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Date of last update: 10/15/2017.

Forum Name: Gastroenterology Topics

Question: Massive Bloating, joint aches, headaches and blurry vision

 Jessizh - Wed Jan 07, 2009 9:21 pm

I have been bloated for 11 years of my short 23 year span. All I have ever heard from it was IBS. It is getting worse, I look full blown pregnant when I am definatley not. It is so bloated and large its almost like the third trimester of my pregnancy. Its that large, its firm, and painfull, sometimes causing me to vomit. My daughter is 3 and a half now, and I just notice my lessend energy to play and be active. Too add to this problem, I have had chronic knee pain, which was only in one at first but in the last 6 months its in my left knee as well. In the last 3 or 4 weeks my hip has been in alot of pain too, feeling like its going to pop out of place. For 3 weeks I have be extremley itchy (and not like a winter itch) It goes away and comes back. For two months on top of that I have been experiencing bad headaches right on my forehead, and slightly blurred vision. For about 3 months I have been experiencing painful chest pains, in both my left and right sides, which seems to be over my heart. Also for almost the same amount of time I have been getting pins and needles feeling in my left arm which freaks me right out, my hands get really cold, then the tingles come. I feel like im going crazy, but I have been watching mystery diagnosis, and sometimes things can be connected. Can you figure out my puzzle? Its really distressing, I feel fat and unhealthy (yet im only 114 lbs) it makes me depressed, and I cannot handle all this different pain everywhere.
 Jessizh - Tue Jan 13, 2009 12:42 pm

It has got worse since then. I have been admitted 2 times to the hospital now in 4 days. I have been having anxiety attacks, so bad where im terrified, I feel like i'm having a heart attack, but I have had an EGK and it came back as normal. The doctor said I have a heart murmur. So I have to get an Heart Echocardiogram, on Jan 21/09. I am still waiting for my catscan appt. And today (Jan13/09)at 3pm I get a Holster (heartmonitor) So Untill then the doctorts said theres nothing they can do for me. I have terrible headaches still, and my vision goes blurry, I feel like I can't concentrate. My temp is 36.6 C but im sweating so bad from my feet and hands it leaves a bit of water where ever my hands were resting. I feel like they don't care about me at the hospital, because they just tell me theres nothing they can do for me yet. All my blood tests came back as normal. He said on thursday my potassium was a bit low, but nothing to be worried about. They did a thyroid test and It came back as just fine too. I have been smoking for 11 years, and I quit on Jan 9/09 the day I was first admitted, because it enduced my panic attack. I cant stop sweating. I feel like a bad mom, because I have had to have a babysitter here constantly because when the anxiety attacks happen Im helpless on the floor. I don't want to be like this anymore, im almost 23 and I want a normal life...... Please someone help me....
 John Kenyon, CNA - Tue Jan 13, 2009 9:27 pm

User avatar Hello -

Eleven years is a long time to be dealing with all this! However, there are some possibilities that haven't been ruled out yet, and which could explain most, if not all of your problems.

One thing that needs to be ruled out for you is, of course, gallbladder disease, which has been a theme among your family members. Some of your symptoms definitely would be compatible with that. A HIDA scan should be done to rule this out.

Another possibility is that you suffer from celiac disease, which also would account for many of the symptoms and, if you've had it actively for 11 years then it could even account for some of the seemingly neurological symptoms (such as the pins and needles sensations, joint pains, etc.). Celiac disease is a simple matter of being intolerant of gluten, a substance which occurs in many forms of wheat and a lot of other foods as well. This can be diagnosed by signs, symptoms and a single blood test. This should be ruled out as well.

Finally, you may have a vitamin B-12 deficiency (often secondary to celiac disease anyway), which by itself causes a lot of neurological symptoms. Once again, a simple blood test could determine if this is the case. It wouldn't likely explain the bloating, but there's no rule that says you can't have more than one problem at the same time, either.

Finally, there is the anxiety and the heart murmur, which, if it were considered serious, wouldn't have been put on hold for so long. Hopefully you'll have your Holter monitor results by the end of the week, and that could be interesting, although I have a feeling it will probably be unremarkable. Many of us have totally innocent murmurs, and sometimes they are accompanied by the occasional premature heartbeat, but it's usually nothing important. However, many people with these sorts of symptoms also, for reasons that are unclear, also suffer from anxiety.

These things all need to be looked into and ruled out. I strongly suspect that somewhere in there lies an answer to your long-term symptomology and may well offer you some fairly simple solutions to most of this. I certainly hope so.

