Ten years of strange symptoms...running out of ideas.

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Ten years of strange symptoms...running out of ideas.

Postby logancraig » Sun Oct 08, 2017 3:28 pm

This is a long story, but I'll try to keep it as brief as possible.

I'm 29 years old and in relatively good health. I do not exercise, but I am not overweight. I sit at a computer most days because I am a professional writer. My semi-sedentary lifestyle probably doesn't help matters, but here is my story.

When I was around 19, I started to notice some strange stiffness in my legs and the constant feeling like I was walking on a boat. The symptoms scared me, so I started searching the web and that didn't help my anxiety. I immediately convinced myself that I had MS. However, the leg stiffness was essentially the only issue.

A few years passed and I finally went to a doctor for the stiffness and weird balance issues. He ordered an MRI and everything came back normal which was a relief for me. The relief from the good news was followed by my symptoms subsiding to a level that made it almost completely ignorable. Coincidence? Probably not.

Over the next 8 years, I would have little flare-ups of symptoms here and there which would send me back to the forums (here I am) and google searches and they would intensify instantly. I know I torture myself with this, but I can't seem to help it. Every couple of years I convince myself that I have MS again. It's just become part of my life at this point. I try my best to keep my mind occupied, but I find myself just pacing around my apartment obsessing over it.

About 3 years ago, I started getting noticeable fasciculations throughout my body. Unfortunately, this was around the same time the ALS ice bucket craze was going on, so I of course immediately thought I was terminally ill. They would come and go, but never really went away entirely.

About a year ago, I woke up one morning and simply could not move out of bed. My lower back was in so much pain that I couldn't even move. I had to log roll out of bed. I went to the doctor and he told me I strained my back and gave me some anti-inflammatory medication. The pain went away over the course of about a week. Haven't had that problem again since. This was the scariest thing that had happened to me. I've never felt that helpless. I almost vomited from the pain.

Over the past 3-4 months, I have had some stomach issues. I've admittedly always had a sensitive stomach, but I could always control it by what I was eating. The most embarrassing part is that I feel like I am constantly leaking gas. I can smell it. The weird part is I can smell it, but it doesn't feel like I have passed gas. I have asked people around me and they don't seem to think they can smell it. I've even asked my parents and they think it's in my head or some sort of phantom smell that I'm obsessing over. I went to the doctor and she tested my stool and said I didn't have anything going on in my gut and essentially told me to get lost. In my head, I was thinking that the muscles in my anus have weakened and I'm just leaking gas as a result. But when I feel a big urge to pass gas, I can still feel like I can control it until I get to an appropriate spot to release it.

I'm also having issues that popped up around the same time as the gas. The tip of my penis constantly feels wet and uncomfortable. I will be sitting at my laptop and suddenly feel like I have let out a little bit of urine. I will rush to the bathroom to check myself and I'm completely dry with no wet spot. It's the most bizarre feeling. It's driving me crazy because I feel like I cannot relax. The anxiety is probably making it worse and the cycle keeps going. I have to visit the toilet to urinate at least 10 times per day and 4 times per day to defecate. I haven't slept all the way through the night in months.

Present day: I am sitting here with the leg stiffness, fasciculations all over my body, this leaking gas feeling, and I have to get up to pee just about every hour. My anxiety is through the roof. I used to extremely social, but it's become impossible for me to feel like I can socialize when I'm convinced that I am constantly passing gas uncontrollably. Anytime I see someone rub their nose or make a weird face, I always assume it's because of me and I try to think of an excuse to leave and come back to my apartment alone and obsess over it.

I have an appointment with a doctor tomorrow to try to get some of this under control. At this point, I want whatever is going on with me to just get better, be it physical or psychological.

I know MS is hard to pinpoint and is usually a process of elimination, but I guess I'm just looking for some thoughts. I know MS has a laundry list of symptoms, so essentially anything can be a symptom of MS if you think about it long enough, which makes it a hypochondriac wormhole. I really don't want to get shoved into another MRI machine. I hated the experience, but half of me feels like it would give me some relief at this point so I can at least quit worrying. I know none of you can diagnose me over the internet. I certainly don't mean to offend anyone here that has been diagnosed with my rambling. I know deep down that I'm at the very least a hypochondriac, but it's manifesting itself into some real symptoms that are ruining my life. Doctors dismiss me very quickly because of how I look. I move around just fine, pass all of the strength tests, can zip up and down stairs, open a jar of pickles, etc. I feel like the best years of my life are slipping through my fingers. With this crap going on for 10 years now, I just want a real answer.

