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Health Issues After Quitting Smoking

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Since Aug. I have had a sore throat on the right side with on/off ear pain. The ENT said it is a cyst, not a big deal he said. I quit smoking and thought it would get better, no. I gained 20 pounds not smoking, now I have a really sore throat and reflux. My stomach is always distended and I now have to take Acid blocker pills which do not help.

Now I have pain in left abdominal area by my belly button. My Primary thinks the throat and ear pain is due to Gerd. Anyone else have issues after quitting smoking and feeling worse? I go to a Gastro doctor on Monday. My dad passed away from Espo. cancer 8 years ago.

mom of 2


Recent Answers

Here are the recent answer to this question.

By Raissa10/21/2014

Hi I am into my fifth week (30 days) of cold turkey no smoking. I smoked for 12 years and worked out I consumed approx 250,000 cigarettes! I was so thankful to see that I am not alone in my withdrawal pains. It has been brutal and unfortunately I cannot provide a timeline for these symptoms, as it has blurred into one mess. Headaches, pressure in my sinus', nausea, acid reflux, digestive problems in general and painful trapped wind, severe blemishes/acne, bad breath (oddly), swollen glands and a painful throat, joint pain, pain in my arms and legs, chest tightness, sensitive skin, sleep disturbance, severe anxiety and panic attacks, mood swings, anger, no energy, no concentration, irritability, feelings of constant déjàvue, weight gain (craving all the rubbish foods) and hot flushes.

However I have not experienced any coughing, however I read just because this is absent does not mean my body isn't detoxing the filth. Therefore seeing the list in black and white above just proves the damage I was so blindly doing whilst invaded and taken hostage by the drug. But this is the price (and hopefully never worse) for all the years of neglect. But I am free and despite all of this I am very happy and proud that I am no longer a slave to nicotine.

Good luck everyone with the quiting and how amazing are these forums. Been a huge support for me. Gets easier and easier by the day because the truth and growing confidence makes you stronger.

By Dicky10/20/2014

Sorry my last post was a reply to for Victor R

By Dicky10/20/2014

Dear Mom of 2.
I feel your anxiety across the waves here in the UK. What I have to say may be of little comfort. I quit 7 months ago and still have the symptom's you describe. They seem to come and go as they please. Lung pain, upper back pain, flu, throat tightening etc. This week I have started with a cough. Last week I had really bad anxiety. In fact my muscles were so tense I have actually torn a muscle in my shoulder. I used to smoke 20 cigarette's a day for around 30 years.

I have a friend who quit at the same time as me. He was so ill he had to start again! Another friend quit 3 months ago without a single symptom. I am told by a work colleague that when his wife quit she was like it for a year. The powers that be don't tell us about this do they that's what makes it so scary. Keep it up though and hope this is a little bit of a helping hand across the water. You are not alone.

By victor R10/18/2014

I would like to share my experience with the crazy decision of quitting smoking. I started smoking at the age of 13 and I am 44 now. I smokes 1-2 packs a day, I worked out, I swam, and never complained of anything. I would see a doctor every 5 years.

Well its been 5 months now that I have not touched a cig and I feel like crap. I have no energy ( there goes the gym) I'm dizzy, I had extreme lung pain and burning, I had shortness of breath and a lump feeling in my throat. I ended up in the E.R. 3 times and was finally admitted. I felt like a lab rat. CAT scan, XRAYS, blood tests, stress test, upper GI study and something else that I cannot remember the name at the moment. All tests came back negative thank god. The only thing they found is severe acid reflux. I'm actually losing weight, I have no strength and I cannot concentrate.

My doctor says I am going crazy and wants to put me on xanax. So I went from weighing 239lbs 9% body fat to 200 lbs 14% body fat with acid reflux. I will not smoke again, but I have to say this is terrible. I wish I knew the time frame when do we start to feel better.

By twingma09/29/2014

I am using e-cigs as my method of quitting to ease into total quitting. So yes I'm getting nicotine, but not tar and the 4,000 other chemicals in cigarettes, no smell, no ashes, no smoke. I think it is foolish to quit cold turkey as a person is more likely to go right back to it-i know because I tried it. I am slowly lowering the nicotine percentage in my e-cigs and will eventually just use 0% nicotine and just get flavored cartridges. The tar and other chemicals are what cause lung cancer, nicotine is the addictive part and races your heart. I am experiencing a sore throat & an ear ache, probably the cilia growing back were it was destroyed by the tar, like nasal passages etc.
I have known lots of people who quit, not one of them had any of the illnesses some of you mentioned, from stopping. So can't help you there.
As a matter of fact, I have stopped coughing, stopped having heart palpitations and stopped having shortness of breath-all of which I had prior to quitting only 3 weeks ago.

