Discussions By Condition: I cannot get a diagnosis.

Unexplainable swelling in my left leg.

Posted In: I cannot get a diagnosis. 3 Replies
  • Posted By: Mogaar
  • October 7, 2008
  • 04:51 PM

Okay, so I've been back and forth between more doctors than I can count and I haven't really gotten anywhere. I need some serious advice to take to my doctor, because he seems to be at a loss as well.

I'm a 21 year old female, 5'4" and 150 lbs. and I've had swelling in my left leg, usually localized to my ankle, since June of 2006. I had no injury to the ankle or the leg, it just appeared one morning when I woke up. It sometime extends out to my toes and up through my mid to upper calf.

Since the swelling started, it's been some sort of a medical rollercoaster. I had an x-ray done with no results. In May of 2007, my doctor had blood work done and it came back hyperthyroid. Without doing enough research myself, I followed my doctors advice and had the radioactive treatment to kill my thyroid. My thyroid levels went back to normal, but I was told that I should be put on medication, and the ankle swelling was still there. I then asked my doctor about congestive heart failure. She ordered an EKG and a chest x-ray, both of which came back normal. I then started getting really sick, and found out my doctor had stopped practicing. I started going to a new doctor who had found that I had become SEVERELY hypothyroid. I was put on Synthroid and after a few months, the thyroid levels evened out again but the swelling is still present. I was put on TRIAM/HCTZ (diuretic) which has helped with the swelling quite a bit, but it still obviously there and comes back immediately if I miss even one dose.

Doctors kept saying to wait it out, the swelling was probably due to my thyroid, but seeing as how it has been swollen through high, normal, and low levels, a year before my thyroid was ever diagnosed.

Since January, I have had multiple blood tests, an Ultrasound in both legs, a CT Scan in my abdomen and pelvic area, all of which have come back normal. My doctor put me into physical therapy to see if that would help, but it just made the swelling worse. I also went to see a Podiatrist who took x-rays and found that the swelling was not directly related to my ankle, it was a build up of fluid in my entire leg.

As of right now, I have no idea where to go at this point. My doctor seems to be confused as to what is causing it. He doesn't believe it's any form of heart issue, and the ultrasound didn't find any blood clots. I'm just at my wits end with this, it's been going on for two and a half years now and I'm just ready for it to be over with and figure out what's wrong with me.

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3 Replies:

  • Try here: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0689/is_/ai_n25128188
    aquila 1263 Replies
    • October 8, 2008
    • 07:45 PM
    • 0
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  • There is a condition called May-Thurner syndrome. It is when the right iliac artery compresses the left iliac vein against the spine. This causes the blood to congest in the left leg because it can not normally pass the compression on its way back to the heart. It dos not necessarily results in the pain at the compression site (if it does it gives a lower back pain), most often it causes pain or swelling or both in the left leg. If you have a compression like this, after a while your circulatory system is trying to develop alternative veins. They are called collateral veins. Most often there are transpelvis collaterals (horizontal ones from left to right in pelvis), but some patients can develop them near the spine or even inside it. Then it can give pressure on nerves and give numbness and tingling sensation in legs. This condition is vastly underdiagnosed. It is impossible to discover with ultrasound and even difficult to discover with venography (phlebography). The only certain way to discover it is by means of intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) where the probe is inside the vein. The best research has been done by Neglén and Raju in Jackson, Miss. The treatment is to put a stent inside the vein at the site of the compression. The typical patient is a young – middle-aged woman, previously healthy where the doctors have not found other explanation for the symptoms. Are you in US? Could this possibly help? The best of luck!
    Felsen 510 Replies
    • October 8, 2008
    • 10:22 PM
    • 0
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  • Asked to be checked for both lymphedemia. Lymphedemia is caused by a problem stemming from one or more of your lymph nodes and it usually effects only one side of the body (as you have described - only your left ankle, foot and leg). I have done a lot of researching on lyphedemia as I thougth it might be the reason for the issues I have with all-over swelling, but it turns out that I may have high blood pressure and cardiac issues causing my swelling. Because your swelling (edema) is only on your left side, you can probably rule out a cardiac issue - but I would definitely look into lymphedemia if I were you.Hope this helps!
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • November 19, 2008
    • 07:24 PM
    • 0
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