CSN Login
Members Online: 11

feeling sick after contrast/ct scan

rae_rae's picture
rae_rae
Posts: 266
Joined: Oct 2010

I had my CT scan today and my stomach has been on fire, gurgling horribly (over 7 hours now ), and I am very nauseous. This is my fifth CT scan and I have never felt like this before. I keep trying to drink more water but everything tastes like metal. Has anyone else experienced feeling ill after contrast? I had both intravenous and oral.

growler9
Posts: 39
Joined: Oct 2011

Sorry your not feeling so good. I've had several scans with contrast and only had metalic taste for a little while. The more scans with contrast you have there is an increased chance for reaction. nausea and vomiting is the more common. Other than drinking water to flush your system I don't think there is much you can do. I know for itching, rash, swelling and hives you can take Benadryl or steroids.

If things don't get better real soon you should call or see a doctor. 7 hours seems like a long time to not be recovered. There is also a chance that you caught an unrelated "bug".

Hope you get to feeling better! Alan

lbinmsp's picture
lbinmsp
Posts: 266
Joined: Jun 2006

The radiology department probably gave you a form that says you should drink lots of water, etc. but also provide a phone number to call. Seven hours is too long, in my opinion. I'm thinking a phone call sooner than later is a good idea.

Texas_wedge's picture
Texas_wedge
Posts: 2807
Joined: Nov 2011

Sorry to hear you were feeling so rough Rae. I'm due my first follow-up CT with contrast a week today so I'm going to learn from your experience.

The advice Alan and LB gave sounds sensible to me and I hope you're feeling much better now. Have you been offered any advice for future scans or any alternative methods of investigation?

rae_rae's picture
rae_rae
Posts: 266
Joined: Oct 2010

I ended up going to bed early last night because I felt so poorly. I did take two Prilosec for my burning stomach and they helped. The gurgling and nausea was still with me when I went to bed. This morning, the nausea is better, metallic taste is gone but my stomach is still gurgling quite loudly!

I did read just what Growler posted- the more CT scans you have the more likely you may develop a reaction to the contrast. I also read if you have allergies such as hayfever or asthma (or food allergies) that it also increases your odds. I do suffer from hayfever and developed eczema just in the last two years and this past October was diagnosed with asthma -(or more of an environmental asthma). The pollen was so bad this fall that I couldn't walk a block without coughing and wheezing and had to use an inhaler.

So this is all new to me. Of course they asked me the standard questions prior including do you have allergies (I was thinking allergies such to drugs, so I said no) or do you have asthma (I I don't really consider myself as having asthma so I hesitated and said umm well no) and we proceeded.

So fyi to all my fellow scanners- read up on what could happen. If you have allergies, asthma, diabetes etc. Let them know. I will let them know the next time and find out what I can do differently.

Texas_wedge's picture
Texas_wedge
Posts: 2807
Joined: Nov 2011

Relieved to hear you're feeling better Rae.

I'm sitting sipping my first ever home-made smoothie made with our spanking new Vitamix - raspberries, blueberries, apple and spinach. Can't wait to try other recipes, like one Jennifer has sent me. This prompts me to ask whether you have any food intolerances you know of.

I guess you're busy but wouldn't it be a good idea to enquire now about how you can best be spared having the same experience next time?

If your stomach keeps gurgling at work I bet your colleagues will be merciless!

rae_rae's picture
rae_rae
Posts: 266
Joined: Oct 2010

So I typed my response this morning from the comforts of bed. After I got up I realized I still wasn't feeling the best and the nausea has returned along with a nice headache.

I am at work, however (shh) and because I have my own office and no meetings today, no one has given me any ribbing. Yesterday they all did.

I will at some point talk to someone about this - maybe my oncologist can give me some advice next week.

Glad you are enjoying your Vitamix. Pineapple, spinach and banana is my mainstay, often I add broccoli and berries to it as well.

Fresh salsa every week, too, with tomatoes, cilantro, lime juice, onions (minimal onion, they do trigger migraines with me if I eat a lot of raw onion) and jalapeno. The Vitamix has it ready in a flash (pulse variable speed 1-4 so it's not mush). I make veggie soup/broth in it too.

foxhd's picture
foxhd
Posts: 1876
Joined: Oct 2011

I find the drink that I have to consume for my scans goes through my system like Draino. I ask them if they would like to perform a colonoscopy while I'm still at the hospital. It doesn't make me feel bad though.

