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I was told to quit taking fish capsules??

DIFerrisDDIFerris Posts: 86
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:37 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
As of Wednesday, I am not taking any of my prescription meds. I am having a discogram on Monday, and my surgery is on the 27th. I am in total agony, but... I went for pre-surgery testing this morning and happened to mention that my blood pressure has been helped more by fish oil capsules full of omega 3's than by blood pressure medication, and was told that I should not be taking that either before surgery, as it will cause increased bleeding. Hmmm, does that mean I should not be eating fish??? I totally didn't get that. Has anyone else been told this?


  • DIFerris--

    Your post isn't one I've seen discussed on the message board before - but then again, I've only been on here for a little over a month. Yes, fish oil (omega 3) is a natural blood thinner. Normally, this isn't really an issue, but for people who are taking a blood thinner or who are about to undergo surgery should not take Omega 3 because of the surgical risk. However, studies do show that Omega 3 preserves muscle mass after surgery for those who may be sedentary after a procedure. It's good advice to check with your surgeon about when you can start taking Omega 3 after surgery.

    Eating fish will not give you a large enough dose of Omega 3 to risk blood thinning and even if it were a large enough dose, it is processed in a different manner when consumed in this way.

    Finally, my studies in vitamins has a purpose :)

    Good luck with your surgery. I hope that you fly through it an will soon be on your way to a speedy recovery.
  • Fish Oil Capsules have even been linked to spontaneous subdurals(brain bleeds) in men. Always important to mention all meds/supplements/herbals to your doc AND his nurse. Sometimes docs kind of tune out some of it, so mention always to the nurse, too, who often does the documentation of meds.

    Also, good to make sure you use the same pharmacy for all meds so that the pharmacist runs your meds thru the computer for interactions. Prime example is a GP prescribes an anti-depressant and surgeon prescribes Ultram/Tramadol for pain. Bad interaction possible.

    Good luck with your discogram, remember ice is your best friend afterwards. I'm glad you mentioned the supplement! Keep us posted!
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  • I didn't know this, but then again, my surgery is over and hopefully, I won't be having another soon. Good luck with your discogram. As Ernurse says, plenty of ice afterwards. I was fairly well sedated but remember that it hurt like the dickens when they woke me to find out what was hurting. They put me back out afterwards, so it was just a memory when I came back around. Hopefully, it will show they exactly where your pain is coming from and you will be good to go after that.


    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • My surgeon has a pre-surgery list with vitamins and herbs that are a no-no.

    2 weeks prior to surgery:

    No vitamins or herbal compounds that contain; vitamin E, garlic, ginko, ginger, feverfew. or ginseng.

    No Aspirin, arthritis meds (Celebrex, Bextra, Mobic, etc.) No Coumadin (Warafarin) or Plavix.

    He also wants me to take Senekot-S for 3 days before surgey and after to avoid constipation.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 11,349
    The Fish oils in the Omega3 supplements does help thin your blood. That is why it has been touted as been very beneficial to your heart.
    The blood thinner agent is not nearly as strong as cumidum is, but before any surgery you should check with your doctor, the nurses, etc to make sure everyone is aware of what you are taking in terms of OTC and prescription medicines.
    Also keep in mind that there is a W I D E range in the Omega3 OTCs. I have seen them sold for as low as $6.99 for 150 capsules up to over $40 for the same amount.
    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
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  • I had no idea of this! My husband was placed on blood thinners last year and he has been having a heck of a time keeping his levels in check. We both take Udos Oils which is an Omega 3, supplement. Reading this has really helped my husband and myself. I learn so much here and sometimes it is not even to do with my spine. Thank you so much for posting this subject!
  • Thanks everyone! I had no idea! I knew it was supposed to be good for the vascular system, and has lowered my blood pressure quite a bit... I guess I just didn't put it all together as to HOW it did that.

    I have already quit taking my prescription meds (Celebrex, Neurontin and Flexeril) and also quit taking Aleve. I knew to stop those. I was told the Neurontin was okay to keep taking, but just in case, I quit it as well.

    I asked at the hospital about the discogram, and they are not going to give me anything to relax me or any pain medication afterward. They told me all they will do is numb my back where they stick the needles in. I hope the pain is not unbearable afterward. The nurse said the pressure and pain should subside by the end of Monday. That is not like anything I have read, so I am more than a little anxious about it. But then she also said they don't usually do discograms unless they are planning to replace the discs. I had not heard that before either.

    Thank you also for the good wishes for the procedure. After that I have a week to myself before surgery on the 27th. I will let everyone know how it all goes.

    Thanks again!

  • Good luck with your discogram & upcoming surgery. You should also avoid any supplement or herbal tea that contains St. John's wort - can negatively react w/ anesthesia.
  • They stop just everything (meds) that I was taken and said wait 2 weeks before restarting the Vit. & DHA (Omega3). I was only allowed my pain med and the Lexapro then they added Valium and Predispose after surgery.
    C3-4-5 fusion 2005
    C-5-T-1 disk bulged
    L-4-5 bulge to the right, with Microdiscectomy, failed
    L5- Bi-Lateral bulge
    Pain in right foot -loss of feeling
    Left butt, hip and front thigh pain with bad shooting pain into inside ankle sometimes
  • Because I didn't realize I should stop taking these before the pre-surgery blood work was done, I have had to since have 2 more blood tests done. Well, actually 3. First they redid the APTT test, as it was elevated. The second time was normal (I had stopped taking the capsules). Then the hospital decided they wanted me to get a PT and PTT test done. So that was yesterday. What an ordeal, and all because I was taking these capsules. I will go back to taking them when the doctor says I can, because they do wonders for my blood pressure. But I should have stopped taking them before having the blood work done.

    This is just an FYI - I think they should include some of these non-prescription things on the list of things to stop taking before surgery. Especially something like that when it thins the blood. I realize there is no way to include everything in the list, but it would have been so helpful to know to stop those.
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