By kelly.dustbunnies06/30/2014

After about a year and a half of "trying" to quit smoking, I finally (after many attempts) am in my fifth month without a cigarette. I would have never imagined the difficulty and feeling like death if I wasn't experiencing it myself.

The first week is rough, I slept through most of it. Shortly after that came nausea, feelings of hot flashes on and off, dizziness, shortness of breath, tingling/itchy feeling all over, sleep apnea, pains that are indescribable, chest pain (I believe it's my lungs healing), pain in all joints, pain in collar bone, severe anxiety and the list goes on.

I swear it felt like I was dying at times but I stuck it out and I'm still here. I have gained weight due to my metabolism changing and eating like crazy. My appetite is back to normal now at 5 months in. I still suffer greatly from joint pain and shortness of breath. I have also developed a great sensitivity to fragrances or anything synthetic (almost asthmatic).

The best way to put it is everything is different and feels different. My nerves actually have full sensation which makes me feel things that cigarettes/chemicals masked for years. It takes some getting used to. I now have a very sensitive stomach along with acid reflux, heartburn, etc (I never had this before I quit).

I am really proud of myself for making it this far, it was definitely the HARDEST thing I have ever done. I still have cravings every now and then but will never smoke again. I actually can't stand the smell of it now and do not want to go through any of this ever again. I know I'm not even close to being back to normal, I just don't feel good a lot of the time.

Most people don't understand my experience and I get frustrated because they seem to think that these symptoms can't possibly be from quitting smoking. Umm, yes they are. I feel tired, cold like symptoms, weakness, dizziness, anxiety, shortness of breath, severe allergies and aches. However; I no longer suffer from sleep apnea, severe cravings or the feeling that I'm starving. I am able to taste and smell now, it's amazing what I've been missing out on all these years.

If I can quit smoking, anyone can. I smoked for about 20 years, at least a pack a day. I am now 37 and am excited for my new smoke free future. It won't be easy but it will be worth it in the end. I wish everyone luck quitting and just remember you have control of what you put into your body, the cigarette does not control you!

By almostpunk10304/28/2014

(sorry, i just realized, this is a pretty long post!)

Hi folks. I am another who experienced worse health problems after quitting smoking. I had quitter's flu (everyone thought I was crazy!). I put on about 15 lbs (although I was quite thin so that wasn't necessarily a bad thing for me). My digestion went bad, and I started having joint pains and sleeping issues.

As far as my digestion goes, in my research I came across a website regarding candida that kind of changed my life. If you don't know what it is, you can google it and find plenty of information; it's basically a very advanced form of yeast that can attack your intestines and mess up your digestion pretty badly. It can also be responsible for food allergies. After I quit smoking I would get horrible stomach aches for about half an hour after I would eat. Once I cut out gluten that stopped completely.

Smoking can be a major contributor to the growth of candida, due to its impact on your immune system. I'm fairly certain that's the reason. I know this all sounds very naturopathic and sketchy, and if you ask your doctor about it they may scoff at it. But after being at my wit's end with my random, seemingly unconnected symptoms and not receiving any answers, I chose to go this route and it has worked wonders for me.

If any of you are going as crazy as I was, you might want to look into various holistic approaches to quitting smoking. I kept my hands busy by chowing down on toasted pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds), which are nutritional powerhouses and have a host of health benefits that, after knocking down our immune systems with nicotine for so many years, can only help. I also tried to detox my body as much as I could; drinking a lot of water and specifically trying to add alkaline water to my diet, and drinking a lot of "green" juice (i.e. green machine-type drinks, although I no longer drink naked juice because of all the artificial junk they add to it). The spirulina and chlorella are excellent for detoxing the body.

Basically, when we quit smoking, we need to supplement our bodies with a crapload of vitamins, because we've been depleting our bodies of them for the past (6, 15, 40, etc) years that we've been smoking. There are various vitamins that smokers are deficient in, and by replenishing some of the vitamins, our bodies can better push this nasty stuff out, and make getting through the quitting period less difficult, or possibly even shorten it. I also educated myself A LOT about the effects smoking has on the body - not just the usual lung cancer, emphysema, etc. but the exact effects that it has on the nervous system and the brain.

