Discussions By Condition: I cannot get a diagnosis.

Mysterious Lower Abdominal Pain

Posted In: I cannot get a diagnosis. 2 Replies
  • Posted By: Anonymous
  • January 4, 2009
  • 05:09 PM


You will have to excuse my wall-o-text, I am one who has a need for detail and never have been good at summing things up. Thought I do feel all of the information I will provide has a link to what has been going on with me.

Within the last year I have been in and out of the clinic numerous times. The doctors here... are not satisfying my need to know and I do not believe that I have been correctly diagnosed. Any information or a direction that anyone could point me in would be greatly appreciated.

I am 21 years old and live in rural South Dakota.

In February of 2008 I started a new job at a factory that builds medical devices (tens units, electrodes and other things of that type). A few months after I started is when all my recent troubles started. Every day I went to work I would feel sick.

At first I had allergy-like symptoms. My face around my mouth would go numb and tingle, my mouth would become extremely dry and it would be hard for me to breathe. I would develop this really thick Flem-like substance in the back of my throat and it was hard to swallow. I would have horrible headaches and felt light headed constantly as well as severe stomach aches and sharp pains in my lower abdomen. On about half a dozen occasions I would develop this 'itch' in odd places... the inside of my upper lip, the corners of my eyes, inside my nostrils and in my vaginal area which almost felt like a yeast infection. Every time it happened I would itch in all those places simultaneously. Taking meds like benadryl helped alleviate when it happened.

Through a fellow employee I discovered that in my department we had a machine, that just before I started, they had moved from another area of the plant. This machine is used to laser etch serial numbers into our plastic cases for our devices. We use it every day for hours at end.. sometimes the entire day nonstop. Since moving it, they have yet to vent this machine. It is required that it is vented... but its not. The smell in the area it is in is just horrible and I started to notice the closer I was to it the sicker I felt. I couldn't even stand near it for more then a few minutes without feeling extremely light headed.

Other people started to complain about having headaches all the time so I went to the office and expressed my concerns that it was making me sick to our human resources manager. She called our plant manager and I told me what I had been experiencing as well as what others told me they were going through as well. I also talked to two other supervisors as well and nothing seemed to get done. Every time they would give me some excuse about how they were to busy to vent it out.. or that they weren't sure it was going to stay there so they didn't want to cut a hole in the wall until they were positive. Whenever we had inspectors from the FDA or ISO they would run the machine nonstop the week before to stock up on cases so it wasn't running while they were there. Needless to say it is January.. almost a year later and it is still not vented. Although, about 4-5 months ago they did attach this... charcoal filter on it and this did alleviate some of the allergy-like symptoms I was experiencing.

Around the time they installed the charcoal filter on the machine I started to have constant dull lower abdomen pain. I also was late on my period. After a week of the pain not going away I went to the doctor. This was basically the second time I've ever been to this clinic/hospital (the first was when I had my gallbladder removed on my 20th birthday) so I just had the scheduler pick a doctor that fit my time frame for an appointment.

Clinic 1 - Doctor R.

First of all let me say I had to wait an hour in the waiting room after the time my appointment was to begin and then another 30 mins in the doctors room before he came in.. which highly disgusted me. I explained to him the pain I was having.. I even pointed out exactly where it was. It is on the right side of lower abdomen, if you were to draw a diagonal line between my hip and crotch it would be almost dead center of that line. On occasion the other side would hurt as well but 90% of the time it was just the right side. He didn't really seem like he was listening to me at all and sent me right to xrays. When I was back in the exam room he told me that the large majority of abdomen pains were from constipation (though I told him I had been going to the bathroom just fine and my xrays showed no buildup) and he sent me home with a prescription for some laxative.

Needless to say that a few days later I still had the same pain so I went back to the clinic and this time I went to see the doctor that both my mother and father see.

Clinic 1 - Doctor J.

Throughout the many times I went to this clinic I found that I had to sit and wait well over my scheduled appointment time... obviously they over book or something ><. This time I waited about 45 mins.

At first this doctor seemed a bit more... caring and like he wanted to help me figure out what was wrong. I told him about what Doctor R. had diagnosed and he gave me a strange look. In a nice way, he basically told me that Doctor R. was retarded and that the pain I was experiencing was in the area of my reproductive organs. He preformed a pap smear (my first) and also examined my ovaries. He told me they were developed ok but it was obvious that they were what was hurting. They were very sore and hurt when he pressed on them which it was highly possible that I had ovarian cysts. He scheduled me to come back in a few days to have an ultrasound done on them.

