Waking up in the middle of the night with the dry heaves

Okay...I know this is so disgusting, but I was wondering if anyone else with GP has experienced the same thing. There have been nights that I am woken up from sleeping by this overwhelming sense of nausea & then I run to the bathroom and I dry heave for several minutes (which, by the way, is really annoying). The first time it happened I thought I was maybe getting the flu--but it is happening more frequently that I get so nauseated (even without food in my stomach) that I dry heave until my eyes are bloodshot. Am I the only one?

Also...I go to the doc tomorrow. I've gained 2 pounds back because I've been adding 'BeneCalorie' to everything I eat--but I am worried about gaining those 2 pounds, certainly not because of my weight, but because I don't want my doctor to see my reliance on a fake calorie substance as a solution. I want to be able to enjoy 'real' food...and not have to rely on supplements like that. I don't want him to ignore my complaints because he thinks I'm 'improving'. I'm NOT--I'm doing absolutely everything I can think of to keep going!

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Sweet Girl…..I know that this is going to seem rather harsh, but a reality check always is!!!!

I have been dealing with GP for over 26 years. I have yet to know anyone that has GP to every return to eating a normal meal. Medical science has not found away to regenerate the damaged vagus nerve that caused GP in the first place. Accepting this reality, is one of the hardest issue that any one diagnosed with GP has to accept. We all would love it if our doctors could fix this problem with some magical pill, but it is not going to happen.

With that said, chronic nausea is a symptom of this disorder of the stomach. I know the feeling of waking up in the middle of the night wanting to throw-up and you can’t. I have no idea why this happens, and I have yet to find anyone, even those in medical research to tell me why this happens. It makes eating more difficult, simple because we do not want to eat when we feeling like we want to throw-up. Dramamine helps, it is an over the counter medication for motion sickness. But it will also make you feel sleepy, so take it with caution. It is the most recent medication that is being prescribed for chronic nausea. But by the most part I have gained control over my nausea threw a change of diet and supplements, not by medical intervention.

For ultimate energy to meet each days challenges and responsibilities, there is no such thing as fake calories. When you have GP meeting calories intake can be a challenge if we don’t drink some of our meals. If we try and force our stomach to deal with a lets say a tuna sandwich, we have to realize that while a normal person can eat one and their stomach digest it in 3 hours and is ready for another meal. Our stomach can take 6 hours or more. Mine stomach as been medically recorded as taking 17 hours to digest what some people would consider a normal supper meal. (Meat, potatoes , veggies…) Although I can still eat some solid food like peaches, tuna, potatoes… I can only eat each one at a time with a three hour waiting period before I can eat any more. What a normal person would consider a basic breakfast of eggs, bacon , toast and hash browns, the first meal they eat for the day.. If I forced myself to eat just that simple meal, it would take me all day to eat. If I try to set down and eat that mush at one meal, it is not going to happen with out my stomach rebelling and causing me to be forced to deal with 12 hours of stomach cramps as my body tries to get ride of more than it has an ability to handle. Thus, calories in the form of shakes are a tool I and so many others with GP use to insure I meet our calorie need each day are meet t. It is also a vital tool for keeping a non-diabetics sugar levels balanced, and brain energy levels high. Adding probiotics to your daily supplement is another item you will find is beneficial in keeping your chronic nausea under some kind of control….

You are in my prayers.

Big Hug Barbara

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Hi JeniMac,
Unlike nanascorner I fell ill only 6 months ago so I'm still new at this. However, a few things that help me feel better at night include:
- don't eat too late in the evening
- go for a walk 30 minutes after finishing dinner
- drink ginger tea (I add honey)
For additional suggestions about diet, exercise, supplements, medications, etc. take a look at the discussion I initiated titled "Lessons learned. What works for you?" There are lots of great suggestions from different people that might help you!
Hang in there and hope you feel better soon,

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Dear JeniMac,
I used to have a somewhat similar problem about waking up in the night with nausea, reflux and possible vomiting, although not dry heaves. I found it helped some to sleep almost sitting straight up on the couch since I had gravity at least helping to keep food down, but this was not too comfortable. I finally got a matress genie that allows me to raise the head of my bed by about 40 degrees. I can now sleep in the bed with fewer problems, although the mornings can still feel a little rough (especially as I have to do g-tube feedings at night). I must admit too that I am taking a sleeping pill, Restoril, as prescribed by my doctor to help with sleep as this has been an issue for me for awhile. If I can fall asleep, I usually then wake up several hours later and have a hard time going back to sleep, and without help, I tended to do this all throughout the night. I think that this helps me, but I can not say whether it would you or if you need one. My heart goes out to you though as I know how the nights can sometimes be rough. I hope that you can find a way to get some better sleep.