Did you know that nicotine takes the place of a neurotransmitter in your brain that is responsible for heart rate, breathing, learning and indirectly for mood, appetite, and memory? Nicotine also causes the release of dopamine, the pleasure/reward chemical in our brain, so it basically tells our bodies "if you don't smoke, you'll DIE! Are you hungry? Just SMOKE! Are you sad? Just SMOKE! Smoking makes you feel better!" It was a lot easier to hold steady to my resolve and say "eff you, nicotine, you're not going to win," once I knew why my body was reacting the way it did.

Again, I know all this stuff sounds kind of hippy-dippy and offbeat. However, I just wanted to share what worked for me, because I know how miserable it can be trying to get through this, especially when everyone around you is a smoker (my boyfriend, roommate, and my entire group of friends were all smokers too. It was not an easy task for me to quit). Good luck to all of you guys... every few months I'll get a random twinge of a craving, but nothing compared to what I used to get. It does eventually get much easier, I promise!

By Danny E.02/06/2014

I quit 5 weeks ago and like many of you have had a horrible time with withdrawl symptoms. I seem to have got over the cough but have really achy arms and legs that I can't shift and a constant tight neck. I also wake every night and find that I'm constantly in an anxious state. To all the people that have posted before how long do these go on for before you start to feel normal again. Never realised how much of an impact quiting would have on your life.

By anburnett401/28/2014

Here is how the road to healing has gone for me so far. First, some background on my smoking. I smoked for 12 years, back and forth from 1 pack to 2 packs per day. I decided to give up smoking for my New Years resolution because of my fear of "smoker's face." I quit cold turkey because I knew it would be the only way I could actually do it. Hardest thing I've ever done and I'm not even finished. Day 28 with no cigarettes, and if you know me that's a HUGE deal.

Week 1: Woke up thinking about cigarettes, couldn't eat, just wanted a cig, had to take naps constantly throughout the day just to get through the cravings. Couldn't watch TV seeing someone smoke, couldn't be around any friends that smoked, not even my own boyfriend. Then, inevitably, I would go to bed thinking of cigs leaving me to dream of smoking them all night.

Week 2: This is pretty easy. Week 2 was the best week of quitting smoking for me. I was proud of myself and it felt so good to tell others of my success from an addiction that had so much power over me. The more I talked about being smoke free, the easier it seemed and the better I felt about my choice to quit smoking. I wish this week lasted :(.

Week 3: Oh my God. Quitters flu. Ever heard of it? Google it. You literally get flu like symptoms without really having the illness. All at the same time it felt like I had an ear infection, my head was filled with pressure (like a balloon waiting to pop), my throat hurt, hot and cold body sweats, achy joints, and my skin hurt soooo bad to the touch. All I could do was lay in bed with the warmest blanket I could get my hands on and just sweat it out. I also couldn't stand for longer than 2 or 3 minutes without feeling like I was going to faint. Shortness of breath was extreme, worse than when I chain smoked for 8 hours the night before and waking up with an elephant on my chest.

Week 4: (Coming to an end this week) I completely lost my voice. Ive never lost my voice this bad even with bronchitis. Its as if I have become mute and I am getting pretty down about it since I am in phone sales. I cannot work. The hardest part is it seems like no one really understands what I am going through. I feel like they all think I am bullshitting and being a big baby. But I'm not. Quitting smoking is the hardest thing ever. It hurts so bad. It's been a month of torture for me so far and I am scared to see what next month has to bring.

I figure if I made it this far there is no going back. Especially since I refuse to go through the quitters flu again. Worst flu symptoms ever, especially when its not even the flu! Yuck!

I'm kind of freaking out about the voice loss because I do feel alone in this which is why I have spent so much time looking for advice from others who have gone through what I am currently going through. It's kind of defeating some of the things that I have read such as a year going by and still feeling like total crap. Do I really need to take a year off of my life to get over this nasty habit? I just want my voice back and to feel good about my choice to quit smoking. So far it has kidnapped me, beat the life out of me, dragged me to the end of a cliff, and then punted me off.

Screw you cancer sticks! I hate you so much. This addiction is so bad, cigs need to be banned.

One more rant.

How am I supposed to feel so good about quitting smoking when everyone around me, even those I just pass by on the streets, are smoking and the smoke blows right into my nose and mouth?! Second hand smoke kills too! So what is the point of quitting if you will never escape the chemicals that are polluting the air in which you breathe constantly?

