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I am 67 years old and quit smoking 24 months ago after puffing away for 50 years.
Ever since I stopped smoking, I have developed severe digestive problems (vomiting, diarrhea, bloating). I eat and 3-5 hours later, I throw up or fill up with gas. All foods are a problem. I am down to eating only soup. Weight is way down.
Have been tested for everything: Crohns', gall bladder stones, colonoscopy, etc. Was recently found to be lactose intolerant but feel that this is a red herring. At my age, I don't exactly gorge up on milk and milk derivatives.
I suspect that my gut flora is (totally) out of whack but could that be related to smoking? Anybody out there has any idea?

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I was 41 in Dec 05 when I had a severe flu, and because of the pain, was able to quit smoking. I had been smoking for around 25 years, average of a pack per day. I think within a month I noted GERD symptoms beginning. In Mar 06 when I first noted joint pain in one finger. After a few doc visits, I was sent to a bone doc, who xrayed the joint, and said there was no joint. It was disintegrated. Arthritis. My theory is that smoking does something to damage your collagen. Maybe making more collagen around the time I was sick caused my immune system to attack the collagen? Maybe not. Maybe GERD is also an autoimmune disorder?

I am able to control the indigestion acid if I eat just fruit for breakfast, control lunch to veggies and a little starch only, and for dinner eat only veggies and lean, medium done, high grade steak. I cannot digest almost any oils or greases, especially not butter or soy oils.

Mark
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Maybe I should start smoking again? Less likely to get esophagal cancer.

Mark
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This happened me too when i quit, a year later and my digestion is perfect. I needed to watch everything i ate, i made sure to drink plenty of water and eat lots of fiber. If some type of food upset me, coffee and certain beans were killers, i would limit them or cut them out altogether. In my opinion, smoking was great for my digestion it kept everything moving as it should. When i quit smoking my digestive system struggled, much like a baby dealing with solids at first. You need to eat very carefully for as long as it takes (took months for me) but it will return to normal in the end.
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I think only reason for sluggish digestive system when we quit is lack of exercise. I was a smoker for 25 years too and was on 5-6 packs sometimes. One month after I stopped quitting I had similar problem. It feels as if there is lot of unspent energy trapped in the belly (from epigastrum to the lower abdomen). I started feeling symptoms of GERD, Constipation, severe headache etc. It added to restlessness and insomnia. I wanted my belly to burst and spill out entire garbage stored inside. There was constant urge to resort to some physical activity or the other. All these symptoms are only to remind that we have more energy than ever and it ought to be burnt.

A rigorous exercise regimen should restore the fire in the belly in 15-20 days time.
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I stopped smoking two and a half weeks ago. It feels like forever. My tummy is starting to turn and burn. OUCH!!!! THanks for the suggestions. I too believe that the stomach stores a lot of energy more reason to excercise. One day at a time.
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I quit smoking last May after 30 years of smoking. I have honestly never felt so bad. I immediately got severe constipation and still battle it to this day. I gain a tremendous amount of weight. I think the worse symptom though is my hands swell up and hurt like I have Arthritis. I have been tested and the doctor state the test are negative yet she can see it. This is also much worse when I eat carbohydrates. Is anyone else experiencing swelling or any of my other symptoms? What have you been told to do?
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Dear GUEST,

It is fairly obvious that you are a never smoker that is trying to patronize those that smoke or are former smokers. Digestion can drastically change in those new quitters because the digestive tract has nicotine receptors that promote regular bowel evacuation. Quitting shocks the digestive system for a while and requires an adjustment period in which it re-learns to do its job in the absence of the drug. The side effects can be severe for some. I've been 5 months without a cigarette and spend all day burping, and am constantly constipated despite intensely exercising 90 minutes a day and eating a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, and lean meats. 

And also, just because someone smokes does not mean that they are not exercising or eating healthy food or taking supplements. Cigarettes are highly addictive and I have seen many health nuts with an achilles heel for cigarettes. 

Have a good day. 
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Dear longislandlolita.

I quit 6 and a half months ago and have been at my wits end with what sounds like similar symptoms to you- conspiation, bloating and burping all the time. I went to my doctor out of desperation and he suggested it is IBS but I cannot accept this, I think it's just a quick fix answer for GP's who think you will be satisfied with a diagnosis.

 Have you found anything else that eases the symptoms? I am praying that they will go away over time and what you said about the digestive tract and the adjustment period gives me some hope. Are there articles you have read that explain about this, I would be interested to read them.