As far as the weight gain and the supplements, perhaps the main thing at the moment is to achieve the healthy weight that is desired, and then perhaps you can discuss with your doctor about finding ways to get the nutrition you need without the supplements. This is what my doctors have insisted with me, that I get to where I can be at a steady good weight for a little while, and then I may make changes to relying more on regular food. They want to make sure that I am at this point in case if I do get sick, I will be stronger and better able to deal with it than if I was still underweight. I am glad that the Benecalorie has been helping you to gain. I hope that both of us may soon be able to get to the weight that is healthiest for both of us.

I hope that your doctor's appointment goes well, and I will be sure to keep you in my thoughts and prayers. Many, many hugs.

Warm regards,

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I can only share my frustration with the vagus nerve. I my case I can't eat or dink at all. All my meals are the same canned food through a feeding tube. i can truly appreciate how frustrated you are. So am i. i have learned in the area of the nervous system it really is only in the hands of God.

My thoughts are with you and all of us.


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My nights can turn into torture. I have trouble sleeping, and when I do finally get to sleep I end up waking up so often dry heaving and/or throwing-up. There have been so many times it will get so bad that my mom will hear me and end up getting up to help me either empty and swap out pans and getting me more meds and such. I have the problem during the day too, but sometimes it can be so much more frustrating in the middle of the night, because I stay so tired and can't get a good nights sleep. I take something to help me sleep, but I still wake up in pain and/or throwing-up. I have a tendency to end up turning off my feeds in hopes of helping ease the nausea enough to get a little more sleep. My feeds run all day too, so it also isn't like I could just switch them to the day to help get more sleep. I tend to be ready for bed by 5:00 or 6:00 in the evening, because I didn't get much sleep during the night. Sleep can be so important to help regain strength and help you function, and I sometimes look to it as a chance to not be as aware of the pain and nausea.
A few things I have found that sometimes help a little is trying to time it so I can have zofran just before going to bed, not eating for a while before going to bed, I have a wedge pillow and 6 pillows on a twin size bed, and marinol just before bed. I take marinol just before bed to give me an extra something to fight the nausea off to get some sleep. I take it during the day some days, but try to hold out till the evening if I can, just to hopefully keep it more effective when I take it. I take my zofran and phenergan all day long as well and have compazine I can throw in to if I need something more.
I hope your appointment goes well tomorrow,

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First of all, I can handle harsh & straightforward...so thank you. You are right & you opened my eyes that it does not matter what form the calories come in as long as they are coming. I guess it's me trying to hang on to 'normal,' but realizing my 'normal' eating days are far over. Part of it was the taste of 'BeneCalorie.' The people that say it is 'tasteless' must not have any tastebuds! (haha) SO...I went to the store today & picked up some baby food. I think this will be useful, especially when on the run or I know I have to be out & about & don't want to risk solid food intake. If babies get it through, I should too! I also picked up 'infant brown rice cereal' for some texture & nutrients but the box assures me its the first step in teaching the stomach how to digest. SO...we'll see. Have you ever tried any of these? What all do you puree & put in shakes? I'm open for suggestions! I'm ready to enjoy life & not be so tired I'm at home & not enjoying things.

I had a visit with my doctor today, who, I have to say, I really admire & trust. We have found out that I have severe bile reflux & slow motility as a result of my surgery! Reglan did nasty things to me...so we are going to try Domperidone. He has been holding off on this as I have had some previous heart issues & this drug is not FDA approved because of causing heart attacks & cardia arrithmias...but he said 'we have no choice. This is our last minimally invasive option.' SO...we are going to go for it. It will take him some time to get it with all the applications and hoopla he has to go through to get it from Canada...but I can patiently wait knowing that it might give me some relief. He is always very encouraging & helpful to my spirits. He sat with my Grandma and I an hour discussing options, possibe side effects, my concerns, his concerns, and how I was dealing with it all emotionally. He's really a rock for me in this process...so in that way I feel lucky. The only thing I could complain about is I feel like it is taking forever...but he explained to me today he is take the 'slow and cautious' route because of all the health issues different things have caused & he doesn't want to put me through anything dangerous. But now he feels like the benefits of Domperidone outweigh the possibly serious risks...so we are going for it. He also put me on Carafate to try & coat the espohagus and stomach from burning so badly with the bile.