The nurse told me I needed to drink 4-6 6oz glasses of water an hour before for my ultrasound. I did so and wow.. was it painful for me. Even having a single glass of waters worth in my bladder was enough to turn the dull pain into sharp intensifying pain and even after going to the bathroom the pain would stay for an hour or so before returning to the dull pain. And now I had 6 times that much in me! The lady doing my ultrasound was very... rude and somewhat mean to me. A few minutes in she told me that I had to leave and come back another day because my bladder wasn't full enough. She told me I needed to drink 8-12 8oz glasses of water... yikes.

So a week later (the soonest they could reschedule me..) here I am in extreme pain from this overly full bladder. The first ultrasound they got me in as soon as I got to the clinic.. but this time I had to wait at least 20 mins x_X I was squirming in my chair and debating whether or not it was worth the pain I was going through. This time she was pleased with the amount of fluid in my bladder and told me she had accurate pictures.

I had to wait another week to see my doctor for the results. He told me that my ultrasounds came back with no abnormalities. And that no cysts were visible. He told me that they were probably so small that they weren't able to pick them up on the ultrasound and that they would go away within a few weeks and then he sent me home.

A few days after my last appointment I had his nurse call me while at work to tell me that they had messed up my pap smear and that I needed to come back in to have another one done. Well Doctor J. was on vacation so I couldn't schedule it for almost 2 weeks later.

Went back for that.. he asked me if the pain was still there and around that time it had actually lessened for about a week. He examined my ovaries again while he was doing my pap smear and they weren't as swollen and tender. He seemed to lose his interest in finding out what was wrong with me and didn't seem to believe me that something was still wrong.

Not even a week after that I had my period (it was almost 2 months late) and the pain started again. This time it was more severe. I also had the worst cramps I've ever experienced during this period.. it was horrible. My mother told me that being put on the pill could help regulate all of this and also helps ovarian cysts go away so I called and left a message for Doctor J. Nurse asking if I had to have another examination to be put on the pill. She called me back and told me that Doctor J. had prescribed me some and I could go pick it up.

This is when things started to be really concerning for me. The first week of being on the pill was horrible. The pain in my ovaries increased 10x and I had really bad cramps along with it. One day at work my lower legs started to hurt.. severely. It was this aching pain that started at me knees. It was worse when I was sitting. I have somewhat of a high tolerance for pain and this had me in tears. Another day my left side about horizontal with my belly button started to have these sharp throbbing pains. I also had bruises all of my legs. I had never had anything like this happen to me before so I called Doctor J.s nurse and told her everything that was going on and that I thought it was because of the pill he prescribed me. She seemed quite concerned and told me she would call me back within an hour. When she did call me back she told me that Doctor J. said it wasn't related and that I needed to keep taking the pill.

I was a bit sick of him telling me things weren't related and then not trying to help me find out what was causing them. So I decided to get a second opinion. This time I went to the clinic in the town that I work in. (A smaller town and clinic/hospital then the one I was going to before.) I had met the doctor I scheduled an appointment with before. He was an ER doctor in the other hospital I was going to and he had attended my mother when I had to take her to the ER once.


