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Vagus Nerve involvement


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#1 Maple12

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 11:07 AM

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I've discovered that the weakness, dizziness, and brain fog that come in like a sudden wave is correlated with bowel movements. These episodes have been with me for the six months I've had the GI disturbance that is IBS with constipation. The seemingly unpredictable waves drove me crazy because I was afraid to drive or walk the dogs in fear of fainting. Last week it was especially fierce. I have hypertension, so thought my bp must be sky high, so for the first time, I took my bp during the episode. It was 83/53. A bit later it was 75/45. Heart rate ranged from 52 to 55. Called doctor who told me to cut my blood pressure meds in half, lie down, and drink a lot of liquids. After about an hour, the bp began to climb steadily to 120/70 over a couple of hours. The next day I had 2 more episodes like that. Took bp both times, and it followed the same curve. I mused that coincidentally, I had a bowel movement about 20 minutes after the first s&s started and after the first bp measure. I clearly remembered because I go upstairs for BM, and was dizzy going up. Today I had the same issue, only this time I timed the onset--physical urge for bathroom call, BP down, had BM 20 minutes later. BP continued to drop for 45 minutes, remained low for about an hour, then began a slow climb up. I was a nurse on the neurosurgery floor years ago, and remembered the vagus nerve connection with bowel movements due to stimulation that could make a patient faint or even develop cardiac arrhythmia. I also recently read that (Mayo Clinic) had a procedure for depression that addressed a surgical vagus nerve stimulation for treatment of depression that was not responsive to usual treatment methods. I've been told that my IBS was related to stress and depression, and doctors would not pay attention when I told them I only had anxiety and depression with the IBS bouts of pain or weakness/dizziness. Based on that connection between the neurosurgical connection between bowel evacuation and the vagus nerve, then the connection with vagus nerve stimulation treatment for depression. Further, most universities now offer Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation for depression, which involves electrical stimulation to the brain. So I googled the vagus nerve for more information--the best sources came from neurology dept. articles. I then pulled up vagus nerve IBS and found more glimpses of current theories of the vagus nerve/intestinal function/depression. The colon, when distended with stool or gas, stimulates the vagus nerve--that comes from the GI. The vagus nerve is connected to circulatory function and cardiac function, hence the blood pressure drop and low pulse--that comes from neurology dept. And the psychiatry dept. has connected vagus nerve with depression and anxiety. DO THESE GUYS EVER TALK TO EACH OTHER? Sorry for shouting so loud. This does not indicate a cure in sight to me--more vagal stimulation would decrease the blood pressure and heart rate more. However, in the future, maybe they could figure out a way to level the stimulative effect of the distended colon, and the leveling of the vagus might level off these mood swings making our lives more bearable.


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#2 Cheryl1967

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 11:47 AM

I read the same article from the Mayo clinic. I went to college for Registered Nursing but never finished because I decided years ago to have more children. I also researched about acetylcholine which is the neurotransmitter that effects the vagus nerve. My IBS started recently just after Christmas 2011 after a bout of gastrenteritis although there was no vomiting or fever (which I also read makes it worse). From what I researched, ppl with IBS have elevated levels of acetylcholine which is what causes the painful spasms in the colon as acetylcholine is responsible for muscle contraction, problem is tat after the spasms epinephrine is then released to try to slow the digestive tract back down..this is where the anxiety comes in. I mentioned in a couple of posts on here that a few years ago I was taking Benedryl for approx. 3 months for allergies and I started having really bad side effects and of course went on the "web" to try and figure out what was going on. Turns out Benedryl is not only an antihistamine but also an anticholinergic (blocks acetylcholine) and it was these horrid side effects that I was experiencing. Well I stopped taking it and then suffered what is known as cholinergic rebound!! This is how I got all too familiar with acetylcholine and the vagus nerve. Seems that acetylcholine is also responsible for temperature control and IS EFFECTED by sudden temperature changes. This is why many ppl complain of "sweats" during bowel movements. Acetylcholine is also what helps you fall asleep and wakes you up, hence why most bowl symptoms occur upon waking. It is also a vasodialtor which lowers blood pressure and it slows the heart rate. It effects oil production in the skin too and mine (back then) and now has been very oily. The vagus nerve runs into the upper back and the throat and ears. Many ppl on here have mentioned upper back pain near the shoulder blades, which I also have. Back when this happened and now I ave tried cutting out everything that stimulates acetylcholine production like peanuts, egg yokes and fish even some of the B vitamins including coffee, even decaf because coffee contains niacin other wise known as nicotinic acid another B vitamin. Soy lecithin is another and it's an emulsifier and in practically everything you eat!! I have become a chamomile tea junkie...this helps with the IBS, it's a muscle relaxer and it helps with anxiety too. I tried researching about acetylcholine and depression but nothing medicinally related comes up only posts by ppl on Yahoo that feel it it directly related otherwise why would tricyclic antidepressants have anticholinergic properties? From what I understand ppl with IBS have too many mast cells in their colon causing an exaggerated inflammatory response also. I have been using enteric coated peppermint oil capsules and just ordered some virgin coconut oil I also have been using Kefir grains that you grow n milk as a probiotic. Nice sharing info with someone that has investigated this in an "anatomy and physiology" approach :D

