Gastro Issues and A Fib - Anyone else experience this?

Posted , 6 users are following.

Hi guys,

I'm a 31 year old female, overweight but I actually eat pretty well due to having IBS. It is actually really sad that I am still having IBS/gas symptoms because I am not quite sure how I can improve my diet further, I am already eating very limited.

A little history- my IBS used to be terrible, awful pains, thought I was dying, was sure I had stomach cancer or celiac or something. I've managed to control most of the symptoms with FODMAP type of diet but clearly I am still having issues with my gastro system. I feel 8/10 now most days whereas before I usually felt 1/10 or worse.

I've had some heart palpitations over the past few years which now I realize may have been A Fibs caused by trapped gas or other gastro issues. (Although these previous episodes felt somewhat different, less of a flutter and more of an actual Pounding missed beat if that makes sense)

I would rush to the hospital but nothing was ever found on the ECGs, and I was told it was anxiety. Now that I am thinking back, I have had LOTS of weird little episodes of racing heart (usually with heart palps), dizziness, confusion, feeling faint, and each time I've had to either poop, puke or relieve the gas and slowly I will get relief. They all seem tied to my gut. I had made the connection at the time but the doctors I saw brushed it off. I dunno how many times I've been told "its anxiety". Frustrating not being heard, that is for sure.

Three months ago, I had a terrible awful Tachcardyia attack. I had drank a bit too much the night before and ended up puking 4 times during the morning, the last time I threw up it messed my heart rhythm up pretty bad and I went to the small rural local hospital where they couldn't decide if it was SVT or A Fib. (My doc later confirmed it was the more serious one which I believe is the A Fib) After a few hours and medication they finally got my heart back to normal. I was prescribed Bispropol but did not take them. My doctor agreed at the time as it was a 'one time thing'. Anyhoo after this bad attack I had a TERRIBLE AWFUL 10 days after that where every time I ate, my heart palps would come on strong. Finally it got better JUST in time for my 48 hour heart monitor. Sigh. They found nothing on the monitor and I felt nothing.

I'll try to wrap this up but this morning I was sitting down and I got the urge to poop. I held it in and didn't go as my husband was in there and a few moments later I was talking quickly about something and I felt a sort of gas bubble maybe, it was weird, I tried to talk through it and then my heart started racing. I laid down immediately with my legs up thinking that would help and woops that made it worse. I made my husband listen to my heart and he said it was fluttering and we should go to the hospital. It got worse quickly. I got myself to the toilet right as it was getting worse and I thought I was literally going to die, it was going so fast and fluttering. I managed to go #2 and low and behold, the flutters nearly entirely stopped!!!!! Pushing down to get it out of me was scary, it felt like that was going to make me faint but thankfully it didnt. I have had the flutters or palps come back in small little attacks a few times today but coughing or bearing down has stopped them, thank god. 

I have been burping up empty burps all day, I can't believe how much air can come out of me. I haven't eaten much of anything all day, I still feel off.

Sorry for this ramble. I am definitely scared, I am so young to be having heart issues. I am convinced the gastro issues are connected to the A Fib but does it even matter? A fib can kill you no matter whats causing it. It would be good if I could try to control my gut issues to make sure the A Fib doesnt keep happening but I can't find any triggers and I am at a loss as to why it happened today besides that holding back a poop seems to have been the culprit (imagine that!). My grandmother died at age 60, her mother died at age 51, heart disease runs in my family in a bad way, so do strokes. I have a rare auto immune condition and deal with daily pain. I'm used to feeling s****y but these A Fib attacks are really something else. 

I'm going to be doing my best to even FURTHER fix my diet and heal my heart. I started taking Potassium today, I have been taking Magnesium for awhile but today I took a double dose, one after the attack and one before bed. I also am going to be quitting marijuana which I have been using medicinally to treat my pain. I would rather be in pain then A Fibbing, that's for sure. 

Is there anything else you guys can recommend? I'm going to be on a homemade turkey soup diet for a few days til I feel better, then I will be cutting out fatty foods and eating small meals only, and never before bed. 

I can't think of anything "different" that happened last night to cause this. I did eat an hour before bed but that is not terribly unusual.

Does everyone else feel like they are dying during A FIB? I have read a few accounts of A FIB and none have sounded as dire as what I felt. How the heck could someone have A Fib permanently? Wouldn't you literally feel like you are about to die constantly? Or is constant A Fib a little less intense?

I want to thank you for reading this. I can't tell you what it means to me, to feel not so alone in this.


1 like, 10 replies

10 Replies

  • Posted

    Sorry to hear you're going through a bad patch. AF, SVT etc are horrible and seem to affect everyone differently. I can certainly sympathize with the bloating : I get pains from mid chest downwards and the wind will neither go up nor down.  I'm a coeliac so have to avoid gluten altogether. Did your tests come back negative for this?

    Also can you tell us which medication you're now taking? I was on a combination of Bisoprolol and Felcainide which I found did not suit me at all and now only take Bisoprolol following a change of heart from my Cardiologist. 