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  • Clinic 2 - Doctor V.Doctor V. was very nice to me and I was much more impressed by him then other other doctors I had been to. I told him all about the other doctor visits I had made and about what Doctor R. and Doctor J. had diagnosed me with and what they told me to do. I explained to him what Doctor J. had said about the cysts and in his own words (not very doctor like lol) he told me that Doctor J. was retarded. He explained to me that if I had ovarian cysts and they were small enough not to be visible on an ultrasound that they wouldn't cause symptoms. Then he started to ask me about my medical history as well as my families. The main three things he asked me about were B12 deficiency, diabetes and thyroid problems.My mother recently was diagnosed with diabetes and it is a somewhat common thing on both sides of my family.My mother and my younger sister also had thyroid problems and both had to take medication to get that to the level it is supposed to be. My grandmother on my mothers side had Graves disease and the doctors killed her thyroid. My mother, her mother and several of my aunts on my mothers side also had their gallbladders removed before they were 25. He told me that a thyroid problem can cause gallbladder problems as well as some of the other things I had going on.One of my first cousins on my fathers side has B12 deficiency.So all of the things he asked me about are there in my family history... he decided to do blood work and test for all these things. I was to come back in 5 days to have the results from these and he also had me release my medical history from the other clinic. (Small town so I'm sure they send it away to be looked at.)In the time between my appointments with him I started the placebo pills and had my period. It was considerably lighter then what I was accustom to. I've always had extremely heavy periods to the point where I was unable to even use tampons and had to change my pads very frequently. The first day of my period was light but then the second day was very heavy... but it was different. The blood that was coming out was bright and thin. In the afternoon that day I suddenly started to have these.. horribly painful cramps, they made me lightheaded. Everything was extremely sore, it literally felt like someone kicked me very hard between the legs. I went to the bathroom and passed a blood clot the size of a kiwi. A little while after that the cramps diminished and I felt ok.When I went back to see Doctor V. he told me that my blood work came back and everything was essentially perfect. Nothing was out of balance. I told him about the blood clot and he didn't really seem so concerned about it and told me that any time I bleed bright red blood like that I will pass larger blood clots then normal. I mentioned to him who my grandmother on my mothers side was, as he is her doctor as well, and about this disease she asked me to talk to him about, endometriosis. When I brought this up it really sparked his attention. He explained to me what it was and told me that it is very possible that I could have this as it tends to run in a persons family and that it generally happens to women going through menopause. He told me that he wanted me to continue taking the pill for a total of 4 months before we go further into the endometriosis theory as you need to have exploratory surgery to diagnose it and that I might just have a hormonal imbalance.I am nearly halfway through my 4 months of being on the pill and my pain is not showing any signs of residing. If anything it is getting worse. I have been looking more into endometriosis and I am noticing more things I've experienced in the last year that relate to it. Such as multiple yeast infections. I've had at least 4 of them and I am not sexualy active. I've also been reading into the connection between endo and chemicals released when certain plastics are burned which bothers me a lot with what I am breathing in every day at work.Should I stick it out for two more months until I am scheduled back to see Doctor V.? Should I maybe go see a specialist in one of the hospitals in a city near here? Is there anything I can do to help reduce the pain I deal with every day? I'm so lost in this and just want it to go away
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • January 5, 2009
    • 01:11 AM
    • 0
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  • You need to quit that job, if at all possible. Regardless if it's making your endometriosis worse (I believe that's what you have...I have it, too, and actually just experienced the abdominal pain with a full bladder for the first time in several weeks), your body is reacting horribly, and there's no reason for you to stay in that situation.Unfortunately, endometriosis is only recently becoming something that doctors take seriously, so a lot of them have no clue what to do about it...it's really hard to keep up with everything that could possibly go wrong with a human body, which is why they have specialists. Start going to a gynecologist instead of a regular MD. You've just had your first pap smear at the age of 21, and that's really not advised...you should be having one every year from the age of 18, which might have given some indication of this condition earlier, since they do a pelvic exam, as well. Find a gyno that you trust, and keep up with your appointments, because monitoring something like endometriosis is important even if there's no quick fix for it. It sounds like you have insurance, so take advantage of it while you have it.The best thing you can do as far as the pills go is keep trying different ones. Yeah, your hormones are unbalanced - that's what endometriosis does. Different pills do different things, and sometimes the inert ingredients can even have an adverse effect, which is why some people do so well with generics while others absolutely have to take the name-brand version of something (they're the same thing, but legally they can't use all of the same ingredients, so they use different fillers, and you can have a sensitivity to one of them).I would recommend Seasonale or Seasonique (depends on you, personally, but I couldn't take the latter...Seasonale was the one that actually helped me while I was taking it). It's a birth control pill that basically keeps you from having your actual period for 3 months at a time. You might still spot and have cramps, but they're not nearly as bad.Start taking vitamins with iron and folic acid. The bruises on your legs are likely from anemia...even a slight iron deficiency can cause bruising, and it wouldn't necessarily show up as a red flag on a blood test. When you're stressed, your body depletes iron rapidly, and having heavy periods is like turning a tap on as far as a deficiency goes...nearly every woman is anemic during her period, but a healthy woman would re-gain that iron back over the next few weeks. If you're stressed, nuh-uh...your body needs help.Keep after your bosses for ventilation, and call the inspectors yourself and see if you can convince someone to come in unannounced...get your co-workers and even your doctor to help you. The ventilation issue and your endometriosis aren't related, but the stress of the situation probably "helped" the endo to come to the forefront. Again, regardless, that ventilation problem needs to be taken care of.Good luck...Pamprin helps me with my cramps, amazingly enough, and you will hopefully get into a pattern with your period once the outside chemical stress is removed.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
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