#3 Maple12

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 01:32 PM

I read the same article from the Mayo clinic. I went to college for Registered Nursing but never finished because I decided years ago to have more children. I also researched about acetylcholine which is the neurotransmitter that effects the vagus nerve. My IBS started recently just after Christmas 2011 after a bout of gastrenteritis although there was no vomiting or fever (which I also read makes it worse). From what I researched, ppl with IBS have elevated levels of acetylcholine which is what causes the painful spasms in the colon as acetylcholine is responsible for muscle contraction, problem is tat after the spasms epinephrine is then released to try to slow the digestive tract back down..this is where the anxiety comes in. I mentioned in a couple of posts on here that a few years ago I was taking Benedryl for approx. 3 months for allergies and I started having really bad side effects and of course went on the "web" to try and figure out what was going on. Turns out Benedryl is not only an antihistamine but also an anticholinergic (blocks acetylcholine) and it was these horrid side effects that I was experiencing. Well I stopped taking it and then suffered what is known as cholinergic rebound!! This is how I got all too familiar with acetylcholine and the vagus nerve. Seems that acetylcholine is also responsible for temperature control and IS EFFECTED by sudden temperature changes. This is why many ppl complain of "sweats" during bowel movements. Acetylcholine is also what helps you fall asleep and wakes you up, hence why most bowl symptoms occur upon waking. It is also a vasodialtor which lowers blood pressure and it slows the heart rate. It effects oil production in the skin too and mine (back then) and now has been very oily. The vagus nerve runs into the upper back and the throat and ears. Many ppl on here have mentioned upper back pain near the shoulder blades, which I also have. Back when this happened and now I ave tried cutting out everything that stimulates acetylcholine production like peanuts, egg yokes and fish even some of the B vitamins including coffee, even decaf because coffee contains niacin other wise known as nicotinic acid another B vitamin. Soy lecithin is another and it's an emulsifier and in practically everything you eat!! I have become a chamomile tea junkie...this helps with the IBS, it's a muscle relaxer and it helps with anxiety too. I tried researching about acetylcholine and depression but nothing medicinally related comes up only posts by ppl on Yahoo that feel it it directly related otherwise why would tricyclic antidepressants have anticholinergic properties? From what I understand ppl with IBS have too many mast cells in their colon causing an exaggerated inflammatory response also. I have been using enteric coated peppermint oil capsules and just ordered some virgin coconut oil I also have been using Kefir grains that you grow n milk as a probiotic. Nice sharing info with someone that has investigated this in an "anatomy and physiology" approach :D



#4 Maple12

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 01:43 PM

That explains even more. I always felt this IBS had an onset after I had a reaction to a medication and was treated with doses of antihistamine and prednisone. I have always had paradoxical excitatory response to antihistamine--very unpleasant "wired" feeling, unable to sleep at all, irritable, etc. I was miserable and confused for the duration of the antihist and pred. Found out later that I was given more than needed for longer than needed. ER doc used a generic protocol--one size fits all adults. I am small, and was given the same dose as a man would take. The insomnia continued for weeks after treatment, and although I can fall asleep, it is only for a couple of hours, so I have to take Xanax every night. It was also after the medical reaction treatment that I began feeling unsafe to drive due to weakness and dizziness. My husband took me every place or I stayed at home. My GI got an attitude because I refused to take Levbid, which is an anticholinergic--I don't have diarrhea, so I don't know why he wanted me to try it.

