Throwing up at least 20 times a day for 4 months

Posted , 5 users are following.

25 female, 5 foot 10, 70kg, white british, no current medicine.

Had an operation to remove a benign breast lump 5 months ago. Routine operation and I was told all went well.

2 weeks after the op I started to throw up in the evening several times. This gradually progressed to being sick 20 times a day.

I have been in and out of the doctors and hospital and so far I have had blood tests (showing nothing), endoscopy and stomach biopsy (showing nothing), barium swallow test and x-ray (showing stomach was not emptying properly), MRI scan (showing no blockage in the stomach, but enlarged lymph nodes). Through waiting for appointments and tests, all of this has taken 5 months.

I am going to see the doctor next week to discuss the MRI scan in full detail, however on the phone he seemed to not have any idea what was wrong and potentially suggested a biopsy of the lymph node.

Given that each test that we have been going through keeps taking a month each time and obviously means I can't go into work and I am not being paid fully (I also have a mortgage to pay), this is extremely annoying.

I wondered if anyone had any clue or had any tests to push for? I am just not convinced a biopsy is going to show anything and may just waste more time.

1 like, 10 replies

10 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Reckneps

    I think that obviously your doc has something in mind and is just being thorough. It is hard to get appointments for biopsies, scans etc., as there are such long waiting lists and they always priorities appointments and do urgent ones first. Just hang on in there and feel confident your not prioritised as urgent. You appointment will be around before you know wishes....

  • Posted

    Gastric emptying study (not painful, taking some hours, nuclear transit study)

    can show if gastric emptying was delayed.

    It does not show as to why though.

    Also maybe ask, where exactly the lymph nodes are swollen and if they could press onto something, that is important for your stomach, like nerves or arteries. It might just be a co impact of swelling that causes you to vomit. Were some lymph drainages cut during operation, is a swelling visible or only swollen lymph nodes? That's what I would ask them.

    (My girl has a ligament cutting into coeliac artery and coeliac plexus nerve, causing nausea and vomiting and delayed gastric emptying. Hence my question, if it was not a ligament, but swelling that was compressing something.)

    Exclusions are peace of mind and diagnostic, too. Even if the lymph node biopsy comes back as normal.

    All the best!

    • Posted

      Thanks for the reply.

      I have had the barium test which showed the stomach isn't emptying.

      The swelling was on lymph nodes in the stomach. It isn't visible, it was picked up on an MRI scan.

      I will push for questions about things being cut wrong during the operation. However the doctor did shot me down and said the sickness could not have been caused by the op.

    • Posted

      Doesn't need to be cut wrongly, it just happens sometimes that swelling happens or that body respond differently to one and the same operation as nerves on microscopic levels cannot be seen, where they cut into. Also adhesions can form afterwards, which no one is guilty of and no one can foresee.

      I hate this denial and offensive approach of docs and you might have more luck somewhere, where they do not feel immediately responsible for 'having done something to you', threatened or accused.

      Often they get so personally offended and all we want, is an answer, help and not sueing.

      Oh so sorry.

      Please ask about gastric emptying study, but it will not tell you as to why, but might warrant motility drugs to be tested.

      Hope your lymph node is ok and you are doing soon much better!

      It's so hard once something is not obvious to tackle and in the dark.

      It's strange it did start with the operation, it might be a coincidence, it might be connected. All you want are answers and getting better.

      So sorry you hit a brick wall.

      I am pretty used to hitting brick walls and just keep on pushing and if accused of "doc hopping".

      That way after TWO years we could have my daughter diagnosed, no quick fix and a life long issue, but at least diagnosed and get rid of all the psychological explanations and quick dismissals.

      Keep on fighting and all the best!!!!!


  • Posted

    If anyone is interested I am having blood tests done again and some new tests to check for unusual bacterial infections. I am having a colonoscooy to look at the small intestine (although apparently it looked perfectly normal on the mri scan). The biopsy on the lymph node will be done last resort as it is a rough procedur and isn't guaranteed to find anything.