I never thought about Dramamine, but that makes sense!!! I could take that at night. I was also told the Benedryl can be helpful in decreasing nausea, but I think it may have the same sleepiness as a side effect. I take Zofran during the day--but when the nausea is really bad it doesn't cut it. I might try dramamine. If you don't mind me asking what are the other interventions & supplements you use for nausea? I bought 'Organic Ginger Tea' today because it says on the box it helps with nausea & vomitting & at this point, I'm willing to trust a box! (SMILE)

One thing you brought up that I really need to keep in mind is the sugar levels for non-diabetics. I have had several hypoglycemic episodes, which as you know, are scary & unpleasant at times. So...no matter what it takes, I need to try harder to keep things in me so that I don't put my body through that again!!!

It sounds like you've had to deal with this for years. I am so sorry! What an amazingly strong woman you are. Please know that I welcome your harshness (smile) & advice anytime. This website has been a wonder for me! This is what humanity is supposed to do--reach out to each other & help get each other through the good & the bad. Sometimes we have to reach further than most to find those who understand. SO...thank yoU!

You are in my thoughts & prayers! Please keep in touch!


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I went out and bought Organic Ginger Tea today & added a bit of honey. I'll try anything! :) The box tells me it is used often for nausea & vomitting. The things I learn! (SMILE) Thank you for that reference. I cannot wait to check out what others have to say. Sometimes that is the best source of information is someone who has been there.
I also picked up some babyfood today to help get calories in me. I just feel weak and I want to enjoy life. My Aunt passed away on Sunday from colon cancer. She was only 54 and it was reality check that life is short & we don't know what will happen. I want to enjoy whatever amount of time (hopefully a long time) I have left!! So...we'll see.

I do hope you are hanging in there and doing well. Please feel free to write at any time!
Thank you for the information. I'll let you know how it goes.


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Thank you for the advice & the encouragement & prayers. The doctor's visit went well (See above reply to Barbara). I'm feeling a bit more optimistic. PRAYING this domperidone will work successfully. If you don't mind me asking, where did you find the matress genie? I feel as though that would be a wise investment. I've spent some nights in the recliner...which helps--but I would love something to help in my own bed.

My doc said the same thing today that I need some more weight on me in case I come down sick that my body will have enough fat to help itself without starving! SO...I'll do my best. I'm trying baby food. A bit more flavor than benecalorie!!! Hey...at this point...why not?!?!?

I sure hope you are hanging in there. My thoughts & prayers are with you. Please keep in touch anytime.


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I see from your profile that you are about my age. Not that it makes it any more important that someone older than us, but I can relate to how frustrating it interferes with the whole 'growing up' process! I am so sorry you have had to deal with all of this and open heart surgery to boot. You are amazing & I really admire the strength you have to survive all of it. Congratulations on making it this far.
Know that I am here anytime you need to vent!!

I will try taking my zofran closer to bed time. That might help. I've found that Tylenol PM doesn't do much for pain at night, but it helps a bit to make me drowsy when my brain won't shut off. I agree...being sick in the night is much more frustrating than dealing with it in the day. When you are tired, everything seems so overwhelming.

I am so happy you have your mom there for you. What a difference that makes. I hope she is very supportive of you and all you have to go through. I'm lucky to have my Grandma, whom I'm living with, that does that for me and an Aunt who is there when I need her. I cannot imagine getting through this all alone.

Also, I am so proud of you for getting through your studies despite the challenges that have been thrown at you. I got through my Bachelors with a few minor surgeries but had to put med school on hold with this last major surgery. I am applying to start my Masters in Public Health in the fall (I'll find out in a few weeks if I got accepted) and I will finish up my last pre-req, Biochemistry. Hoping we can both get through this schooling. We'll be better medical professionals for it because we'll have empathy!

Thank you for replying. Please keep in touch & know that you have a lot of support coming your way.


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Sounds like you're a fighter and moving fast on these suggestions! It's war against GP! Go Jen! (smile)

Don't worry. You WILL find something that works for you so you can enjoy life again. It won't be the same but try and focus on what you still DO have vs. what you don't have. And who knows. Maybe new doors will open for you!

