! Good luck!
  • Janiel123.

    I went to Gyn doc for abdominal pain (upper right and lower), constant chills, nausea and severe pressure in sternum area. Thought my endometriosis was acting up again and pre-menopause. Gyn did sonograms that showed, fibroids, cysts and gallstones. She wants me to have hysterectomy to resolve pain issues but I can't take another 6 weeks off work for abdominal hysterectomy and it also wouldn't take care of all my symptoms.

    So my PM sent me to the GI doctor. First visit was consultation and going over a thorough medical history. Then he set up two x-ray's, the (cholescintigraphy)
    Hida scan and an EGD test (Esophagogastroduodenoscopy).

    Yesterday I had the EGD test and was really nervous because they put a tube down you throat to look at esophagus, stomach and take a biopsy. So I was nervous over nothing because they put an IV in me and I went to sleep. I got some really cool pictures of a healthy esophagus and stomach and was told I have low blood pressure. So that was good news but then the doctor said "Well I'm more interested in what the Hida scan says". :jawdrop:

    The Hida scan is done with a local and will be an x ray of the liver and gallbladder. I have that test on the 29th.

    So this will give you an idea of what tests the GI doctor may order for you to DX you. Needless to say I'm frustrated as I want a DX but I don't want anything to be wrong or go through more tests or surgeries. =)) (I know I'm not being realistic)

    I hope that you have a speedy resolution as I know how uncomfortable and blech you're feeling. From my experience so far, I wanted to give you an idea of what tests maybe done before they decide if surgery is an option.
    (Sorry for the long post, I was trying to keep it short) :)

    Take care of you,

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