Dealing With Undiagnosed Tummy Troubles

So you might be wondering where the heck I have been.  At first, I considered not addressing what has been going on because I’m not looking for sympathy but then I realized that part of this blog is about allergy friendly recipes BECAUSE of my tummy troubles.  

So, I decided that putting it out there was not only necessary because it’s part of why this blog exists but also because some of you might be dealing with the same issues. 

With that being said, where do I start? If you have been reading along for the last year or so, you’ll know that I’ve been having a lot of issues despite being gluten free, dairy free and on a mostly low histamine diet.  

Dealing With Undiagnosed Stomach Pain -

I was diagnosed with SIBO by my GI earlier this year but still had persistent bloating and pain despite altering my diet.  For the most part, I had just been living with it and dealing with it the best I could until this past Monday when I just couldn’t deal with it anymore.  At around 2 AM I woke up in horrific pain to the point where I decided it was necessary that I drive myself to the ER.  

Upon arriving at the ER they drew some blood, did a CT scan with contrast only to reveal that my entire upper abdominal area was nearly bursting with fluid.   In fact, it had been sitting there so long that some of it had turned into fecal matter (yes, super gross).  I was told I had two options: 1. vomit it up (um, ew) or 2. put an NG tube up my nose, down my throat and into my belly to decompress my stomach.  

Despite being deathly afraid of foreign objects being shoved up my nose, I was more interested in getting rid of the rotting contents in my stomach and opted to go for it.  Um, let me tell you that in no way, shape or form was it pleasant but after having nearly 800 mL of fluid pumped out (that’s a lot, by the way), I felt MUCH better.  

Actually, I only felt much better once they finally took out the NG tube about 12 hours later only to be told that I was going to be put on an NPO- nothing to eat or drink diet until further notice.

Honestly, I wasn’t really hungry but that NPO diet was ordered for the following day as well and I was worried that I might shrivel away.  

You might also like:  Honey Crystal Candied Ginger Recipe {Paleo}

Finally, on Wednesday, I was put on a clear liquids diet which literally consisted of broth and popsicles…hooray.  

Meanwhile, I slowly was having test after test performed to get to the bottom of WHY I wasn’t digesting food.  The endoscopy showed inflammation but NO ulcers.  The x-ray showed LOTS of backed up poo in the colon but NO reason why.   So the doctors decided a Small Bowel Follow Through was the next logical test and I was put back on an NPO diet until the test which was scheduled for Thursday morning.

I was hopeful that this test would actually give me some answers.  Thursday morning I was escorted down to the X-Ray room, drank a crap ton of barium and did my best not to throw it up while they took a series of x-rays of my small intestine over the course of two hours.

Later that day I was disappointed to find that the test came back negative.  It showed nothing.  Still, the doctors had two working theories.  

  1. There were some sort of adhesions somewhere caused by my c-sections that were the source of the pain.
  2. It may or may not be my gallbladder despite my blood work and ultrasound coming back negative.

While I was curious to find out why, I was also getting tired of sitting in a hospital bed and couldn’t bear the idea of sleeping there for a fourth night.  My back ached, my head hurt and despite the fact that I couldn’t tolerate food yet, I felt like I was starving to death due to eating practically NOTHING since Sunday.

SO, against the doctor’s medical advice, I checked myself out of the hospital and headed home – jail break style!

As of right now, I still have very few answers and will be seeking a second opinion.  In the meantime, I am going to go slow with my food intake and do my best to stay hydrated.  

