Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Taking Matters In My Own Hands, Part 1

Since about a year or so ago and especially during the last six months in particular I have been dealing with symptoms from an unknown cause and I am slowly growing tired of the ever sprouting new surprise symptoms that add to the complexity of my already full shopping list of unwanted aches and pains that still continue to wax and wane. I've tried almost everything, I've blamed everything and I am far beyond frustrated. Something isn't right, I know it, but what? I'm consistently having trouble with stomach problems, bloating in particular. I'm experiencing stomach pain and cramps also. At first I blamed the bloating and cramps on Endometriosis as I usually experience those symptoms with the disease but experiencing it almost daily is just not the norm for me. Not to mention that my skin is suffering from mild acne and blemishes- the cause completely unknown and unresponsive to treatment.

I've noticed that around the time my skin started bothering me, everything else went downhill also and now everything is just one big tangled mess that seems will never be unraveled. I've never had such trouble with my skin until now. Although only mild, the blemishes don't heal and every other morning guaranteed, I'll wake up with a new spot or blemishes. Thank God for foundation, seriously. My skin used to heal. A healthy diet consisting of fresh vegetable juice daily used to work. I've blamed the IUD (mirena) that I had inserted for the treatment of Endometriosis and had it removed to see no improvement (luckily I didn't get it out for that reason alone). I've blamed my vitamin D deficiency, I've blamed the arthritis meds, I've blamed facial cleansers, I've blamed makeup. I've tried switching different cosmetic products to see  hardly any improvement whatsoever. I've tried skin supplements, antibiotics and nothing seems to provide me with much hope of an answer.


(image via weheartit.com)

 
Along with the skin issue, I found myself back at the doctors a few months ago complaining that I was still struggling with stomach problems. I was given a "suspected" diagnosis of IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and given a supplement to try. If the supplement failed, I was told to prepare for more tests and possibly being found to be lactose intolerant. To tell you the truth, I didn't even bother with the supplement (it seemed a waste of $30 and not to mention I had to take it a ridiculous amount of times per day) because I'm not convinced it's just IBS. So with that, I did some research and upon my findings I decided to take matters into my own hands.

After researching I discovered that I have all the symptoms of a lactose intolerance and the evidence towards a link between rheumatoid arthritis and lactose intolerance is really quite alarming. Apparently there is evidence between a link in acne also. Why does this not surprise me. Seeing as I noticed that my problems erupt after eating, I decided it couldn't hurt to try a dairy free diet, especially if it meant no unnecessary tests. By eliminating the bulk of dairy from my diet for over six weeks now I have noticed improvement, but it's not the solution. I've noticed that after I've had a big binge, consuming foods like biscuits, I'll struggle. So now this has me confused. A gluten problem? Is it dairy or gluten? According to research (I should really stop researching, it's doing my head in) it could be one of three things- I have all the symptoms of a lactose intolerance, coeliac disease or a stomach ulcer.

I've had weird stomach pains for years, it's nothing new and because of the amount of medications I'm on, a stomach ulcer has been questioned on more than one occasion, but to find out if I have a stomach ulcer requires more tests my gp didn't want to put me through. Which is really plain darn negligent if you ask me! So I don't know what the heck to do anymore, admit defeat and accept another round of tests? I think this is a sensible option rather than just beating around the bush and ending up on the road to nowhere. I have a funny feeling it's a food related problem and based upon further research (this must stop) and naturopathic tests, (see I didn't come up with this all on my own) I think I just might be right....




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6 comments:

phylor said...

There is a blood test for celiac disease, at least in the US. I'm not sure if there are false positives and false negatives with it, but you might consider it.
From what I've read, folks who eliminate gluten who have celiac's or an intolerance notice a difference fairly quickly. That's also what my doctor said, but I'm by no means an authority!
There are several food intolerances including yeast (that's what I'm eliminating), fructose, corn products, food additives, etc.
I have IBS (have had since the late 1970s), but it's been worse the last few years. That's one of the reasons why my dr. started treating my constellation of symptoms as fibromyalgia. Given my short term memory problems, I can't remember if you have been evaluated for this or no. It has a lots of various symptoms that might include skin issues.
Good luck with resolving/solving your health issues/health mysteries!

jamey said...

Just like to second what phylor said. I know in the US that the test for celiac does include false negatives. but it is worth a shot. if it comes back positive, it could provide you with some insight. I really feel for you. Gosh, how it can be when you start getting these new symptoms and half of you wants to educate yourself and solve the mystery and the other half wants to save yourself the insanity of a wild goose chase. I have BEEN there. I know when I was trying to control my symptoms of inflammatory bowel disorder in the beginning I actually eliminated all but oatmeal and bananas and started adding food back in. I wish I could say that it led to some great discoveries...but just more frustration...these mysteries of invisible illnesses can be so hard to pin down. Just know we are rooting for you. We are here for you. THe immune system seems to be the least understood system and when it goes haywire, all sorts of odd symptoms seem to rise to the surface.
I had irritable bowel before getting inflammatory bowel disorder and it included skin symptoms.

Good luck. My thoughts are with you. You are a powerhouse. You will get through this.

Krissy said...

ahhhhh how annoying :|
i really hope you get to the bottom of the cause.
i once diagnosed myself with dyshydrotic eczema when NO doctor, naturopath or specialist had any idea what it was. just gotta do your research, go on forums, find out if other people are in your situation too. :)

Emily Ruth said...

phylor- I've had the blood test for celiac but it came back negative, so I'm wondering if I have a gluten intolerance or some other food intolerence. That yeast diet sounds like it would be worth a try, I haven't yet tried that. I'm thinking maybe I should go back to a naturopath or see a dietician if my doctor can't work it out. I have IBS too (well apparently) it's frustrating! Maybe I should try the supplement just to be sure- I'll ask my doctor about the skin link, that's really interesting. Thanks phylor!

Jamey- I know! Sometimes I feel as though I'm in an never ending goose chase, every symptom just seems to overlap each other and I have no idea what conditions are causing what anymore, it's doing my head in! Thankyou SO very much for the support Jamey, I really appreciate it. BTW I need to catch up on your blog too, I've fallen behind due to fatigue this week but I hope to catch up over the weekend, I love it- you are such a brilliant writer!

Krissy- Oh wow! I'm always self diagnosing myself haha! Doctors don't know everything. I analysed my bone density scans all by myself and got the results correct and last year I annalysed my own MRI scans (they sent me home with the scans) and diagnosed myself with rheumatoid arthritis and I was right! Surely I've gotta be right this time haha! Yes, I've been reading plently of forums, they can be quite helpful!

Judith Westerfield said...

I've had all sort of weird symptoms over the years, IBS, Skin reactions to heat, swallowing problems, heart etc etc etc. One will leave to have it's place taken by another.

According to my research and talking to MD researchers because Fibro is a central nervous system disorder it can impact every system in the body.

Specialists will only look at their particular area and it's usually the entire system - although each system can be impact (eg celiac, IBS etc). Usually it's just part of Central Nervous System mis-cues.

I treat my weird symptoms as a flare which is a warning sign that I've been under stress or not sleeping or over-indulging.

I do so hope you are able to UNflare quickly! It's very discouraging when our bodies seem to betray us.

Emily Ruth said...

That's really interesting. Maybe it could explain my fatigue flare, my fatigue did get worse when all these symptoms started popping up. Thanks for the info, now I just have to somehow unflare...

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