Have you been affected by Ciguatera Poisoning?: Yes, I have had ciguatera poisoning
How did you hear about us?: Social Network
Tell us your story: Hi, I contracted ciguatera during a trip to the Bahamas in April. We stayed on Treasure Cay for 9 days eating in a number of restaurants, and spent one day on Turtle Cay. We ate fish at almost every meal. I don’t remember the specific varieties. The onset of my symptoms was not dramatic. I had a slightly upset stomach and diarrhea (only in the morning for a few days). My husband and the other couple we were with did not experience any symptoms. We often ordered the same fish, and I shared several fish meals with my husband. The only other symptom I noticed while still in the bahamas was a numbness in my big toes. I was laying on a lounger on the beach and went to brush off my toes with my feet. Odd – they felt numb. I didn’t really think about it much after that until about in early May I started having really bad joint/muscle aches during the night. I couldn’t sleep and my neck was really sore. I was also waking up with night sweats. I attributed the sore neck and numbness to a boat ride on rough sea during our trip and made an appointment to see a massage therapist. This didn’t help. On May 20th, I noticed that my pinkie and ring fingers on my left hand were numb. I thought maybe I had a pinched nerve so I went to a chiropractor (1st time ever). It didn’t help and I hated the adjustments so after 3 visits I quit. The numbness, muscle/joint pain, and night sweats continued. On June 12th, I had blood drawn and tested because I was taking thyroid and progesterone for a hormonal imbalance and thought maybe this was causing my symptoms. I saw my naturopath on July 2nd to go over the blood results. Everything was normal. When I explained all of my symptoms to her, and told her that the numbness started while I was in the Bahamas, she mentioned the possibility of Ciguatera poisoning. – 1st time I had ever heard of it! On August 6th, in the evening, my right leg suddenly hurt so badly I could hardly walk. It was worse on Friday and I was up all night Saturday unable to sleep. I tried advil to no avail. The pain is intense and I have muscle weakness in this leg as well. I took two aleve today, Sunday, and it feels quite a bit better. I am so happy that I found your blog today! It helps to read about others who are experiencing the same symptoms, and helpful to know about the foods I should eliminate from my diet (at least for a while). This has been very hard for me as I am a very healthy, active person. I have been unable to participate in many of my normal activities. I see a personal trainer twice a week, and I’m not sure I can go to her this week because of the intense leg pain. Thanks for letting me share my story! It helps to know that I am not alone.
I apologize for the delayed response, I just got back from the Bahamas. So sorry to hear you got sick but glad you finally know what you have and some foods to stay away from. Based on the time frame from April to August you should hopefully be feeling better by now, have you continued to eat fish over the past few months?
Thanks for your response! I have eaten fish over the last several months before I knew that it made the symptoms worse. I still eat it occasionally; I had a few crab cake appetizers at a party last night. I don’t know if I can go without it for 6+ months. I guess I’ll see how my symptoms are. My right leg feels well enough to exercise again. However, after the party last night, where I consumed quite a bit of red wine, I had muscle/joint pain all over my body most of the night. I took Aleve during the night, and it did help me sleep. I think it’s going to be difficult for me to give up alcohol, caffeine and fish completely. I guess I’ll just have to decide if consumption of these items is worth the pain. Thanks again for creating this blog; I think it’s helping a lot of people!
I’m sure you will get better either way, it just takes time for the toxin to run its course. I’ve been eating non reef fish like Mahi Mahi, Tuna & Wahoo for the past couple of years with no issues and drinking has not been a problem either. I just spent a week in Bimini where we caught a lot of Grouper & Snapper, I’m going to try some in small amounts this weekend which I thought I would never do again, its time to dive back in!!