Anyway, I will be sure to update once I follow up with another doctor. If you find yourself in the same position that I happen to be in, here are a few pieces of advice: 

  1. Don’t give up.  Not knowing the source of your pain is BEYOND frustrating and having doctors dismiss your pain is even more frustrating.  That being said, you shouldn’t have to live in pain – it is not normal despite how many times you’re told there is “nothing wrong”.
  2. Advocate for yourself.  I’m by no means telling you to consult Dr. Google but do your own research and find out what tests are available.  Don’t just hope your doctor will offer them as an option to you, request them! 
  3. Don’t be afraid to get a second and even third opinion.  As time consuming and as frustrating as it is, it’s important to have more than one pair of eyes looking at your symptoms and hopefully one of them will be able to piece together the bigger picture.  My nurse even suggested going to a teaching hospital since there is always more than one doctor looking at your case, that way you might end up with an actual diagnosis instead of being dismissed.
  4. Start a journal of your diet and track which foods make your symptoms worse. Any and all information that you can give to your doctor will help them to rule out what might be wrong.  You should also find foods that you can tolerate and that soothe your symptoms – ginger being one that is great for alleviating nausea. 
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These Honey Crystal Candied Ginger pieces help me tremendously.  I made them a while ago and have found that they’re great for not only making me feel less nauseous but also double as a sweet post-dinner treat! 

Honey Crystal Candied Ginger






  1. Peel ginger root and slice into 1/8 inch pieces using mandoline slicer and place into a saucepan along with water. 
  2. Bring to a boil over high heat then reduce to simmer and cover and cook for approximately 35 minutes. 
  3. Drain all but 1/3 cup from the pot and add in honey crystals.  Set over medium to high heat and bring to a boil stirring constantly until most of the liquid has evaporated and it looks dry- approximately 20 mins. 
  4. Transfer ginger to a cooling rack.  Once cool, store in air tight container for up to 2 weeks. 

Recipe adapted from Food Network.

Welcome back to our weekly Foodie Friday link up! I’m linking up with Farrah from Fairyburger and Esther from Chocolate Runner Girl .  Also, make sure you hop around to check out all the amazing recipes in this link up and feel free to add your recipes as well!

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About me

Annmarie is a self proclaimed foodie, avid long distance runner and functional fitness coach. A DVRT Master Trainer, HKC Instructor and food allergy sufferer, she writes about strength training for runners as well as shares allergy friendly recipes for busy athletes.   She is also the owner of Strength In Motion Studio, mother of two sassy sisters and wife to a chronically busy chiropractor.   Subscribe by email for updates to get the latest workouts, advice and recipes straight to your inbox!


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Sweet Potato Pasta copy
Creamy Sweet Potato Pasta
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Anti-Inflammatory and Low Histamine Recipes to Heal the Gut
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April 25, 2016
Honey-Candied Ginger made with Nektar Naturals Honey Crystals {Paleo, Gluten Fee}
Honey Crystal Candied Ginger Recipe {Paleo}
April 22, 2016
Low Histamine Ginger, Lychee and Coconut Black Rice Pudding {Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Soy Free, Vegan}. Easy Meatless Monday recipe for breakfast or even pre-run fuel!
Low Histamine Ginger, Lychee & Coconut Black Rice Pudding
March 07, 2016
A no tomato sauce chicken and hummus tortilla pizza that's quick and easy to make on a weeknight or even for lunch. It's also gluten free and dairy free!
Quick and Easy Chicken, Hummus & Arugula Tortilla Pizza {Gluten Free, Dairy Free}
January 08, 2016
Forbidden Black Rice Stir Fry {low histamine, gluten free, soy free, vegan, fatigue fighting, healthy, meatless monday}
Meatless Monday: Fatigue Fighting Forbidden Black Rice Stir Fry
August 17, 2015


angela @ happy fit mama
Reply May 5, 2017

Oh my! I hope you get some answers and are feeling like yourself soon. xoxo

Susie @ Suzlyfe
Reply May 5, 2017

I am so sorry that you are dealing with this. I hope you get answers and a plan very very soon!

Kimberly G
Reply May 5, 2017

Ohh Annmarie :( I'm so sorry that you are going through this. I know it has to be frustrating. I hope that you get some answers soon and get down to the cause of the issues.

Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home
Reply May 5, 2017

Awww, so sorry to hear this. Armchair quarterback here, but did you have a colonoscopy with an intestinal biopsy?