    Are you under the care of a Cardiologist?

    Hope you feel a bit better soon.

    Kind regards

  • Posted

    Yes there are connected in that digestion problems/GERD can cause pressure on the vagus nerve and trigger AF. With IBS you probably don't pass hard stools but that too can stimulate the vagus nerve and trigger AF.

    Have you heard of this treatment? It has been around for a long time and according to a recen article the NHS are using it in some hospitals.


    Fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) refers to the infusion of a fecal suspension from a healthy person into the gastrointestinal (GI) tract of another person to cure a specific disease. FMT is by no means a new therapeutic modality, although it was only relatively recently that stool was shown to be a biologically active, complex mixture of living organisms with great therapeutic potential for recurrent Clostridium difficile infection and perhaps other GI and non-GI disorders. The published revelations about the human microbiome are bringing the strength of science to clinical observation and enhancing the understanding of not only disease but also how much of a person’s daily function and health depends on the microorganisms living in intimate relationship with each cell in the body.

    • Posted

      I actually pushed my Gastro to do this when after extensive testing they couldn't find out what was causing my terrible symptoms. I did the celiac testing, endoscopy and some other stuff I can't remember. They didn't have any answers besides IBS.

      I know there's a way to have this done and paid for on my own but it is ridiculously expensive sad

      I would love to do it though because I am convinced my bacteria are all effed up from a terrible diet in my formative years, a long time dairy intolerance no one caught as well as frequent antibiotic use for strep throat (which was being caused by my dairy intolerance lol)


  • Posted

    Hi sassysass,

    ?Wow ! that's some story. 

    I'm gonna try and keep mine brief even though there are some parallels.

    ?I was diagnosed with paroxysmal AF in Jan 2010, aged 65. I was then put on Bisoprolol (5 mg daily) and Warfarin ( about 5.5 mg per day). I had been on Ramipril and Simvastatin for 3 years previously and I am still taking all these meds.

    ?After some 10 months or so I began to identify the onset of an AF event with food I'd eaten. It was some time after that That I went to my GP complaining of the symptoms ........... massive, massive and very painful bloating, diahorrea, burping and loud, anti social intestinal gurgling. By far and a way the worst was the bloating and I could really feel pressure on my heart. Big time ! None of these occurred at the same time, all and any at random ... but the most regular was bloating ( and the hardest to deal with too).

    My GP organised some blood tests to check me out for IBS and Coeliac Disease. Results came back clear. He offered to do more tests - I declined.

    ?Instead I consulted a Nutritionist. She carried out some basic tests on my digestive system and prescribed me  doses of Probiotics to stabilise my gut flora.

    ?She also recommended cutting out a range of foods and recommended FODMAPS.

    ?I then cut out wheat, oats, gluten. I found FODMAPS too severe but did pick bits and pieces out of it. I kept a food diary and widened my diet cutting out  - yoghurt, raspberries, peas, baked beans, runner beans, soft cheeses, MSG,  and much, much later I cut out all added sugar.The list is much wider, just keeping this short.

    ?I am not affected in anyway by alcohol, tea or coffee.

    ?Prior to AF hitting me I experienced some 2 and half years of massive palpitations. I'd get a bloody great 'mule kick' to the almost dead centre of my chest, then in micro seconds a warm feeling would spread all over my skull - yet - I had no loss of any faculty. No vision problems, no fainting, no headache, no hot/cold sweats ....... nothing.

    ?I have now been AF free since April 2015. I still get palpitations though, but only very minor ones and not on a regular basis. I have more problems with the impact of Bisoprolol, occasionally taking my heart rate down as low as 46 bpm and fairly regularly around 52 to 55 bpm. Prior to AF it was around 88 bpm. On diagnosis it was 160  bpm.

    ?I learned about the Vagal (or some say the Vagus) Nerve. If you haven't come across it I suggest you 'Google' it. I have aimed my diet at calming the vagal nerve, calm it and I calm my heart. The Vagal Nerve is like an information superhighway which controls a number of organs, however, its most significant influence is on both the heart and the digestive system.

    ?Hope this helps in some way ........... any questions, just ask away.

    May the force be with you,


    • Posted

      Thanks so much for your reply John! I am currently not on any meds but will be on bisopropol soon. I have been hoping to avoid going on it sad  When I had just had one A Fib, my doctor was ok with me not being on meds but she is going to be prescribing something when I see her after this. It looks like my 2 week heart monitor just caught an A Fib event, caused by gas. 100% caused by gas. I ate some stupid things to 'test" if gas gave me a fib, and I got trapped gas, and yep it gave me A Fib. Which is concerning as now I am worried I have screwed up my heart because the A Fibs are getting closer together sad 

      My doctor doesn't see how the gas and a fibs are linked but I am hoping to see a cardiologist soon, though I doubt they will agree its being caused by gas.  

      I eat a very limited amount of things, I went Fodmap and ended up having to go really crazy with it. I now eat very few things and the foods I've tried to reintroduce, I've been having bad reactions too. I eat a ton of homemade bone broth.