Any help is much appreciated!
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Re: Ten years of strange symptoms...running out of ideas.

Postby Snoopy » Sun Oct 08, 2017 5:28 pm

Hi logancraig,

It appears, by the information you have shared, that there is a strong possibility your symptoms are due to a mental health issue. After 10 years it would be a good idea to seek out the help of a Mental Health Professions, Psychiatrist and Psychotherapist.

There is help if you are willing to go in that direction --- what harm could it do? You might find answers and help to 10 years of fear and anxiety over things you very possibly do not have. I believe you already know this to be the case due to what you have written.

In the meantime it would be a good idea if you see your Primary Care Physician for a full medical work up to rule out many possibilities. A PCP can do Neurological exams. Normal would be a great outcome.

Mental Health disorders can cause body wide physical symptoms and many mimic diseases like MS.

As an example please look at this:
http://www.anxietycentre.com/anxiety-sy ... mptomslist
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Re: Ten years of strange symptoms...running out of ideas.

Postby logancraig » Mon Oct 09, 2017 8:01 am

Snoopy,

I appreciate the response. I am convinced that I do have mental health issues, but it's hard for me to ignore these very real physical symptoms, whether they are a result of my anxiety or something else.

As I said, I have an appointment with a doctor today to start some, hopefully prolific, investigation. I will post any updates that I receive.
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Re: Ten years of strange symptoms...running out of ideas.

Postby logancraig » Mon Oct 09, 2017 5:26 pm

Update: I saw the doctor today and told her about my urinary and bowel issues. She did a test to see if I had a UTI and everything came back normal. She prescribed me a medication for IBS to help with my irregularity and excessive gas.

I didn't mention any of my neurological stuff yet because I've found that these doctors like the "one thing at a time" approach. So far, feeling like I've gotten zero relief from that visit. I'm being patient though. Will make another appointment in a couple weeks if my symptoms do not subside.
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Re: Ten years of strange symptoms...running out of ideas.

Postby jimmylegs » Tue Oct 10, 2017 7:02 am

hi there :)
have docs referred you to a dietitian? any preventive health professional(s)? do you have any assessments based on your submission of a multi day diet diary (including info on foods and fluids plus any meds and/or supplements) to any such a professional? do you have any nutritional bloodwork results on file that you'd be comfortable sharing?

mental health can be affected, at least in part, by nutrient status. it's worth ruling out at an absolute minimum. invest equal energy in optimizing your health as you do hunting for a diagnosis. worst case, you're in better shape to handle whatever might be coming your way.
odd sx? no dx? check w/ dietitian
DRI=MINIMUM eg bit.ly/1vgQclQ
99% don't meet these. meds/lifestyle can affect levels
status can be low in ms & other cond'ns
'but my results are normal'. typical panels don't test all
deficits occur in 'normal' range
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Re: Ten years of strange symptoms...running out of ideas.

Postby logancraig » Thu Oct 12, 2017 5:22 am

jimmylegs,

Unfortunately, I haven’t had any of those things you just mentioned recently. Since my symptoms have been on and off for 10 years, I usually begin my doctor visits, a bunch of tests come back negative, and they send me on my way. it’s hard to really keep doctors interested in me when I appear to be healthy, walking upright, and in no pain.

I plan on making another appointment soon. I really hate wasting my time and money in these doctor’s offices, but in desperate for an answer.
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Re: Ten years of strange symptoms...running out of ideas.

Postby ElliotB » Thu Oct 12, 2017 5:49 am

"...medication for IBS to help with my irregularity and excessive gas"

Doctor's are always quick to prescribe medications that often have serious side effects for issues that can often can be easily affected/corrected in other ways naturally. My suggestions... address the problem, to eliminate your irregularity - change your diet (please let us know what type of diet you are following) and take Psyllium Husk powder (available as a powder you can add to a smoothie or in capsules - it is all natural and works really, really well). A diet rich in probiotics and/or probiotic supplements would likely be helpful to you as well.
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Re: Ten years of strange symptoms...running out of ideas.