To lift your spirits go on a little "adventure" each day. Get outside and experience nature. Visit a friend. Listen to some good music. Try to exercise every day - even if it's just a short walk, a few minutes on the elliptical machine, arm curls with light weights, or light yoga (I have a DVD). It will strengthen your muscles and empower you!

I'm so sorry to hear about your Aunt. 54 is too young. It is a reality check. So celebrate each day in your own way and keep living!

FYI: I started Domperidone 2 weeks ago and I really think it's working!



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YAY---I'm so happy to hear you think Domperidone is working! At this point, we'll take any relief, right??
I'm so excited for mine, sounds demented doesn't it? Hmmm...well, I'm just excited for a bit of relief, even if it only helps the nausea--which they say it does in those it is effective. I know it'll take a bit to get it, however, he said he had to fill out this 'application' and all of that. Hope it doesn't take too long. How long did it take to get yours?

You are right...'adventure' doesn't necessarily mean jumping out of a plane--I'm learning a walk around the neighborhood can be an adventure!

My Aunt was a wonderful woman, also the woman who took the best care of herself out of my mom and her sisters, so I was shocked. She fought a long/hard battle. I only hope she is painfree and at peace. I feel mostly sad for her two grandchildren who are so young they will never remember how much she loved them! I guess that is our job to remind them now & then of who she was & how much she cared.

I went to the library today & got a pilates video. I'll give it a shot. I was training for a 1/2 marathon before all of this happened. I've lost most of my endurance and muscle...so it's time to build up again. I have trouble with energy levels-so I'm really not ready for a heavy working out. I try to walk 30 minutes a day--it's good for the mind & the body. Yoga would be great--besides, it'd be a good excuse to buy a cute mat! (SMILE) I am wondering if I should wait until my rib is fully healed. I cracked it by vomitting...genius, I know! (SMILE)

I woke up this morning & realized that i am going to have to take control of all of this eating business. I don't want it to control me anymore, so I'm determined to control it! I got some babyfood--not half bad--I only got the fruit though! (SMILE)

Hope you are having a great day! Keep in touch.
Big Hugs,

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I am starting to really worry about money since I cannot work...ahhh...

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For those of us bord with baby food diet...

I have decided to share a my recipies with this group...

For one smoothie::

3/4 cup ice cold gluten-free vanilla rice milk
2/3 cup frozen blueberries- organic, if possible
2 tablespoons coconut flour ( bought at health food store or online)

Combine ingredients in a Vita-Mix or blender container. Cover tightly. Whip until smooth and frothy. Pour into a fancy glass. Feel fabulous.

Smoothie is filled with minerals and vitamans and one of my favorite items Coconut ...http://www.coconutresearchcenter.org/

Big Hug All around


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And I should have added... coconut flour in my shake each morning has helped me balance my blood sugar and keep my Hyperglycemia under control. I am trying a shake at night to see if it will help control night time drop in blood sugar which may or may not be the cause of our night time nausea...

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Hi, JeniMac.

You are a trooper! You go girl! I just want to say to all of you that may be facing the possibility of giving up real food, it is certainly not the choice of any of us, but if it does come we have the choice of fighting or accepting it and adjusting to the new way and looking for the positive. I had my last bit of real food in May 2006. I am healthier and eter nourished. And I enjoy the fellowship of others arund a meal.

My best to you. Marie

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My GI doc called me this evening, which I thought was sweet & says a lot about his character to call at night. He told me he still wants me to order the Domperidone, but first he wants me to get checked by a cardiologist again since I've had some cardiac issues in the past--which the poor GI doc has had to witness first hand during an endoscope. He had to call 911 and I was met at the hospital by the trauma team (of course I don't remember). I was intubated. The didn't know if I had a stroke or heart attack...but my bp dropped dangerously low, I wouldn't respond, & my heart went sky high. This has happened several times while in both mild & complete anethesia..so he is concerned about this medicine since it has been known to cause cardiac issues. How could I ever say 'no' to that after all he's witnessed and done for me? I know that he is covering his own butt, but I also know that he doesn't want me in harms way either. SO...tomorrow I will call the cardiologist for an appointment (which I hope doesn't take forever) & also call for the Domperidone so that as soon as he clears me (keeping my fingers crossed) I can take it right away!!!
Does anyone know how much Domperidone costs???
Sorry for the post--just wanted to update you all! :)

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First of all, I love your name, Marie. It is my middle name & a family name past to all the women on my Dad's side!!!
Thank you so much for your very kind and encouraging note. I am slowly learning that I can enjoy the company of others who are eating, even if I am not. Sometimes, I think it makes it awkward for them to eat in front of me though, they feel guilty? Any suggestions on how I can assure them it doesn't bother me? It doesn't...I'd rather sit and visit & not eat, than feel pressured into eating and getting sick?