By EmmaHH01/06/2014

I quit smoking approx 11 weeks ago. 3 days after I quit I started getting a scratchy chest and a tickley cough. I've been back and forth to the Drs. I recently had antibiotics, they didn't work. I had chest x rays and apparently my heart, lungs and veins are all normal.

I have suffered with a tickly cough, coughing up some mucus (creamy colored), violent coughing especially at night to the point of vomiting. Banging headache due to the coughing. Now I still have all those symptoms plus a constant wheeze and stuffy nose.

I wish I'd never quit because before I quit I was never sick. Unfortunately I can't start again simply because I know my lungs wouldn't be able to cope. Sick to the back teeth of being sick. Don't know when I last slept properly and am just about at the end of my rope. Don't think I will ever recover.

By Hayley T.01/06/2014

I quit smoking in the summer of 2013 and since November 2013 I have felt awful. Since reading this sight though I feel much better knowing it's probably withdrawal symptoms. I have constant body aching all over, stabbing headaches, complete lack of energy. Has blood test and urine test done and all is fine so I'm aware I'm not dying only the anxiety attacks convince me otherwise! However reading these posts I also now know I should feel better given time!

By ruby595901/01/2014

I have been smoking for about 38 years. I quit when I had a long stay in the hospital after an operation. My lungs decided to clean themselves out there and it was awful, mainly because the operation affected my oxygen intake. I got a high fever and all sorts of phlegm and coughing.

Unfortunately I started up smoking again 8 months later.

This time I am using an e cig and have bought nicotine in many different strengths so I can wean myself off it.

For the first month I suddenly realized how great I feel! No shortness if breath, none of that compression on my chest every morning etc. I never developed a smokers cough but have had dripping sinus problems for years

Suddenly, a month later I have some sort of flu which I think is actually my lungs cleaning themselves again. Super high temperature, the most painful body aches, a super swollen throat, phlegm and coughing.

I figure it is just like when I was in the hospital quitting smoking. It's tuff!

I will never go back to smoking a real fight again and plan to be off the ecig a as soon as possible. The rewards of not smoking far outweigh the hard time quitting.

By Janet Patton B.12/12/2013

It has been 2 months and 2 days today, since I quit. I smoked about 2 pks a day...some days less. This is my second attempt at quitting. First time I went for 5 years, but husband was dying from cancer from Agent Orange he picked up while stationed in Viet Nam years before... it was his 3rd and final bout with this terrible disease. I hated that I had ever smoked to begin with, but it did calm my nerves considerably.

I remember from the first time and now again this time, that I too have the chest discomfort, tiredness, but the most difficult thing for me is the terrible pains in my body that I am feeling now. I just turned 65 and decided that I needed to quit this time for real, but at this rate, I am wondering how long this is going to last. I live alone and only have one friend that lives nearby... no family at all in this area.

Twenty years before losing my husband, we lost our 9 month old baby daughter that we adopted at birth in Korea. I have not coped well with either of these terrible losses. It is difficult being lonely, especially if you are high strung too. But, I don't want to fail either, so I am giving this a fair shot this time and hope to be done with some of these terrible side effects soon. Otherwise, I'll be like a couple others here and start back.

I surely don't want to face a heart attack from the stress of all of this and I surely don't enjoy feeling like crap every day with my body hurting so much. Hoping for the best here still though. Best of luck y'all and God Bless everyone here.

By myron myron11/27/2013

It's crazy that your writing this because I'm experiencing the same symptoms now , even the pain on the left lower side of the belly button. Please tell me what finally happened.
ucanfindmyron AT

By Canaan11/21/2013

Well, I wanted to add my story of quitting smoking and the symptoms of quitting that I have experienced. I am on day 36 of quitting and am using small amounts of the nicotine gum (2-4 pieces a day) to help me, although I think I can give this up soon.

I quit while on vacation and when I got back after two weeks, I started to get a cough, bronchial problems, and some aches and pains. I do have some minor chest pain, but nothing too debilitating yet. However, I do have a sore throat and what feels like a bronchial infection. I am coughing up really sticky, gross phlegm that is hard to cough up.

I had started with a workout routine about 7 months before quitting, so hopefully my weight and muscles will be helped by this. I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism (under active thyroid) prior to quitting and have been on mild medication for the last 9 months.

Starting to exercise and getting on top of the thyroid problem may help me get through this a bit easier (this is what my doctor tells me, who is thrilled that I have quit). I am 53 years old and have been smoking for the last 13 years after having quit for about 8 years.

Yes, I picked it up again after successfully quitting due to emotional issues and I deeply regret each and every cigarette that I have smoked since