Postby jimmylegs » Thu Oct 12, 2017 5:36 pm

maybe see if you can get a referral to a dietitian. it can be easier to see problematic patterns of behaviour from a health optimization perspective, than it can be to test for early consequences of lifestyle choices. mainstream docs focused on attempts to diagnose a specific illness won't necessarily ask for certain tests and even if they do, the results may be poorly interpreted.
odd sx? no dx? check w/ dietitian
DRI=MINIMUM eg bit.ly/1vgQclQ
99% don't meet these. meds/lifestyle can affect levels
status can be low in ms & other cond'ns
'but my results are normal'. typical panels don't test all
deficits occur in 'normal' range
User avatar
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Re: Ten years of strange symptoms...running out of ideas.

Postby logancraig » Fri Oct 13, 2017 6:00 am

ElliotB wrote: "...medication for IBS to help with my irregularity and excessive gas"

Doctor's are always quick to prescribe medications that often have serious side effects for issues that can often can be easily affected/corrected in other ways naturally. My suggestions... address the problem, to eliminate your irregularity - change your diet (please let us know what type of diet you are following) and take Psyllium Husk powder (available as a powder you can add to a smoothie or in capsules - it is all natural and works really, really well). A diet rich in probiotics and/or probiotic supplements would likely be helpful to you as well.


I hear you. I'm certainly in no hurry to start taking the IBS medication, especially when I've never officially been diagnosed with IBS. This is the 2nd time a doctor has diagnosed me with IBS after a single meeting and almost no investigation. I currently take a probiotic and peppermint oil to help with regularity.

My diet? Nothing to write home about. I admittedly don't eat a balanced diet, but I'm also not chugging sodas and sitting in the drive-thru every day. Most of the food I eat is prepared fresh at local restaurants, but that doesn't necessarily mean everything I eat is healthy. I have stopped eating dairy (I slip up every now and then and have a slice of cheese on a sandwich), but I'm trying to stay away from it. I have not tried gluten-free yet, but it's next on my list.

The problem with my gas is that it just seems to happen. I won't even feel like I've passed wind or that I'm even gassy in my stomach. I will just walk through my apartment and suddenly smell a fart. My friends and family think it's in my head and that I'm obsessed. The only thing that worried me is that I felt like my muscles in my backside had weakened and I'm just passing gas without noticing, but I can still "hold in" a typical feeling that I have to pass gas. I don't know. When I discussed this with my doctor, she kind of gave me a weird look like she didn't know what I was talking about. It's frustrating. I'll give the Psyllium Husk a whirl.
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Re: Ten years of strange symptoms...running out of ideas.

Postby logancraig » Fri Oct 13, 2017 6:18 am

jimmylegs wrote:maybe see if you can get a referral to a dietitian. it can be easier to see problematic patterns of behaviour from a health optimization perspective, than it can be to test for early consequences of lifestyle choices. mainstream docs focused on attempts to diagnose a specific illness won't necessarily ask for certain tests and even if they do, the results may be poorly interpreted.

I have plans to do this. I also know that I need to start exercising more. My job keeps me glued to a laptop all day and I can feel myself getting a bit sedentary.
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Re: Ten years of strange symptoms...running out of ideas.

Postby jimmylegs » Fri Oct 13, 2017 1:15 pm

you may want to ensure you're meeting daily magnesium requirements in diet. %DV on packaging applies to anyone age 2 and up, so even if magnesium appears, even 100% DV is likely to be on the low side for the grownups. whole food sources are better than processed items anyway. there you can find out mgs per serving.

recommended amounts in general do vary with age and gender but do not necessarily help people understand what their needs for their own particular weight, height and/or activity level. daily recommended amounts are also aimed at health maintenance, not restoring a possible deficit. some sources suggest that mag intake should be 10mg per kg body weight, which is quite a bit higher than typical recommended daily amounts.

