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Dr. Arun Phophalia
Dr. Arun Phophalia, Doctor (MD)
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 31329
Experience:  MBBS, MS (General Surgery), Fellowship in Sports Medicine
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My daughter is 36 and is very sick. She has been tested and

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My daughter is 36 and is very sick. She has been tested and rung thru some hoops but still no diagnosis. Her symptons are weight loss (extreme) and now she has episodes of vomiting and diahrria. She cant eat for days and then gets dehydrated and can't function properly. My worry it is caused from stress over the familys financial situation and my fear it will eventually kill her. I don't know where or when of even if I can step in.

Hello Deb,
I am Dr. Arun and will be helping you today.

Has she consulted any specialist?
Has she bloating, gas, abdominal pain?
What did her CT scan or MRI of the abdomen show?
Any significant past medical history or family history?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

She had her gall bladder out appx 7 years ago. She is under lots of stress and she is working two jobs. She says that the only thing that gets out of bed anymore it the fact that she "has" to work. It seems like she craves sugary sweet things too. I have seen her eat these often and don't know if they cause her distress because she has been avoiding talking about it. I know she has had an endoscopy (with some small ulcers) and her colonoscopy came back normal. They did some normal tissue biopsy just for precaution. Next they said they will have her do a nuclear med gi study.


Hello Deb,

Extreme weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea would need following work up, if not done;

1) Contrast enhanced CT scan of abdomen
2) Liver function tests
3) Pancreatic function tests
4) Kidney function tests
5) Stool exam and culture.
6) Thyroid function tests
6) Adrenal function tests
7) Tests for diabetes like glycosylated hemoglobin, serum insulin.

No harm in getting a nuclear medicine GI study which tells about the motility disorders of the intestines.


The initial evaluation of diarrhea is on these characteristic;


a) stool volume,

b) frequency,

c) consistency, and

d) gross appearance.


Stool volume can give an idea of disease location and underlying mechanism.


a) Large-volume stools (more than one liter per day) would point to small bowel disease and secretory diarrhea.

b) Small-volume stools (less than 300 ml per day) suggest large intestine diseases and functional gastrointestinal disorders like IBS.


Stool consistency can be varied ranging from formed to watery, and correlates with the rate of intestinal transit.


a) Secretory diarrheas are liquid.

b) Functional diarrheas are soft or semi-solid.

c) Stool floating will be indicative of if being filled with gas from fermentation of mal absorbed carbohydrates.

d) Mucus can point to both inflammatory and noninflammatory diarrheas, such as ulcerative colitis and IBS.


She should be investigated for IBD, chronic infections or for secretory diarrhea (by estimating total amount of stools per 24 hours). Looking for the carcinoid tumor also may be considered. Gastrinoma and VIPoma also should be considered for prolonged secretory diarrhea and an high index of suspicion is required. Secretory diarrhea characteristically continues despite fasting, is associated with stool volumes more than 1 liter/day. Selective testing for plasma peptides such as gastrin, calcitonin, vasoactive intestinal polypeptide, and somatostatin, as well as urine excretion of 5-hydroxyindole acetic acid, metanephrine, or histamine and other tests of endocrine function, such as measurement of thyroid-stimulating hormone and serum thyroxine levels or an adrenocorticotropin-

stimulation test for adrenal insufficiency, can be considered by your physician. An aspirate of small bowel contents for quantitative culture or breath tests with glucose or isotopically labeled xylose can be used to establish the presence of small bowel bacterial overgrowth.


The causes of nausea and vomiting are iatrogenic (doctor induced like medicines), toxic, or infectious causes; gastrointestinal disorders; and central nervous system or psychiatric conditions. Following are the main causes;

A. Central nervous system

1) Migraine

2) Space occupying lesion in brain (Mass lesion)

3) Labyrinthitis

4) Ménière's disease

5) Pseudotumor cerebri

B. Gastrointestinal symptoms;

1) Gastroparesis

2) Irritable bowel syndrome

3) Non ulcer dyspepsia

4) Peptic ulcer disease

5) Hepatitis (liver inflammation)

C. Hormonal

1) Thyroid disorders

2) Diabetes

3) Adrenal disorders

D. Psychiatry disorders

1) Anxiety

2) Depression

3) Conversion disorders


E. Infections.


Chronic nausea and vomiting are usually a pathologic response to any of a variety of conditions. Gastrointestinal etiologies include obstruction, functional disorders, and organic diseases. Central nervous system etiologies are primarily related to conditions that increase intracranial pressure, and typically cause other neurologic signs. Numerous metabolic abnormalities and psychiatric diagnoses also may cause nausea and vomiting. Evaluation should then turn to identifying the underlying cause and providing specific therapies.

Please feel free for your follow up questions.

I would be happy to assist you further, if you need any more information.

Thanks for using Just Answer.


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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

May I print off your reply to give to my daughter so she can discuss any of this with her Doctor?

Sure, you can print this. You can copy paste the response to a word document and print it or email her.

It is privilege assisting you.

Please let me know if you have any further questions.

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