Please follow up with us as needed. Best of luck to you.
 Jessizh - Sat Jan 24, 2009 7:04 pm

Okay, so I was diagnosed with Agoraphobia. In my opinion it came from Panic Disorder. I'm not full blow agoraphobic, but im finding it hard to want to go out. And now some stranger symptoms to ponder. After I eat, not all the time, but enough to really concern me, I start shaking intensely, i get dizzy, my heart races, I sweat, and then I pass out. I don't want to pass out, but I do. It is terrible, and I feel like I cant eat ANYTHING. I had my Echocardiogram, and the Tech said my heart is strong and healthy in his opinion. The doctor put me on Citalopram and Clonazepam. And im feeling the side affects. Its only been a week, so im giving it more time. But this is just all too much for me. I feel overwhelmed, and like a burden. Im scared to be alone with my daughter because Im so scared to pass out, because I literally cannot get up for at least 3 hours. And when i wake up in the morning, I am already feeling like im having a panic attack, right when i open my eyes. I cannot sleep anymore. and Im exhausted. I feel like im going insane, and no one understands. I just want to be normal again.
 John Kenyon, CNA - Sun Jan 25, 2009 2:10 pm

User avatar This is mixed news at best. It's not surprising that you may have become agoraphobic during all this, and some of the symptoms may well be attributable to panic disorder (PD). I'm not inclined to leap to that sort of a conclusion without certain criteria being met, especially at a distance (it's sometimes easy in person to pick this out, but even someone with PD can have medical problems as well).

The passing out concerns me. While this could be due to unwitting hyperventilation (which often accompanies panic disorder), that would suggest that you're at a critical and not-often-reached level of chronic intense anxiety punctuated by panic attacks and hyperventilation. It could be the case, and if it is, the clonazepam, if the dose is sufficient, should shortly put a dent in that. Citalopram can actually worsen acute agitation in some people suffering from anxiety, at least in the early stages of its use. Giving both that and clonazepam gives it a better chance of working, as the clonazepam should blunt intensification of anxiety symptoms and, by itself, is often the most effective drug for high level PD.

I'd still like to see the syncopal episodes clarified as benign and related to hyperventilation (or not). Passing out is simply not an acceptable thing to have to live with, and it's unusual enough that you should probably be subjected to a tilt-table test to make sure there isn't something else going on concurrent with the intense anxiety problem. Also, the fact that your syncopal episodes follow eating suggests there's something else going on, perhaps even involving blood sugar (maybe reactive hypoglygemia?). All this needs to be evaluated carefully and calmly despite your having been tagged as an anxious patient (no doubt you are, but that's one of the things medical people have to deal with and it doesn't remove the possibility of other, more physical, problems existing at the same time).

I hope this is helpful, and at the very least please follow up with us here for support. It may be that at some point something telling will surface in the back-and-forth. I certainly hope so. Meanwhile, hang in there. This is difficult, but not impossible. The good news is that your heart is healthy. That's a pretty important finding.

Best of luck to you. Please stay in touch.
 Jessizh - Mon Jan 26, 2009 2:01 pm

I really want to thank you for all of this, because I have no where else to turn. Over the last week I have begun to experience cramping of my muscles, my calves especially. And when i woke up this morning, my arm was cramped too. I remember last time in emergency the doctor said my potassium was a bit low. Could this be a cause of cramping muscles? One doctor at emergency told me there was nothing he could do for me. It really upset me so I was doing my own research. Could this all be related to my adrenal glands? I was reading up on adrenal fatigue and I do have all of the symptoms, loss of weight, sunken in cheeks, dark circles under my eyes, hair falling out, thin brittle nails, dry skin, sensitive to light, headaches, cold hands and feet, sweating, anxiety/panic attacks, startle easy, intuitive, poor focus, heart palpitations (pounding heart), bowel function-Tendency to be irritable, or hyperactive, transit time may be too fast (food exits stomach too fast causing poor [enzymatic] digestion) , Tendency to hypoglycemia. I found this on a website, it is adrenal fatigue VS thyroid. I really would like them to give me an MRI on my adrenal glands, I feel like the anxiety of this is just so much. Im trying not to look into everything too much, but I feel like no one will help me but me. Im a hypochondriac by nature, so with the anxiety im trying not to think too much about it and leave it to the doctor. I can't get an appointment untill this thursday January 29th. Should I just wait untill then or is the cramping a sing of something more serious??
 Jessizh - Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:10 pm

Finally seen the doctor today. He was really thorough. I have an crap load of blood tests (including cortisol, am and pm) And if he cant figure it all out, i have to go see an endocrinologist. Nothing is getting much better, except i have my spry attidude back sometimes. But im dizzier than ever, to the point where i can't keep a focus on anything. I go back on monday, fer more results so I'll be sure to let you know!!!

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