you may choose to review your dietary choices for magnesium density, and lifestyle for elements which can deplete magnesium levels (eg physical or emotional stress, some medications, excess calcium intake, alcohol consumption, etc)

if you get the opportunity to have some tests run, it might be worth knowing more about your serum magnesium status. if levels are low normal, this could contribute to stiffness, fasciculations and anxiety among other things. depending where you're located you may have access to reasonably priced online blood test requisitions. because 'normal' reference ranges can vary from lab to lab, it's best to have an 'optimal' level in mind (a much more narrow band, typically in the upper end of the 'normal' range
odd sx? no dx? check w/ dietitian
DRI=MINIMUM eg bit.ly/1vgQclQ
99% don't meet these. meds/lifestyle can affect levels
status can be low in ms & other cond'ns
'but my results are normal'. typical panels don't test all
deficits occur in 'normal' range
User avatar
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Re: Ten years of strange symptoms...running out of ideas.

Postby logancraig » Sun Oct 15, 2017 6:17 am

Thanks for the persistence, jimmylegs.

I am very interested in checking out these dietary issues. I’m a little self-cocnious when I get in the doctor’s office. I hate to start demanding specific tests because I really don’t know what I’m talking about.

I’ve been dealing with this for 10 years now. I was in the military, so seeing a doctor was always easy. I use the VA, but have recently sworn off the VA because they are totally incompetent. It takes weeks to get an appointment and they don’t take you seriously unless you’re missing a limb or something. I am in the process of getting new health insurance with my new employer.

Once I have my insurance, which should be next week, I’ll be looking to keep pursing some answers. My mental health is deteriorating.
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Re: Ten years of strange symptoms...running out of ideas.

Postby jimmylegs » Sun Oct 15, 2017 8:08 am

no probs.

i hear you re being self conscious at the doc's office. you can bypass docs, insurance and VA if you wish, via options such as

http://www.lifeextension.com/Vitamins-S ... lood-Tests

here is a reasonably priced serum mag test

http://www.lifeextension.com/Vitamins-S ... Blood-Test

i am not in the us and have never used this vendor, but others on the forum have used similar services to get useful info with a short turnaround time.

magnesium is decent for mental health too, as it happens.

Alterations in magnesium and oxidative status during chronic emotional stress.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10761188
Abstract
Magnesium and oxidative status were investigated in young volunteers exposed to chronic stress (political intolerance, awareness of potential military attacks, permanent stand-by duty and reduced holidays more than 10 years) or subchronic stress consisting of everyday mortal danger in military actions lasting more than 3 months. Significant decreases in plasma ionized Mg2+, total Mg and ionized Ca2+ concentrations were found in both groups. Similarly, both study groups exhibited oxidative stress as assessed by increased plasma superoxide anions and malondialdehyde and modified antioxidant defense. There were no significant differences between the two stress groups. A negative correlation between magnesium balance and oxidative stress was observed suggesting that the same etiological factor (chronic stress) initiate decreases in both free and total magnesium concentrations and simultaneously increase oxidative stress intensity. These findings support the need for magnesium supplementation with antioxidant vitamins for people living in conditions of chronic stress.

Multivitamin and Protein Supplement Use Is Associated With Positive Mood States and Health Behaviors in US Military and Coast Guard Personnel
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4165472/
"Users of MVM and PS were more likely to report their general health, eating habits, and fitness level as excellent/good (P < 0.05). Participants reporting health behaviors as excellent/good were more (P < 0.01) awake, relaxed, cheerful, friendly, clearheaded, and coordinated. As no known biological mechanisms can explain such diverse effects of MVM and PS use on multiple mood states, health, eating habits, and fitness, we hypothesize these associations are not causal ... Preexisting differences in mood and other health-related behaviors and outcomes between users versus nonusers of DSs could be a confounding factor in studies of DSs."

emphasis added - science takes a while. why not run a little personal trial, see if your results are consistent with findings ;) personally i can tell you that adding magnesium to my routine erased lifelong status quo chronic stress and it's done the same for others i know as well.
odd sx? no dx? check w/ dietitian
DRI=MINIMUM eg bit.ly/1vgQclQ
99% don't meet these. meds/lifestyle can affect levels
status can be low in ms & other cond'ns
'but my results are normal'. typical panels don't test all
deficits occur in 'normal' range
User avatar
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