#5 Cheryl1967

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 09:08 AM

You have to be careful with antihistamines as histamine also comes from the "gut". Be careful with the Xanax because it is very addictive. I had trouble sleeping for a while with this too and I was taking melatonin but oddly I had ordered Kefir grains off the internet and after drinking the milk for a few days I was able to sleep. I looked up some "stuff" about the Kefir and it mentions that it helps with sleep. The Kefir is a powerful probiotic and it helps with my constipation. My Dr. wanted to put me on a round of Prednisone but I refused it and after some research found that it doesn't really help anyway :(

#6 Maple12

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 12:09 PM

You have to be careful with antihistamines as histamine also comes from the "gut". Be careful with the Xanax because it is very addictive. I had trouble sleeping for a while with this too and I was taking melatonin but oddly I had ordered Kefir grains off the internet and after drinking the milk for a few days I was able to sleep. I looked up some "stuff" about the Kefir and it mentions that it helps with sleep. The Kefir is a powerful probiotic and it helps with my constipation. My Dr. wanted to put me on a round of Prednisone but I refused it and after some research found that it doesn't really help anyway :(



#7 Maple12

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 12:14 PM

I hate to give up my current probiotic; it has done wonders for my pain. Anyone know if it hurts to take additional probiotics? I'd like to try the Kefir before giving up on my Klaire Labs brand.

#8 Cheryl1967

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 11:11 AM

I use Klaire Labs Interfase Plus it's a proteolytic enzyme that's supposed to disrupt the biofilms produced by the bacteria (the bad guys) in the small intestine. I take an otc probiotic plus 2 yogurts AND the Kefir. I had so much trouble sleeping when this first started...my guess was that, judging by the symptoms it was epinephrine at work. I mentioned in my earlier post that acetylcholine, which is already at a high level with IBS, is the neurotransmitter that helps you fall asleep, what was happening was I would start to fall asleep and literally get jolted awake and my heart would start racing. After drinking the Kefir milk for a few days this stopped and I haven't had any trouble sleeping since. I don't think it would hurt you to take the Kefir and your Klaire Labs probiotic, I haven't had any problems. I will say though that initially the Kefir does cause a bit of stomach upset but it only lasted the first two days. It is an "aquired taste". I bought mine from Amazon from a company called Eden Cultures. They arrive in a small glass jar and you put them in milk in a glass jar and cover with a cloth and rubber band and leave it set out (not in direct sunlight) anywhere from 12 to 24 hours. Then you strain them using a glass bowl and plastic strainer, it says not to use metal with them, and rinse them. I don't have well water so I boil my water in order to remove any chlorine (of course I do not use hot water for rinsing) I just leave it in a jug at room temperature. It takes a bit to get them going but once they do they grow like crazy. You don't consume the grains only the milk. I then put the grains back in the jar and start over. Besides the probiotics they are loaded with vitamins. The other probiotic I take has bifidobacterium infantis which is recommended for IBS :D

#9 Maple12

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 11:27 AM

My probiotic from Klaire is THER-BIOTIC Complete Powder. I really have been concerned about the biofilm issue. When I had to stop the probiotic for a stool test, so I was off of it for 2 days. By the 3rd day, my pain had gone back up as high as it has ever been. After 3 days back on it, the pain began to subside, but it took a week to get back to acceptable. I want to try the Kefir, unless you know of something with less preparation. How big is the amount you soak? How much do you have to drink? More than a cupful?

#10 jujubeee

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Posted 04 June 2012 - 12:06 AM

Hi I'm Julie. I have systemic lupus and cranial neuropathies. I have horrificly painful trigeminal neuralgia, geniculate neuralgia, burning mouth syndrome, bells palsy twice, distortions in taste and smell, torticollis spasms with tonus from cranial nerve 11. All intermittent and recurring. (not the lupus, lol) I also have really bad peripheral neuropathy and some autonomal damage. (just neurogenic bladder)I have gastroperesis on occasion and this time I had it really bad and also went into insulin shock twice regardless of eating normally, no new medications. I found information that the vagus nerve can cause this and I certainly believe it is what happens to me which is right in line with what you are saying about your symptoms. I had no bug or flu or fever. I am not in a lupus flare. I am NOT on prednisone right now., and haven't been for the last 8 weeks.My neurologist thinks the inflammatory process from lupus has damaged the myelin sheath on my cranial nerves. Could be. My rheumatologist thinks this might be happening, but noone commits and I'm just being treated for the symptoms. i take anti-seizure meds for the trigeminal neuralgia (tegretol). I did neurontin, lyrica and elavil, all stopped working. i also take cymbalta for nerve pain.I'm just out looking for people like me. My tn is severe enough to be destroying my life. I get attacks left side feels like someone is trying to pull my teeth out through my face, my forehead is in a vice, and my jaw throbs, during these I have hemofacial spasms (which last long after the cluster of attacks in a left eye/cheek twitch), and cervical dystonia with tonus where my chin pulls all the way to the left but my neck stays and I become paralyzed for twenty minutes or so. All the while I get the lightning like zap zap zap like thunder across the left side of my face.So that's my story. You guys are medical pros, I'm not, just someone with lupus and tn. The geniculate neuralgia I have on the OTHER side, my right is much more mild (not all 3 branches of the trigeminal nerve like on the left) and I get tn pain in my ear.I know i need or think I would enefit from a fiesta mri to see the blood vessels. I believe that without an angio of the vessels, noone is going to see anything and so far noone thinks I need it. I take prednisone when having the attacks and it does help, but I feel there must be some other kind of treatment or preventative other than winging it like this. I don't want to end up with neuropsychiatric lupus or worse cns problems then I already have. Cranial neuropathies are part of cns lupus, I understand they are on the criteria list , but it's still more peripheral, right? I just don't want that vagus nerve to be damaged to where my heart stops or I stop breathing. The insulin shock was scary enough. My aic's have been under 5.8 for the last 12 years, which is why my neurologist believes the tn and cranial neruopathies are caused by lupus.What's your opinion on a course of action? I'm unhappy with my present treatment obviously and am seeing a new rheumatologist in August. (I want Benlysta!!!)Btw I'm very sorry for your pain, and of course I hope it is not the vagus nerve causing problems, but I DO think it's possible.Thanks, Love and Hugs, Julie