Texas_wedge's picture
Texas_wedge
Posts: 2807
Joined: Nov 2011

Rae and Fox, I think I have the answer to the scanner and radiation problems.

What you need to do is locate your menu buttons. I don't believe either of you need to improve your sharpness but obviously adjustment of, respectively, your contrast and brightness controls is called for. Don't be afraid to ask for any further help - always happy to oblige!

On the contrast problem Rae, I imagine you're being given Omnipaque which I gather is the only medium currently used by our NHS. (I don't think that you should allow them to give you Draino, in view of the way Fox says it goes through his system!!) The concentration of the iodine dye is critical for good performance in imaging. I think it's a good idea to make it known that you've had an unpleasant reaction for this reason:

"Delayed Contrast Reactions
Delayed contrast reactions can occur anywhere from 3 hours to 7 days following the administration of contrast. Since patients are generally discharged from the radiology department within 30 minutes of contrast administration, these reactions are rarely observed by the radiologist supervising the contrast administration. These events are often not brought to the attention of the radiologist since the delayed event may not be ascribed to the contrast media and these evens are often self limited. Regardless, it is important for anyone administering intravenous contrast media to be aware of delayed reactions."

This is in an interesting tutorial for the pros in the field and comes from the U. of Wisconsin. I don't know about nausea and headache but for cutaneous reactions they do say:

"Delayed cutaneous reactions are more common in patients who have had a previous contrast reaction .... While the exact mechanism of the delayed reaction is unknown, they can recur if the same contrast medium is administered again."

As against the uncertainty about the mechanism, contrast this:

"It has long been recognized that anxiety plays a role in evoking and potentiating contrast reactions. Therefore, your behavior and conduct become important factors in your ability to successfully manage the patient. You must maintain and display an unruffled, orderly, deliberate, capable, and effective demeanor, one that elicits confidence and promotes a sense of well-being in the patient. These same qualities are also important in coordinating the activities of staff members assisting you. You must be able to take charge, assign tasks, monitor activities, reassess the patient, and make effective decisions as circumstances change.
Those assisting should execute their duties quietly, minimizing anxiety-provoking conversation."

I guess you will do yourself some good by telling your radiology team about your reaction so that they can plan accordingly and give you the necessary reassurance to minimise anxiety on your part.

Thanks a bunch for the Vitamix recipes - can't wait to try them out - they sound right up my street. I love spinach and broccoli and also kale. I'll probably use watercress as well - another favourite, unless anyone advises against.

rae_rae's picture
rae_rae
Posts: 266
Joined: Oct 2010

For the info. I will definitely bring this up. I hope it was just a fluke this time. Personally I think my sharpness could use a little adjusting...

Minnesota Girl's picture
Minnesota Girl
Posts: 115
Joined: Jul 2011

Rae -

I hope you are feeling better now. Thanks for bringing this up. I just finished follow-up CT #2, and while I didn't get sick from the contrast, I was completely ready to barf after it took 5 people an HOUR to get my IV in!! I've been hydrating tons since my surgery, but I guess next time I will spend the day before my CT drinking even more.

I have seasonal and pet allergies, so I could well be one who develops a reaction over time. Thank you for bringing this issue to our attention - I will keep it in mind.

garym's picture
garym
Posts: 1651
Joined: Nov 2009

I seem to have a different reaction each time, sneezing, metallic taste, warmth in the groin, never quite the same. Nothing prolonged and no nausea, yet anyway, but who knows.

MikeK703's picture
MikeK703
Posts: 235
Joined: Sep 2010

My wife and I always seemed to get stuck (pardon the pun) with the same guy at our HMO lab every time we needed bloodwork done. Our arms were sore for days and black and blue for weeks after each visit. We hesitated to say anything because it was embarrassing and we didn't want to get him into trouble. Finally we had enough and started telling them who we would allow to take our blood and who we wouldn't. They didn't like it because it interfered with their procedures, but they had no choice and now we allow only those we know who are good at their jobs to poke us. Unfortunately, we don't know who's good and who's not in all of the departments so we have to put up with incompetence sometimes. But we take note and remember their faces when we return.

Subscribe with RSS
About Cancer Society

The content on this site is for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Do not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition. Use of this online service is subject to the disclaimer and the terms and conditions.

Copyright 2000-2014 © Cancer Survivors Network