Thanks for any help :)

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I have been smoke free for 4 weeks for the first time in nearly 18 years. Its good to know that the symptoms I am having could be considered normal. Within a week of quitting I had serious heartburn / indegestion (something which I have rarley ever had my whole life, and I can eat like a pig). I have constipation and then extreme flatulance after eating high fibre food. Can let one go every 3-4 minutes for hours straight. I have a bloated to bursting point feeling in my gut which has been there since I quit, and pains in my back (just above my kidneys) and pains in the front (under my ribcage). Not to mention the burning sensations running up and down my chest (possible more heartburn).

BUT,

I sure can breathe better :)

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What a relief to hear that others are having the same symptoms as I am. I feel as if my stomach could explode at any moment. I don't have any constipation, I wish I had the flatulance problem....maybe then I would not look as if I was 5 months pregnant! I have incredible pain in my ribcage and top of my abdomen which is worse whenever I eat. Sadly this hasn't detered me from eating like a pig. I am on my third week of my new life as a nonsmoker.Despite having smoked for 30 years I have always been extremely healthy, exercise daily and have never even had a smokers cough. I go years without even getting a cold. So needless to say this is ABSOLUTEY due to quitting. Thank you for all the "positive comments" I feel so much better now that I know its not just me. God Bless. 
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Hi i am nearly 5 months quit (aged 60 and smoked for 43 years) and i also have really bad stomach issues. Bloated stomach almost continually, mostly constipated and now have an anal fissure due to constant straining. i also get pain in my stomach area after eating and also bouts of reflux. I am certainly glad i quit smoking but i did not realize the problems that would surface. I think it is due to our metabolism slowing down when we quit smoking - but - not pleasant at all
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Absolutely right! I smoked heavily for 27 years and for the past three years was exercising regularly, eating no processed foods, only organic, whole food supplements, etc. the whole nine yards. I was very, very healthy with the blood pressure of an athlete. I had to quit smoking because I'm a lecturer and developed polyps on my vocal cords. Surgery removed them, have my voice back, but ... god almighty!! 3 months after I quite smoking cigarettes, my digestion went to hell! I was eating exactly the same and I started gaining weight, constipated, depressed, uncomfortable, extremely irritable. I did a couple of herbal cleanses recently and started getting acupuncture. My digestive system feels like it's righting itself now. Nobody tells you how quitting smoking is going to effect you - people are so confident that quitting smoking is the holy grail! The effects of quitting are pretty severe and doctors should not only know this, they should talk about it. Weirdly, I quit smoking by taking up electronic cigarettes (vaping) - I'm getting nicotine, but clearly regular cigarettes are having a much, much more powerful effect on the body than the nicotine vaporizers. Nicotine is clearly not the "villain" ingredient in regular cigarettes!
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I goofed up and posted a "reply" that was meant to show up under longislandlolita's post.  Here's a general reply to the original post here:  I am so thankful to have found this discussion!!!  When I quit smoking in June after 27 years of heavy smoking (and being healthy aside from the smoking - very healthy), I didn't get any immediate symptoms.  I traveled to Cambodia and felt great - no digestion problems, no weight gain.  However as soon as I got back to the US (3 months after quitting), I got the same symptoms that everyone else here is talking about.  It got worse and worse because accompanying the physical symptoms, I also became extremely irritable and depressed.  Health care people suggested it was just my "time of life" (52 years old).  I refused to give up and after someone suggested I picked up parasites in Cambodia, I went on a parasite cleanse.  Then, at my wits end, I started acupuncture treatments and also went on a gentle general herbal cleanse - finally I started to clear out.  The acupuncture is having a miraculous effect on circulation and detoxification, helped by the herbal cleanse regimen.  I still only feel like eating soup and drinking vegetable juice.  It's not that I can't eat solid food - it's just not what I find myself wanting.  The bloating and constipation was a shocking turn of events for me because my digestion had been so good before quitting smoking.  After reading this discussion, I'm becoming more convinced that parasites are not the problem.  Why don't doctors tell us what to expect when we quit smoking??  This is the first thing I've found on the internet where people are discussing the same symptoms I've been having.  Tip:  I believe that exercise can be helpful, but won't do the trick (it didn't for me) - herbal cleanse kits can be helpful and if are willing to get acupuncture, I highly recommend that.
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as a former smoker I also agree that these symptoms are from stopping that habit. That doesn't mean that I have any inclination of having another cigarette. I look at it this way, I abused the hell out of my body for many years. (about 20). Now I have a few months of my body getting its revenge. I certainly deserve it for all that I did to myself.

The gas and bloating will pass. So will everything else like joint pain. Lung problems are a different story. It all depends on how much damage was done. But they should start healing in about 6 months.

Good luck to all that are stopping, and congrats to all that have already.

Brian

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