#11 lowimpact

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Posted 04 June 2012 - 11:06 AM

Hi I'm Julie. I have systemic lupus and cranial neuropathies. I have horrificly painful trigeminal neuralgia, geniculate neuralgia, burning mouth syndrome, bells palsy twice, distortions in taste and smell, torticollis spasms with tonus from cranial nerve 11. All intermittent and recurring. (not the lupus, lol) I also have really bad peripheral neuropathy and some autonomal damage. (just neurogenic bladder)I have gastroperesis on occasion and this time I had it really bad and also went into insulin shock twice regardless of eating normally, no new medications. I found information that the vagus nerve can cause this and I certainly believe it is what happens to me which is right in line with what you are saying about your symptoms. I had no bug or flu or fever. I am not in a lupus flare. I am NOT on prednisone right now., and haven't been for the last 8 weeks.My neurologist thinks the inflammatory process from lupus has damaged the myelin sheath on my cranial nerves. Could be. My rheumatologist thinks this might be happening, but noone commits and I'm just being treated for the symptoms. i take anti-seizure meds for the trigeminal neuralgia (tegretol). I did neurontin, lyrica and elavil, all stopped working. i also take cymbalta for nerve pain.I'm just out looking for people like me. My tn is severe enough to be destroying my life. I get attacks left side feels like someone is trying to pull my teeth out through my face, my forehead is in a vice, and my jaw throbs, during these I have hemofacial spasms (which last long after the cluster of attacks in a left eye/cheek twitch), and cervical dystonia with tonus where my chin pulls all the way to the left but my neck stays and I become paralyzed for twenty minutes or so. All the while I get the lightning like zap zap zap like thunder across the left side of my face.So that's my story. You guys are medical pros, I'm not, just someone with lupus and tn. The geniculate neuralgia I have on the OTHER side, my right is much more mild (not all 3 branches of the trigeminal nerve like on the left) and I get tn pain in my ear.I know i need or think I would enefit from a fiesta mri to see the blood vessels. I believe that without an angio of the vessels, noone is going to see anything and so far noone thinks I need it. I take prednisone when having the attacks and it does help, but I feel there must be some other kind of treatment or preventative other than winging it like this. I don't want to end up with neuropsychiatric lupus or worse cns problems then I already have. Cranial neuropathies are part of cns lupus, I understand they are on the criteria list , but it's still more peripheral, right? I just don't want that vagus nerve to be damaged to where my heart stops or I stop breathing. The insulin shock was scary enough. My aic's have been under 5.8 for the last 12 years, which is why my neurologist believes the tn and cranial neruopathies are caused by lupus.What's your opinion on a course of action? I'm unhappy with my present treatment obviously and am seeing a new rheumatologist in August. (I want Benlysta!!!)Btw I'm very sorry for your pain, and of course I hope it is not the vagus nerve causing problems, but I DO think it's possible.Thanks, Love and Hugs, Julie



#12 lowimpact

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Posted 04 June 2012 - 11:08 AM

Has anyone tried 5_http? I was told it helps produce Serotonin and with three years of SIBO, i am either depressed or in a bad mood. I am interested if anyone has tried this with positive results? I think the theory on Vagus Nerve is very interesting and makes a lot of sense. Thanks!

#13 breakaway

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Posted 23 June 2012 - 12:09 PM

This is a very informative thread. I think a lot of my old symptoms of anxiety/sleep disturbances/brain fog can be explained by the vagus nerve connection of the acetylcholine involvement.I sometimes get the "wired" feeling but don't know what causes it. I think maybe it's food.





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