You are so strong & inspirational! Thank you!


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Because of my GERD (I take 40 mg of Nexium, each, twice a day and 150 mg of Zantac before bed & still have killer breakthroughs), I have put the head of my bed up on blocks. My doctor suggested 4-8 inch blocks. (He didn't want me using pillows as he said that bends the body at the wrong place and weakens the sphincter between the stomach and the esophagus. I'm doing four inches. I don't feel like I'm sliding out, neither does my partner & it has really helped. I'm told it helps the GP too as gravity helps the digestion. I use these ones: http://www.amazon.com/Clear-Bed-Risers-Set-H/dp/B000L3QBEK/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UT F8&s=home-garden&qid=1246342425&sr=8-2. (set of 8) If you want to go up more than 4 inches get two sets as each block is one inch and they're stackable & very sturdy.

Be careful with the Pilates. I've never done them so I don't know if it will have the same effect, but I had to give up my rowing machine because the abs work increased the GERD symptoms exponentially. I do Leslie Sansone's workout DVDs. I find it works well for both the GP and the GERD if I do it early in the morning.

As for your friends and eating out, just tell them what you just told us, and be prepared to repeat it several times til it sinks in. It eventually does.

Hang in there,


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Dear JeniMac,
It gladdens my heart to hear what a compassionate and caring doctor you have. Unfortunately sometimes this can be hard to find. I am glad to hear that he wants to be cautious about the Domperidone as from what you have said before, I think he is doing this more out of concern for you than for himself. You will have to let us know how your testing goes.

I found the matress genie being sold at www.walgreens.com which is where I generally buy my Benecalorie as they tend to sell it cheaper. I came upon because I was thinking about buying a whole new adjustable bed because the wedge pillow I had just was not working (often I would slip down it anyway) to elevate my head enough and I really did not enjoy sleeping on the couch. While doing my search, I came upon the matress genie which seemed a much cheaper option than getting a whole new bed. The device consists of an inflatable wedge that goes underneath the head of the bed. An electric pump helps to raise or lower the head of the bed by inflating or deflating the wedge. This can be managed through a remote control. I always raise the wedge up to as high as it can go, 40 degrees. The pump is somewhat noisy, but it only makes a noise while lowering or raising the head of the bed, otherwise it is silent. It finally has allowed me to sleep in my bed. I can still wake up somewhat nauseous from having fed all night but I much less likely to wake up at night from my symptoms. For me, it was worth the purchase. Like someone else mentioned, I also take my antinausea medication, in my case phenergan, before I go to bed to help with possible nausea in the night.

When I was completely dependent on j-tube feedings and TPN, I just told people that due to illness, I received my nutrition differently. I would still join people who were eating. Usually, if I engaged myself in the conversation, mostly the fact that I was not eating was not noticed. So I began to look at meal times as times for conversation and began to feel less self concious. Even now I eat at different times than others may, and may not eat while others do, but usually they seem to appreciate the company more than worrying about whether I was eating or not.

I am so sorry to hear about the passing of your aunt. You have my deepest condolences. May the memories of her always remain beams of sunshine to brighten your days.

I find myself usually mixing the Benecalorie in different types of flavored oatmeal. I found out it does not taste too good with regular oatmeal. I hope that your own adventures into new ways of finding nutrition will help you to get the nutrition you need and in good flavorful ways.

I am keeping you in my thoughts and prayers. I hope that each new day will bring you new reasons to smile and hope. Many hugs.

Warm regards,

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Hi, JeniMac. To make people feel comfortable, I usually tell them I would rather enjoy the fellowship with them than miss out of that. If I have eaten (my wondeerful tasteless formula) ahead, I just tell them that. And if I have my formula with me, if I am with people who hae not experienced my tube, I just ask them if they mind if I eat. I am an educator, so I see every experience as an opportunity to share and teach (Educators are incurable!). Basically, I just treat it as something natural. And I jokingly ofer them some of my formula. :)

Marie is my middle name too and I've always liked my name. It's cool that it is a family name for you.

Blessings, Marie

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