    Yay to another few more months feeling ill and no end in sight.

    • Posted

      Thank you!

      We are always interested in updates.

      (Nothing more frustrating than finding a post that fits one's own symptoms and not leading to an update by poster even after years, just question and suggestions, and it would be soooo helpful to know what happened and went on.)

      I think they only look at large intestine in a colonoscopy, maybe the end part of small intestine, as the small intestine is so long and looped. Pill camera usually is used to assess whole small intestine. ?

      Oh yeah, doesn't sound like much being done. 


      If you have MRI scan pics yourself, you could look for duodenal compression between aorta and SMA.

      MALS is very specific test that needs vascular protocol and inhaling exhaling pics in MRI and doppler ultrasound.

      No gastric emptying study? No motility drugs? 


      Do you get at least ondansetrone for nausea emesis symptom relief?

      We have to pay fully privately for that script, but it does make a bit of difference.

      All the best

      hang in there!

    • Posted


      I think the colonoscopy is just to look at the large bowel like you said. I just can't imagine that they will see anything different than what was revealed on the MRI. i don't have a copy of the MRI myself and haven't been shown them either.

      I hadn't heard of MALS but that does sound possible, at this stage i can only imagine it is either something very obscure causing the issues or something simple (like an infection) that they have missed. One odd thing is the fact I have no pain or discomfort at all, which is a common symptom on most gastric issues.

      I did have a barium test to study my stomach emptying but my consultant said it was sluggish but not necessarily abnormal! I did initially have anti-sickness drugs (cyclizine, then ondansetrone, then metaclopramide and then a combination of the latter two) but they made no difference. I only very occasionally feel nauseous with whatever i have got. Another thing to note is that I am vomiting 90% liquids and only 10% of food which is bizarre.

      Thanks for the reply and the support! How is your daughter?

    • Posted

      My daughter is very sick and we manage only hours of 'normal' life before collapsing into bed (sitting, lying causes vomiting), but we finally have a diganosis after two years of hell and dismissal and travelling around half the globe to get helped giving our last cent.

      Metaclopramide is a gastric motility drug like domperidone.

      So they actually tried already to do some medication for gastric emptying.

      My girl did not get relief from them either and from Metaclopramide eye lid twitching, so we stopped it instantly prior risking tardive dyskinesia.

      Gastric emptying study should be done with water, 'milk' (depending on allergies) and solids (like egg or oatmeal). They come out differently at each study. My girl is better with liquid foods like milk than with solids like egg. But that is very individual, but it can even be measured.

      Such a reluctance of even testing this with you.

      I would in your case, hop onto another social media special group (e.g. fb) for gastroparesis and ask there, where in your specific local area to go to, from gastroenterologist to testing facility.

      It brought us to a diagnosis! Without internet we would still suffer and being accused of psychological issues of teenagehood!

      Best of luck!


  • Posted

    This sounds like it could be Gastropareisis. Especially since you said the barium test showed that your stomach wasn’t emptying. This condition is very hard to diagnose and difficult to deal but it has been said that it’s common after surgeries, just to make you feel a little less “shot down” by the doctors. If after all these test the doctors still say they have no clue, maybe mention this and the of it’s possible to get a second opinion then I would. Sometimes it takes going through a couple doctors to find one willing to “pay attention” 
    • Posted

      Thanks for the reply.

      My partner suggested this ages ago but we had pushed it to the back of our minds when it seemed as though the MRI would show a blockage, which it ultimately didn't. I do think this could be possible given that my vomiting is unpredictable, i have good days and bad days. Sometimes a specific activity will cause instant vomiting and other times it has no effect! Equally there is no consistent patter of when it is triggered after eating or drinking, some times i'll drink something and keep it all down and other times only some of it, with other times it coming back up an hour later! So how intermittent it is may perhaps fit this theory based on what I've read on it?

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