      I think it is time to see a nutritionist and have been thinking about that for awhile but I am so very poor. However it's time that I scrounge up the money and go. I'm a little worried they won't actually help. My diet is already crazy strict, mostly I need help figuring out what I can tolerate. I did allergy testing with an allergist and they found no allergies, which I think is hooey.

      So glad to hear you've been A Fib free! Are you considering ever going off your bisopropol?

      My A Fib episodes are almost always the same, the terrible pounding and missed beats, dizziness, confusion, general feeling of awfulness, and then following it i have a frequent need to urinate for an hour or so.

    • Posted

      Hi sassysass,

      ?To your question on Bisoprolol. ....... I was put on it originally when my AF was diagnosed (5 mg daily) and I was prescribed it to be taken in the morning. I had a bad time with it initially, a great many unexplained nose bleeds. Went to my doctor and told her I wanna come off the crap stuff. She looked up her book of 'magic potions and brews' and said take it at night. 

      ?I have done this ever since (now some  7 and half years) and have never had a problem since .......... except that every once in a while my hands and feet go cold and my heart rate drops from an average of around 65 to 68 down to as low as 46. I deal with this by going to bed clutching a hot water bottle to my chest, have a mug of sweet coffee and sleep for a few hours. I then wake up normal again. I'm not sure my doctor would approve but the combination of heat and caffeine seem to do the trick. 

      So, no, I would never consider coming off Bisoprolol ... its my best buddy !

      ?Now ... back to diet ! I found FODMAPS too severe and could only pick odds and ends out of it. The thing is - and you've almost answered your own question - about foods you can tolerate. there is a big difference between foods you are allergic too and foods you can't tolerate - known as food intolerance. It might just be that you really aren't allergic to some foods but your digestive system is intolerant to certain foods. 

      ?Are you in Britain or overseas ? Given your sensitive financial state -if you are in Britain you could look at the BANT website and see if you can  get in contact with a nutritionist near where you live and see if they will carry out 'a free assessment' as to whether they can successfully treat you and what the chances of success might be.

      ?My diet is so illogical as to drive anyone crazy but I have it controlled.  For example - Raspberries and cream are out - strawberries and cream are in. Onions are out - shallots are In. Wheat, Oats and gluten are out - soft cheese is out - hard cheese like Edam, Gouda or Cheddar is OK. Most processed food is out ! Salted peanuts or cashews are Ok - almonds, walnuts, etc are not Ok.

      ?Sorry about late reply - I've just had a flu type thingy and have been feeling crap.

      ?Hope all this helps. 

      ?May the force be with you.


    • Posted

      Thanks for your comment John! I hope you are feeling better. I just got over a cold myself a week ago and now my husband has it. Not a fun time of year around here, everyone is sick!

      It's unbelievably helpful to talk to people who have had this for years. Its a good reminder that this most likely won't kill me tomorrow, it'll torture me for years first LOL!   Right now I am kind of having a bad time, I did a possibly dumb thing. It is my last day with the monitor so I ate some candy ( I don't normally but I wanted to induce gas and it worked) Well.. it worked, I had terrible trapped gas and difficulty catching a breath all night until BAM, my heart monitor went off (scared the crap out of me when it goes, its so loud!) and recorded an event. Whatever it was, I did not feel it, when it went off I did not feel any worse.

      I tried my Kardia app right after the alarm went off on the heart monitor but it found nothing, no abnormal rhythm and bpm were around 78.

      During this two week monitor I had 4 events during the night that apparently were low heart rates (said the tech, not the doctor). And then I've had 2-3 events that I believe are A fib or at least some kind of arrythmia. I find out  more on Friday when I see my doctor.

      Kind of freaky to know that I may be having A FIb (and maybe have for years!) and not noticed it. I knew from my reading that a lot of A FIbs go unnoticed but.. yeah. Surprising to know that it's going on and I am clueless!

      What kind of veggies do you eat? What about meat?


  • Posted

    Careful with the Magnesium, TOO much can cause what you're trying to stave off. I had similar with the holter ECG, I had it for 7 days and nothing, not a twitch, it is very weird and quite common. 

    It is strange when you hear about people only finding out they're in AF during routine examinations?! You think 'how?' How can people NOT know? Certainly being cardiac conscious is nothing to do with it. I said to my doc, if the invisible man were to come up to him and wobble his upper arm and then slap it, he wouldn't have to be paranoically 'Arm conscious' to notice it!

    • Posted

      Yeah I have heard that! I have been taking one tablet most days (I forget sometimes). I'm not quite sure how much I need to take to overdo it. I am trying to be careful to get enough but not too much ><

      It is crazy to think A fib can be chronic and unnoticed by the patient.

      I just had an A Fib event recorded on my heart monitor, oddly enough I felt a little unwell (was dealing with trapped gas all afternoon which concluded with the A Fib) but didnt know I was A Fibbing until my recorder went crazy at me.

  • Posted

    If I were you I would see a dietitian.

    Also I would stop eating anything at least 3 hours before bed 

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