I hope you get the answers you so need!

Julie @ Running in a Skirt
Reply May 5, 2017

Oh no! I'm so sorry! What an awful thing to go through. I hope you get the answers you need soon. Keep being persistent with those doctors!

Deborah @ Confessions of a mother runner
Reply May 5, 2017

That sounds so scary! I am so sorry to hear that you have been in such a bad place. I hope you get some answers soon. xoxox
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Tiffany Gentile
Reply May 5, 2017

Im so sorry to hear what you have been experiencing. Unfortunately it sounds much like what I have experienced with my digestive issues since having radiation. It is a never ending circle of questions and ailments with few answers. I look forward to hearing how you progress.

Nicole @ Fitful Focus
Reply May 5, 2017

Ugh. Tummy troubles are so frustrating! I hope you can find a doc/specialist that can help you get to the bottom of it. In the meantime, enjoy some snuggles with the pugs.

Reply May 5, 2017

:'( It makes me sad that you've had so much trouble with tummy troubles. I've had some tummy troubles for about 8 years but nothing nearly that tough. I just began working with a dietitian who specializes with gut healing and it's been amazing learning things about my gut that I never knew before. Her name is Victoria @ The Die Hard Foodie.

I'm so thankful you're advocating for yourself and that you're not giving up. <3 Praying for healing; I know that God can heal.

Reply May 5, 2017

Sounds like a scary situation! Hope you get answers soon. So true you need to advocate for yourself.

Reply May 5, 2017

Dude! Are you okay?! I was totally wondering where you were. I'm sure you've already been tested for Crohns but my brother was in and out of the hospital a TON before he was finally diagnosed. He ended up having surgery to remove a large portion of his intestines. He has flareups every now and again but nowhere near what he had been experiencing before the surgery.

I hope you get answers asap.

dixya @food, pleasure, and health
Reply May 5, 2017

im so sorry that you are going through this but i love your attitude and determination towards it. honestly, looking for 2, 3, 4th opinion or finding an alternative medicine practitioner is always a good option. one of my friend is going through something similar and after trying several doctors and being dependent on tums for years, she is now advocating for her own treatment and finding the right team. i hope you will find some answers too.

Reply May 5, 2017

Good lord Annmarie, I'm so sorry to hear this. That had to be awful. You're right, there is a medical reason this is happening and you can't stop until it's found. Praying that happens for you very soon.

Ange // Cowgirl Runs
Reply May 5, 2017

Oh my goodness, I'm so sorry to hear everything you've gone through this week!
How frustrating to go through all those tests and STILL not have answers. I really hope you're able to find some answers.

Reply May 5, 2017

Aughhh, I'm so so sorry to hear about this and I really hope you feel better soon! The NG tube is never fun and I always feel horrible about having to put em' into my patients (or putting in the order for nurses to put it in) but it can help so much with decompression! I hope they figure out what's going on soon!

I need to try making that candied ginger! It looks amazing + I love how simple it is to make! <3

Mary Beth Jackson
Reply May 8, 2017

Well that is scary and I hope you get answers. I was dealing with a lot of pain in my side and like you just dealing with it but it was tough. When I finally went to the doctor I was having colon spasms. My whole problem was related to stress. You can't imaging how unclogged my whole system has been since I left work! Hug! Hope you get answers soon!

Reply May 8, 2017

I'm so sorry to hear you're going through this Annmarie. I hope you get answers soon because it's so hard not to have them and feel good. My daughter is having headaches and stomach aches so bad, right now the headaches get so bad she gets sick to her stomach and finally last week hit a breaking point after having to leave a friends party and then missing soccer that she now has stress and anxiety because of the pain and not getting answers. She had an MRI this morning and I'm hoping we get answers soon. Thinking of you. ((HUGS))

Christina Bauer
Reply May 8, 2017

OMG!!! This sounds horrific, and I sincerely hope you get to the bottom of it so you can fix the issue! We'll wishes to feeling better soon :)

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